Being a photographer myself, I’ve always looked at the prices of wide angle lens skyrocket in the last few years years, making them pretty inaccessible. Managing with my 18-55 kit lens was the only option for landscape, architecture and most importantly, shots of my beloved motorcycle. Then phone camera caught up in just about two or three years along with wide angle converters but they too lacked the ‘oomph’ factor and distortion that a wide angle lens gave.
I then saw the phoenix rise beyond the flames, my eyes shone again as the light at the end of the tunnel got brighter at the arrival of budget action cameras! Though my description seems pretty dramatic, the appearance of tiny, rugged, wide angle cameras able to produce 10 mp + shots was a huge thing for a ‘wide angle hungry’ guy like me. Like literally, because I could now capture photos of my motorcycle up close from various angles and probably add HDR filters to them (that’s what most of the motorcyclists do, HDR could be ruled out though) annnddd.. probably take a few shots of pretty landscapes that I come across on my journeys. What’s better? I can download the image onto my phone in less than a second, correct it if required and share it on Social media! Gone are the days of waiting to have them processed from RAW to JPEG on the desktop. Speaking of RAW, value for money action cams like the GitUp Git3 Duo are more than capable of producing RAW images and it costs just 13,500 INR, comes with a waterproof case, some mounts, stickers. What more could I think of??
And no! I did not depend on expensive action cameras because then there would be no point in them, I might as well buy a wide angle lens and capture photographs from my DSLR. I don’t get the point of expensive action cameras frankly speaking, especially since most new action cameras do almost all those things for less than half the price.
Not only is price the factor! As the name suggests, ‘action’ cameras are meant for challenging, tiring, dirty, smelly, sunsety adventures and I personally think that spending a bomb for such activities on a pocket camera is not necessary when there are cheaper, better options available that also provide manual settings like ISO, EV, shutter speed, aperture, etc to help you click your shot, your way!
Such cameras produce rich, sharp, clear images that you could probably print to make your own coffee table book or have a huge frame in your house of you having fun on a mountain, since the average resolution of budget action cameras is 10 megapixel! Of course, I’m not talking about using these cameras to take pictures of weddings were the lights are dim and you’re required to submit high end shots to your client that only a DSLR can produce as of today. We like being real and that’s why we can also predict that action cams could take over that sphere too in a few years from now. You might see a wedding photographer in the near future at a fancy venue, holding a DSLR mounted with a 70- 200mm lens while he reaches out to his pocket for an action camera to click wide angle pictures. Just wait and watch.
Below are some sample shots that could give you a better idea.
Images from GitUp Git 2P Pro
Image from ThiEYE i60+
Image from ThiEYE T5
Image from GitUp G3 Duo
Images from Yi action camera (V1)
Images from Yi Lite action camera
So these days, my DSLR has been resting at home even on weekend adventures. The smartphone works well and for wide shots- My Yi Lite does an excellent job. Would you prefer an action camera for wide angle photography? I’d love to know your thoughts on this.