Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

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drew
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Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby drew » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:29 pm

So for quite a while now I've wanted a GoPro. I've always been impressed with flight video from them and I also enjoy the videos taken close to the pad during liftoff. That said, I've always been put off by their price. For me the $400+ price point too steep. Given this I've always been on the look out for a cheap Chinese equivalent but I've always been underwhelmed by the price vs performance the second tier has to offer. I want something that can do 1080p60 at a reasonable price. I've yet to find one, that is until I saw a TRF post last week. Enter the Xiaomi Yi.

Image

Image

Here's a few specifications:

    Ambarella AL7S SoC (same as the GoPro Hero3+ Silver)
    16.0MP Sony Exmor R BSI CMOS image sensor
    F2.8 aperture and with 155°wide angle
    Broadcom wireless chipset with both WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0

It can shoot video at 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. It's 16MP Sony CMOS sensor is I can only assume better than the 10MP Hero3+ Silver's sensor. So on paper it matches or exceeds any GoPro from a video/resolution perspective up to the Hero3+ Silver. Unlike that camera though, it's price point isn't $430, it's $110 (with free shipping).

All that gushing aside it is definitely not a bells and whistle camera. It has no screen and only 3 buttons (power, shutter, wifi). To configure it you need to use an Android phone and the Yi app which apparently is still partly in Chinese. There's a Bluetooth remote in the works apparently but it's not yet on the market. Still, 1080p60 at $110? I hope to receive mine before our Grass Valley launch at the end of this month. :D

Here's a review from cnet
http://www.cnet.com/products/xiaomi-yi/

I ordered mine from the awesomely named banggood.com
http://www.banggood.com/Original-XiaoYi-Ambarella-A7LS-BSI-CMOS-WIFI-Sports-Action-Camera-p-969228.html

I'll post some footage on YouTube in the near future and update this thread with the results.
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby ROCKet STAR » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:49 pm

Nice find, Drew. Certainly much more stomachable than a GoPro if you manage to crash it. :shock:

Found them a bit cheaper here:

http://m.geekbuying.com/item/Xiaomi-Yi- ... 42272.html
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby drew » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:29 am

I've been meaning to revisit this thread but I've not had the time recently. Anyway, I took some footage with the Yi at our latest Grass Valley launch. Below are those three videos and they're best viewed at 1080p60 HD. I'm pretty pleased with the quality of the 1080p60 footage, especially given the cost of the camera. As they say in the wine world, the Yi has excellent QPR (quality price ratio). I'm also currently working on a 54mm NC that will house it, a Raven (with power perch), and my TeleGPS. I plan to test that before the end of our season and then use it next year at Westmar in a 54mm md rocket flying on an L935. :lol:





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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby ROCKet STAR » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:11 am

The video quality appears to be excellent. My experience is that uploading to youtube, even in HD tends to reduce quality, so I imagine that from the camera these videos would be even better. I'll shortly be purchasing one of these for use as an onboard camera. Thanks for sharing, Drew.
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby SpaceManMat » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:51 pm

Anyone used them in a rocket yet? Interested to see how they perform under load and Cope with vibrations.
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby martymonsta » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:15 pm

Has anyone ran one of these in a rocket yet? I'm interested in whether the WiFi remote system causes any interference with other rocketry related electronics. Also how do the handle the forces experienced in flight?
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Happy Heyoka » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:59 pm

drew wrote:So for quite a while now I've wanted a GoPro. I've always been impressed with flight video from them and I also enjoy the videos taken close to the pad during liftoff. That said, I've always been put off by their price. For me the $400+ price point too steep.


I think that the GoPro stuff is a bit expensive too, and I have a <$100 1080 Chinese jobbie (no WiFi)... but, to be curmudgeonly, for the $400 price point you get 4k video these days (ie: 3840x2160 vs 1920x1080).

I recently relented and got a Sony FDRX1000V for ~$350; although it "reviews" as not quite as good as the GP in 4k mode, it's compelling feature for me is 240fps @ 800x482 which is looking like it will capture launches well:[youtube]https://youtu.be/kjxHJq5S2Fk[/youtube]
(nb: the "regular speed" footage is at 800x482 too... 4k looks muuuch better but of course you can't "slow it down")

I'm probably too tight to fly a >$300 camera - the Xiaomi Yi @ $110 a much nicer price for something you might lose... I do wonder whether it's possible to go a link or two up the supply chain and get some more generic modules; that's just the hacker in me I think (like some others have posted with the ribbon/lvds cables)
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Viking » Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:18 pm

I also have a Sony X1000V, awesome little camera.
The only real issue with 4k is lens distortion.
GoPro has more timelapse options, and has slightly better low-light ability.
But for what camera's are used for, actual image and sound quality, the Sony for me wins hands down.
Plus, you can buy two X1000V's (on special at JB now for $200 off) for the same price as one Hero4 Black!!
The Sony wifi remote app is very nice too.

This lengthy comparison review sold me on the Sony, and I'm very happy with it!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfHy4eASLzo
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Viking » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:59 pm

Happy Heyoka wrote:I recently relented and got a Sony FDRX1000V for ~$350; although it "reviews" as not quite as good as the GP in 4k mode, it's compelling feature for me is 240fps @ 800x482
(nb: the "regular speed" footage is at 800x482 too... 4k looks muuuch better but of course you can't "slow it down")


Hi HH,
Was just re-reading this thread after talking to Drew about cam's this weekend, and noticed the above (highlighted in bold)

The X1000V is capable of far more than 800x480.
If you go through the menu to SETUP, then V.FMT (Video ForMaT), you will see that you are currently in MP4 compression mode, not the better XAVC-S compression mode.
Scroll thru this menu level and you will also see '4K', but also 'HD'. Select this. You will now be taken back out of the menu and back into shoot ready mode.
Go back into SETUP and this time select VMODE, you will now see options for 720p at 240fps (1280x720) and also 1080p at 120fps!
There are two different versions of the 720p 240fps, one is 60M and the other is 100M (meaning 60Mbps and 100Mbps bitrates respectively) you will need the absolute best microSD card with U3 speed rating for the 100Mbps, eg: Sandisk Extreme.

If you haven't seen it already, a full user manual for the X1000V is here: http://helpguide.sony.net/cam/1520/v1/en/print.pdf

Also, using the PlayMemories remote control app and wifi makes settings changes on the fly a breeze compared to the on-camera menu.
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Viking » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:41 pm

Apologies for the multiple successive posts, Drew just gave me his blessings for using his photo's in my video, so it has now gone live.
Here's an example of the X1000V's 720p 240fps footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l8s_TYN_hs
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Lister » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:37 pm

That looks familiar :)

What did you use to edit the footage?

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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Viking » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:36 pm

Raw footage was manipulated in DaVinci 12 which is free (but is a decently large download)
Assembly of the segments and titles/captions/fades etc were all done with Windows Movie Maker, also free.

That's my first attempt at a video and I went overboard, but it was a lot of fun.
DaVinci has a pretty steep learning curve but it is excellent for the time expansion stuff (slow-mo).

Windows Movie Maker is easy to use, but is a bit too simple. Video's made with it remind me of the old days of Clip Art!
It's also very frustrating. Occasionaly when you change something, everything else gets knocked out of whack and sometimes you don't notice until you've moved half a dozen steps, so you have to use undo half a dozen times to go back, then try to fix and move ahead again. Bah.

Adobe Premier and After Effects is the stuff to use, but the price is definitely not right for an occasional hack at a video.
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Lister » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:27 am

Thanks. Sounds like DaVinci 12 is the way to go, I might have a go at editing my motor failure footage.. too bad its not slow-mo :)

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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Happy Heyoka » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:31 am

Viking wrote:The X1000V is capable of far more than 800x480.
If you go through the menu to SETUP, then V.FMT (Video ForMaT), you will see that you are currently in MP4 compression mode, not the better XAVC-S compression mode.


thanks for the heads up... not obvious from settings - will have to do a test to see if MP4Box happy to eat output of XAVC-S mode...

you will need the absolute best microSD card with U3 speed rating for the 100Mbps, eg: Sandisk Extreme.


which I did get specifically when I read the bandwith specs...

Also, using the PlayMemories remote control app and wifi makes settings changes on the fly a breeze compared to the on-camera menu.


Where "a breeze" is a pretty relative term I guess... while the the on-board UI is pretty awful I can't say I'm a huge fan of the app UI either :(

I spent some time last launch messing around remembering how to get the NFC connect to work - camera comes with a QR code sticker, app has a button to look for it but app doesn't support QR for X1000V :roll:
Of course, I had forgotten that since the last time I'd used the camera and the help for the app is net based and cell net access sketchy for me at Serp...

Second launch weekend of the year should find me far more organised and I should get some much better launch vids next time round thanks to you :D
(and am happy to do so for anyone interested... just grab me next month at Serp)
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Re: Xiaomi Yi - A budget GoPro alternative?

Postby Viking » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:00 am

Lister wrote:Sounds like DaVinci 12 is the way to go

For slow-mo yeah, I found it the easiest. For 'regular' editing there's probably better.
I still haven't worked out how to do titles/captions in DaVinci and have only just now worked out how to do fades, so I'm still using WMM for a lot of stuff.

Happy Heyoka wrote:I spent some time last launch messing around remembering how to get the NFC connect to work -

I haven't tried NFC, to be honest I hadn't heard of it before I got the cam! When I read that it's only good for ~20cm, I couldn't see the point to it.
I used the app with WiFi and with the cam at the pad I could control it from the flight line, not sure of the distance, but if Google Earth's measurement tool is to be believed it's around 60 or 70 metres. Brilliant.
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