Yi4K Plus Review (& Yi4K+ vs GoPro)
Qu. Need a small camera to take with you everywhere!?
First thoughts Yi4K Plus review! – The cheap GoPro alternative action camera for photos and videos. Yi4K vs Yi4K+, Yi4K Plus vs GoPro Hero 6 & 7, Yi4k essential accessories, sample photos and sample videos. My new toy!
Yi4K Plus action camera
If you are a regular reader you probably know I enjoy model photography but also cycling and running (triathlon training). When I’ve been exploring in new places before I’ve always wished I had a small camera to capture some of the amazing experiences. I have taken film cameras on various cycling trips abroad – Voigtlander R3A in Fuerteventura, Leica M3 in Fuerteventura and Mamiya 6 in Mallorca (blog to follow). They were great but were too big to use while running and required me to cycle with a backpack. The smart phone is the obvious camera choice for such situations but I use an iPhone 6 Plus and even that is a faff to carry handheld (and I find it awkward to use for photos).
Inspired to get an action camera
I had been watching lots of ultra marathon running videos on YouTube and the camera footage with small action cameras really inspired me to try doing some of the same. It lets me combine both my passion for photography and for exploring on 2 wheels or 2 feet. In the past I would visit a new country and perhaps have some model headshots against a plain hotel white wall to show for it (as an extreme example but it’s true!). To date I usually have very little to share of the sights and experiences that make up my overseas trips.
GoPro Hero 7 / GoPro 6 vs Yi4K+
At first I looked at GoPro cameras as I knew nothing about the subject of action cameras. GoPro is the brand everyone has heard of and perhaps think of. I looked at GoPro Hero 5, 6, and 7 and GoPro Black vs Silver vs White. It was all very confusing for a newbie. From watching YouTube GoPro review videos I discovered Yi4K action cameras. I’d never heard of this camera brand but it seemed widely regarded as a cheap GoPro alternative and has been nicknamed by some as the “GoPro killer”. The main advantage of the GoPro Hero 6 is the camera is fully waterproof without needing an additional waterproof camera case. This is true for the GoPro 5, 6 and 7.
GoPro Hero 7
The latest GoPro Hero 7 camera has the best built in electronic anti shake of all the cameras I looked at. The correct term is “EIS” (electronic image stabilization) but I didn’t want to pay almost double the price of the Yi4K Plus for this nice feature. I think a lot of my work will be photos more than videos as I can share them easier via the usual social media channels, Flickr, Instagram etc. I have a YouTube account but have not used it since experimenting with video years ago (Nikon D800 video mostly).
Yi4K vs Yi4K Plus
The Yi4K older model is cheaper (roughly half the cost on Amazon) than the newer Yi4K Plus version. That said I wanted to find a balance between camera spec and camera price. The newer YiK4+ is comparable to the GoPro Hero 6 in some regards offering 4K video at 60 FPS. Both Yi cameras are 12MP sensors but the Plus model shoots 4K 60FPS vs 4K 30 FPS for the older model. The main advantage to me is the Yi4K+ has image stabilization for 4K video (30 FPS) vs only for the 1080P video on the older Yi camera.
Yi4K vs GoPro – Accessories
The great thing about the Yi4K action cameras is they are fully compatible with the GoPro camera accessories. The Yi4K cameras also have the advantage of a standard 1/4 thread tripod socket so will fit any standard studio tripods / accessories. GoPro cameras require an adapter. The Yi4K+ camera also has a standard USB-C socket to use for charging, data transfer and to use with an external microphone.
Yi 4K+ Micro SD card
The Yi4K plus camera takes micro SD memory cards rather than the larger SD cards I use in the Leica cameras. I already had a San Disk 16GB class 1 micro SD card but the Yi4K website recommends faster memory cards. To be specific the micro SD card needs to be minimum UHS speed class 3 (U3) to be able to utilize all the functions of the camera. I ordered a San Disk Extreme Plus 64GB Micro SDXC card but it wouldn’t arrive immediately.
Yi 4K Plus review – First thoughts
I bought the Yi4K+ camera on Amazon just before my latest trip to Poland earlier this month. A big thank you to Amazon Prime for their unbelievably quick next day delivery (<18hrs door to door)(I used a free Amazon Prime 30 day trial!). I didn’t have time to buy any GoPro accessories so my first experience with the Yi4K+ is the bare minimum, camera only. I used my old 16GB memory card which was fine for photos but for 2.7K and 4K video the clips stopped and buffered after around 15 seconds. I was just thankful I could use the camera at all while waiting for the new faster Micro SD card to arrive!
5 Likes of the Yi4K Plus
1. Tiny camera size! (65mm x 30mm x 42mm)
It’s amazing how small this camera is! It is truly a portable camera and is much smaller and lighter than my iPhone 6+. The Yi4K Plus 65mm x 30mm x 42mm dimensions are comparable to a GoPro Hero action camera but i’ve never really taken any interest in a GoPro before. The light weight (96g/ 3.4oz) and small size means I can carry it with me literally everywhere. Running with the Yi4K camera in my hand was no chore at all.
2. GoPro accessories for Yi4K
There are endless GoPro accessories on the market so I love the fact I can use all of them with the Yi4K+ camera. For running I plan to use the GoPro head mount, chest mount, selfie stick and backpack strap clip as potential ideas. For cycling I will use the GoPro handlebar mount to make the camera hands free.
3. Yi4K+ voice activation
The Yi4K camera can be voice activated so I can take a photo with the camera mounted on the bike or my head for example without needing to touch the camera. A pretty cool feature!
4. Yi4K Plus app
The Yi4K camera can be easily operated from a smart phone device. The mobile phone can display the view the camera is seeing so I can compose a photo without looking at the Yi4K+ camera LCD. I can take the photo or start recording video straight from the mobile device. The Yi4K phone app connects to the camera via WiFi and then photos can be exported from the camera, edited if needed on your phone and shared straight to social media. A seamless application that works brilliantly for my simple needs. (*I would say after using the Yi4K phone app more that it is better to transfer photos than video. With video clips sometimes the WiFi connection fails and you have to start again).
5. Yi4K Plus photo quality (and video!)
I’m no expert when it comes to video quality but the Yi4K plus 4K video footage looks pretty crisp and the slow motion footage can look really cool if shot at 60FPS/ 120FPS (and then slowed down). The true test for photo quality (for me only perhaps!) is to post a photo on my Flickr feed and see the reaction. Yi4K Plus photos were posted next to those shot with the modern digital Leica CL camera and film photos taken with the 4×5 Intrepid (blog to follow!) and other well regarded cameras. I didn’t mention the camera used on purpose as I am guilty in that I judge a photo partly by the equipment used.
For example if there were 2 near identical photos, 1 film, 1 digital I would be much more impressed with the film photo (for me)(as I know what is involved in “making” film images). Likewise if a photo said “taken with cheap GoPro camera” I would try to pick fault at it somehow (with my thought process being well it’s nice for a P&S photo). If I see a nice photo on someones Flickr film feed I would think woo I wonder what lens/ equipment was used. If I then see that it was shot with an iPhone (for example) i’m somehow disappointed even though it was a great image. (I just appreciate the people that master the craft of using old cameras in the modern day as anyone can pick up and use a digital camera). From the reaction on Flickr to the Yi4K Plus photos most people are luckily not as narrow minded as me (smiley face) and just appreciate the end photo regardless of what camera was used. I guess I should remember that i’m an extreme gearhead but most people really don’t care what camera was used!
More Yi4K+ sample photos
After Poland – Yi4K Plus
Since Poland I have been planning ahead for my next photogenic trip to take the Yi4K+ camera on. I’ve played around with trying different video settings and used it for a few clips i’ve shared on my Instagram account (@MrLeicaCom). I think the Yi4K+ is best suited to the GoPro style advert amazing locations – skiing with blue skies, surfing with the clear blue water and action sports (as the name suggests!) For me I think I will use the Yi4K camera the most when abroad but it is great to have for when I need it.
Pimp your Yi4K – Essentials (+ Nice extras!)
If you buy a Yi4K plus action camera you may ask what are the top 5 essentials to get you started. Here are some of the items i’ve now purchased on Amazon for my Yi4K camera. It took countless hours of research (my usual before buying anything) but i’ve been happy with my setup and nothing is crazy expensive. (A GoPro setup would cost a lot more as you have to pay extra for GoPro branded products).
5 Essentials for your Yi4K camera (that I bought on Amazon!)
- San Disk Extreme PLUS 64 Micro SDXC memory card – UK / US
- Yi4K waterproof protective case (Rhodesy) – UK / US
- GoPro accessories pack – UK / US
- Yi4K batteries (x2) & charger (Newmowa) – UK / US
- Yi4K selfie stick tripod & remote – UK / US
More nice things for your Yi4K (that I bought on Amazon!)
- CNC Aluminium Yi4K case (with hotshoe) – UK / US
- Rode VideoMic Compact microphone – UK / US
- Yi microphone converter (USB-C to 35mm cable) – UK / US
Sneak preview Yi4K+ photo of me using the 4×5 Intrepid camera in Poland!
Yi4K Plus – Specs
To see the Yi4K Plus specs in full visit the YiTechnology website Yi4K page
Yi4K Plus videos
Sorry I have not shared any Yi4K video footage here. There are some video clips on my Instagram feed (@MrLeicaCom) if you want a taster but the best bet is view others work on YouTube. Going forward I will try to get organised to share some videos via the blog.
Yi4K Plus YouTube Sample Video!
This Yi4K plus video impressed me enough to buy the camera. Pretty cool for such a tiny device!
Here is the Yi4K+ action camera I bought on Amazon (link below). I managed to get a great deal on mine so keep a look out for discounts. These small action cameras offer excellent value for money for the amount of fun they offer whether for action sports, vlogging, travel camera or just to capture family life.
Pano crop sample photo of me running in Poland using the Yi4K+
Yi4K+ video review (vs latest GoPro 7)
If you want to see what the Yi4K action camera looks like here is an excellent video review to provide some visuals with the Yi4K+ vs GoPro Hero 7
- Poland Model Photography – Dec18 (to follow)
- Intrepid 4×5 Camera Review