Action cameras aren’t just for action.
The tiny cameras attached to helmets in the bike park or on the ski slope can be used for just about anything these days. They take photos and videos and are usually waterproof in some way.
GoPros have ruled the action camera scene for a long time and are still the cream of the crop but are they worth it? They’ve got excellent image quality and video stabilization but can be expensive. Is there a cheaper alternative?
Akaso has been quietly building up an entire stable of action cameras and other products. They now offer a range of 12 different action cameras starting from $60 USD. Even their highest end camera rivalling GoPro and DJI only costs around $150 USD some coming with front and back screens.
To get a good sense of all the options check out their compare page.
Today we’re going to have a look at the V50 Pro SE, the highest end Akaso in terms of specs, but without the front screen.
Akaso V50 Pro SE
The specs are pretty solid:
2-inch touch screen
4K/60fps, 4K/30fps, 2.7K/30fps, 1080P/120fps, 1080P/60fps and 720P/240fps
170° Wide Angle Lens
Waterproof casing up to 130 feet
Lots of accessories
$180 CAD ($155 USD)
Now we all know put some pretty impressive specs in a camera, phone or other tech these days. Usability is what counts. What’s the V50 actually like to use? What kind of video comes out the other end?
What we like
The V50 Pro SE comes in at $180 CAD or $155 USD. When a GoPro 8 (a year old at this point) comes in at $350 USD, that’s a pretty sweet price, less than half. Obviously things are a bit different between the cameras but if you’re looking to get into an action camera for a lower cost, Akaso are good prices.
Video Quality *
The video quality is surprisingly good. I was not expecting 4k30 or 1080p60 to look this good. There’s a caveat to this one.
The asterisk in the heading is about movement. Image stabilization isn’t GoPro level here. Bumpy footage like running is going to be bumpy. There’s a bit of jello movement to the video when it’s moving a lot and trying to stabilize. The stabilization does help but won’t take out the shakes entirely.
If you are moving smoothly or on a GorillaPod or something like that, the footage looks great.
2” Touch Screen
The 2 inch touch screen is well made and nice to look at. It’s very responsive to presses and swipes and a joy to use. It’s definitely faster than old GoPro’s to pick up your swipes but that gap is very narrow with the 9. I really liked using the screen on this one.
The Akaso cameras come with a ton of accessories which is really nice to see. The waterproof housing, a remote, a wrist mount, a helmet strap, handlebar/pole mounts and even zap straps to help mounting. All this would cost $50 to $100 more after you bought a GoPro.
There are 3 different versions of the V50 Pro SE. One standard, one Leave No Trace and one Access Fund. They are all exactly the same cameras but a portion of the profit from the Leave No Trace and Access Fund versions goes to supporting those organizations. I’m a big fan of both so to help fund them by buying a camera is very cool.
What could use improvement
While the video footage is very good from the V50, the image stabilization could use some work. This is where the GoPros really stand out. This is what you pay for getting a GoPro. If you need the best image stabilization, that’s where you go.
If you are just getting a camera to start or you don’t need the extreme image stabilization, then the V50 is a great option, especially for the price.
Not waterproof without case
The ports on the side of the camera are open and there’s nothing waterproof on it without the waterproof case.
Underwater this is fine, there’s no audio to record underwater anyways. In rain or heavy snow, you’ll have to put it in the case as well and forgo the audio. I was quite impressed with the audio on this one. Beside a rushing river, it was picking up my talking with ease. There’s a frame mount that lets you mount the camera anywhere and still pick up audio. Just make sure to get it in the waterproof case when the rain comes.
The image stabilization won’t be GoPro level so if you’re bumping along trails or hucking cliffs then you’ll need a GoPro for really smooth footage.
For every other usage like walking around, using it on a GorillaPod or underwater, then it would be great.
For the price of less than half an older GoPro, have a serious look at the Akaso V50 Pro SE before you spend on anything else.