Xiaomi Mijia 4K Action Camera (used as dashcam) [GearBest.com] (Ambarella A12LS75, Sony IMX317)

Agie

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Back from exile and back in the game. Let's see what Xiaomi's first entry in the action camera game has what it takes to either distract or topple the competition, in an already crowded market. Thank you to @GearBest for providing a review sample - you can purchase the camera directly here: http://www.gearbest.com/action-cameras/pp_712894.html
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Specifications: Sony IMX317 sensor w/145 degree field of view (same sensor as the Sony FDR-X3000!), F2.8 aperture and 7-element glass lens, Ambarella A12S75 chipset (same as ThiEYE T5e and SJCAM SJ7 Star), six-axis electronic image stabilisation (Bosch unit), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, 2.4-inch capacitive touch screen (960x540 pixels), 1450 mAH battery.

4K (3840x2160) video recorded at 30fps with constant bitrate of 60MBps, audio constant at 128KBps @ 48kHz in stereo stream. 1080p recorded at 36MBps bitrate. Other video modes available with 2.5K @ 30fps, 1080p up to 100fps, and 720p up to 200fps.
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Box Contents: Xiaomi Mijia 4K action camera, user guide in English / Chinese, microUSB cable, camera battery.
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Firmware Version: v0.6.11.02 released early November 2017, updates handled by FIMI company, who also handled the Xiaomi 4K drone.



The final verdict: Overall, its neck and neck (in my opinion) between the video footage quality from the Sony IMX117 and Sony IMX317 sensors. Xiaomi has made a very strong claim for the action camera market here, with its ease of use and practicality to make the user experience as painless as possible. The camera doesn't make the process of setting up and capturing video complicated at all, and they should be commended for a fantastic effort on their first try. An easy recommendation from me to purchase this camera - I thoroughly enjoyed using it, and the results it provided.


Unboxing video and Xiaomi Mijia 4K action camera sample footage:

The Xiaomi Mijia 4K action camera reviews in true 4K, unlike many of the cheaper action cameras out there. Coupling the Sony IMX317 sensor with the tried-and-true staple of Ambarella A12S75 chipset gives a smooth experience. The camera records dash cam footage by enabling the Loop Record video mode and Rotate (set to "On" in the settings), and a video length of 1 minute.


My nitpickings:
  • For those using this as an action camera, it would have been nice to have received action camera accessories (such as underwater case, quick release buckle, handlebar/seat mounts, pivot arm) - that being said, Xiaomi has just released and underwater case and that should come down in price in the coming months, so it is a good sign.
  • Due to its wider stature as an action camera, standard accessories that fit many action cameras that are of similar dimension in the price range may not work. There now appears to be official and third-party cases and screen protectors appearing online, so this is somewhat negated already.
  • The microphone gain / sensitivity in recorded audio is far too high. Audio can come through somewhat distorted, even when the music / person talking in the car is talking at a moderate volume. The location of the microSD card inside the actual battery compartment also gives some concern, in case the battery were ever to swell.

The positives:
  • Once set-up (Xiaomi, please fix your pairing process with all your ecosystem devices!) through the Mi Home app, connection to the camera is flawless and transfer speeds are decent. Ease and lay-out of the app and the camera menus is thoughtful and well-presented.
  • The touch-screen is buttery smooth. Much flak is given about the speed of the Ambarella chipsets when navigating the interface, but Xiaomi has nailed it here - rarely does lag present itself. Along with the operation of the camera, this is a testament to the usual Xiaomi using high quality components. Playback of recorded videos and photos on-device is actually a pleasure to undertake, compared to other cameras.
  • It may seem silly, but having a rotate screen option straight out of the box made me quite happy. This is something that not every camera implements, and its lack of presence can be quite frustrating when wishing to mount the camera in-car.
  • Construction is solid, and the inclusion of a standard quarter-inch thread is handy for those wishing to use a standard tripod mount for example. The unibody soft-touch plastic feels nice to the touch, and doesn't heat up very much in operation - along with the wider stance, the heat dissipation of this camera is the best I've encountered yet.
  • Videos are well-exposed in daytime and sunset conditions, with colours represented accurately and not too much grain. With a high bitrate record rate, videos turn out quite well considering the use case scenario as a dash camera. Night-time of course cannot hold a candle to dedicated dash cameras, due to the rather small aperture of F2.8, but i have seen some dash cameras handle night-time equally poorly. For those that drive mainly during the day, then there is no barrier to using this as a dash camera (bar the lack of capacitor, possibly for hotter climates).
  • You can take or leave the lens adjustment for distortion, as 145 degrees even for dash camera use is quite serviceable. If you have read my other dash camera reviews, you know that anything that is 170 degrees or approaches that mark tends to bother me with its rather impactful fish-eye effect.
  • Electronic Image Stabilisation: using this in 1080p at 60 frames per second makes for very smooth video viewing. The six-axis gyro does a fantastic job at taking out all the bumps when driving.
  • The firmware updates come thick and fast, and it's fantastic to see the makers also engage on Facebook to assist users and hear their concerns and suggestions.
 
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Nigel

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The final verdict: Overall, its neck and neck (in my opinion) between the video footage quality from the Sony IMX117 and Sony IMX317 sensors.
Maybe you should try out the Gitup F1 and what it does with the IMX317 and it's 9% larger pixels...
The IMX317 also has Sony DOL-HDR while the IMX117 has no HDR.
 

TonyM

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Maybe you should try out the Gitup F1 and what it does with the IMX317 and it's 9% larger pixels...
The IMX317 also has Sony DOL-HDR while the IMX117 has no HDR.
I will be looking at F1 and Mijia Mini together soon.
 
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Maybe you should try out the Gitup F1 and what it does with the IMX317 and it's 9% larger pixels...
The IMX317 also has Sony DOL-HDR while the IMX117 has no HDR.
thanks for suggestion mate, think i will :)
 

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I will be looking at F1 and Mijia Mini together soon.
Looking forward to the results :)
Make sure you include some low light tests, as this is a dashcam forum.
 
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Maybe you should try out the Gitup F1 and what it does with the IMX317 and it's 9% larger pixels...
The IMX317 also has Sony DOL-HDR while the IMX117 has no HDR.
Had another look at the Gitup F1 and it's the same sensor as the Xiaomi with the IMX317. don't see how it has 9% more pixels unless I'm missing something...
 

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Had another look at the Gitup F1 and it's the same sensor as the Xiaomi with the IMX317. don't see how it has 9% more pixels unless I'm missing something...
You appeared to saying that the IMX317 sensor is no better than the IMX117 sensor, I was trying to make the point that the sensor is better, if you can't see that it is then maybe there is an issue elsewhere in the camera and it is not the fault of the sensor.

The pixels on the IMX317 are 9% larger than on the IMX117, with the result that it is better in low light, even better in low light if the camera supports its use of DOL-HDR which I suspect the Xiaomi doesn't.

The Gitup F1 also uses the IMX317 and the both use the Amberella A12 processor, a comparison with the Xiaomi could be interesting.
 
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You appeared to saying that the IMX317 sensor is no better than the IMX117 sensor, I was trying to make the point that the sensor is better, if you can't see that it is then maybe there is an issue elsewhere in the camera and it is not the fault of the sensor.

The pixels on the IMX317 are 9% larger than on the IMX117, with the result that it is better in low light, even better in low light if the camera supports its use of DOL-HDR which I suspect the Xiaomi doesn't.

The Gitup F1 also uses the IMX317 and the both use the Amberella A12 processor, a comparison with the Xiaomi could be interesting.
no HDR option even in the settings of the Xiaomi, might add it in future. apparently their next firmware update will increase bitrate to maximum of 100MBps for 4K, so that should be good. plus add in F-LOG for video.

I will have another look at the RAW footage of e.g. ThiEYE/SJ7 that have IMX117 versus the IMX317. i didn't have a big look between the low-light footage but really only daylight/sunset. Xiaomi's lack of image processing might have contributed to that too, which may have skewed my perception.....they are pretty bad with processing on their phones so kind of expected the same here (but then FIMI makes the camera itself..)
 

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All native 4K cameras come with same Chipest A12S75,different modules use different sensor.T5E/SJ7 apply for IMX117 Versus F1/Mijia mini IMX317;All modules do not have big difference for low light testing.
 

TonyM

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Maybe you should try out the Gitup F1 and what it does with the IMX317 and it's 9% larger pixels...
The IMX317 also has Sony DOL-HDR while the IMX117 has no HDR.
I will be looking at F1 and Mijia Mini together soon.
Looking forward to the results :)
Make sure you include some low light tests, as this is a dashcam forum.
My Mijia 4K action camera arrived this morning. I'll try to get it up and running alongside the F1 later today.
 
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hi again everyone,

FIMI (maker of this Xiaomi Mijia 4K action camera) released an update in the last few days that gives the camera the ability to shoot in F-LOG. i've included a sample here at 4K (EIS off), and another one with 1080p @ 60fps with EIS on. Bitrate has also been increased, so it records at 4K 100MBps on SuperFine and when at 1080p60 records at 40MBps.

First segment: F-LOG footage straight out of the camera
Second segment: colour graded with F-LOG official LUT, downloadable from Fuji's website
Third segment: colour graded with OSIRIS M31 LUT (classically a teal and orange LUT that I use quite a lot)

Colour grading is hard with LOG footage, i'm no expert myself, but hopefully it gives you somewhat of an idea of what this camera is capable of and the differences.


 
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schnurbi

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is there any hacks for this camera? Increasing bitrate even more, decreasing sharpening?
 

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Just picked one of these up myself with a few accessories to, waterproof housing plus skeleton frame, silicon case and polarising lens i believe. My main concern of using this camera as a.dashcam is does get hot to.touch whilst its been recording for a while so dont know how well it will far in a car windscreen. At somepoint I'll pick up the gimbal for 4k footage as the bounce while walking is the main downside to the 4k footage for me
 

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