A few weeks ago, I treated myself to a Wonnie 4K action camera as an early Christmas present. It’s essentially an ‘affordable’ GoPro clone.
I bought this out of curiosity and also, because my Olympus TG-4 picks up too much auto-focus noise from the camera’s lens while I’m filming outdoors.
Why did I choose the Wonnie?
Well, for a long time, I had my mind set on the GitUp Git2 camera, which retails for over £100. I’ve seen a number of other bloggers and vloggers with this and, while I had some faith in the product, it wasn’t available from Amazon at the time and I don’t particularly like to buy the same as everyone else. Sometimes, I like to own different items just so that I can say I’m the first to have them!
I paid around £50 for the Wonnie action camera. There were positive reviews on the Amazon UK page and it was even stated as an ‘Amazon Recommends’ product, or something to that effect,
More importantly, it was a 16 megapixel camera, in a sea of 12 megapixel variants. My previous cameras have always ranged between 16 and 20 megapixels. Also, the Wonnie has a Sony-branded sensor and I have some confidence in that name.
Inside the storage case (which I am unlikely to carry with me on a hike), there is a wide array of attachments and mounting options. Along with a large amount of plastic packaging that is only going to end up at landfill.
So far, I’ve only used two of these configurations and I’ll show you those in a moment.
In the top mesh pocket, you’ll find a very basic instruction manual (possibly translated from Korean, to Chinese and then English), the warranty card, a voucher to claim a free Selfie Stick(…), plus straps and webbing that I’m unlikely to use.
Here’s the camera in its waterproof housing. Tiny, I know! I’ve kept it in here every time I’ve taken it out on a walk and, although I’ve yet to dunk it underwater, it has survived several rain showers without incident.
All of the attachments for the waterproof housing work in the configuration above, with a fixed nut and removable bolt used to lock them in position. I’ve had a couple of issues with these not being tight enough while on the move and perhaps a spring washer would help, here.
This is the rear of the waterproof casing. They seem to supply you with a spare back cover and I cannot see where or how else it would be used.
To start of with, I was using this piece, which has a self-adhesive backing (for dashboard mounting in your car) and also a standard thread in the centre, which has allowed me to use it with my also-recently-acquired tripod.
More recently, I’ve realised that a different attachment allows me to fix the camera to the shaft of my Leki walking pole. I think this is designed to ride on the handlebars of a mountain bike, or similar.
This is actually working well for me and encouraging me to actually use my walking poles, instead of just carrying them on my pack! It is most stable with the pole reduced to its shortest length and I’ve been able to record a few timelapses, which I’ll share at the end of this post.
I think this is where GoPros and action cameras offer a lot of appeal to outdoors adventurers. They’re lightweight, very compact and in spite of their size, they’re better than many smartphones.
My walking poles are the Leki Sherpa XL model and I noticed, only two days ago, that you can buy an attachment for poles with Leki’s Aergon Grip, that allows you to mount a camera (not just an action cam) to the top of a walking pole. Needless to say, I’ll be investing in this soon!
There’s another ‘cage’-like attachment, in to which the camera clips, that I am not a fan of. There is far to much movement of the camera inside, aside from the fact that it offers no weather protection. I’ve noticed in other people’s videos that GoPro cameras record a lot of noise from the slightest of knocks.
On the rear of this accessory is a pair of slots that indicate something should slide in to place… I just cannot find anything that fits and the instructions don’t appear to help.
Underneath and on top, is a common thread for tripod mounting. But, even with the screw mounted securely, the unit itself tips and rocks. My suspicion is that the hole may not be deep enough for the thread on my tripods (careful drilling may fix that).
You’ll notice that it’s advertised as a camera that can record in 4K…
I didn’t buy it for that. All of my previous videos have been either 1080p or 720p and I’ve always been happy with that. I have found that the 4K footage becomes quite ‘unstable’ while the camera is moving – for example, filming a panoramic shot, which I do often. This is obviously going to be an issue for mountain bikers with a desire for 4K filming.
2.7K is slightly better, while I’ve had the best results filming at 1080p/60fps. There are further options for a lower frame-rate and resolution.
I didn’t buy this to use for photography but here’s a photo taken on a cloud day with the white balance preset to ‘Cloudy’ and 1080p.
Each time the turn the camera on or off, it rings a high-pitched chime. I’m really not a fan of this and don’t like drawing attention to myself but, I cannot see an option to turn it off, either.
Battery life is said to be around ninety minutes and I’d say that’s fair estimate. I turn my camera on and off a lot to take infrequent video clips and, after two hours of walking, I can see the power has started to drop.
I mentioned before that I’ve had some success with timelapses:
These first two were recorded with one photo taken every fifteen seconds, at different points on the Mendip Hills.
My final two were recorded with ten-second intervals, on the snow-covered Quantock Hills.
Timelapse is something I’ve not really experimented with before and I’m enjoying the opportunities I can find. Like most cameras, it does ‘beep’ with the countdown to each photograph and again, there’s no option to disable that.