Welcome to our “Deep-Dive” series presenting you the REXSO Explorer K, an Elecam subsidized brand.
In this review we will pay attention to as many scenes and tests as possible, so that you get a better idea about the performance, strengths and weaknesses of this camera.
As usual, we have created a video to explore the following highlights:
The Rexso Explorer K microphone has excellent qualities. It is stereo unlike many other high-end models like SJCAM SJ7, FireFly 8S, ThiEye T5E and many others.
The mic has a good frequency range and sensitivity, however has one major flаw – the recording level is too low, around 15db lower than the needed input, which means that you will have to edit the video in order to hear proper sound. Hopefully this will be fixed via firmware update.
Time lapse feature is well-integrated in the camera, giving you a choice between various increments. You may also choose the resolution of shooting. A beautiful cloudy sunrise on the footage.
1:40 – Digital Image Stabilization
This is the feature which was a bit tough to discover. Different manufacturers are naming the stabilization mode with a different name. While most of the action cameras refer to this kind of operation as “Gyro ON”, “Optical Image Stabilization”, “EIS” or “Electronic Image Stabilization”, the feature here is called “DIS”. You will notice that DIS cannot work with angle correction simultaneously.
In terms of operation – it does a good job stabilizing the picture. For better and steadier output we are recommending the usage of a gimbal – the Vimble C and Smooth Q are among the most affordable and compatible with both action cameras and smartphones solutions you can find right now.
Just as mentioned above – you will see the significant difference when shooting with a gimbal. Getting used to movements may help you to get cinematic-looking footage.
Photos are usually a good benchmark about the quality of the sensor and the optics used. The maximum size with this camera is 16 Megapixels and quality is rather good. Do not forget that quality of action-camera-photos may not be up to par with your DSLR, point-and-shoot camera or even your smartphone – the processing power is much lower, and there are multiple bottlenecks like fixed angle, size of the lens, etc.
The drone footage doesn’t look stunning in this case, but we see a great potential of the Explorer K here. Unfortunately there is no option for correction of the angle of shooting. While 75-95 degree range looks way more cinematic, the wide-angle of this camera can still be very attractive. You will notice unpleasant “jello” effect – and in this case it is the drone to blame. The Bayangtoys X16, which is used for the test here is famous for its vibrations, which are the reason for the not too great footage.
There is no explicit Car Mode as part of the menus. And we certainly want to see such an option with some of the future updates! The recording that you see has good quality and you can see a lot of details. If you are planning to utilize the camera as a dash-cam – you better choose another option.
The low light performance with the Explorer K is in fact better than what we expected! Because everything is small in an action camera, there’s not much light reaching the sensor. And in dark condition – the amount of light is even less. It is pleasing to see that despite the mentioned challenges, the Explorer K is good at low-light photography, being able to show good amount of detail with some noise. It is not as noisy as other action-cams, and there aren’t too many artifacts.
We would recommend to disable DIS while shooting with the camera in dark areas – that will avoid the unpleasant artifacts when picture is being stabilized.
This is likely the most disappointing area. Although quite powerful, the HiSilicon chipset apparently allows just 720p slow motion… I wish there was 100fps or 120fps option in Full HD, however this is not present. You may count on 60FPS for 2.5K and 1080p, which for most of the users will be insufficient.
The camera falls short compared to other exciting models – the Sj7 Star, Firefly 8s, Xiaomi Mijia and GitUp F1 have 120fps on Full HD for example (it is actually 100fps for the Mijia).
Because of the winter season it is not possible to spend some time underwater. The homemade test with sparkling water shows no issues with the case. Keeping it under water for an extended period of time changes nothing, so we can assume that the waterproof case is fine.
I have my remarks about the frame – it is much thinner than what we usually get with other models. Interestingly, the Explorer K has the same dimensions as the Firefly 8S, and because of that I feel much more comfortable to borrow the case of the latter one when shooting with the K.
Not much to say here. 10 meters is good enough in most of the cases, and you may even shoot selfies if the cam is attached to a drone.
I like the support for landscape orientation of the app.
At the end, I could say that the REXSO Explorer K is breath of fresh air in the world of action cameras at the beginning of 2018. Certainly the firmware is a bit “under-cooked”, but the camera is very powerful and has awesome settings. Battery life is decent, and being able to record 4K at a bit-rate of 60000-63000Kbps is a reason to expect quality footage. Shooting performance can be slightly adjusted in terms of color correction at sudden light changes (sometimes human faces may look a bit yellowish).
IMHO the main issue remains the microphone quality. If that gets fixed, this action camera has the potential to be a bestseller – hardware-wise it is excellent, so is the awesome packaging provided by the manufacturer. If you remember this from our initial review – the “K” arrives in a stylish carrying bag with all the accessories inside.
We will rate this camera GOOD, with the promise to raise it to at least “very good” as soon as we see firmware improvements.
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