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Review: Yuneec Typhoon 4K ActionCam

Are you looking for an easy way to get smooth 4K handheld footage without breaking the bank? The Yuneec Typhoon 4K ActionCam is a handy little tool that makes it easy to get the smooth shots you want, if you can live with the limitations.

The 4K video is sharp for a stabilized camera at this price range. I used it for another video and was able to crop in to 100% in a HD timeline. It's not as sharp as a $2,000 4K camcorder, but then, this is an entire stabilized system for under $1,000. So the lens and recording system are considerably cheaper.

In the hand, the camera is balanced quite well because the battery is below your hand, phone on top, and the camera out in front. Those systems that put the battery in your hand lack counterbalance and end up putting more weight on top, and more torque on your wrist. If you opt for thumb control of the vertical movement of the head, the wheel is right under your thumb. It works for both left and right hands.

I had no trouble connecting to the camera and controlling it at any time--as well I shouldn't because there are mere inches between the ActionCam's access point and your phone.

The noise of the camera's fans is indeed audible to off-camera microphones, so if you plan on recording sync sound with a boom mic or lav on the talent, know that you are going to have to deal with the fan whine in post, or get the camera further away from the person to bring down the noise level.

I did not use the ActionCam for stills. I have a still camera and I don't see the need for "stabilized" stills when a still image can be shot at a higher shutter speed and essentially stops motion that way. The case I have is different from the case Yuneec shows online now. But it is nice that it is custom-cut and protects the stabilized head from undue shock during transport.

Looks and Other Menu Settings

In-camera, you can choose between four preset color profile “looks”: Nature, Gorgeous, Raw, and Night (Figure 4, below). Gorgeous seemed to pump up the colors a bit. Nature and Raw are very close, and Nature actually seemed flatter. Night didn't seem to offer anything of value for my daytime shoots. Maybe if it were night, it'd slow the shutter down and make a difference.

Figure 4. Choosing a color profile with the CGO app

You can go manual with your exposure, set the shutter and ISO, but there's no way to ride the manual settings while recording. Given the size of the tiny camera, I'm guessing there's no manual aperture to set at all. White balance looked better in auto than I could get in any of the presets, and there's no manual white. But you can "lock" it so it's not constantly drifting around as it senses different balances in the shot.

Having a fixed white balance, even if slightly wrong, is better in post than having a white that moves around. This way you can correct it, and apply that correction throughout, as opposed to trying to chase a moving target throughout the shot.

Lastly, in one shoot I used the ActionCam for an alternate view and was surprised that the otherwise "black" gear of metal and plastic looked purple on the ActionCam. There was little I could do except try to correct in post for the infrared pollution in the ActionCam's lens. And even then, I couldn't fully fix the shot. So it's something to be aware of and keep an eye out for during your shoot.


To get your footage out of the ActionCam, you need to remove the card from the camera. You need to be careful as you do this, as the motors that stabilize the head are loose when the ActionCam is off, and there are many very thin wires traveling through the lightweight arms holding the head.

The footage is arranged much like other still cameras: DCIM > 100MEDIA > YUN00001.mp4. This makes it easy to find and manage, as opposed to any complex file/metadata structure system. I just grab it and throw it into my project folder.

I was disappointed that my 120 fps footage wasn't actually 120 fps, but actually 112.08 fps. But it still interpreted nicely when I slowed it down to 29.97 to match the rest of my project. I doubt I'll miss those extra 8 fps, but I always want gear to do what it says it will do. Say you'll do 120, and give me 120. If not, then just say you'll do 112.

All the footage I captured with the ActionCam has a sharp contrast-y look that's fine for action-camera footage, but a challenge if you're trying to mix it in with other more professional, "flat"-looking footage.

You can't grade the footage much either. Push and pull it a bit, and it really starts to show its limitations. Plus, there's no way to get it to be less contrast-y in-camera, so shooting outdoors in bright sunlight is going to be a challenge.