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Jul 14, 2017, 01:40 PM
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plasoneal's Avatar
Mini-Review

AKK FPV Products Review and Comparisons: Great value!


First of all, thanks to AKK for the chance to review the following FPV camera/VTX products!

AKK A3
AKK KC02
AKK KC03
AKK KC04

About me:
Personally I've been flying RC aircraft for 30+ years and some form of FPV quads for about 1 1/2 years. I don't consider myself an expert in FPV but I have experienced several pieces/combinations of "junk" FPV equipment than simply weren't viable for FPV flight for various reasons. I find all of these AKK products to be a great value for their features!

Testing procedure:
I did not do range tests on these units, as they are of different MW ratings. For each camera I mounted to a camera drone gimbal (two at a time), performed a low level turn (camera outwards) below tree level and then a similar higher altitude turn (above the trees). All this was recorded on a set of goggles with diversity receivers and an integrated DVR. Due to a technical problem with the DVR, one recording (the KC04) was recorded on a different day, so it is possible the lighting conditions were not exactly the same.

The AKK A3 product is an integrated camera and VTX. The other products (KC02, KC03, KC04) were all tested with the AKK KC33 VTX (600 MW with RaceBand). Although I did not officially compare VTX options in this review, I will state that I've personally used an AKK X1 (similar to their current X1P model, just without the extended antenna lead) in my camera drone. It is a switchable MW VTX 25/200/600 with RaceBand. It has performed very well for me over the past months. The other differences between K1/K1p and the K33 model used here are: Single LED/Single switch (K1 or K1P) vs multiple switch/multiple LED. Therefore the K33 is a bit easier to change bands and frequencies, but isn't switchable MW like the K1/K1P. Other than that, very good performance out of both!

Regarding antenna, it is well known that "cloverleaf" or "mushroom" antenna will give you better performance than the stock antenna as provided with these units. For any installation, I would highly recommend upgrading to such antenna, though such an upgrade was not part of these tests. They were all performed using the provided antenna.

Below are my findings on each of the units, along with links to their respective videos on YouTube.

AKK A3
http://www.akktek.com/products/micro...o-cameras.html
YouTube:
AKK A2 Low Altitude (0 min 29 sec)

YouTube:
AKK A2 High Altitude (2 min 42 sec)

MSRP $20.99
Sale: $16.79
Max MW: 200
Switchable MW: Yes 25/50/200
Digital Lag: <=0.02 seconds
Commentary: Impressive picture quality and transmission in a micro platform. Color quality fair, resolution fair, very wide field of view. (probably difficult to fly PFV). Does not have mounting bracket, requires taping, strapping, etc. Clover leaf antenna included, but not removable. The switchable MW feature is great if you need to control your power flying with others. My tests were all done a 25 MW, so you can see from the video this has a pretty nice range even at that setting!

AKK KC02
http://www.akktek.com/products/micro.../akk-kc02.html
YouTube:
AKK KC02 Low to High Altitude (1 min 44 sec)

MSRP $36.99
Current Sale Price: $25.59
Max MW: 600
Switchable MW: no
Digital Lag: <=0.02 seconds
Commentary: Color, resolution field of view good. Has Sony chip with OSD controller to change camera settings, but requires creation of a custom wiring harness to utilize the OSD. Performance could possible be improved by changing settings. Nice case and mounting bracket.

AKK KC03
http://www.akktek.com/products/micro.../akk-kc03.html
AKK KC03 Low to High Altitude (7 min 2 sec)

YouTube:
MSRP $30.99
Current Sale Price: $24.79
Max MW: 600
Switchable MW: no
Digital Lag: <0.02 seconds (near zero)
Commentary: Better Color, good resolution & field of view. Does not have mounting bracket. A little darker image than others.


AKK KC04
http://www.akktek.com/products/micro.../akk-kc04.html
YouTube:
AKK KC04 Low to High Altitude (1 min 18 sec)

MSRP $26.99
Current Sale Price: $21.59
Max MW: 600
Switchable MW: no
Digital Lag: <=0.02 seconds.
Commentary: Best Color, good resolution & field of view. Does not have mounting bracket though it has a case similar to KC02. Would look nicer in an "exposed" mount.


Overall:
All four cameras are a great value and perform well. The best choice for you depends upon your specific installation and performance needs.

For micro installations and line-of-sight flight, go with the AKK A3. But because of the field of view I don't see this as a viable option for flying via FPV, as your depth perception is not very "real life" (at least for my goggles). May be more realistic if using something like the FatShark goggles which display a much narrower view.

KC03 and KC04 come in to close ties as my favorites with a slight price and color edge going to KC04. KC04 would be easier to mount perhaps if you can fabricate a mounting bracket to work with it and you want to see better color and light balance. But the KC03 has the least lag time (almost zero) and a smaller footprint.

The only real disappointment to me was the KC02. Having the Sony chip in it without an out-of-the-box way to play with the settings is a negative. It might possibly perform equal to or better than the KC03/KC04 with optimized settings, but the novice user isn't going to know how to connect the video signal at the same time as having the OSD controller connected.

I hope you find this review helpful.

Paul
Last edited by plasoneal; Jul 15, 2017 at 03:06 PM. Reason: correcting reference to AKK A3 (not AKK A2)
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Jul 14, 2017, 02:30 PM
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plasoneal's Avatar
In case you're interested, here's my "selfie" doing some of the tests. You'll hear me reference the onboard drone camera being recorded, but since it is a 4k integrated camera, I didn't feel it was a fair comparison to post in this actual review.

Example Testing Procedure (8 min 22 sec)
Last edited by plasoneal; Jul 14, 2017 at 03:00 PM.
Jul 15, 2017, 03:12 PM
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plasoneal's Avatar

Product Correction


My apologies, but I had to correct one product reference. I realized today that I actually had the AKK A3 (switchable mw) vs the AKK A2 originally highlighted. This has been corrected above and in the YouTube links.

Paul
Last edited by plasoneal; Jul 17, 2017 at 02:37 PM.


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