If you search Amazon, eBay, or another site for a 4k video camera, you might see many off-brand versions for a low price and a lot of keywords in the title like “Ultra HD”, “Wifi”, and more. You have never heard of these brands before, but they are rated on Amazon as a choice buy. So are they worth the effort? That is what I’m going to find out.
Amazon Choice – KicTeck
In this review, I chose from what Amazon deemed as the best solution. But keep in mind – in looking at the other cameras (and actually ordering a couple), I found they are the EXACT SAME model numbered device. The only differences are what you get in the bundle (batteries, microphone, light, etc), what version the Firmware is (this one was 20180815-24) and who you got it from.
The model of camera was the KicTeck HDV-534KM.
The Shotgun Microphone
Along with the camera is a shotgun microphone model M101. Just like with the camera, you can get this mic from other companies. Andoer M101 is a good example. This microphone can retail at about $20 on it’s own.
The mic is a Cardioid X2 with a frequency response of 30Hz – 16 kHz. Low cut 80Hz, and has a +20 db boost, along with -10 db. The microphone runs on a CR2032 battery, and comes with a cord to attach to the camera.
The Macro/Wide Lens
Along with the microphone, and 2 batteries, you get a lens attachment with stepping ring (so it will fit the size and thread of the camera). The lens attachment has two pieces – one for close-up videos and photos, and the wide angle attachment that adds about .39x to your recording area.
The 37MM HD Lens cost about $30.
KicTeck HDV-534KM Pros and Cons
Now onto the main camera itself. Inside is a 13 Megapixel Ultra HD CMOS camera sensor. Sounds impressive, but the device is also found in many phones, action cameras, and other devices. The camera overall has a look and feel like it was made in 2012-2014.
Not True 4k – Picture Quality
The video resolutions are 2560×1440, which is not full 4k, but Quad 4k. It’s scales up to 4k resolutions easily in post production. It also only captures at 24 fps (30 fps in 2k and 60 fps in 1080p). The sensor works best in outdoor or high-light settings. It does has night vision for low-light situations.
Optical vs Digital Zoom
This camera has only Digital zoom of 16x. The zoom works well, but will be more pixelated if you use it.
Watch Your SD Card
The camera takes both the SD and TF cards (mini SD). I have found the camera to be very finicky when it comes to what card it uses. A newer SD card will lock up in the camera, especially if you are recording in 4k. Once I inserted a Class 10 -1 card (90 MB/s rate), it recorded without issue.
WiFi Works Well
These cameras have a simple Wifi option that works with an iOS or Android. I was able to connect the phone and use the app without too much issue. There is a lag, so watch out when starting and stopping video – especially since the camera’s display will not be viewable.
Using an App that comes with the camera, you can live stream through the USB 2.0 cable (that also doubles as the charging cable). It emits a simple 720p video. The camera isn’t supported in other programs (including Skype, or the Camera app in Windows 10).
I did connect to the mini-HDMI cable through a capture card. If the USB power was plugged in, the camera would display a flashing charge icon on the screen that I could not get off.
The video – just like with recording – was dark in an average lit room. It shined best outside, but I did see some flares and ghost images from reflections, no matter which lens I had in.
When I purchased the camera, it was at $149, but then jumped up to $221. If it would have been at $221 to begin with, I might have not planned this review. With $70 in accessories (mic, lens, 2 batteries), The camera accounts for $150. I feel this camera is best at under $100, and $149 was reasonable. Another branded version from Mbuynow was $179
Overall KicTeck 4K Ultra HD
The overall features of 4k on this camera are not really worth it for the $221 price tag. The camera is sub-par at best, but might improve with tweaks to the firmware. It’s a sturdy design, with all buttons working properly. The shotgun mic works well in different situations, but focus is a big issue.
The better option would be to purchase an older camera. A good 4k name-brand camera will be at least twice the price, but also give you at least 30 fps.