A sleek design and impressive specifications instantly make you take note of the V50 Pro Special Edition. However, if the name already seems familiar, then you’d be right.
We’re already looked at the V50 Pro, so what’s different with the special edition?
Pretty much everything aside from the design. Where the V50 Pro lacked on video quality the Special Edition more than makes up for it.
4K at 60fps and 1080p at 120fps shows the potential, and the App backs up the features with a full-featured and intuitive interface.
For the money, this is one of the best action cameras at this price and well worth a look.
Action Camera / akasotech.com / £129 / $154 at time of review
Not long ago, I looked at the AKASO V50 Pro, and while the design and usability were excellent, the results from the camera itself were somewhat lacking.
Now I have the AKASO V50 Pro Special Edition Center for Outdoor Ethics. Visually it looks the same, boot it up, and it still looks the same, so my initial thought is that this is just the same camera with a bit of branding and a boost in specs.
https://lnt.org/ is an organisation and one that I haven’t until now heard of. Not surprising as it’s based in the US and aims to promote exploring the outside world responsibly. Explore, enjoy and leave no trace it’s all good stuff and well worth a longer read about the activities they organise.
The action camera is born from a tie in between AKASO and LNT and unlike the standard V50 Pro is a very different camera.
What’s different? Like GoPro with their one design fits all approach, AKASO’s V50 Pro takes a similar line. The design of the SE is almost identical to the V50 Pro; the only difference is the large leaves no trace logo on the front and a slight change in grey.
Inside, however, it’s a different camera, whether that’s through hardware or software, it’s difficult to tell, but the results for the specifications are quite different.
First of all, there’s native 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, and there are a few lower framerate choices at each resolution.
Then there’s the ability to shoot stills at up to 20mp, one of the top buttons enables you to scroll through the modes.
On the back of the camera is the large 2-inch IPS touch screen that enables you to preview and review your shots as well as navigate the settings and options when the waterproof housing is removed.
A prominent feature these days is the image stabilisation and here you have the option for 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps which is pretty decent.
As ever there’s WiFi built-in and the accompanying App which is again fully featured and exceptionally easy to use.
Other features include wind noise reduction, adjustable view angle, input and output Mini USB, the remote control that can found in the box sits alongside a vast selection of accessories and three batteries.
Finally, the camera comes in a 130-foot waterproof housing,
Build and Handling
The AKASO V50 Pro is a beautifully designed camera and different from the usual material style adopted by so many other manufacturers.
It does as ever come in a waterproof housing which is kept closed by a single lever lock on the top. The camera is held firm inside the housing, but once the lever is released, the camera is easy enough to remove.
A nice feature of the housing is the flat lens on the front, which makes it easy to clean and is especially important as we head into winter.
On the base of the housing are the two-prong GoPro mounts enabling it to be attached with ease to most GoPro accessories.
On the top are two buttons that are used to power on the camera and then start and stop recording. The other button is used to switch through the modes.
With the housing in place, the touch screen can’t be used, so you need to get the settings sorted before it’s popped in, or use the remote or mobile app.
Another alternative is to use the cage that comes in the box.
The waterproof housing does have buttons on the exterior but using them to navigate some of the settings can leave you in a dead-end scenario. In these instances, you hit an options screen, and there’s no obvious way out.
With the camera firmly fixed to whatever it is you want to attach it to the camera is as good as any. Hit one button to record and again to stop.
The screen on the back is clear and bright and gives you an excellent preview of what it is you’re filming.
The waterproof housing while obstructive to settings changes does do a fantastic job of keeping the camera dry and safe, and in almost all aspects are well designed.
The front lens, especially with its flat easy-clean design, shows other waterproof housings exactly how it should be done.
Out on the water as well as attached to a bike, there is little to fault with the handling and usability, as long as you already have the settings you want set on the camera before popping it inside the housing.
As hands got colder in the water the small metal buttons to start and stop recording do became more difficult to press, but not impossible.
Out of the water and used for more leisurely activities the camera was popped inside the open cage that comes in the box and then popped on to a grip.
The design is simple, and any water or dust protection is instantly removed, but you do have full access to the touch screen.
Used in this way the camera is as good as any, the preview is excellent and the touch screen while not having the full design finesse of GoPro or DJI is still outstanding and easy to navigate.
Video options wise the AKASO V50 Pro SE hits well above its weight. 4K at 60fps and 1080p at 120fps are specifications that few other action cameras can boast.
OK, these settings have been achieved by GoPro, DJI and Yi but realistically that’s it, especially when you consider the quality of the footage that cheaper models produce.
However, the AKASO V50 Pro SE does an incredible job, the footage might not quite reach the clarity of the GoPro, but it’s not too far behind.
One consideration that you need to factor in is that to use these higher framerates and resolutions; you’re going to need a card to match the data needs of the camera.
Something I didn’t consider on the first outing… Once you pop in a V30 to V90 speed MicroSD card, the higher quality options become available.
Results all round are good and a world apart from the standard V50 Pro. It’s unusual to have two cameras so carefully matched in name, style and design with such different quality footage.
The higher framerates at 4K and 1080p do show a slight degrading in quality when compared with the lower framerates, but the footage is still good.
Switch on images stabilisation which is available at standard framerates for 4K and 1080p and the effect is instant. It’s not as smooth as HyperSmooth or Rock Steady, but it does more than most.
Overall the performance of features and the quality of the video is excellent.
After having looked at a couple of AKASO cameras already this year I wasn’t sure what to expect from the V50 Pro Special Edition.
When it arrived the overall design and feature set instantly impressed, but it was only when out in the field that this camera revealed it’s full potential.
The AKASO V50 Pro SE is streets ahead of its namesakes, it looks great, is well finished, and quality-wise the video footage is excellent.
At 4K 60fps and 1080p 120fps you do need to use a MicroSD card that’s able to keep up with the action, a V30 or above, but this is common.
The quality of the footage at 4K was excellent with plenty of detail and tone at both 30fps and 60fps, something that few other cameras aside from GoPro, DJI and Yi can do.
At 1080p 120fps the footage was impressive, there is a slight fall in quality but not enough to warrant issues. Drop that framerate down to 60fps or 30fps, and again the footage is superb.
As ever the App plays a big part in the usability of the camera and here while basic it gives you direct access to all the essential features and there’s very little to fault.
If I were to pick holes, it would be that despite the excellent touch screen, the camera still resides within the waterproof housing, there’s no GPS or voice control.
But, realistically this camera is well priced, and you get an awful lot of camera for your money.
At present, the AKASO V50 Pro Special Editon is one of the best action cameras on the market when it comes to building and video quality at this price.