The Crosstour 4K / CT9000 is one of a number of action cameras that are all very similar; I looked at a few and realised they were all about the same aside from the name. Therefore, if you have bought (or are looking to buy) an action camera that looks like this and is capable of recording video in up to “4K”, then this information should be useful to you.
These cameras will, according to the specifications, support MicroSD cards of up to 32GB in capacity. Again, if your camera of choice looks similar and it also supposedly supports up to 32GB MicroSD cards then I have some news.
I noticed in a number of reviews I read that some people had found that 64GB MicroSD cards worked too. My way of thinking is if a card with double the capacity is less than double the price then go with that one, so I did. [EDIT: more on this at the end]
Recording at 4K, for example, will quickly fill up a memory card*.
The first thing to be aware of is that aside from different capacities, different SD/MicroSD cards are rated at different speeds; for 4K filming the card needs to be able to handle the flow of data. “Class10 U3” is necessary.
I chose a 64GB Samsung “Evo Plus microSDXC UHS-I Card” rated as Class10 3U with a claimed read speed of up to 100MB/s and write speed of up to 60MB/s. Nothing against any other brands at this point, the Samsung ones were just a good price.
The next thing to consider is how you get your clips from your camera into your computer for storage and edit and again how the speed of the card can make a difference. Transferring the video files from the Crosstour 4K is where the “32GB max” limitation seems to come in; I plug the camera into my computer with the supplied USB cable, it recognises a device is plugged in, the camera says “Connecting”, but then nothing else happens; the camera doesn’t show up as a storage device as expected. I have since tested and more-or-less confirmed this with a smaller (4GB) card I had to hand, and that showed up successfully.
The solution to this is to use a MicroSD Card Reader to transfer the video files to computer, but again, speed and size compatibility are things to watch out for.
This method is also beneficial because the Crosstour 4K is limited to USB 2.0 speeds (you can plug it into a USB 3.0 socket but likely not gain a transfer speed benefit). USB 3.0 MicroSD Card Readers are available and are the way to go when using high capacity cards.
The cheap and cheerful one I ordered states “Compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards (up to 64GB)” so it was certainly worth learning this in advance of perhaps gambling on a 128GB card which may prove to be compatible with neither the camera or the card reader. [EDIT: more on this at the end]
Another limitation when using a 64GB card in the Crosstour is its ability to automatically overwrite clips when the card is full. I was expecting this to happen but instead when the card became full it just stated “Card Full” and refused to record any more. I tested this with my 4GB card and this notified me when the card was full yet would continue recording by overwriting the oldest clips. Therefore, rather than just copying the video files off the card via the card reader, I will need to Cut and Paste them to ensure I start each adventure with a blank card.
Perhaps this isn’t a memory card inflicted limitation as such but the fact that when choosing 2.7K or 4K recording options, the “Looping Video” option is disabled. With looping the camera will supposedly keep recording, and then begin again when the card is full. Is Looping unavailable because the card is 64GB and beyond what the camera is technically capable of, or is it simply disable in the higher quality, 2.7K/4K settings? I am unsure.
I have also noticed that the size of the video segments varies not only based on the Video setting chosen but also the capacity of the card. Typically 3 or 10GB when choosing 1080p(30fps) or 2.7K respectively on my 64GB card but then only 367MB when using the 4GB card and choosing 1080p(30fps).
Also, due to my 4GB card lacking not only in capacity but also in speed, the camera automatically limited my recording options:
With a 4GB MicroSDHC card my Crosstour 4K limits my options to up to 1080P(30fps) with 1080P(60fps) greyed out. There is no access to the 2.7K or 4K options. I’m assuming this is more of a limitation based on the speed of the card rather than its capacity but I may be wrong; I’m not sure how the camera can detect the capabilities of a card, like it can with capacity, unless that is something programmed into the card, or there is some sort of quick memory checking when the camera boots.
With the Looping option enabled I filled my 4GB card up to run some tests. I first discovered that it would typically leave itself plenty of space for the next clip.
Here are some speed tests I did with 2GB of video files on my two MicroSD Cards:
- Slowest: from 4GB MicroSDHC in Crosstour camera = 3 minutes 30 seconds
- Compared to 4GB MicroSDHC in USB 3.0 Card Reader = 2 minutes
- Compared to 64GB MicroSDXC in Card Reader plugged into USB 2.0 socket = 1 minute 15 seconds
- Fastest: 64GB MicroSDXC in Card Reader plugged into USB 3.0 socket = 45 seconds
Therefore it makes sense to use not only a high capacity but a high speed (SDXC) MicroSD Card coupled with a USB 3.0 Card Reader; you’ll save yourself much transferring time.
A final thing to be considerate of (though) is the wear-and-tear you inflict of various plugs, slots, and connectors.
– Whilst transferring direct from the Crosstour via the USB cable you can be charging the battery at the same time (although this takes around 2 hours, I’ll likely investigate this in the future). Every time you plug the USB cable into the camera you inflict wear and tear on the socket.
– Each time you remove the MicroSD Card from the camera and plug it into the card reader and plug that into the computer you’re inflicting wear and tear on the card slots on each, and on the USB socket.
– Charging from the USB socket whilst transferring files at the same time inflicts the least wear and tear on sockets/slots, but alas, isn’t possible with 64GB cards.
– By using 64GB cards instead of 32GB ones you reduce the need to swap the cards out when they’re full if out on a long excursion, again reducing the wear and tear on the slot (and the card). I considered the battery capacities also in this regard since it makes little sense to only ever use the two batteries, which will apparently each last up to 90 minutes, in conjunction with a card that can record video for many times longer (my 2GB of test files at 1080p(30fps) totalled 18 minutes, so a to 32GB card would be enough at these settings with only two batteries to hand.
– I could potentially use the same card and only offload the content once with a 64GB card vs twice with a 32GB card when using the same settings.
The different video settings will of course affect how much storage space each clip eats up. By choosing an option the live video display will then indicate how much recording time is left based on the setting in place, but there are some discrepancies here which, again, I’m wondering if they’re down to using the “unsupported” 64GB card.
– Both 4K(25fps) and 2.7K(30fps) will eat up 64GB in = 2hrs 18 minutes. Why are they both the same? [the answer to this will be revealed in my next post]
– 1080p(60fps) will last for 6hrs, whereas 1080p(30fps) will last 7hrs 40 minutes. This seems odd since a 60fps video will surely eat up twice the storage of a 30fps video.
The higher fps (frames per second) are better suited to shots that you might want to edit to slow-motion ones. A final output of 30fps will mean a 60fps shot slowed down to 50% would output at 30fps and still appear as smooth, whereas a 30fps slowed down to 50% would run at only 15fps which is below ideal.
Finally, what to do with all the files? It’s all well and good filling up 32GB or 64GB memory cards but you’re probably going to need to offload those files onto your computer to do something with them and here you will fill up your available storage space. Choosing a lower resolution on the camera can help you out here and might not impact your final project, depending on the format required. Some reviews have stated that these higher resolution Action Cameras don’t actually provide (much) better image quality at their highest settings. Stay tuned to find out more.
EDIT: I have since had the opportunity to try a 128GB MicroSD Card (a SanDisk MicroSD XC Ultra U1) in my Crosstour 4K and MicroSD Card Reader and found both work with it; they both recognise the card and read from and write to it – the Crosstour shows around 12hr recording time available @ 1080p(60fps).
I hope you have found this information useful. If so, please click the Like button below, I also like coffee!
If you have any questions about the Crosstour, or suggestions for this page, please leave a comment below. Thank you in advance.