For a few years, I’ve been using my “old” Canon T1i as my go-to video camera when I’m in the field. The quality is good, but the T1i doesn’t do 4K video and its on/off switch is balky. I wanted something better.
Enter the Akaso EK7000. This tiny camera is a powerhouse, with 4K video (at 25 frames/second), a 12 megapixel still camera, with built-in timelapse and burst mode. It comes with a dizzying array of accessories, including a waterproof housing (down to 30m). It is clearly a GoPro “knockoff” and, for a very inexpensive camera, it does a lot. One of its strengths is the built-in Wifi and the app to remotely control it.
What You Get
This little guy is a tiny box, 2 inches wide by 1.5 inches tall by 0.9 inches deep. It’s wee. The body is made of plastic and it is very light. I would say the build quality is adequate. I have noticed that the power on/off button sometimes sticks down on my camera. Maybe I have bad luck with camera power switches?
The camera comes with two rechargeable batteries, rated for 90 minutes of recording each, along with a USB-powered charger that can charge both batteries simultaneously. I haven’t measured the actual battery life but it was significantly less than 90 minutes’ duration out in the -15C cold. Most batteries suffer in the cold!
As I mentioned above, it comes with a waterproof housing and a lot of accessories, mostly mounts. Most of the mounts are designed to be used with the clear plastic housing. I haven’t tried any of them. It also came with a frame that has screw pockets at top and bottom designed to mate with a tripod. I’ve basically left the camera in that frame to use on my tripod or my Joby GorillaPod, and it works very well that way. The only time I have to take it out of the frame is to get the Micro SD card out.
The Micro SD card is not included. Those are very inexpensive and can be purchased at Amazon, Best Buy, or pretty much anywhere else. I bought a SanDisk Ultra Plus 32 GB card but any decent card will do.
The camera has very simple controls – one button on the front for power on/off, a button on the top to start video/take a photo, and up/down controls on the right side. That’s it. Most of these buttons have more than one function, depending on what mode you are in.
The controls are simple because it is designed to be operated within the waterproof plastic housing that comes with the camera. You simply don’t have any fine control when you’re pushing giant plastic buttons onto the camera.
There’s an LED on the top and on the front. They blink when the camera is recording video. The camera can make an audible “shutter noise” when you take a photo; this can be turned off in the settings.
It’s a bit time consuming to change a setting with the simple buttons you get. For example, to format the card in the camera takes 26 clicks. Most of that is “down arrowing” through the settings menu to get to the Format option.
There is a screen on the back of the camera that shows the live view from the lens. The screen is not a touch screen. The Akasa EK7000 Pro does have a touch screen (and image stabilization).
This is an automatic camera so you do not get any control over how the photos or videos are taken, other than setting the resolution. You can’t set aperture, shutter speed or ISO in camera mode, nor can you do any exposure compensation. This is a “fire and forget” camera.
The Akasa EK7000 is capable of taking photos up to a resolution of 12 megapixels. That’s decent and comparable to most phones.
I took a few stills with this, and honestly, I’d rather use my phone. The image quality is OK but not great, and the lack of any manual control really limits its use as a still camera for me. Even the built-in Camera app on my iPhone lets me adjust the exposure easily, whereas this camera doesn’t.
Here’s a comparison of three photos taken with three different cameras – the Akasa EK7000, an iPhone 8 and a Canon 77D. All three were taken from the same spot and minimally processed (the same way) in Adobe Lightroom.
One use case I can think of is when you want to take a photo remotely. For example, you put the camera near something dangerous (like a roadway) and use the wifi app to snap a photo as something goes by.
It also has a timelapse mode so you can set it up and have it fire off frames as long as you let it. I plan on using that at times. It can shoot at intervals of 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds.
I got the Akasa camera for video. So far I’ve taken a few videos with it, both of trains and of model trains.
There is a definite “fishbowl” effect to the videos. I don’t mind the look but it might not be for everyone. It sure gives a wide angle view!
The camera boots up in video mode, so it’s pretty quick to get a video started. The startup time for the camera is significant – about 3 or 4 seconds – so you need to keep that in mind.
It records in MP4 format, which is quite compatible with YouTube and video editors.
I’m happy with this camera. For the price, I feel it’s a very capable camera and it’s now a part of my toolbox for future railfanning excursions.
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