The EK7000 and EK7000 Pro are almost identical. But they do have a few key differences that are big enough to make a real difference when deciding between them.
There are quite a few GoPro alternatives available. Some aim to compete on features. Others seek to compete on price.
AKASO has established itself as one of the leading brands of cheap GoPro alternatives. That said, if you’re expecting these to be on a par with current flagship models like the HERO7 Black or DJI’s Osmo Action, you’ll be disappointed. The AKASO EK7000 and EK7000 Pro models don’t have those levels of performance and features. They don’t really add any innovations or new features, so I don’t think it’s unfair unkind to call them knockoffs. They’re much closer to the models a few generations ago, specifically the HERO4 Silver and Black. (Akaso has another series of action cameras, such as the V50 Pro, that is closer to the newer GoPros.)
AKASO uses confusing model numbers, and it’s not always clear what model is current and how to compares to others in the range. Just in their 4K action camera ranges, they have the Brave, EK, and V series. And then there are variations for some of them like Pro, Pro Special Edition, and Elite.
The model numbers of the cameras I’m focusing on here–the EK7000 and EK7000 Pro–sound like something out of an eighties robot movie, and they don’t really tell you anything about the camera–especially since they were practically pulled out of thin air–it’s not like there’s been a long-running series of EK1000, EK2000, etc. If EK has some significance or stands for something, it’s not evident to me what it is.
The reality is that the EK7000 and EK7000 Pro are almost identical. But they do have a few key differences that are big enough to make a real difference when deciding between them — especially considering that the price difference is so small. So rather than rehash all the areas where they’re the same, I’m focusing here on areas where they’re different.
But first, a quick overview of their similarities. They both shoot 4K video with a maximum framerate of 25 fps. They both come with waterproof housings. They both come with a wireless remote and wifi connection to a mobile app. And they’re both priced well below GoPros–you can buy at least four or five of these for the price of one GoPro HERO7 Black or DJI Osmo Action.
The Pro can do everything the basic model can do but also has these additional features:
So if you’re trying to choose between these EK7000 and EK7000 Pro models, here’s a rundown of how they compare in more detail than just a specs comparison table and what those differences mean in practice.
Aside from some minor cosmetic differences in the finish and labeling of these models, they look practically the same. They’re the same size and weight (2.2 ounces / 61 grams with a memory card and battery installed). Both need to go into an external housing to be waterproof. Both have the same layout for ports and compartments. Their power/mode buttons on the front are in slightly different positions, the Pro has some extra color trim, but that’s about it.
There is one notable difference, although it’s again purely cosmetic. The basic EK7000 comes in silver, blue, or black (really it’s a dark gray). The Pro only comes in black (again, it’s really dark gray).
One of the main differences between these cameras comes in how you interact with the menu system. The Pro has a touchscreen; the basic model camera doesn’t. That mightn’t sound like much, but it does make a big difference in how quickly and intuitively you can work with the menu system. Using the buttons alone does work, but it’s not an especially intuitive method trying to work out which button does what at first. That said, you can still use the same button method on the Pro, and there’s a very common situation where you will need to do that: if you have the camera mounted in the waterproof housing. Touch controls won’t transmit through the housing’s back door. Although there’s one odd omission: for some reason you can’t reach the settings menu using buttons on the Pro, so for that you’ll need to open the back door and use the touch screen.
The touch interface only works with the menu system. You can’t use it to choose different focus points or spot metering (neither camera has those features).
There’s a lot of overlap with the video modes on these cameras. The Pro can do everything the basic model can but also adds in-camera video stabilization and some extra fields of view.
Both cameras have the same fairly limited range of resolution and framerate combinations. For the most part, they cover the popular ones that are useful for sharing videos online. An exception is the top video mode of 4K25. The 25 fps part is an unusual choice–more common would be 30–but it still works well enough for online video services (but you might run into issues playing it directly on an NTSC TV).
The fastest framerate of 120 fps is available at the 720 resolution. That’s suitable for playback at 4x slow motion.
These are the resolutions and framerate options for both cameras:
|Resolution||Framerate (fps)||Aspect Ratio||Dimensions|
A headline difference between the two cameras is that the Pro has video stabilization, whereas the basic model doesn’t.
It’s a digital stabilization, known as EIS or electronic image stabilization, that applies algorithms to smooth out shaky footage. In general, EIS isn’t as effective as a good gimbal or optical stabilization.
But I’ve found the EIS of the EK7000 Pro to be underwhelming. It does have some effect, but it’s not remotely as good as some of the market-leading action cams. (You can find some practical examples of those here.) While I don’t expect it to be as good as though, I was still disappointed with the results.
Here are some practical examples. They were filmed side-by-side on the same mounting bracket. They were filmed at 1080p60 because that’s the highest mode that has the stabilization option available.
This first one is riding, with the non-stabilized footage out of the EK7000 compared side-by-side with stabilized footage from the EK7000 Pro.
This second one is mounted on the front of a car. The car’s mass and suspension system absorb smaller bumps naturally, but you can still see some difference. But in this case, I’m not sure that the difference is an improvement. One of the quirky behaviors you can get with electronic stabilization is a different kind of intermittent jerkiness during sweeps as the algorithm adjusts the focus of the frame. This kind of stabilization tends to work best for fast, small shakiness, and it can look a little unnatural with longer pans or sweeps. You can see that a bit here, especially with the lateral (sideways) turns. So, in this case, I think that the non-stabilized footage looks more natural. That said, there’s not much in it.
In both of these, you can also see the effect of the slight cropping that occurs from the EIS cannibalizing some of the image frame to weave its magic.
Important to note is that stabilization is not available when shooting at 4K or 2.7K–if you want stabilized footage at those resolutions with these cameras you’ll need to explore an external stabilizer such as a gimbal. The better gimbals are going to cost significantly more than either of these cameras.
There’s a single aspect ratio for all the video modes: 16:9. That’s a traditional aspect ratio that’s used for HD video–it’s the shape of most flat-screen TVs, for example. It’s sometimes referred to as cinematic (although most movies in cinemas are actually closer to 21:9).
Some other cameras have a taller, squarer aspect ratio known as 4:3; neither of these cameras has that.
The Pro has extra field of view options. Akaso calls them angles, and they tout the feature in the marketing materials as “adjustable view angle.” They range from Super Wide (which the basic model also has and covers about 170°) to Wide to Medium to Narrow. But it’s important to note that these are digital crops, not optical focal length changes. And they do have an impact on image quality. So in practice, their usefulness is a bit limited, and I don’t really find this to be a compelling difference between the cameras. They’re more useful in the video shooting than with stills photos because at least the video output stays at the same resolution.
While the Super Wide angle is very distorted in that distinctive fisheye kind of way, and the narrower angles appear less distorted because they’re closer crops to the center of the image, there’s no actual corrected field of view analogous to GoPro’s Linear FOV.
The main difference between them with photos is that the EK7000 Pro produces 16MP photos compared to the 12MP photos of the basic EK7000. The 16MP images measure 5376 by 3024 pixels; the 12MP images measure 4608 by 2592 pixels. Here’s what that looks like in relative terms:
In practical terms, the difference is less important than it might sound. That extra 4MP isn’t a magic game-changer. And it doesn’t really add much in the way in of better image quality. But it is nevertheless an area where the Pro has a slight edge.
You also have more options for cropped photos on the Pro if you want to limit it to smaller images for some reason. These are the options on each camera:
I’m not sure how useful it is to have all those options. It makes more sense if maximizing space on the memory card is critical, but with 64GB and 128GB memory cards being readily available and great value these days, it makes more sense to me to shoot at the highest possible setting and crop later if necessary.
[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff” label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”EK7000″ label_two=”EK7000 Pro”]
As with video, the Pro has extra field of view options. Akaso calls them angles. They include Super Wide, Wide, Medium, and Narrow.
These are digital crops, not optical changes, and you get basically the same result from cropping later. So most of the time it’s better to shoot in the Super Wide angle and crop later–any basic editing app will have a crop function.
Time-lapse. There are two general methods to shoot time-lapse. The traditional method is to shoot a sequence of individual still photos, download those images to a computer, and then use software to compile the video. It gives you maximum flexibility and, potentially, higher quality, but it involves quite a lot of extra post-processing. This method is often known as time-lapse photo. Oddly, the EK7000’s manual’s description of this feature is “Use this mode to capture photos of any activity, then choose the best ones later.” I mean, yes, you can use it for that, but that’s not exactly the most typical use scenario.
In recent years, cameras have the built-in processing power to do that compiling in the camera. That means that rather than creating a series of still images, the camera produces a finished time-lapse video file. It doesn’t give you as much control, but it’s far more convenient to get a video file right out of the camera.1 This method is often known as time-lapse video.
The EK7000 Pro has options for both time-lapse photo and time-lapse video. There are some limitations with the time-lapse video feature: it’s not compatible with the EIS stabilization, and it does work with the 4K or 2.7K resolutions (i.e. the largest resolution you can output with it is 1080).
The basic EK7000 only has time-lapse photo but not the video method.
In Time Lapse Photo mode, the intervals available on each of them are: 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds.
In time-lapse video mode on the Pro, the available intervals are: 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds.
Loop Recording. Sometimes known as loop recording, this mode keeps recording over itself. You can specify a duration for each loop of 1, 3, or 5 minutes. So if you want to use it as a dashcam, you can, although for intensive dashcam use you’re probably better off with a dedicated dashcam that is built for the rigors of constant-on use and records in longer stretches. Loop recording isn’t available in 4K or 2.7K.
Diving Mode. This adjusts the color balance to compensate for the loss of red and orange wavelengths underwater. So if you’re shooting while snorkeling or diving, the results will look richer and more natural without resorting to adding underwater filters. Not all types of water affect the light in the same way, but Akaso says that its color compensation in diving mode is designed for tropical and blue water (as distinct from the greener water you might get in colder climates) and is optimized for use between 10 and 80 feet.
Burst Photos. Both shoot short bursts of 3 photos in 1 second. It’s useful for capture fast action when you want to increase the odds that you’ll get the shot.
There’s no practical difference in batteries and charging. Both use the same batteries, and both charge the same way. Akaso claims that you can get up to 90 minutes of recording from each in one go, but in practice, I’ve found that’s being a bit optimistic.
Both charge with a micro-USB cable (and both come with that cable).
Neither of these models accepts external microphones.
These two cameras use the same accessories with one exception–the housing. Technically, you can fit each camera in the other’s housing–and I’ve mixed them up by accident–but the catch is that the power/mode button is in a different position on the front panel. So if you want to be able to use that button, you’ll want to make sure you get the dedicated housing for that model.
Aside from that, they take the same mounting and power accessories. And because Akaso has adopted the GoPro-style three-prong mount system, that means that you can use any of the huge range of mounts and handles and bobbers and grips that are available for GoPros.
I’ve put together some detailed recommendations for SD cards for the EK7000 and EK7000 Pro here.
These are both inexpensive cameras, and corners have clearly been cut to keep them that way. They’re not breaking new ground here with research and development. And the cameras keep things simple in terms of features and bells and whistles. But I’ve run into some issues that would seem to be the result of shortcuts taken in quality control. I don’t think it affects one model more than another. Rather, I think it’s just the result of putting an emphasis on the “extremely affordable” end of the market, as Akaso puts it. But I mention it here not because it’s a dealbreaker necessarily, but because I think it is worth knowing if you’re considering one of these cameras.
For instance, the shutter button sometimes becomes unresponsive on my EK7000, and I can’t stop the recording without powering the camera off. On both of them, I’ve gotten some moisture inside the back screen in humid conditions. It disappears quickly enough and doesn’t really affect anything, but it’s definitely there. And with the Pro, I’ve found that the recording can stop prematurely. None of these things is ideal by any means, but overall, these are things I’m much more likely to put up with in sub-$100 cameras like these rather than a $300-plus camera. It’s a compromise I’m willing to live with for the low price. But it does give me pause–especially the problem with footage not getting saved.
You can find the EK7000 manual here. [PDF]
You can find the EK7000 Pro manual here. [PDF]
These cameras are priced very closely, with the Pro only just slightly higher-priced than the basic model. The prices do tend to fluctuate; you can use the buttons below to get the current prices.
In my opinion, the extra features of the Pro version are well worth the small difference in price. It can do everything the basic EK7000 can do but also has a touchscreen, stabilized video footage, and higher-resolution photos. While none of those features amounts to a game-changer in practice, and I’m particularly underwhelmed by the video stabilization, they’re worth having if they’re available. The convenience of the touchscreen alone is the most appealing single extra feature and worth it for me. So unless you desperately want a blue or silver camera, both of which are only available in the basic EK7000 model, I’d choose the Pro version.
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 January 1, 2021 8:59 am