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Crosstour CT9900 Action Camera Review!

  



 Last Updated  - 12th April 2020



On the 9th December 2020, I purchased the Crosstour CT9900 for 54.99 along with a Sandisk 128Gb Extreme Pro memory stick for 21.99 from Amazon.co.uk. I require to make a couple of action videos so it seemed a reasonable cost effective investment - Check out my overall Verdict.

Photo and Video Samples - shown at the foot of this article.

The CT9900 has a touch screen, WiFi, 20MPixel camera with a
170% lens
angle, an 8 times telephoto digital zoom, 6 axis image stabilisation and 4K/60fps max video. It arrived with a remote control, an open style case and a waterproof case for scuba diving, a USB external microphone, a bicycle mounting kit, a helmet mounting kit and 2 x 1350mAh batteries which are charged individually within the camera via a charging cable.

Camera Niggles
The battery cover is a clip on lid that could get lost, especially if after repeated battery swaps, the plastic clip wears and fails.

The sockets and the memory card slot are not protected by a cover against dirt and grime.

The supplied waterproof case does not facilitate the use of the USB microphone which is supplied and the case blocks the internal mike. However, if you plan to video in the pouring rain or you intend to go scuba diving, the waterproof case is ideal.

The remote works well with the camera in the case but the remote must not be used underwater or exposed to dampness. 

The lens actually protrudes beyond the lens cover and could get scratched if the camera is laid on a hard surface, lens facing down.
 
Memory Card
The
Crosstour CT9900 Manual leaves a lot to be desired as so much is left to your own devices. I had never used a micro memory card before, so I had to be very careful when inserting it and like other memory cards it has a press spring release which makes the card pop out. With the camera lying on its back the memory card is inserted into the slot with the name/colour side facing down and the metal groove section facing up and first into the slot. A gently push with your finger nail, until it clips in and vice versa for it to pop out. The manufacturer of the CT9900 camera recommends that you use a fast memory card for 4K 60Hz video use but I had to drop to 4K 50Hz using this memory card to achieve decent video results.

Camera Test Results
When you switch on the camera, it always boots up in video mode. If you change the battery, it will retain all your menu settings.

I will list my preferred settings in the attached menu table (a work in progress). I discovered that the camera has 3 parts to the menu setup; Camera Photos - System - Camera Video and the camera photo settings and the video settings, do interlink in certain areas.

The EIS (image stabilisation) in the video menu is tied to the
Distortion Calibration in the system menu, if EIS is set to ON, then the Distortion Calibration is not available in video or for camera photos. If EIS is set to OFF in the video menu, then the Distortion Calibration can be set to ON and is available in video and for camera photos. 

I found the WB (white balance) set to AUTO for normal daylight scenes, was best and offered better colour than the daylight setting.
For all my tests, I set the METERING to multi-metering and the camera photo resolution to 20MP.

Holding the camera without its case can prove awkward whereby your left finger can slip over part of the top left of the lens. I am used to much larger DSLR cameras so it took a bit of getting used to. When pressing the top shutter button in camera photo mode, you must press quickly and immediately release your finger and then the shutter will fire. If you press the shutter button down for too long, the camera will go into the photo menu. The same applies in video mode. It is important to keep the camera steady until you hear the shutter fire in photo mode.

In both the camera and video, the NATURAL choice in the SYSTEM menu EFFECT mode delivers a more natural and clearer image/video. There is a definite difference in the recording as there is less blue in NATURAL compared to NORMAL. The strange thing is that in video NATURAL mode the video icon on the front screen still displays NORMAL 4K30.

I also found that the Video Resolution set to 4K 30FPS delivers a sharper and cleaner video than 4K 60FPS and I set the Power Frequency to 50Hz. I was using a fairly fast memory card but at 4K 60FPS the video quality was very jerky during panning and there was the occasional frizzle interference.

The battery lid wearing, really did not concern me because I had decided that for my limited use, I would just keep the battery in the camera and recharge it when necessary - after all I quickly discovered that the battery is good for at least 90 minutes (I tested it with a video run at 4K 30FPS, EIS Image Stabilisation=On and Wind Noise Reduction=ON and Screen Saver=ON).

I never lay the camera body on any surface, lens facing down. The lens face actually protrudes beyond the lens cover and could get scratched. If you are carrying the camera in your hand without its case, be careful that you do not grease up the lens face with your fingers and if the camera is switched on, it is very easy to cusp the camera in your hand and accidentally touch the screen, whereby the menu settings are activated and changed.

The CT9900 videos are created in American NTSC colour format (not British PAL) and .MOV style files, so if you desire a PAL colour format and an .MPEG-4 file, you will require additional software to accomplish the conversion. I had no bother in achieving this with Power Director video software.

I was planning to make 30 minute videos but the CT9900 will stop and restart another video segment, on average every 13-15 minutes. Not a great problem as I can edit all the best bits from the segments and stitch them together using computer software.

I could not get the WiFi file transfer to work, it connected no bother with my Windows 10 laptop but I required an app to see and transfer files for the camera. So far, I cannot find an app for Windows 10 and the CT9900 camera. Apparently it works great with an Android smartphone and you can download an app from the apps store (I don't use a smartphone).

The remote control is brilliant and can be fixed to your wrist via the supplied buckle and strap. It has a start/stop button RED for the camera and start/stop GREY button for the video. It cannot be used in the rain or if scuba driving.

Video Image Quality
I will outline my test settings in the attached menu table (a work in progress) my choices for achieving best image quality.

I prefer to use the camera in video mode with the lens angle of view wide open or zoomed to a mid telephoto range to obtain the best image quality.

In video mode and camera mode the EIS (image stabilisation) in the video menu is tied to the
Distortion Calibration in the system menu. So in action mode when there is a great deal of movement, I prefer to use EIS and accept that I will lose the Distortion Calibration to correct the video frame.

I also used Power Director software to render the .MOV videos from the CT9900 to MPEG-4 where I can also greatly enhance the video image quality.

I don't own a Android operating system smart phone, so I cannot comment on how much more video information can be accessed or controlled by connecting to the camera via WiFi.

Camera  Photo Image Quality
I will outline my test settings in the attached menu table (a work in progress) my choices for achieving best image quality.
The image quality is reduced as the zoom pulls in the scene but up to mid zoom range the image quality if very good.

I prefer the colour of the image when the EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL.

I can live with the frame distortion of an action video but the Distortion Calibration in the system menu does not work when EIS (image stabilisation) in the video menu is set to ON. I dislike the distortion frame in a photo so I must always remember to switch EIS to OFF in video and set the Distortion Calibration in system to ON.

The camera's lens aperture seems to be fixed at f2.8 so the only way to further open up or close down the lens for more or less light in the scene is to use the EV in the menu (+ for more light or - for less). The screen view of the scene will change to match the new EV setting.

 

The camera in any ISO mode never displays the aperture and shutter speed settings, even when you view an image in the playback. You can view these settings in 3rd party software or in Windows 10 viewer which can read the jpg file. This is a problem if you want to use the ISO in manual mode. At ISO:1600-3200 the camera image quality is well blown out with huge amounts of noise.

 

I don't own a Android operating system smart phone, so I cannot comment on how much more image information can be accessed or controlled by connecting to the camera via WiFi.

Accessories Supplied with Camera
The extenders are fine and well built and likewise the helmet fixings, although the stick on holders are not curved but flat.
The supplied open style case is excellent for clipping in the camera and enabling you to use the built in or the external USB mike. The waterproof case does not facilitate the use of the external USB microphone and the case blocks the internal mike. However, if you plan to video in the pouring rain or you intend to go scuba diving, the waterproof case is ideal. The remote works well with the camera in both cases and it can be strapped to your wrist with the wrist belt but the remote must not be used underwater or exposed to rainfall. The headset straps are okay but not brilliant.

 



I was not impressed by the CT9900 head strap but fortunately I also ordered a Wealpe Head Strap Camera Mount (image below) for using to video wildlife which cost 7.99. I have decided that I have no use for the optional Crosstour battery charger (image below) which charges 2 x 1350 mAh batteries (batteries included) and costs 12.54.

 

  

 

I intend to purchase a dedicated SUREWO Aluminium Motorcycle Helmet Chin Strap early next year when my bike is back on the road.

 

 

 

The CT9900 is very neat and has some serious tech.

 

  


VERDICT

Well worth the budget 'crazy cheap' price but best used in bright lit days for the optimum image quality for photos and videos.

Its a pity that to engage Distortion Calibration in camera photo mode to correct the photo frame distortion the EIS (image stabilisation) has to be switched off in the video mode. 



PHOTO & VIDEO SAMPLES


Field & Tree Photos Captured in Good Weather
The photos in this section are all full size straight out of the camera BUT there are limitations to the image quality vs their viewing size. I have a 15" tablet screen and when viewed at that size on my tablet the image quality is excellent. I can push the image larger (CTRL + Mouse Centre Wheel Roll Up) and the image quality still holds up. When viewed on my tablet at full size, the image quality is well blown out. 

I switched the EIS (image stabilisation) OFF and the Distortion Calibration ON for these images. The first photo is a full wide angle, the second a midrange angle and the last one a full telephoto shot. The full wide angle shot still displays a slight distortion as witnessed in the fencing posts at the edges of the image.

 

Please click on images to open up to camera unedited full size -

20MP, Colour
EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL, ISO set to AUTO which produced ISO:100, shutter 1/320sec and aperture f2.8. White balance was set to AUTO and METERING was set to Multi-Metering. The exposure compensation (EV) was set to 0. The file size is 7.2Mb -
 

 

20MP, Colour EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL, ISO set to AUTO which produced ISO:100, shutter 1/320sec and aperture f2.8. White balance was set to AUTO and METERING was set to Multi-Metering. The exposure compensation (EV) was set to 0. The file size is 7.3Mb -

 

 

20MP, Colour EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL, ISO set to AUTO which produced ISO:100, shutter 1/320sec and aperture f2.8. White balance was set to AUTO and METERING was set to Multi-Metering. The exposure compensation (EV) was set to 0. The file size is 6.1Mb -

 

 

Dog Photos Captured in Good Weather
The photos in this section are all full size straight out of the camera BUT there are limitations to the image quality vs their viewing size. I have a 15" tablet screen and when viewed at that size on my tablet the image quality is excellent. I can push the image larger (CTRL + Mouse Centre Wheel Roll Up) and the image quality still holds up. When viewed on my tablet at full size, the image quality is well blown out. 

I switched the EIS (image stabilisation) OFF and the Distortion Calibration ON for these images.
The first image of the dog is a full wide angle and the second shot with a medium zoom.

 

Please click on images to open up to camera unedited full size -


20MP, Colour EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL, ISO set to AUTO which produced ISO:100, shutter 1/160sec and aperture f2.8. White balance was set to AUTO and METERING was set to Multi-Metering. The exposure compensation (EV) was set to 0. The file size is 7.5Mb -

 

 

20MP, Colour EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL, ISO set to AUTO which produced ISO:100, shutter 1/200sec and aperture f2.8. White balance was set to AUTO and METERING was set to Multi-Metering. The exposure compensation (EV) was set to 0. The file size is 7.3Mb -

 


Port Seton Harbour Area
The photos in this section are all full wide angle and full size straight out of the camera BUT there are limitations to the image quality vs their viewing size. I have a 15" tablet screen and when viewed at that size on my tablet the image quality is excellent. I can push the image larger (CTRL + Mouse Centre Wheel Roll Up) and the image quality still holds up. When viewed on my tablet at full size, the image quality is well blown out. 

I switched the EIS (image stabilisation) OFF and the Distortion Calibration ON for these images.

 

Please click on images to open up to camera unedited full size -

20MP, Colour
EFFECT mode is set to NATURAL, ISO set to AUTO, white balance was set to AUTO and METERING was set to Multi-Metering. The exposure compensation (EV) was set to 0  -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image below is a cropped version of the men in the boat image above - cropped using Lightroom Software on a computer -

 

 

 

Video of Squirrels
This is a video taken of squirrels in my back garden in April 2021 - it is a very dull cold afternoon and it is snowing. The camera has image stabilisation switched on. The video was converted from an
American NTSC colour format to a MPEG-4 British PAL colour format, using Powerpoint Software  -

 

 

More videos to follow later:

 

 



 

 

If this article has assisted you in any way - please donate to my Charity of Choice   -   The Sick Kids

 

Richard Lawrence
Scotland
United Kingdom

 

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