Elinz 4K HD Sports Action Camera review
A budget action camera has rolled into Practical Motoring and we thought we’d see if it was up to the task of shooting car videos.
A PROLIFERATION of action cameras since the ubiquitous GoPro became a number one hit has seen nearly all new arrivals to the scene mimic that camera’s format. This model from Elinz is no different, using a tried and tested design and basic functionality but in a package that costs far less.
We use action cameras a lot when creating videos, as do many enthusiasts, so we’re seeing how this works as an action camera mostly for shooting cars.
Elinz is an Australian-based online electronics store offering both third-party and its own Elinz branded products. As you’d expect, these are made in China to be priced competitively, much like some other online stores such as Kogan. To be honest, we hadn’t heard of Elinz before, but found that it had been operating since 2005 and has a long list of solid consumers reviews on the internet… so we thought we would test out its latest dual-camera dashcam which touts some impressive specs at a sharp price.
Disclaimer: Elinz provided the camera to Practical Motoring for review, however, we have not been paid and are not being sponsored to review this product, and in no way earn any money through affiliate sales.
What does it cost and what do you get?
Pricing for the Elinz 4K HD Sports Action Camera is $122 with free shipping (online only, this is not a physical store). Our unit from Elinz arrived promptly and was well packaged.
Everything for the camera arrives in one case, which makes for handy portability though there are a lot – and we really mean a lot – of dongles and bits and pieces in there. We actually took some out and found that we’d only take what we need for each shoot as there were too many adaptors and parts.
The main components to the package are the camera itself, a waterproof case, two batteries with a USB-powered charger (can be plugged into a wall socket too), wrist remote control and tripod and adapapter plates that fit onto GoPro ones. That’s handy.
The cameras shoots in a number of formats including 4K/60fps (3840×2160), which is more than enough for most videos, and 4K at 30fps, 25 fps and 24 fps, and 1080p in 120fps (slow motion video) and all the slower rates you would expect (and likely never use). It has electronic image stabilisation, 170-degree camera lens, 2.0-inch IPS screen and connects to a smartphone via wifi.
What’s the build quality like?
It’s very lightweight, which can be a great thing, though we found the battery compartment door occasionally fiddly as it isn’t on a hinge.
UPDATE: A revision in the design sees a hinged door that you can’t lose!
The batteries themselves come out easily enough.
The front of the camera is solid, and the rear screen sits flush and neat with the body. It’s also bright and crisp, so easy to look at in bright sunlight.
What feels rock solid is the waterproof case which comes with the option of an open-air back for better audio recording when you need it as an out-of-water action camera. This is what you’d use when mounting it to your car. We used our great RAM suction cap mounting system from our GoPro and it fits straight onto the Elinz connector system.
The two batteries supplied are rechargeable 3.7V lithium-ion packs with 1050mAh capacity at 3.885Wh and charge up in under an hour. This can be done with a wall plug or via a USB which we could do in a car with the charging port.
The wrist band remote work as advertised and feel durable enough – we don’t use these much and the wifi connection to a mobile phone is better anyway. On the spec side, the image sensor is a Sony IMX386 CMOS, and stabilisation is electronic rather than optical, though the optics are all glass.
Is it any good?
Connecting to the camera is easy, simply holding down a button on the side and selecting the wifi signal on your phone. From here, you have full control over the filming mode, fps, white balance, colours, sharpness, noise control and other settings.
Settings can also be accessed on the rear screen and its pretty snappy to use.
For our testing, we mostly shot in 4K and 1080p and took some JPEG images.
The video quality in 4k is sharper and clearer than anything else, so this is the setting to use. We did have some issues with file size at 4K/60p when filming a long clip. The issue was trying to playback the film in an editing application – it required some time to render first. Some of this is because the only file format available is H.264 MPEG-4/AVC. It’s absolutely reasonable to expect that no other format choices are available in a camera like this, but you’ll likely need to keep 4K/60P recording times down (we were filming for 20 minutes straight per clip).
At 4K/25p the video isn’t as large and is easier to handle, though still fairly big. This is offset by the quality, of course, which is nicer than 1080p. Lens flare shows up when the sun is hitting down over the windscreen but was acceptable outside the car for grab shots. This is quite common with action cameras and small lenses, particularly at this price point.
The audio, like with just about all action cameras, isn’t great, but we’re used to using a separate recording setup like a Zoom H1 with a lapel mic (or even into your phone) to do that. You can even throw your iPhone in the visor in a pinch!
The colour balance is quite neutral and didn’t require any editing, but sharpness might need some tweaking depending on how you edit the final product (no editing will mean you should increase sharpness). There’s noise in the image though it’s on par for the segment.
Image stabilisation was surprisingly good, though we shoot everything on a suction mount with the RAM setup we use which, in our experience, are better than any other systems we’ve tried. We didn’t do any walking or bike riding tests because we never shoot like that.
Check out the video:
Beyond video, it also takes JPG stills which are ok though the quality isn’t better than a modern smartphone.
Compared to the GoPro, the Elinz system is a fair competitor. Though the GoPro Hero 7 Silver and Hero8 ultimately deliver a cleaner image it’s not always noticeable on down-res video from 4K. At double and almost triple the price of the Elinz, there’s decent value in this unit.
Anything else I need to know?
As far as limitations, it doesn’t have voice recognition and you can’t change the focal length of the lens.
The maximum SD card size is 128GB, and while our package didn’t come with one you can buy it with a 32GB class-10 card for $136 at the time of writing. That would be a plug and play solution.
Finally, there is a 12-month warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee offered.
Would we buy one? At the price point, it offers plenty of features and they work. What we like is that the screen looks good, the menu is slick and easy to use, and the 4k footage was clean for web use. If we needed absolute clarity and a higher resolution we’d consider a more expensive camera… keeping in mind it would at least $400 more expensive, which buys about three of these!
For more information: Elinz Action Camera