Turnigy 2K Black HD Camera Review

Turnigy 2K HD Camera Review

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Back in 1994 Apple brought the QuickTake 100 to market. It was one of the very first consumer digital cameras. It could take eight pictures on a memory card at the phenomenal resolution of 0.3 megapixel, cost $750 and only interfaced with Macs, (that's about $850 today). It wasn't a success as the image quality was poor, it didn't have a preview screen and was about the size of a pair of binoculars. Three years after its introduction, it was canned when Steve Jobs returned to run the company. Still, its introduction signalled the start of the end of traditional film based cameras.

It wasn't that long ago that the action cam market was basically ruled by GoPro. They had achieved the same status as Xerox when it was common practice to refer to a photocopy as a 'Xerox', or Hoover when referring to a vacuum cleaner and these terms are still in common use today. This level of brand association is no mean feat in a competitive and crowded marketplace.

A certain car manufacturer capitalised on this with an advert that stated, "if it doesn't say Volkswagen then it isn't a Volkswagen", inferring that similar products just couldn't step up to the mark. That may or not be the case in the car world, but the new Turnigy Black Edition 2K HD action cam is something else.

The 2K Black is the next generation video camera from Hobby King; having the same measurements as earlier 1080P Turnigy HD and HD Wi-Fi action cams. It is very similar to the GoPro Hero 3 camera, but not fully interchangeable with it. Other than the dimensional differences, the GoPro uses a mini USB, the Turnigy a micro USB, also the HDMI ports are located in different positions so if you already have a GoPro gimbal, potentially it won't fit. Fortunately there are many gimbals it will fit that are readily available and perform well without paying a fortune.

Turnigy action camera review

ABOVE LEFT : Full package option includes a water proof case and a whole host of mounting brackets

ABOVE RIGHT : Only the mode switch is on the tront, but is multi-functional in use

The price and specs of the 2K Black are impressive with 2K high resolution recording at 30fps, 1080p and 720p at 60fps with image resolutions of 12MP (4032 x 3024), 10MP (3648 x 2736), 8MP (3264 x 2448), 5MP (2592 x 1944), 3MP, 2MHD, VGA, 1.3MP. There are two versions available, the Lite and Full, I got the Full package. I'm not big on packaging, but you can't fail to be impressed by the presentation. The expensive looking gloss and matt black outer box opens to reveal three very plain white ones.

Box one had the camera in, well protected in foam with peel off covers for the rear screen, lens and the waterproof case lens to stop them getting scratched in transit. The second one had multiple mounting accessories, in fact so many I struggled to fit them back in later. Finally the third one has the manual, USB cable, cleaning cloth and a strap. With the Lite package you basically just get the camera.

SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON

The first thing you can't fail to notice is the view screen on the rear of the camera. I've always found the lack of this feature on my GoPro One an annoyance, not being able to line up the shot properly or review what you've taken immediately without having a tablet or laptop on hand. Another great feature is the diamond pattern texturing on the case giving a non-slip surface.

Turnigy video camera for drones

ABOVE LEFT : One of the six menu screens. I particularly like the slow-mo feature

ABOVE RIGHT : Another screen, the gyro sensor is very useful and can help combat jello issues

The 2K Black won't fit in a GoPro waterproof housing, but why would you want to when Turnigy have provided their own. This is included in the full package along with the aforementioned truck load of mounting accessories. The Turnigy waterproof housing is rated down to 30 metres so if you ditch your multi-rotor in a lake at least you can watch it been ruined, (assuming you can recover it)! One feature I like on the waterproof case? is the spring lock to prevent accidentally opening it.

Checking side-by-side, GoPro fastenings appear a little thicker so you can use Turnigy items in GoPro pieces, but not the other way around. To be honest I'm not sure why you would want to, I only found out by accident when I mixed some up and wasn't bothered enough to start testing every combination.

BOX OF TRICKS

Features without benefits are pretty pointless, but every feature on the 2K Black has hit the mark as far as I'm concerned and makes this camera a great all rounder. Besides all the standard camera stuff some of my favourites are as follows:

Gyro Stabilisation - You can see how effective this is by direct comparison of the same shot. It works really well. Other cameras have this feature but as far as I know (getting ready to be shot down in flames here), the GoPro 3 doesn't. Turned on this is useful if your camera is mounted on the model without using a gimbal as it certainly improves the final video quality.

Stills Photography - Image quality up to 12MP (4032 x 3024).

Burst Mode - 3,5,10, or 30 images at one press.

Digital Zoom - Activated by pressing the buttons on the camera side you can zoom up to 400%.

Wi-Fi - Simply download the free Android / iOS app to your tablet or phone and you can do all sorts of things such as, remote viewing, controlling the camera settings, start - stop recording. As an example of one application thcit springs to mind is actually seeing what you are filming in almost real time (some Wi-Fi induced latency is evident) when wearing the 2K Black as a body or cap cam to record your flights etc. I've wasted so many videos in the past where all you could see was my feet or the ground.

Slow-Mo - Up to eight times slower than normal, you can create some brilliant effects.

Video Lapse - Shoot every 1, 2, 5.10, 30 or 60 seconds, this allows you to make an easy time lapse video.

Wide Dynamic Range - WDR a lows the cameras electronics to automatcally adjust the exposure to maintain optimum detail in both the shadows and highlights. I have found this definately improves images when flying through wooded areas.

THE VERDICT

Turnigy RC Helicopter camera options

ABOVE TOP : The screen and Wi-Fi capability sets it apart from many contenders

ABOVE BOTTOM : I would recommend buying this optional lead so you can stream live video for FPV flying

I always fine it difficult to be subject when discussing image quality. Ok, it's easy to see it's blurred, but color palette is a different thing. For example, I like the image on a Samsung TV, with my mate it's his Sony TV. Compared with the GoPro 3+, on like for like resolution and same subject, the colors of recorded video from the 2K Black look preferable to me and the definition of the image sharper. However, the default white balance is possibly set a little cool and to me needs tweaking.

It seems to cope with sun glare better than my GoPro 1 and it boots up ready tor use almost instantaneously. I also found the auaio to be sharper than average, but again, that can be down to the individual.

If you use the live video feature there appears to be a little latency evidaent so i wouldn't recommend it for the fastest quads, but for general FPV use or larger / slower multirolors it would be a great solution. You need to purchase the optional Turnigy HD ActionCam FPV live video out A/V cable to do this.

The killer feature though is the Wi-Fi connedivily for viewing and changing the camera parameters. Once you've used the app you wili wonder how you managed without it.

The only modification I could suggest would be to have the SD card siot, USB and HDMI ports under a flap to afford some protection from dirt etc.. but to be fair, this isn't an issue when you use the waterproof case. Also maybe some tweaking ot the firmware as occasionally the raw image looks over exposed in bright light conditions.

Hobby King's advertising info says it's an ideal general action camera tor photography, sports photography and aeria! video, and when combined with 2D or 3D gimbals it provides the perfect aerial video solution for multi-rotors such as the Ouanum Nova. Producing crisp quality video and stil! images, the Turnigy 2K HD is a high quality, great value action cam that will more than meet the needs of the serious hobby/sport videographer/ photographer.

Having used the camera for a month or so now, I have to agree. It offers brilliant value for money, great performance, it's well made and as previously mentioned feature rich. All in all, I really like it and for the money I would find it hard to justify buying a GoPro to film my FPV flights.

NEW AND VERY REASONABLY PRICED ENTRY INTO THE HD MICRO ACTION CAMERA MARKET IN THE SHAPE OF THE TURNIGY 2K BLACK HD FROM HOBBY KING


Turnigy Black Edition 2K HD Action Camera Specifications
Chipset Novatek 96660
Image Sensor 0V4689 COMS
Lens Wide Angle 170 degree
Focus Range 12cm~infinite
Weight 45g
Size 41x25x59.5mm
Screen Size 1.5inch, LCD
Video Resolutions 2K (2560 x 1440 30fpS); Full HD (1920 X 1080, 30 and 60 tps) 1080 x 720 at 120fps
Video compression format H.264
Video format MP4
Image format JPEG
Memory External MicroSD/MicroSDHC up to 32 GB (class 6-10 recommended)
Battery 3.7V 900mAh li-ion rechargeable battery
Power Supply DC 4.2V 450mA
Video Output HDMI
Connection USB 2
Wi-Fi via download from App Store, check manual for details

Turnigy camera accessories


Includes

  • Turnigy 2K HD Camera Black Edition camera
  • 900mAh Lilon battery
  • Waterproof case
  • Multiple mounting accessories/hardware (see photo tor reference)
  • USB charge/data cable
  • Lens cleaning cloth
  • User manual

Required

  • Micro SD memory card (max. 32GB)

RRP

  • Full Package - $199.95
  • Lite-$169.95