GitUp Git2 WiFi Action Camera
Back in December 2015, GitUp provided me with a review unit for their new Git2 action camera. I put it through its paces and I liked what I saw. Remember that YouTube compresses video and makes it look terrible, especially during fast-motion scenes like action cameras often produce - download the raw files to judge the true quality yourself.
If you're like me and would rather read a written review with more detail than a short video can contain, then you're in the right place.
The Git2 is GitUp's followup to their successful Git1 action camera. The original Git1 has WiFi, 1080p, an excellent Sony image sensor, supports external USB microphones, fits in GoPro 3+/4 cases, and does pretty much anything a GoPro will do for way less money than the GoPro.
So how can you improve on the Git1? Well, GitUp found a way. Lots of ways in fact.
I won't bore you with a specs sheet - you can find that on GitUp's website.
Here's a few highlights from the spec sheet though:
- 2880x2160@24fps (4:3 resolution)
- Interpolated 4K: 3840x2160@24fps (16:9 resolution)
- Digital Image Stabilization (aka "Gyro")
- Wireless wristband remote (optional)
- Color LCD screen
The Pro package comes with a waterproof case, some mounts, and other accessories, pictured below.
GitUp Git2 Pro Pack Contents
The standard pack basically only comes with a camera and a battery - no mounts, no cases, no extras. For the small price difference, there's no reason NOT to get the Pro pack, especially when it comes with this nice waterproof case. It uses the same waterproof case as the Git1, which has a lock knob on the left side which I really liked. It feels much more sturdy than the flip-top latch on other camera cases. I found that I was even able to open and close this case with my thick snow-skiing gloves on when it was time to change the battery. I couldn't remove the battery with my gloves on, but the case opened just fine.
The outer chassis of the Git2 is the same as the Git1. In fact if you put them side by side, the only way to tell them apart is the label on the front panel. Turn them on though, and the Git2 clearly has a higher resolution screen. Menus look sharper and icons have more detail, which helps them be more descriptive.
Inside the camera, the changes are much more dramatic. GitUp added a 6-axis accelerometer similar to what smartphones, tablets and video game controllers (like the Wiimote) use to determine orientation and movement. You can turn this on in the menus (or set the right button to toggle gyro on/off) and it will help reduce or eliminate shaking from your videos. It's all digital and done completely inside the camera with no moving parts. The only downside is slightly lower battery life, and a slightly narrower field of view (FOV). Without gyro stabilization, you'll get about 90 minutes of recording time in 1080p60. With it enabled, you'll get around 80 minutes. Still pretty good considering how small this camera is.
The next big feature that you can't see from the outside - a faster processor and a higher resolution Sony image sensor. This helps enable the Gyro function above, but also lets you record at up to 2880x2160 at 24fps, as well as 1080p at 60 fps. However, my monitor is only 1080p, so can't fully test the quality of these higher resolution video settings. That said, 1080p60 is REALLY smooth and much nicer to look at than 1080p30, even with the gyro turned off. When trying to get screen-grabs from video to use as photos, 60fps gives you twice as many frames to choose from - great for posting a killer action shot to facebook or whatever. The higher framerate also reduces motion blur.
Framegrab from 1080p60 video - camera attached to snowboard while riding a trail through the trees
(blur at top center is snow on the lens)
As if that wasn't enough, GitUp has released multiple firmware updates to directly address customer feature requests and bug reports. User-requested features include 4:3 resolution for video (not just photos); custom ISO and shutter speed options; image tuning; quick-start options; microphone sensitivity (which by the way they also added to the Git1 - if you remember, that was my only real complaint about that camera); custom bitrates; color saturation options; even little things like a more accurate battery meter in the on-screen display! GitUp is even promising to allow image rotation in the 1.6 update, expected some time in October 2016! Firmware updates are free, so it's like Christmas every time one is released, with new features each time. Some might try to read into this and say that GitUp is releasing firmwares so often because they released an unfinished product. I disagree - I used the original 1.0 firmware for 95% of this review and had no real complaints. Check out the Git2 firmware thread on the DashCamTalk forum for change logs for all the recent releases.
So how about durability? I unintentionally "dropped" the camera from about 100 feet (30m) up while attached to my then-new 250mm racer quadcopter. The camera was in its waterproof case, zip-tied to the quadcopter. This was basically the second time I had ever flown any quadcopter at all, not counting practicing hovering 2 feet off the ground in my back yard. When the wind picked up, I didn't give it enough throttle to compensate, then I lost sight of it behind the roof of the house, and since I had no idea where it was pointing (and thought it was much lower), I just cut the throttle and let it fall. On the way down, it hit the railing on the porch and bent 2 props before landing in a snow drift about a foot deep. I was done flying for the day since snow got down into the quad's motors and other electronics, but the camera was fine - all I had to do was wipe snow off of the waterproof case. It kept recording through the entire crash, which you'll see in the review video!
Moments before the quadcopter crashed
So most of the time when you think about action cameras, all you think about is intense action videos from a new perspective - attached to a surf board, multi-rotor (or "drone" as some people call them), mountain bike, race car, underwater, someone's helmet, that sort of thing. But the Git2 actually makes a pretty decent still camera, too. Simply tap the front power/mode button and it switches to still photo mode. It'll capture true 16 megapixel shots with a very wide angle. It's not just a one-trick pony though - there are semi-pro camera settings available to you such as shutter speed, ISO, self-timer, and RAW mode for those of you who love Photoshop and Gimp. You can even have it "hold" the shutter open for very long exposures - up to 1 minute. Some folks on the dashcamtalk forum have used this feature to capture some really amazing astronomy photographs including the International Space Station passing overhead (the long exposure made it look like a white line in the sky). I haven't got anything quite that spectacular with it - just a nice sunrise at the beach, and a few other random things. The hardest thing to get used to when using this as a still camera - you have to get CLOSE to the subject if you want it to fill the frame because the lens is such a wide angle. It's also very easy to accidentally have your finger in the frame when taking a photo, even though your finger isn't very close to the lens. This is especially true when wearing gloves. You'll see a little bit of that in my photos. You can click the photos to see them full size.
Date was obviously set wrong since that's before the Git2 even existed. This was taken on a very snowy Christmas Day, December 25, 2015. It's still snowing in the photo. The black on the upper corners is from my gloves.
More Christmas Day snow in Colorado
Seems three-year-old Houstonians who have never seen snow before will shovel it UNDER the car. :D
Sunrise on Galveston Island, Feb 13, 2016
Check the level of detail with all the posts supporting the store, and the Pleasure Pier, visible behind them all. (and my finger at lower right)
Hotel Galvez, sunrise, a seagull, ...and my finger again.
This was taken at about arm's length, if not closer. Having a screen really helps frame the photo.
Galveston seawall info plaques, and the Pleasure Pier
GitUp is taking their entry into the crowded action camera market very seriously. They don't seem to be interested in simply making a cheap product that's "good enough", dumping it on the market, and then moving on to the next shiny thing. They have to be making a profit, but I'm not sure how since these cameras are being sold so cheap. This camera has a Sony image sensor, and one would assume that Sony's own action cameras use Sony image sensors too. Yet Sony's cameras are still significantly more expensive than GitUp. GoPro sells cameras for 3-5 times as much as the GitUp cameras, and yet in some cases, the GoPro is actually INFERIOR. For example, I don't think any of GoPro's current offerings has digital image stabilization. Sure, it's possible to do that afterwards in software, but that software is very expensive, and can take quite some time to learn how to use properly. And yes, "shaky camera" is a "thing" right now, and some software actually has plugins to ADD shake to video, but much like Michael Bay's "destroy everything" films, JJ Abrams-style lens flares, and bell-bottom pants, I think shaky camera is just another fad which will pass in time, and image stabilization will be the norm. There's a reason Hollywood spends so much on gimbals - to give you smooth video that doesn't induce motion sickness!
I've been using this camera for quite some time now, and I'm trying really hard to find any downsides. Right now the only thing I can come up with is that since there are only 3 buttons on the camera, it's a little weird trying to watch videos right on the camera. Also there's no speaker in the camera (only a piezo beeper to help confirm button presses or other operations) so there's no sound when you do watch videos. But the camera has WiFi, so you can download the videos to your phone or tablet and watch them there. Or put the SD card in a computer/phone/tablet and watch them there. Or plug the camera into a TV via HDMI and watch them there. Or plug the camera into a computer/phone/tablet via USB and watch videos THAT way. All of these on a screen way bigger than the Git2's own built-in screen. So I have a hard time complaining about something this small.
Maybe one other potential downside:
The new Sony sensor they use doesn't support image rotation. The image rotation function is expected to be available in the 1.6 firmware, expected to be released some time in October 2016!
Another minor complaint, which should come as a surprise to no one - video in low light isn't as good as daylight video. It's still pretty good thanks to the Sony image sensor, but it's not the best I've seen. GitUp continues to tweak and tune the firmware with each update, which could potentially improve night video. However, if you're serious about getting excellent quality video at night or deep underwater without any external lighting, maybe you should consider the Git1 instead. The Git2 has a 16MP image sensor and the Git1 has a 2MP sensor which are both the same physical size, so the pixels on the Git2's sensor are smaller than the Git1. Thus, the bigger pixels on the Git1 have an easier time collecting what little light there is in a dark situation, which results in better low-light video. The difference is small though, and since most of us do our action-camera-type stuff outside in the daytime, this won't be an issue. The Git2 handles rapid light transitions really well, such as flying through intermittent shadows snow skiing/boarding, on a quadcopter, or mountain bike, and with the gyro stabilization, it takes most if not all the harshness and shaking out of your videos. Even when I mount the git2 directly to the frame of my quadcopter (no silicone dampers!) there's hardly any vibration or "jello" effect.
- Same shape/size as Git1 (and GoPro 3/4) so all cases/accessories fit/work perfect
- 1080p60, 2k, and higher FPS lower resolutions for smooth slow-motion effects
- GYRO STABILIZATION! get rid of annoying shaking!
- WiFi for downloading videos and controlling the camera remotely
- Available wristband remote if you don't/can't use wifi
- Handles light/dark transitions such as shadows/trees/clouds quickly and without blowing out the image
- ~90 minutes recording time per charge, even in freezing environments like snow-skiing or snowboarding
- durable - handles big drops really well in the waterproof case
- same clever cam-lock on the side of the case as the Git1 - more secure than GoPro's top flip-lock
- excellent support from GitUp via forums and firmware updates on their website
- Playing videos is a bit tricky directly on the camera
No image rotation function built into camera so you have to use software to do it Coming w/ 1.6 firmware!
- Low light sensitivity isn't as good as the Git1, but that's the tradeoff for higher resolution, higher framerates and gyro stabilization - I'll take it!
- Firmware updates reset everything to default, but that's kind of a good thing - it forces you to go back into the setup menus and discover the new features they added
Would I buy this camera? Absolutely! All the good stuff that GoPro offers (and then some - gyro!) for WAY less than the price of a GoPro? At this point you really are paying for the name if you insist on buying an authentic GoPro camera. The cons I've come up with here are honestly pretty trivial and will never even affect most users. Low light quality is something you'll need to determine for yourself. If you'll never be filming at night, then it's not an issue. I had no trouble filming at dawn or dusk - quality still looked great to me, and I don't expect to use the camera at night. If you want to record at night, you probably already know you'll need external lighting and/or a very expensive image sensor. This type of camera is all about having fun and being able to share it with the world, and this camera certainly delivers in that area.