The Amkov R5 is a Kickstarter with only a few days to go that’s doing quite a bit of misleading and shady marketing to get money from aspiring photographers. It’s not really news that Kickstarters can be dodgy — and sometimes customers never end up getting the products that they’ve paid for. In the past, we’ve reported on both situations. But the Amkov R5 is doing this with lots of disingenuous language and specification comparisons. If you’re buying one, we recommend that you cancel your order or do so with a lot of caution.
To any photographer that knows things about cameras, the Amkov R5 seems like a pretty promising new toy if you’ve got Gear Acquisition Syndrome. But when you start to explore the marketing and information much more, you begin to understand how they’re deceiving customers.
The Amkov R5 is Not a Mirrorless Camera in the Vernacular of the Product Category
The Amkov R5 is billing itself as a mirrorless camera. Does it have a mirror inside? No — but neither does your phone, your GoPro, your drone, or the point-and-shoot camera that’s in storage somewhere. By that definition, all of these cameras are mirrorless cameras. However, that’s not how manufacturers define the product category.
Mirrorless cameras, instead, are definitively cameras that have interchangeable lenses and do not have a mirror inside. Cameras with a mirror inside are DSLRs — which allow the photographers to optically see what’s happening through the lens. To do that, it takes what the lens sees, flips it around via a mirror and prism, and then shows it to you through the viewfinder. Instead, mirrorless cameras do that without a mirror or prism.
Examples of mirrorless cameras are:
- Canon EOS R5
- Nikon Z30
- Sony a6700
- Panasonic S5
- OM System OM1
- Leica M6
To be a mirrorless camera within the category, you have to have the ability to change the lenses on the camera by engaging and disengaging a lock.
Some cameras are said to compete with those — like the Leica Q3 with its full-frame sensor and the Fujifilm X100V with its APS-C sensor.
With all this said, calling the Amkov R5 a mirrorless camera is like calling your refrigerator a cooler. They both do the job of preserving food and drink, but they do so in completely different ways and with varying levels of effectiveness.
The Amkov R5 Being Compared to Mirrorless Cameras That are Far More Capable
The Amkov R5 is priced at $149 which seems like a complete bargain when you look at it as they’ve presented it. But it’s also incredibly misleading. The other cameras can’t have a built-in macro effect because that’s based on the lens that you’re using. They also all have a presumably far larger sensor than what the Amkov R5 contains. In fact, the Kickstarter doesn’t state the size of the sensor at all — which continues to mislead so many photographers out there.
Further on in the Kickstarter we start to see even more misleading information. From what these specs lead us to interpret, the sensor at the heart of the Amkov R5 is a 12MP CMOS sensor that can up-res to 48MP instead. With that said, the Amkov R5 can do a 48MP photo. The Kickstarter conveniently also leaves out how many frames per second the camera can shoot, the focal length on the lens, how much less of a resolution the screen is than the others, the dimensions of the camera, weight, etc.
To be frank, though, the Japanese camera manufacturers often try to mislead journalists in the same way. They’re far more effective at doing this to YouTubers that don’t know any better. But the Amkov R5 has some next level misleading statements coming out of Hong Kong that put a sour taste in my mouth.
More importantly, they’ve raised a lot of money thus far. At nearly $100,000 and with the camera being sold for under $200, just imagine how much photographers are trying to throw at a camera like this.
It makes me truly wonder why the FTC hasn’t tried to do a further investigation of Kickstarter — who would probably throw their project makers under the bus in this situation and claim that they’re not responsible for what the project leaders say. And if that’s the case, we could also say that alcoholic beverage makers aren’t responsible for what people do when they’re intoxicated. However, we have laws and entire industries around a drug that’s legalized and made profitable.
The Images Being Used Weren’t Made with the Amkov R5
You should know that the photos being used in the Kickstarter that are implied to be product photos weren’t made with the Amkov R5. As a photographer that regularly tests cameras and lenses, we can be very sure of this. I mean, how is it possible for the camera to be used in the water alongside a surfer unless you’ve got a really big and great underwater housing that they’re not offering for sale?
In fact a reverse Google Image Search leads us to believe that this is probably a composite.
Kickstarter Should Deliver a Refund for Malicious Practices
The photographers that have backed this project will either end up with one of the worst cameras ever made or probably no camera at all. And the Amkov R5 is something that probably won’t do much better of a job than your phone might.