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Wimius L1 4K Snap Verdict
These days you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent action camera, and the Wimius L1 4K is a testament to this.
It packs in features that matter at a price that makes sense for anyone just starting out.
The design and user experience are basic but the quality of build and electronics is all decent enough, and it’s made to last.
Image quality for the price is right, and you won’t be disappointed with the smoothness of motion. However, the camera is a little loose in the cage, so a bit of packing is needed to avoid rattle with the audio.
At a touch under £50, the Winius L1 4K is an ideal starter camera designed to take the hits, and what’s more the kit provides a wealth of mounting options that are ideal for starters.
- 1080p at 60fps
- Plenty of mounts included
- Comes with two batteries
- Dynamic range limited
- Low bitrate recording
- Basic app
Introducing the Wimius L1 4K
Less than a year ago I looked at a series of budget action camera’s and although many looked the part those that fell under the £50 price bracket were rarely worth it.
Now a few months on and the market has changed, GoPro has streaked ahead with the Hero 5 and now 6, and this seems to have pushed forward the budget end of the market as well.
Most budget cameras will now pack in the 4K video which is all well and good.
But if that 4K comes in with a frame rate of less than 24fps, then the footage can look distinctly jerky, at which point you know the camera isn’t worth it.
The Wimius, however, meets that 24fps marker and is one of a new generation of action cameras that offers the user a decent set of usable features.
You get 4K at 24fps which is fine for scene setting, then 1080p at 60fps which is perfect for action.
These resolutions and framerates are made possible by the inclusion of proven electronics from Novatec and Sony.
The Wimius L1 4K might be cheap, but it offers a decent set of features that are well balanced and usable at a very nice price.
[nextpage title=”Features” ]
It’s surprising what you can get for your money these days and the Wimius L1 4K although cheap has a range of resolutions and framerates that will keep even the more experienced users happy.
The camera arrives with a tried and tested removable waterproof housing that will keep the camera safe underwater at up to 30m.
Resolutions and frame rates include 4K at 24fps, 1080p at 60 and 30fps and 720p at 120fps.
Alongside the standard video mode, you also have TimeLapse, slow motion at 720p, 120fps or VGA at 240fps, loop recording, car mode, Arial FPV, Photo, Self-timer and Photo Burst.
Although this is an entry-level model Wimius have included some manual control with adjustment over the white balance, exposure compensation and sensitivity (ISO) which is a nice touch.
It also has built-in image stabilisation and Wifi as standard.
On the front of the camera is the standard fish-eye lens with the 170º field of view.
On the back is a large 2-inch LCD which can be used for live view, previewing footage and viewing and selecting options and settings.
Size wise it’s much the same as any other action camera if just a little more square at 53.4 x 51.2 x 26.6mm (L x W x D) and weighs in at 81g with battery.
That 1000mAh battery provides around 90 minutes of recording time, and there’s a spare in the box which is handy.
[nextpage title=”Build & Handling” ]
Build Quality and Handling
Overall build quality on first impressions is good, and although the waterproof housing is of the older design, it is nevertheless solid in construction.
Opening the housing shows the lever lock is up to the job and the secondary lock helps to prevent the lever from being accidentally released.
On the base of the camera is the usual GoPro style mount, this means that the Wimius L1 4K will happily fit most GoPro accessories.
The lens section of the case features a first generation GoPro style bolt-on lens cover. There is no reason for this, and of all the adaptions of case design, this is one that I think should now have gone.
The design simply makes the lens area a trap for mud and dirt which will almost definitely be an issue when tested on the track.
Moving away from the case lens cover, the housing features three buttons that interact with the camera buttons inside the case. Each of the housing buttons; one on the front, and two on top, have a good spring loaded action.
Once the lever lock is the released the camera can be dropped out. The fit of the camera in the case is quite snug, and there’s plenty of space to slide in moisture strips if needed. A quick tap and the camera drops out as intended.
Looking inside the case and around the lens section of the case there is no rubber buffer which you’d expect to see on premium cameras, but here considering the price of the camera, it’s absence isn’t a surprise but may cause audio issues when out in the field.
Taking a look at the camera itself and the quality is good with textured rubberised plastic used for the outer shell. This gives a good quality feel, not top end but good enough.
Each of the camera buttons has a positive action with a good click, so you know it has been pressed. Button wise the top left looking at the back of the camera is the power and mode button. On the right the shutter button and front WiFi button.
The button layout is well thought out and makes navigating through the carousel style menus nice and easy.
You can also connect through the app to change settings which is a free download for iOS or Android.
The user interface is again basic but does the job. Finding all the settings and options you need isn’t tricky with three clicks taking you from the record mode to the settings menu.
Once the camera has booted the shutter button doubles as the selection button, and the WiFi button enables you to scroll down the options. Once you’ve made your selection for resolution or another setting tapping the power button cycles you back through to the record mode.
The layout of the buttons and menus is simple and ideal for anyone just setting out.
Taking the camera off the road and mounting it in the usual three positions around the bike, in each I found the camera exceptionally easy to use.
This ease of use for finding settings and options is good considering it’s intended market as a starters camera.
Wearing gloves and pushing the buttons I found a positive response, but there was sometimes a slight delay before the switch in mode or options selection appeared.
In a couple of occasions, I found that I would push the button twice thinking the first hadn’t been registered. This isn’t too much of an issue once you get used to it.
Powering up and starting and stopping recording was all easy enough to understand, a good level audio beep lets you know that you have successfully started or stopped recording.
The 2-inch screen on the back is adequet, it has a good brightness, and as long as you’re looking directly at the back of the camera, it’s clear and crisp.
However with the camera mounted under the saddle or crossbar where it’s a little more tricky to view proved that the screen didn’t have the greatest viewing angle.
Overall in use, I have to say I’m highly impressed, it was fully compatible with my GoPro mounts from three different manufacturers with no slip or struggle to squeeze the camera into the mount prongs.
[nextpage title=”Image quality” ]
Usually the downfall of these budget cameras is the video quality, however here the Wimius L1 4K proved that it was again above average.
Shooting footage at 1080p 60fps shows an average of 24mib/s and 30fps 12mib/s which isn’t bad. As a comparison, the GoPro Hero5 Black records at around 45mbit/s for both 30fps and 60fps.
You can, of course, see the difference but the price and audience for these two cameras are worlds apart.
Looking firstly at the footage as a whole and the colour and overall saturation is good.
As ever for a budget camera there is a slight lean towards over-sharpening and contrast but not to the extent that I’ve seen in the past, and the camera does have the option to lower the sharpening which I did find improved the overall quality.
Wimius make no claims about the quality of their lens, but here I think it did rather well provide a good clear and sharp image across the frame.
On the first test of the camera, the conditions were bright and in the high contrast tree areas, you could see signs of bright blue chromatic aberration, these are very visible, but at the entry level of this camera, it’s nothing too much to worry about.
Checking through footage and you can see that the camera has a limited dynamic range, but the small processor does read a scene well and balances the content to lift the shadows at the cost of the highlights which I didn’t mind too much.
The test conditions were tricky due to the lighting, but the cameras auto exposure and white balance compensated quickly, and I was impressed with the colour captured.
When reviewing footage, I was aware that there wasn’t the detail that I’d expect with higher-end cameras and you can see pixelation in detail and tones are limited especially when you look at areas of flat colour such as the sky.
Over all the video quality is above average for a budget camera, on the negatives, it struggles with the dynamic range, and the bit rate is a little low to capture all the detail, colour and richness that I’ve come to expect with the latest cameras.
However, the processor works fast to ensure that you always capture something and the colour and tone are good if limited. But most of all the motion is superb, there no jittering or blurring and the results are pleasing.
[nextpage title=”Verdict” ]
Wimius L1 4K Review Verdict
The amount of cameras out there means that the action camera market is challenging. The Wimius L1 4K slots comfortably into the budget end of the market yet offers some decent features for the price.
Build and handling is good and the partner app while basic is like the camera solid in performance and works without the frills.
My only concern around the build is the old style bolt-on lens cover on the case which did prove to be a mud catcher. The case did, however, hold the camera good and tight, but there were a couple of occasions where you could hear case rattle.
I enjoyed using the Wimius which was a surprise as I often get infuriated by badly planned menu systems and impossible WiFi linking procedures, but here everything was pretty much idiot proof.
The Sony IMZ078 image sensor and Novatec processor proved a good combination supplying good quality footage for the price.
That footage quality is limited when it comes to dynamic range, low light performance and the bit rate captured that leads to an image quality that would challenge existing GoPro users looking for a second camera, but for those just starting out, it is more than adequate.
As a complete package, the Wimius offers a great deal for the price. The camera itself is a solid performer, and the WiFi app does what it needs to do.
For anyone starting out the inclusion of a wealth of mounts additional battery, built-in stabilisation and plenty of additional modes and options make it a great choice.
Who should buy the Wimius L1 4K
The Wimius L1 4K is directly aimed at anyone starting out. It has plenty of features that appeal but what really makes it stand out is it’s no fuss approach to resolution and framerate.
It offers a selection of truly usable options with 1080p at 60fps being ideal for capturing face paced action and 4K at 24fps ideal for scene setting.
If you’re on the lookout for a good true action camera that will withstand more than a knock or two, records decent footage then the Wimius L1 4K is a great place to start.
You can check out more info on the Wimius L1 4K at their website