Amazon and ebay have been flooded with cheap Vlogging cameras for less than £100 and they all have amazing specs and decent reviews. However, most of them are pure trash. It is possible to buy a reasonably good Vlogging camera for under £100. But the options are very, very limited. Check out this review to find out more. I compared the Gord VE S1 (£80) to the Campark X40 (£75) and the Campark V40 (£90).
In a previous episode, I built the perfect
vlogging rig for less than $400 USD.
And I explained what features an ideal
vlogging camera needs to have.
Obviously, it needs decent picture quality and good audio.
In addition, it should be portable, it should be rugged, and it should have a front-facing screen.
But today I’m asking: can you buy a decent vlogging camera for less than $100 USD?
Stay tuned, because we’re about to find out.
Whatup nerds? I’m Jay Shareef. And once again I’m talking about vlogging, because this week
I’ve received not one, not two, but THREE cheap vlogging cameras. All of them cost less than $100 USD.
And all of them were given to me for FREE. Which is very generous. But that will not in any
way affect what I say on this channel. I will always give you my honest opinion. Which will
become very obvious, as one of these devices is absolutely useless. And i’m not going to be
shy about telling you that throughout this video. You see, whenever there is a demand for something
the con men arrive to try and make a quick buck. And, unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s
happened when it comes to the demand for vlogging equipment. If you search for “vlogging camera” on
Amazon, you will come across dozens of options. Many of them will be under £100 GBP. They will all
claim to have very impressive features. They’ll even have front-facing screens. And most of them
will have amazing positive reviews. Reviews that they absolutely do not deserve. Because pretty
much all of them are useless crap. The product descriptions for those vlogging cameras are
complete and utter lies. And by the end of this video you will understand what I’m talking about.
By the way, throughout this video
I’m going to talk about the prices
in British Pounds (GBP). However, the prices for these cameras in US Dollars are almost
identical. You see, while £100 GBP is worth about £135 USD, for reasons I don’t understand,
when it comes to electronics, British consumers end up paying more than our American cousins. So,
a camera that costs £100 GBP in the UK will usually cost about $100 USD in the US. So, if
you’re an American watching this video, whenever I mention a price in Pounds, just assume that I
meant to say Dollars and you’ll have roughly the right price. Now let’s get on with it and
introduce you to the three cameras I’ve received. The first camera I got is from a company called
Gord VE. I’ve never heard of them before, but from my research it’s obvious they’re a Chinese
company, and they produce a lot of very cheap cameras. At this point I’d normally flash a logo
on the screen, but they don’t seem to have one. Unless you count this. So, here’s a screenshot
of their website. And it’s a terrible website, as you can see, full of broken links and other
defects. They don’t give their cameras different model names. They don’t even bother to give them
model numbers. But let’s not be too hasty judging them. According to Amazon this camera that they
sent to me is called the “S1”. And there’s a small label on the side of the box that says S1. So,
even though it doesn’t say S1 anywhere else like on the box, or in the instruction manuals,
I’m going to assume that this is the Gord VE S1. And that’s our first camera of the week. Next up
I’ve received two cameras from a company called Campark. Now Campark is also a Chinese electronics
company. However, they’ve actually got some pedigree. They’re not as well known as the likes
of DJI or AKASO. But I have heard of them before. And they do have a logo and a decent website.
Although Campark were kind enough to send me two cameras, both of them are almost identical.
This one is called the X40. And one is called the V40. They are essentially the same camera inside,
with just two differences. This one, the V40, is rugged and waterproof straight out of the box. And
the V40 also costs about £15 GBP more. You can pick up the X40 for about £75 GBP on
Amazon. Whereas the V40 will set you back £90 (quid). And because they’re almost identical,
there’s not really much point reviewing them both. So I’m just going to look at the more expensive
one. And, given the choice between these two, I’d want the V40 anyway. Because, to me, a good
vlogging camera should be rugged and waterproof. So what I’m going to do today is compare the
Gord VE S1 to the Campark V40. And, as usual, I’m going to skip the unboxing because that’s tedious.
Let’s start with the similarities between these two cameras then. Both of them are supposed to be
rugged action cameras. And waterproof down to 10 metres. They’re both lightweight too. They
both have dual screens, so you can see yourself as you vlog. Both of them can easily be mounted
onto a tripod, because they have a handy quarter inch hole at the bottom. And they both cost less
than £100 (quid). The S1 is just £80 GBP, whereas the V40 costs as little as £90 GBP. So that’s just
a £10 GBP price difference. However, as I quickly found out, these two cameras are worlds apart in
terms of quality. Rather than waffle on about to them, I’m just going to take them outside and do
some vlogging. That way you can see for yourself how different they really are. Before I test them,
however, I do want to say that I’ve bought some brand new high quality, super fast, memory cards
from Amazon. Which I will now test, and format, to confirm that they’re working well. That way I can
be sure that any problems I have while vlogging will be down to the cameras rather than the memory
cards. Right! Let’s head outside and try them out. Right… I’ve got to admit a small problem. These
are a bit of a pain. Right… so I’m ready to go vlogging with these. But, immediately, firstly
you can see that there’s a huge difference between the size of these two things. Secondly, [laughs]
they’re not particularly stable on this
double selfie stick thing. Erm… and…
I’ll work it out. I will. I will.
Right… So it’s time to head outside
and try them out. I’ve got to tell you,
it was a real pain to get them onto
this selfie stick. [laughs] Because
the tripod holes – threads – at the bottom of each camera are not particularly deep. And on the Gord S1
they’re defective. I mean, it’s a defective tripod hole. But, anyway, let’s get on with it.
OK, so we’re outside ready to vlog with these two cameras. Let’s turn this on.
That’s the Campark turned on, reasonably quickly and…
That took a little longer, but that’s the Gord VE turned on as well. Let me switch the screens
around. That’s now switched around on the Campark and… Brilliant. So we’re ready to vlog. Right…
so this is a pretty typical vlogging test, because it is quite noisy. I’m right next to a main road.
There’s trucks and traffic going all the time, even though we’re in the pandemic.
But that’s not making a difference.
[Lots of hiss and distortion]
Right… so this is a pretty typical vlogging test, because it is quite noisy.
[Lots of hiss and distortion]
I’m right next to a main road. There’s trucks and traffic going all the time,
[Lots of hiss and distortion]
even though we’re in the pandemic. But that’s not making a difference.
So both of these have one microphone,
unlike some of their pricier competitors that have two or three. They both supposedly have wind noise
reduction built in. The important question is: How do I look? And, more importantly perhaps,
how do I sound? OK, I just want to talk quickly about the menu systems in these two cameras.
The Gord VE has an extremely simple menu system. And when I say “extremely simple” I mean it’s like
something you might see in a dashcam from about eight years ago. It is really really simple. The
Campark has a slightly more sophisticated menu system. A lot more options, it seems,
including image stabilization and, you know… anti-flicker, wind noise reduction etc. But I do
have to say, the Campark, as lovely as it is in terms of form factor, the menu system does seem
a little elderly in comparison to say the DJI Osmo Action or the modern GoPros, which have
lovely intuitive menu systems far superior to either of these cameras. So, hopefully,
that gives you an idea of how it’s like to vlog with these things. Back to the studio!
Welcome back! So let’s get the obvious out of the way.
The sound quality on the S1 is absolutely atrocious. And, as I’ve discussed before,
when it comes to vlogging, good audio is much more important than video quality. So straight away we
can say that the Gord VE S1 is not a viable vlogging camera. Sadly the problems don’t end
there. It claims to be capable of 24
megapixel photos. That’s not even close
to being true. At best this could take photos up to a resolution of four megapixels. So Gord VE are
lying to you about the picture quality. And the bad news keeps coming. The camera claims to film
videos in full HD – in other words 1080p. It even has a setting for video quality. And, naturally,
I set it to record at 1080p. However, when I checked the video files afterwards, they were all
recorded at 720p – so a lower resolution. In fact, it seems that, no matter what setting you choose,
it always shoots video at 720p. Once again, Gord VE are complete and utter liars. Now, you might
be thinking: “Well you can still vlog with this in 720p”. Unfortunately not. You see, the S1 cannot
focus on anything closer than five feet. So, if you hold it out at arm’s length to vlog with it,
your face will be blurry. To have your face in focus you need to put it on the end of a very
long selfie stick. Which is just not practical at all. Look I don’t want to waste your time going on
and on about how dreadful this camera is. Instead, I’m just going to summarize the bad points.
The battery is tiny and it will fall out
the moment you open the battery door. Which
means the camera resets itself. It doesn’t have internal memory, so all the settings have to be
re-entered. The menu options are very limited. And the camera beeps with every button press, which is
incredibly annoying. You could turn the beeps off. But, the moment the battery falls out,
the annoying beeps come back. It only goes up to ISO 400, so it’s absolutely useless in low light
situations. And I don’t, for one second, believe that this camera has digital image stabilization.
I don’t believe that it has inbuilt face
detection. And I don’t believe that it’s
waterproof to 10 metres. In fact, in the manual it clearly says it’s only waterproof to three metres.
And, quite frankly, I don’t think it’s waterproof at all. If I had made the mistake of buying this,
I would immediately send this back. I would not pay £80 GBP for this. I wouldn’t even pay £20
GBP for this. It is a complete and utter turd. In contrast, the Campak V40 clearly has some
potential. Now, Campark says it’s a 4K camera. And guess what? It’s a 4K camera. And the 4K
is pretty decent too. You even get that nice wide angle image that vloggers seem to like.
In this case you’re getting a view that’s 170 degrees wide. Personally, I think that’s too
wide. But you could always fix that when you edit the video. Campark says this camera takes photos
at 20 megapixels. And I can confirm that it takes photos at 20 megapixels. Campark says this camera
is waterproof straight out of the box. And, from the build quality of the device, I’m sure it is.
In fact, it’s supposed to be waterproof down to 10 meters. And, if you want to go deeper than that,
it comes with a diving case that allows you to carry on working 40 metres underwater. The
camera is clearly rugged and shockproof. You can tell that’s true just from the way it feels when
you hold it. And it really does feel good to hold, as the hard rubber exterior is easy to grip. Now
I said at the start I wouldn’t do an unboxing. However, I do think it’s important to tell you
just how much stuff comes with the Campark camera. Because they give you a ridiculous
amount of extras! That first camera I showed you, the Gord VE S1, cost £80 GBP. And it came
with just a USB cable and a lanyard. Nothing else! The Campark V40 costs just £10 GBP more.
And it comes with two batteries – each one having a capacity of 1,350 milliamp-hours. A remote
control – which you can use to stop and start video recordings and also lets you take pictures.
A waterproof case. And lots and lots of different mounts, so you can attach the camera to
your bike, your skateboard, your helmet, or you can strap it to yourself. Plus,
you get a USB cable, a lens cloth, and some tethers. If you bought all that separately,
it would probably cost you about £30 GBP. So, it’s really impressive that they include so much
as standard. What’s also impressive is that the Campark cameras can be used as webcams, you can
charge them on the go using a micro USB cable, and they even have a micro HDMI output. Before I start
gushing too much though, there are a couple of limitations that are worth pointing out. Firstly,
the Campark V40 is an action camera. Which means it has a tiny, tiny sensor. Which means it’s not
very good in low light situations. The light sensitivity goes up to ISO 3200. Which means
you can use it indoors, but only if there
is some really strong lighting available.
This is what it looks like under standard indoor lighting, and it’s not very impressive. Having
said that, nowadays you can buy decent vlogging lights for about £30 GBP, which will dramatically
improve the quality of your video. Right… and this is what both cameras look like in a very
low light setting. I’m outside right now. It is a moon lit night. Kind of cloudy though.
And I’m standing directly under a street light. I’m looking totally black on the Campark. But I
can make myself out on the Gord VE Huh… that’s reasonably impressive for low-light performance.
The second limitation I need to talk about is image stabilization.
The V40 is supposed to have it, and it does make a difference. However,
you can’t expect it to be in the same league as a top-of-the-range GoPro or DJI action camera.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the V40 and the DJI Osmo Action. Both of them have image
stabilization turned on. And it’s obvious that the DJI does a significantly better
job. But you also have to keep in mind that the Osmo Action also costs significantly more.
Right it’s a pretty cold and drizzly day. I’m comparing the Osmo Action to the Campark
V40. The image certainly looks a lot darker on the Campark. So this is what the stabilization
looks like on both of these just walking. What happens if I decide to go for a bit of a run?
So we’ve covered almost everything. But now it’s time to talk about the most important aspect of
vlogging: Audio. The sound quality on the V40 might not be as good as the modern GoPros or
the DJI Osmo Action. But the DJI costs more than twice as much. And the latest
GoPro is more than three times the price. The audio coming out of the V40 is usable. And
“usable” is the best you can realistically hope for when buying a camera for less than £100 GBP.
If things get windy though, you might want to put a sponge cover over the V40. It’s supposed
to have wind noise reduction software built in. But there’s no substitute for a sponge cover.
Which is why microphones like this come with one as standard. So… what’s the verdict? Well,
obviously, the Campark 40 is a serious option if you want to vlog and have a limited budget. Yes,
there are plenty of action cameras out there that you could buy. Most of them are cheaper than
the V40. Most of them offer 4K video and decent sound. However, what makes the V40 special is this
front facing screen. For me, when it comes to vlogging, having a front facing screen
is absolutely vital. I’ve tried vlogging with simple action cameras in the past and, without
exception, I’ve always ended up framing the video badly. I’m just very bad at guessing exactly what
the camera is looking at. And that’s why I always buy cameras with a front facing screen. And,
as far as I’m concerned, the dual screen setup of the V40 is the icing on the cake. So, my consumer
advice is very simple: Yes, you can buy a decent vlogging camera for less than £100 GBP. However,
your only choice is the Campark V40 – or at a push you could get the Campark X40 instead.
The X40 isn’t rugged or waterproof. But if you’re only going to film indoors,
and you want to save a little bit of money, then the X40 is a viable alternative. And with that
it’s time to end the show. I’ll leave a link in
the description below in case you want to buy
one of these cameras for yourself. But,
for the love of Jesus, please do NOT buy
the Gord VE S1. It’s an unmitigated turd of
a device. Do consider either the Campark X40
or the V40 – ideally the V40. Personally, I reckon you might as well spend the extra £15 (quid)
for the rugged and waterproof version. So that’s it. The best cheap vlogging camera on the
market – the Campark V40. I hope you found this useful, and i’ll see you again soon. Later nerds!