If you're looking for a GoPro alternative at a lower price, the Akaso EK7000 is worth a look. It doesn't have the same bells and whistles as a GoPro, but it's a surprisingly good action cam.
The Akaso EK7000 looks a lot like a GoPro. It works a lot like a GoPro. The videos and photos look similar to the ones coming out of GoPro cameras. But here’s the kicker: it’s priced at just a fraction of a GoPro.
From the design of the camera to the packaging materials, this is clearly a GoPro knockoff. It does basically the same things. 4K video–check. Timelapse, burst mode, and still photos–check. Built-in wifi–check. Comes with a waterproof housing (rated down to 100 feet / 30 meters)–check. It’s basically the identical size as a GoPro, and its design is uncannily similar. And it even uses the same GoPro mount connection system.
One of the challenges that GoPro has faced in recent years is knockoffs. After basically inventing the action camera market, GoPro has run into competition, both from premium manufacturers like Sony, Nikon, and Garmin that bring their own expertise and innovation to the concept but also from overseas manufacturers who can copy the GoPro cameras without copying GoPro’s premium pricing. Some are better than others–some are even downright terrible.
After playing with the EK7000 for a while, I can say that this is one of the better [low-cost GoPro competitors(https://havecamerawilltravel.com/gopro/gopro-competitors-alternatives/). It’s one of the GoPro competitors that has taken off in popularity, and after playing with it for a while I can see why. It shoots 4K video (at 25fps), takes 12MP still photos, comes with a waterproof housing, and uses the same mounting system. It’s even packaged the same way a GoPro is packaged, with the distinctive clear perspex bubble on top. But it’s simpler to use. And it’s much cheaper.
If you haven’t heard of the brand before, you’re not alone. I hadn’t either. They seem to market an odd assortment of products. The EXIF data embedded by the camera refers to it as a Sunplus SP5K Series Digital Camera, and you can also find what appears to be the same camera marketed under different brand names. There’s also an EK7000 Pro model, which includes a touchscreen and video stabilization. I have a detailed comparison of the EK7000 and EK7000 Pro separately.
There are four shooting modes: video, still photos, burst photos, timelapse. I’ll go into each of these in more detail below.
The Akaso EK7000 doesn’t have many choices for the video modes, but it covers several of the most common sizes and frame rates.
Resolutions and Framerates. 4K mode is limited to 25fps, not the more common 30fps. It’s a somewhat odd choice–25fps is the standard for PAL, although that’s less important if you’re sharing the videos digitally online which, let’s face it, is what most of us do anyway. If you want to do slow-motion, there’s a 120fps setting in the 720p size. There are no different settings for fields of view–it’s all a single wide-angle perspective.
The video quality is quite decent, though generally not up to the quality of the latest GoPros. It works best in bright, clear conditions and less well in lower light.
Here’s the full list of its resolutions and corresponding framerates and bitrates:
|Resolution||Framerate||Bitrate Megabits/s||Aspect Ratio||Dimensions|
Stabilization. The Akaso EK7000 doesn’t have any in-camera stabilization, a feature that some of the premium action cams from GoPro and Sony have been pushing hard. Stabilization helps you get smoother footage right out of the camera. Without that feature built in, if you want smoother footage from the Akaso your best approaches are to use a good gimbal or to apply corrections when post-processing the footage.
UPDATE: Since I originally posted this review, they’ve come out with a new version (also called the EK7000) that does have EIS, or video stabilization. You can find the new model here.
The Akaso EK7000 can shoot photos up to 12MP measuring 4608×2592 pixels. Those are in the 16:9 aspect ratio, which is most commonly used for video recording (more traditional aspect ratios for stills photos are 3:2 or 4:3). You can also reduce the size down to 4MP. The files come out as standard JPGs (there’s no RAW).
There’s only the one field of view: a standard Wide mode. It’s not as wide as with GoPros. Here’s a side-by-side example, with one shot with a GoPro HERO6 Black and the other shot with the Akaso EK7000.
[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff” label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”GoPro HERO6 Black” label_two=”Akaso EK7000″]
Here are the available options for shooting photos:
The burst mode shoots a quick sequence of still images. It’s useful for fast-moving action when you want to increase the chances you’ll capture the fleeting moment you’re after.
The burst mode on the EK7000 takes 3 photos over the course of 1.5 seconds.
In the timelapse mode, you can capture a series of JPG photos. There’s no timelapse video option that compiles the video in the camera. Instead, you’ll have to do it the old-school way: download the sequence of images to your computer and then use time-lapse compiling software to turn them into a video file.
The available choices for the interval between the shots are: 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds.
In general, action cams don’t have very good battery life. The Akaso EK7000 sticks to that trend, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well it did. I ran some tests, and at 4K25 and 1080p30, I’ve been getting around 1 hour and 40 minutes, give or take, before the battery dies. For the 4K setting, that’s actually slightly above some of its competitors. At 1080p30, which generally places lower demands on the battery, it’s on a par with competitors or a shade on the lower side.
Overall, then, the battery life is pretty unremarkable in comparison with other action cams. You won’t be blown away by superior battery life, but then again it also comes with a spare battery which can be put to good use.
To maximize the battery life, leave the wifi turned off, don’t use the mobile app, and minimize the amount of viewing on the back screen.
It’s also worth mentioning that lithium batteries don’t perform well in very cold or very warm temperatures. That’s not unique to this camera–it applies to all lithium batteries. So if you’re out filming in the winter cold and find that you’re not getting much use out of the battery, that might be why. You can try to keep the battery a bit warmer to help. An inside pocket of a jacket works great, but obviously do not under any circumstances put it near a flame, oven, or microwave! When lithium batteries burn, they burn exceptionally intensely.
In a nice touch, the camera comes with two 1050mAh batteries, so you have a spare. It also comes with a dual dock charger. You can buy more spares separately if you need them.
If you’ve used a GoPro before you’ll pick this up quickly. In fact, it’s actually a bit simpler in some ways because there are more buttons, so it’s a bit more intuitive for moving through the menu screens.
It’s all pretty straightforward. On the side of the camera are up and down arrows buttons. The power button on the front of the camera changes the mode. The shutter button makes a selection.
The menu is simple but gets the job done. You can scroll through to change the settings and modes.
Unlike most of the GoPros, there’s no LCD screen on the front of the camera. The large screen on the back is used for a live view, playback, and menu operation. It’s not a touch screen. (There is an EK7000 Pro model that does have a touch screen.)
Its interface looks quite a lot like the GoPro app, although it doesn’t have quite the same polish. There’s a preview of what the lens is seeing. You can start and stop recording or take photos. And you can adjust the resolutions and shooting modes and view photos and footage.
It’s not perfect–I did have it lose the connection from time to time (something I also sometimes get with the GoPro app, for that matter)–but it mostly worked just fine.
It’s worth mentioning that you obviously have to enable wifi on the camera to use the mobile app. In one of the shooting modes, press the down button on the side of the camera to toggle the wifi on and off.
In another nice touch, the camera comes with a small 2.4GHz wireless remote control included. It’s splash proof but not waterproof. It has two holes for straps on its sides, and there’s a velcro wrist strap included so you can wear it like a watch or wrap it around a selfie stick.
This is simpler than a typical GoPro remote. It has two buttons, one for taking a photo and one for starting and stopping the video. It also has two indicator lights that provide feedback. It also beeps.
But I actually liked its simplicity. As much as I like the functionality of GoPro remotes, I don’t like having to pair them constantly. With the remote with the Akaso EK7000, there’s no pairing needed–it just works. You don’t even have to put the camera into wifi mode.
There are, however, downsides. It’s very basic. There’s no way to change the settings from the remote. You can switch between modes by simply clicking on the corresponding button, but you can’t change the resolutions, for instance.
Here’s how to use it.
Video. Make sure the camera is in video mode. To start recording, press the grey button. It will beep once to acknowledge. To stop recording, press the grey button again. It will beep once again.
Photos. To take a photo, press the red button.
Burst Photos. Put the camera in Burst Photo mode. Press the red button.
Timelapse. Put the camera in Timelapse mode with Continuous Lapse. Press the red button.
There’s no way to charge the remote, and to replace the internal battery involves removing four small screws. I haven’t yet depleted the battery in the remote, so I’m not sure what its expected battery life is.
It doesn’t come with a memory card, so you’ll need to pick that up separately. It takes a microSD card (both microSDHC and microSDXC).
So if you’re looking to pick up a memory card for this camera, the SanDisk Extreme cards offer a good combination of price, availability, and performance.
If you want some other choices, any of the cards that work in the GoPro HERO7 Black will also work in this one, and you can find some recommendations here.
It charges with a micro-USB connection. It comes with the micro-USB cable. It doesn’t come with an AC wall adapter, but you can use pretty much any USB adapter you have lying around, or an external power brick, for that matter. It’s not compatible with the newer USB-C PD fast-charging options.
There is also an HDMI output. I had trouble getting it to work, but I confess I haven’t spent much time messing with that feature.
In terms of accessories, you can use many of the ones that work with GoPros. That’s true of any mounting accessories like clips, harnesses, selfie sticks, float grips, and clamps.
For housings, it’s very similar to the housings for the HERO4 Silver and Black models, but there’s a slightly different alignment of the lens. Some housings might be interchangeable, but it’s going to vary case by case.
External powerbricks that connect via a USB cable will work just fine. External GoPro batteries that plug into the camera directly, such as the BacPac models, will not work on this camera.
One of the nice touches with this one is that it comes with a surprising amount of stuff to get you started. There’s an assortment of clips, straps, small mounts, tethers, a wireless remote control, and two batteries and a charging dock for them.
It doesn’t come with some of the larger accessories like grips, chest harnesses, or a case. You can get some of those things as part of very reasonably priced starter bundles like this one.
You can find the user manual for the Akaso EK7000 here [PDF].
The Akaso EK7000 isn’t going to score any points for creativity or innovation. In many respects, it’s quite basic. If you’re comparing it to the latest GoPros like the HERO7 Black, there’s a lot of features it doesn’t have. There’s no voice control or built-in stabilization. And it requires a separate case to be waterproof. So it lacks the bells and whistles of higher-end action cameras like the GoPro HERO7 Black or Sony FDR-X3000.
But where the EK7000 scores a lot of points is when it comes to value for money. It’s priced at a fraction of most of the GoPros and their big-brand competitors. And that’s a big deal.
So if you’re after an action camera but want something much more budget-friendly and can do without the bells and whistles of the latest and greatest cameras, the Akaso EK7000 is well worth a look.
You can find the Akaso EK7000 at Amazon. It comes in a few colors (silver, black, and bright blue).
And if you’re after a slightly upgraded version for not much extra, check out the EK7000 Pro.
Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-11-13 at 20:08. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
This post was last modified on July 14, 2020 10:22 am