We all love the value of the original Xiaomi Yi camera for our quadcopters flying: robustness, good quality footag, and affordability. So how is this new version of Xiaomi Yi 4K that is able to capture 4K videos?
I bought the Xiaomi Yi II camera from Banggood for $211. it came in a very simple package with minimal accessories, only a battery, a manual and an USB cable.
There is only 1 physical button – the shutter button. It also the power button – short press to turn the camera on, short press again to start/stop filming, long press will turn the camera off.
The rest of the operations are done on a nice colour touch screen on the back. You can see what you are filming with very little delay. And the touch screen operation is very smooth too.
There is an “Ultra” mode to every resolution. At first I thought it’s the different FOV, like “Superview” in GoPro, but I was wrong. The difference being in the footage bit rate. With 1080p Ultra your footage are recorded at 40MBps, without (1080p) it’s 26MBps. Bitrate at 4K Ultra is 60MBps.
On the bottom of the camera there is a tripod mounting hole, just like the older version of the Xiaomi Yi. The USB port has a door that is attached by a string. I love this new feature as in the old version, I often lost the door when I crash my drone.
The SD card slot has been moved into the battery compartment. It can be good and bad. Good thing is your SD card is safely sitting inside the camera, with the old version, my SD card often get ejected with the door in a crash. The bad news is it takes slightly longer and more effort to remove the SD card.
The new Xiaomi Yi is slightly longer than the original Yi and GoPro. But the height and thickness are about the same.
The camera with battery weights about 90g.
More technical Spec
Shooting resolution and frame rate:
- 4K (3840×2160) @ 25 FPS
- 4K Ultra (3840×2160) @ 25 FPS
- 2.5K (2560×1920) @ 25 FPS
- 1440 (1920×1440) @ 25 FPS / 50 FPS
- 1080 (1920×1080) @ 25 FPS / 50 FPS / 100 FPS
- 1080 Ultra (1920×1080) @ 25 FPS / 50 FPS / 100 FPS
- 960 (1280×960) @ 50 FPS / 100 FPS
- 720 (1280×720) @ 200 FPS
- 720 Ultra (1280×720) @ 50 FPS / 100 FPS
- 480 (848×480) @ 200 FPS
- Sensor: Sony 12Mega Pixel CMOS
- Input Power: 5V – 1A
- FOV: F2.8 – 155 degree
App and firmware
There is an mobile phone app available for the camera, which you can use to control the camera, replay footage/photos, and update firmware.
Officially available accessories
It feels like the camera is designed for the Chinese users. The manual is written completely in Chinese. I couldn’t even figure out how to switch language on the camera, it seems like the camera can only operation in Chinese menu? It would be really annoying if you don’t know Chinese.
Video Quality Comparing to the old Xiaomi Yi Camera
The order of the comparison images are:
- Xiaomi Yi @ 1080p (old)
- Xiaomi Yi 4K @ 1080p
- Xiaomi Yi 4K @ 4K
On the original Xiaomi Yi (older version), I installed the Superview script for better looking videos. But even with that the Yi 4K appears to have larger FOV and less fish eye effect.
Sharpness is also better. Unlike the previous version, the lens were mostly out of focus, in the new camera this is no longer a problem.
However the colour of the image appears to be darker (higher contrast?)
Another shot from the sky, the image at 4K resolution is excellent.
Wide dynamic range seems to be similar, but 1080p is a bit better than 4K on this.
1080p comparison between New and Old Xiaomi Yi
The Mini Quad i used in testing the camera: https://oscarliang.com/hibernagen-menel-5-frame-blheli-s-build/
Showing 4K footage from the New Xiaomi Yi 2 Camera
My final thoughts
Despite the good footage, I can’t recommend using it on a quadcopter. I think the original version would serve better. Firstly for $210, If you are looking for high quality videos, I would rather pay a bit more towards the GoPro, otherwise you won’t go wrong with the good old Yi at $60. Secondly I think 4K resolution is an overkill for most of us flying mini quads. 1080p is what we normally record at anyway. Finally the back screen also makes it more vulnerable in crashes.
However with the back LCD screen, I think it would make a better handheld action camera! It doesn’t matter how good your action camera is, without a screen you don’t know what you are filming, or if your shooting angle is right. You won’t have this problems with the Xiaomi Yi 4K and it’s a good substitution to the more expensive GoPro 4 Silver.
There are already many accessories available for the Xiaomi Yi 2 camera, though GoPro accessories are not compatible with it due to the different shapes.