The list of shame fake 4K cameras and CMOS size

DesertBike

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Apologies if I missed it, but haven't yet been through all 33 pages of the thread (and search function shows no mention). Crosstour has got to be on this list.

I briefly owned one of their CT8000 cameras. It claims to be "4k," but it is either motion JPEG or upsampled from a low res sensor.

Camera optics must have been made from recycled plastic clamshell packaging.

The video (and everything else about it) was so awful that I returned it for a refund long ago. It was a textbook example of how a good quality 1080HD picture can be better than simply "more pixels."

The smartphone app had ads in it. I kid you not.

For $50-$60, it was about what you'd expect.

They're still on Amazon, so I suppose people are still being disappointed.
 

DesertBike

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I also tried the 1080 version (CT7000). Same garbage level of everything.

Might have been "real" 1080 video but quality was awful.
 

philaphlous

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I know this thread hasn't been updated in 6 months...probably due to COVID but i'd like to throw my advice in the ring here.
I purchased awhile back (fall 2019) a Crosstour CT9500 action cam. Now it looks like on Amazon they have a newer CT9700 that does 4k 50fps native apparently. I haven't tested that out yet but the CT9500 is decent. Quality of photos was good enough and outdoor video was good. Anything requiring a higher exposure like indoor shooting and the video quality suffers greatly.
I did a full teardown of the camera here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30149337@N04/albums/72157709921434421

I cannot tell what kind of sensor it is and I believe at a time I was able to determine the sensor is in-fact a IMX377. The side buttons on it did get destroyed in my teardown so I had to take some buttons from my other crosstour dashcam and mount them on the PCB. Overall it's an OK camera. I believe it does do a true 4k video, however, I believe the M12 lens is slightly out of focus. I just purchased a 4k monitor and I can tell that the video's are ever so slightly blurry.

I've searched over and over for a better imaging sensor and better chip for an action cam. The crosstour CT9500 uses the HiSilicon Hi3559V100 chip which is capable of 4k at 30fps. I believe the generic modeling of the camera is called the GR1KS+ which is the style of camera/PCB. I think the chip has great potential but is held back by the imaging sensor... I haven't been able to find a newer sensor that I could swap out with this one since it is removable.

There's another camera that I did have for a short time called the SooCoo F500. Looks like you can get it on banggood. I just purchased it again and I remember the image quality was superior to that of the CT9500. I'm hoping to do some hardware hacks on it to see how I can make it better...possibly focus the lens a little more or replace it with a better M12 lens...
 

DesertBike

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That's all very interesting, thanks for posting. Especially interesting to hear that CrossTour is now offering a real 4k sensor and hardware.

I should say that I never did a teardown on the CrossTour cameras I briefly owned 2 years ago, because I wanted my money back & figured a torn-down camera would mean no refund.

So, I never laid eyes on any chip packages to confirm 4k fakery. However, the "4k" video sure looked like it was being upsampled/interpolated from a lower-res sensor.

Either that, or the optics were such garbage quality that it just looked that way.

Also possible that both things were true.
 

philaphlous

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Well quick update here. I just decided to cancel my order with bang good. Crosstour has updated their ct9500 with 4k 50fps so I'm really curious to see if they updated the imaging sensor too. I ordered the newer ct9500 so I'll be able to do a full teardown and test video/stills quality compared to the previous gen. I'm hoping it's a big step forward.

Not sure it's a hisilicon hi3559v200 chip in it too...I don't think it supports 4k 50fps so I'm curious to see what they're using now. I'll have the camera tomorrow
 

DesertBike

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Isn't 50 fps kind of a weird value? Why do you suppose they chose that? Cheaper implementation? Most of the better-quality 4k stuff (e.g. GoPro) seems to advertise 60 fps.

Personally I'm stuck in 30 fps-land; that's all both of my dashcams can deliver, in any mode. But, it's sufficient, and the video files would be even more ridiculously huge with 60 fps.
 

philaphlous

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Isn't 50 fps kind of a weird value? Why do you suppose they chose that? Cheaper implementation? Most of the better-quality 4k stuff (e.g. GoPro) seems to advertise 60 fps.

Personally I'm stuck in 30 fps-land; that's all both of my dashcams can deliver, in any mode. But, it's sufficient, and the video files would be even more ridiculously huge with 60 fps.

A sneaking suspicion thst it's a thermal/processor limitation or possibly even a sensor limitation. Supposedly the imx377 can do 4k at 60fps but it's only 8.29MP effective so hopefully it has a newer sensor. I don't think it has the imx458 since that doesn't do 4k at 50fps either. So it'll be interesting to see what I can find in the teardown. It's typically really difficult to determine the sensor but hopefully I'll have some luck. I just hope it's a quantum leap in quality over the previous ct9500 I currently have.
 

DesertBike

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I am expecting the same quality of optics that I saw in the earlier CrossTour models. Doesn't matter much what sensor you have, if the lens is no better than Perspex that's been dragged through a gravel parking lot. I'd love to be wrong, of course.
 

philaphlous

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My guess is Novatek NT96683 with IMX117 or OV12895...
I'm not sure. Doesn't look like either support 4k at 50fps.

I am expecting the same quality of optics that I saw in the earlier CrossTour models. Doesn't matter much what sensor you have, if the lens is no better than Perspex that's been dragged through a gravel parking lot. I'd love to be wrong, of course.
I'd love to get a better quality m12 lens for the camera but I'm not entirely sure which ones to get. I can find a bunch but they all seem the same quality...
 

philaphlous

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I'm wondering if something like this would work better: http://www.m12lenses.com/2-1mm-F1-8-Mega-Pixel-Board-Lens-p/pt-02118bmp.htm

If it's a imx377-477-577 or imx458 it's going to be a 1/2.3-1/3" sensor. This would be similar to an aps-c type sensor with a full frame lens. If the lens is made for a larger sensor and you use it on a smaller sensor typically it's a tad sharper since the edges of the glass are the least sharp... I might give this a try. Plus the larger aperture will enable more light and hopefully better in lower light situations..possibly?
 

nutsey

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Have you been able to find a better lens?
Sure. I've got around 4 dozens of different M12 lenses. The best ones in my collection are made in Korea and Taiwan. Some newer inexpensive Chinese lenses are also quite interesting.
 

philaphlous

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Camera arrived:
First observations:
Lens is much better
12mp still seems to be the imaging sensor size. 16-20mp are interpolation
Took it apart already
Dng raw images are all really blurry... Im sure there's some heavy sharpening going on and I'm going to try and fix the lens focus...
Here's a shot of the pcb: https://flic.kr/p/2jgkQpr
Not sure on the imaging sensor. Appears to be a true 4k processor though. HI3559RBCV200
 
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