Last April Hawkeye announced the arrival of a new ActionCam and gives us the opportunity to review it for the Global market. The cam is an evolution of its previous models 7S and 8S that often we have recommended for the excellent quality combined with meagre prices, the name was chosen respecting the progressive numbering, calling it: ” Hawkeye Firefly 8SE “.
The Firefly 8SE is position in the “average” band, but as you will discover the performance will have little to envy compared to the higher end cam. tThe components chosen are already widely known, we find the Ambarella A12 Chipset and the Sony IMX117 Cmos a winning combination that has made the fortune of many cams and beyond.
Hawkeye Firefly 8SE Package
The Hawkeye renews its package by abandoning the plastic bell-like GoPro that showed off the cam inside the case to go to the classic box with cover, the colour of the cover is black with the graphics in relief, under the cover the white box in recycled cardboard with inside the cam and its accessories.
The supplied accessories are complete and respect the classic standard, but this time the Hawkeye surprises us by adding two objects never seen in the “usual” package. The first is a protection for the lens that looks like a hood but in essence, will only from protection preventing to hit the lens in case of a fall. The other is a comfortable lanyard. We anticipate that the Hawkeye Firefly 8SE has an opening that allows the use of a compact digital style lanyard. This is composed of two pieces with a part that can be detached, see the photo.
Here the remaining, various joints, clamps, adhesive bases, USB cable for charging, open skeleton etc … however, missing something that only the Hawkeye usually provided. Moreover, was the cable for AV-out FPV, I’m sorry for the modellers that they expected this .. but I have good news. The Mini-USB cable of the Firefly 6S is compatible, and I confirm that the 8SE has the same functions as the 6S and therefore remote shutter controlled by a channel of the radio control…
And here is the cam, the sample we received is in “Black” color but you can also buy it silver, we no longer find the small and convenient Oled front display, and in its place we find a led with the word “Firefly” that changes color in based on the selected mode (Photo or Video). The ON / OFF button is always in the same position, to note the small mirror for selfies, original solution but not really essential. As regards the arrangement of the keys and the connection ports nothing has changed, they are exactly like the previous models, but we have another novelty. The slot for the micro SD this time is next to the display.
Indispensable then the usual 1/4 inch thread for the monopod, Manfrotto and various accessories.
Hawkeye Firefly 8SE Display
The settings videos are accessible when we have the active video mode, as you can see from the following presentation we have so many configurable options, starting from the resolutions, 4 menu pages are dedicated to the available resolutions, we can decide and set various parameters those worthy of note:
- Video quality
- Low light car
- Gyroscopic stabilization
- The sharpness
- Microphone Value
As with Video, the Photo settings are accessible when we are in Active Photo mode, the available resolutions are:
- 16MP, (4608 × 3456 4: 3)
- 14MP, (4352 × 3264 4: 3)
- 12MP, (4000 × 3000 4: 3)
- 8.3MP, (3840 × 2160 16: 9)
- 5MP (2560 × 1920 4: 3)
Also for the photos we have various configurable parameters, we report exposure times, exposure, sharpness and white balance
Thanks to the Cmos Sony IMX 117 Exmor R 12mpixel, which we remember to be the same as the most expensive GoPro Hero4BE, the video performance is superb, in every occasion can give clear, sharp images with well-balanced colors and faithful to the real, give merit also to the excellent work done by Hawkeye developers. The white balance is well calibrated, the “auto low light” function that automatically adjusts the brightness on some occasions tends to “burn” the images, but I reserve the right to test it better. The stabilisation this time is really very good, the technicians had told me essential developments in this regard, and I confirm that the results have arrived, I leave the first video I shot in the weekend with 1080P resolution 60 fps and active stabilisation;
Soon video in 4K and comparisons with the direct competitor of this Hawkeye Firefly 8SE, the Thieye T5e
We always remember that the Actioncam was born and designed to give the best of themselves in the videos, so the photos should be overshadowed, but in this case the photos also give good results, I leave you to judge with the following gallery, they have been taken with 12Mp resolution and resized for space requirements.
ps. if you notice the upper left corner “dark” the cause was the lens protection not positioned correctly, my mistake.
The audio output is discrete, from the settings we can also adjust the microphone volume, the default value is 80%. The Firefly 8SE allows the use of external microphones via the mini USB port, all the classic microphones for the GoPro are fully compatible.
The App for the control of the room via Wi-Fi has been renewing. The previous version was very basic this time instead the functions are complete. We have full control of the settings and the various modes of operation. Another good reason that may push you to choose this new Firefly 8SE.
We were confident about this new model, we had been in contact with Hawkeye for months and day by day we felt their enthusiasm for this new Hawkeye Firefly 8SE, as you have seen the results are there and they are more than good, moreover the Hawkeye has also succeeded this time to contain costs and the final consumer cannot help but thank.
Which one to choose between this and the Thieye T5e?
We will try to answer you sincerely, the video performance is very similar, very good on both, but the Firefly 8SE has some points in its favor.
- Firm firmware development (already demonstrated over time with previous models)
- Better image stabilization
- Same dimensions as Git2 and 7S (means interchangeable waterproof houses) who has a Thieye will understand better
- External microphone via USB
If I have to recommend one, I would say Hawkeye Firefly 8SE!!