So what do you do when you have the whole city open to the world, yet still and quiet because everything is shut down? Well, you jump into a few vehicles and take the latest action cam that came in and you mount it to one of them so that you can drive around and capture the emotion of it all. A great way to test out a new camera, and we did just that with the new VanTop Moment 5C Action Camera, kicking off our benchmark of the camera in a very neat way
Today, however, we aren’t here to discuss that video as we have already covered that in another story (the video is also available a little further into the story below). Instead, we finally get to talk about what we think about this new camera and how it fits into the market that is starting to become so busy with GoPro competitors that GoPro is beginning to be just another name.
The design of this new model is quite similar to what you would find with just about any action cam. VanTop isn’t trying to be (fake) hip by changing the shape of the camera or anything because they know the shape works out just fine for what it does. Some companies come up with some of the craziest visionary changes to the body styles of their cameras that serve no function or worsen the use of the product. VanTop has it right though. Why fix or change something that works great already?
That being said, you’ll find all of the same features as you would on any action camera. You have your typical assortment of buttons spread about the body of the camera. The front contains your power button which is also your configuration/menu button. The top features your typical record/snap button to take pictures or control the video recording with. The right side of the camera contains two buttons that function as your up and down for when you are maneuvering around menus or images.
Most of this, of course, you are going to opt-out of and just use the touch screen available on the back of the camera. The menu system is quite user-friendly with very little guesswork. For any guesswork that comes up, you can make use of the instructions that come with it that are more than informative (and in multiple languages).
Then you have connectivity. Besides already having your typical camera mount threads on the bottom of the camera, it also comes with a collection of mounts, straps, velcro, adapters and more. Some of these adapters will connect directly to the camera, and others will attach to the included clamshell, allowing you to mount, clip or stick it just about anywhere. As for the waterproof clamshell (up to 100 feet), you will find it to be quite familiar to so many other models. In fact, so many things about this camera are familiar to so many other models, that you likely will skip reading the instructions outside of for a few menu items.
To make the deal more enticing, they include two batteries instead of one. So you aren’t being forced to buy into all these added accessories. They are already available in the box. A great way to draw in a crowd and take business away from the bigger names. Then to add some salt onto the wounds of these other companies, they throw in a dual-battery charging dock so that you can easily recharge the batteries in a single round like most photographers do with their DSLR batteries.
What’s also nice, is that the battery life on this little camera is pretty good. Some models will last you around just 20 minutes one battery, which gets quite annoying. We shot all of our B-roll, including the strip video, all on a single battery without ever recharging it. Just over a half-hour worth of footage and we still had battery life to spare.
That being said, the battery isn’t going to last you all day. There is only so much you can do with such little space (and without increasing the weight of the camera). For even better battery life, I am sure they will have newer flagships to pull that off with in the future.
As for quality, this camera fits quite nicely into it’s MSRP of just $99. I want to say that we have seen better, but it’s a stretch of the mind trying to think of a model that has done better. We have seen a little better image at 4K with a few models, but they were also limited to 4K@30p and suffered motion blur when moving fast. With this model, the image isn’t 100% at 4K, but you don’t get the same motion blur since it can produce 4K up to 60p to help eliminate this with. The quality of the image just feels a little overly-compressed or maybe over-sharpened. Either that or it’s 2K being stretched to 4K. You can see this in the below video that was previously mentioned.
Las Vegas Strip Amid COVID-19 Outbreak – 4K@60p + EIS
You can see that the image isn’t perfect at 4K, but it still looks quite good. That, and we mounted the camera to the side of the vehicle for the specific reason of also being able to get a great idea of how well it handles motion compared to some of these other models we have tested out within the same price range.
Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) is pretty decent in this model. We have seen better, sure, but not for this price. A few models within this price still don’t even have any form of stabilization yet, although only a few a most brands have opted to add some form of stabilization at this point.
This is even more noticeable when you enable timelapse or slow-motion since although the video file comes out at 4K when it comes to image size, the image seems even more compressed or shot with less of a resolution and then stretched, causing it to become a bit more pixelated. You can see samples of this in the video below under the conclusion of this story where we unboxed it and went through some of these features with footage.
Of course, this isn’t new by any means as many of these brands/models see a drop in resolution when you enable some of these features. Usually, your the final resolution of the file drops with it vs stretching it back to whatever setting you have. So because of this, we typically recommend saving the final video (for whatever you are using it for) at a lower resolution like 1080p so that it looks better visually vs stretched out.
Clearly, this is an entry-level option from VanTop, albeit, a very nice one. It isn’t going to chase after something like the GoPro Black when it comes to quality, but the features are good for the price and it comes with so many accessories. Also coming with an extra battery and a charging dock for both batteries to charge at once is a big win as well. The image quality is pretty good for an entry-level option and the image stabilization is good enough for those looking to keep things affordable. You get a lot for a decent entry-level price, making this one of our favorite models within the $99 MSRP range. If you are looking for better, well, then entry-level isn’t for you, and they have other models to choose from to fill those needs with.
Updated (2023): Product only seems to be available via ebay at this time.
|Buy from ebay|
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Contributing Editors: Jeffrey B & James H.
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