Over the past few years, the action camera market has continued to fragment and become increasingly crowded. Sure, GoPro still dominates with its yearly updates to its Hero line or products, but after that there are a wide array of choices from a several manufacturers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Below this second tier of action cameras however there is a flourishing third tier filled with budget-priced options that are viable choices for someone who wants to dip their toe in the filmmaking pool without investing a lot of money. For those individuals, the Aukey AC-LC2 Action Camera is legitimate device, albeit one that comes with some compromises.
Before we delve too deeply into what this camera has to offer it is important to understand that it falls squarely into that budget range. Priced at just $58.99 on Amazon, the AC-LC2 delivers a lot of bang for the buck, but it also can’t quite contend with the likes of a GoPro Hero for instance. Still, as an entry level model, you’ll find a lot to like, and it comes with a ton of accessories right in the box. This makes it an attractive option for anyone looking to buy an action cam without breaking the bank.
The AC-LC2 is capable of shooting 4K resolutions at up to 25 fps, although most of us will probably continue to capture video in 1080p (60 or 30 fps) as that is the resolution at which the camera performs the best. (720p/120 and 720p/60 are also options) Video quality is good, but not outstanding, although for the most part it is crisp, clear, and free of defects.
As with most camera of this size, low light performance is definitely a mixed bag, with most of my tests coming out a bit on the muddled side. If you’re going to be shooting at night, you’ll probably want to have some form of external lighting set up to get the best results possible.
Audio capture is also average at best, with the tiny built-in mic often being overpowered by high winds or other environmental sounds. The audio can also get very muffled when the camera is placed in its included waterproof case, although that is also a common complaint about many other action cams too. Those cases simply aren’t built to conduct audio into the mic while still keeping the camera protected from moisture.
Aukey’s action cam is capable of taking still photos at 4, 5, 8, and 12 megapixels. It will come as no surprise that the image quality on those shots are also unremarkable. In fact, the smartphone that you carry in your pocket likely takes better photos (and maybe video too!). Still, it is nice to have the option should you need it.
As mentioned, the AC-LC2 ships with some nice accessories that are often additional expenditures when purchasing other similar action cameras. For instance, in addition to the aforementioned waterproof housing, it also comes with a remote control, mounts for handlebars, helmets, and belts, as well as a modular camera holder, and much more. Aukey has also thoughtfully shipped the camera with two batteries, and during my testing I found that the camera had solid battery life, running for up to 90 minutes of continuous use before needing to swap out the power cells.
The AC-LC2 is equipped with onboard WiFi allowing users to connect using a smartphone app for iOS and Android. That app gives budding filmmakers the ability to change settings and operate the camera remotely, while also downloading video clips for mobile editing too. That app works well enough, but it is a bit rough around the edges. It also hasn’t been optimized for tablets, although it did work fine on my iPad Pro while testing and editing in the field.
Judging from what I’ve written so far, you’ve probably gotten the impression that the Aukey AC-LC2 is a mostly unremarkable action camera in a sea of such devices. For the most part you’d be right, as this device doesn’t do a lot to set itself apart from the field. On the other hand, it doesn’t do anything particularly wrong either. Its performance is solid in pretty much every way, and while it isn’t on par with GoPro’s Hero 6, it also costs about $440 less too.
Which brings us back to my initial statement regarding setting expectations about this camera. Sure, it is pretty much middle-of-the-road in just about every way in terms of performance. But, it is also priced under $60 too. Taking that into consideration, it is an excellent bargain that delivers all kinds of potential for not a lot of money. If you, or someone you know, is considering getting into outdoor or adventure filmmaking, this is a nice way to get started without making a large investment. You’ll find that the footage captured is good and it will allow you to perfect your craft with editing before you think about spending a lot more money on the higher-end cameras instead.
The bottom line is that the Aukey AC-LC2 action camera is completely inoffensive in any way. It delivers solid all-around performance, although it won’t blow you away with its visual fidelity either. Still, for the money you would be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck.
The camera is available from Amazon.
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