As most of us as some point will want to film our flying I thought I would do this post on GoPro vs cheaper alternatives.
I have a GoPro 3+ silver and I also have a Xiaomi Yi camera, so is the GoPro worth the difference over the influx of cheap action cameras from China?
The audio captured from the internal microphone on the GoPro is significantly better than the audio from the Yi camera. The Yi seems to pick up everything very loudly while the GoPro seems to have an ability to capture the important sounds over capturing just a ton of background noise.
This is where the GoPro comes into it’s own. I did 0.6 hours of circuits (about 35 mins + 10 for set up etc) and when I got back down the Yi camera had already died. The GoPro was still recording with some battery life left. The GoPro can also be extended with an additional battery where as the Yi camera can not.
This means the GoPro is the better choice for filming your flights as with the additional battery it is more likely to make it through the flight than the cheaper Chinese cameras.
The GoPro feels more substantial than the Yi. It is built from higher quality materials and also has a useful display on the front which gives you some basic information. The Yi feels like a toy and you can tell despite it taking decent quality video that it was built to a price point.
If you ask me the video quality between my GoPro and the Xiaomi Yi are pretty much exactly the same. I am no professional but while the colours might be slightly different they both give of a high quality image. I found this video comparing the image quality between a GoPro Silver 4, A Xiaomi Yi and A GoPro Hero so you can judge for yourself.
Both cameras record in the MP4 file format.
The apps are basically the same, there isn’t much between them and the main use is to see what you are going to record. Both cameras create a wifi network that you then connect to.
The GoPro does however have the GoPro editor studio to edit your videos, however you can use iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premier Elements as well as more professional programs like Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro should you wish.
The GoPro has a lot of accessories available but a lot of these Chinese cameras are compatible with them as they just copied the mount. A good thing is a lot of the expensive GoPro accessories have a much cheaper Chinese alternative that is a fraction of the price and works just as well. This includes mounts and the expandable battery.
On the higher end GoPro’s (Silver and Black) you can also do things like record audio from external sources.
Which one to buy?
Well if you ask me the camera to buy is most defiantly a higher end GoPro (the Silver or the Black depending on your needs). The reason for this is that it is a much more expandable device. Also the expandable battery makes a huge difference to the practicality of the camera. I know you can buy additional batteries (silver and black models) but you can’t exactly swap them out mid-flight can you?
There is a huge cost difference though, the GoPro alternatives are around £50-£100, the GoPro hero is around £100, the Silver is £270ish with the black setting you back the best part of £400!
I personally think the GoPro silver is the best value of the bunch but it all depends on your needs really.