Pick of the Cameras

(Click the pictures for reviews & links)

ALL THE ONES THAT I LIKE ARE SHOWN BELOW. 

ACTION CAMS

Sony AS100V

SJ4000

TCL SVC200
SJ1000
 
Sony AS15/AS10
Liquid Image EGO

DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
G1W Budget 1080p Cam
Mini 0803
Vico WF-1
Vico Marcus 3
DOD LS430W
Mobius
MINI CAMERAS
Innovv C1
Mobius

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JooVuu - A UK based store who sell a number of the cameras I've reviewed. (Click to visit the store).

 

MY CAMERA REVIEWS ON YOUTUBE

Dash Cams

Action Cams

Spy Cams

YOUTUBE.COM/TECHMOAN

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about and experienced too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. 

NOTE - Some cameras work more reliably with Class 6 Cards as a Maximum (The Mini 0801 is an example).

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

CLASS 10 CARD

   

CLASS 6 CARD

 

 

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Sunday
Jun092013

SJ1000 - At last...a good cheap action camera 

After years of fruitless searching and a not inconsiderable amount of money spent, I've finally found a good, cheap, 1080p waterproof action camera.

I get a lot of emails from people asking what action camera I would recommend for occasional use for paint-balling, mountain biking, etc - that costs around £50. Prior to today, my response has been that the cheapest camera I could really recommend was the Liquid Image Ego, but it costs£100.

If your budget doesn't stretch to £100 then there are very few action cameras to choose from. Perhaps the best camera from a very short shortlist is the the RD32II, but it suffers from a substandard mounting system and a non-standard video format. 

The SJ1000 changes everything. For about £60 you can buy a camera that is capable (under the right conditions) of producing video that rivals cameras costing over four times as much. I'm not suggesting that people throw away their GoPro HDHero 3 Black Edition cameras and get this instead...but if you are on a limited budget or don't see the point in spending £200+ on something you only plan on using a couple of times a year then this might well be the camera for you.

You'll have to do a bit of experimenting to get the mounting options to fit your requirements, but it's definitely worth the trouble when you see the video quality that you can get from this small camera. 

 

WANT TO BUY ONE?

Click on your Country of Choice ... US UK AUS DE NL

 

Here is a folder of downloadable sample clips (Wait a few seconds for this to load up)

I should mention that I haven't shot many 720p60 clips...and you'll only find 1080p on the bike.

The only thing I think that I forgot to say in the video was that when using it as a car DVR there is no gap between clips (as you expect nowadays)...in fact each clip repeats the last second of the previous one just to be sure.

UPDATE - 10 June 2013 - Answering a few questions.

First some bad news - The 720p60 mode turns out to actually be 720p30 (every frame is shown twice). I should have spotted this earlier, but I had only been testing the 1080p30 mode as that's the one I use. iMovie always converts 720p60 to 720p30 so that's why I didn't notice it before...apologies for that. Here is a link to a fast moving 720p clip I shot today.

Motion Detection mode - When this is on, the camera records 10 seconds of video and then stops until it sees another movement. If a movement occurs during the 10 seconds when it's recording then the timer is reset and it records for another 10 seconds. This way if the movement doesn't stop then the camera doesn't either....hope that makes sense.

The camera should be able to be mounted the right way up in a car if the correct mounts are combined....this is demonstrated in some of the ebay auction photos. 

File Sizes: 10 Minutes of video takes up 1.2GB in 1080p or 1.07GB in 720p modes.

The case floats in water and on it's own weighs 66.7g.

The camera itself is 7cm tall, 4.5cm wide, 3 cm thick at the bottom and 3.5cm thick at the top where the lens makes it deeper.

The timestamp can be switched off. I turned it off for the Night Time Driving clips and show this option on-screen 19:57 into the video.

I think the manufacturer may be a company with the snappy name of Shenzhen Hongfeng Century Technology Co. Ltd.

BATTERY LIFE is 2hrs 15mins (Could be 2hr 30 mins or more with the screen off)

UPDATE 29 August 2013 'NEW' FIRMWARE!

I know a few people have been waiting for this - so finally here is the updated firmware that fixes the screensaver bug. If the fact that the screen didn't automatically blank out wasn't an issue to you, I'd suggest skipping this update. If you want to update the firmware, you can download the file from the Files & Drivers Page. Updating it is very easy, but just in case you are unsure...here's a quick video. Beware, if you somehow kill it, you are on your own.

Update 27 Sept 2013

Here's a link to another review of the camera by Tom Hardwick (he likes it).

Update 28/12/13.

This is a six month old review and a lot has happened since. You'll find the cases are improved, possibly the mounts too..and you now have the ability to turn the camera on when it's inside the case due to a different button arrangement. The current crop seem to have a 90º lens rather than the 140º on my camera. That means no fish-eye - but less FOV. I'm not doing any more videos about camera this but.....PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS...before posting a question that's been asked countless times before, it's the least you could do for all the kind people who have given up their time to elaborate on the features of this camera and posted their findings in the comments.  I'll give you a starter...NO IT DOESN'T DO TIMELAPSE...The way you can tell this is because there is no option for this on the screen when I go through all the menus in the camera...and it's the kind of thing I would have mentioned. I tend not to mention the things a camera doesn't do because we would be here all day....you can't clip your toenails with this camera, it can't be used as a flotation device, it won't take x-rays etc..... 

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Reader Comments (1139)

This is one of the first cameras that looks like it could give the go-pro a run for the money. I followed your links and did a brief search on the internet, but couldn't find the weight specifications. Any chance you could weigh the camera and the protective case (separately)?

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPigmyPuncher

I did weigh the camera on it's own at 07:17 (103g / 3.63oz) the case is light and will add very little to this.

June 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat,

Not sure, but I think the plastic nut on the suction cup ball joint was on the wrong way round and that's why it wouldn't tighten up. Unscrew it, pop out the ball joint and turn the nut round.

Many thanks for a great review. I'm thinking of a (semi) permanent dash-cam - but on my motorcycle. I get fed up of people asking me if I've got a camera on my helmet.

FlyingPanMan

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFlyingPanMan

many thanks!!!
i´ll buy one of those!

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjose barroso

I thought the same and tried it flipped but it wouldn't go on that way, so I definitely had it on right. It's just a poorly made crappy plastic mount. After speaking to the DR32 guys I now understand that the mounts are sourced from other companies...which explains why the camera is great whereas the mounts are rubbish. I suppose there wasn't much money left over for decent mounts which you can understand. I'd rather they put the money into the camera rather than the mounts.

June 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Yey! I`ve been waiting all weekend for the review. Great job as always.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterConstantin

Thanks, I'm glad you are happy. Putting this one together totally destroyed my weekend...so hopefully it's worth it in the end.

June 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi again,

I've looked at the adverts, but nowhere can I find the actual dimensions of the camera. Dimensions of the waterproof case would also be useful.

Could you post them up, please?

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFlyingPanMan

You convinced me (again) for buying a great action camera.
I have had the jumbo 808 for a while, but it isn't usefull for my needs.
This one, better quality, better field of view and it has a screen on it. Perfect for me!

The mount you used for inside the car can be refitted upside down with the 2 screws on the back i think. Then the camera will be the right way up in the car!

I am very thankfull for your review. I will order this one very soon i think. I like it!

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRutger

it looks like this is the same camera for sale in the US on amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/DBcam-Hi-Resolution-Action-Sports-Camera/dp/B009DKTLU8/ref=pd_sim_e_6

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAxel

Good review! I would like to ask you a little question, I have seen that all samples have the date, is there any option to remove the date? Thank you.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFull

The clips can be inverted so the car mount can be turned around so the camera is right side up rather than upside down. Sure you need to take a screw driver to it but that seems like a minor thing to me.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterToaster_Chicken

Ok, I just watch the video-review and I already know that I can remove de date.

Sorry.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFull

Another great video!
But there is only one thing I want to mention.
By the look of the sample videos on your blog - I would say, that footage was sharp, because of some exsesive post sharpening was applied.
I saw, that there was some kind of sharpening option in menus - Can you post a sample , that was shot without sharpening?

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rdHalf

Axel: No, it is a different camera and very old one, not HD, look here for specs http://www.aee.com/old/en/productshow.asp?sendid=60

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTNT

Hi Matt,

I just bought one of those...
I bought to a monopod in ebay to be sure that i´ll appear in the movie to!!
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mini-Extendable-HandHeld-Travel-Monopod-For-Camera-DV-Video-/271159388419?ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:US:3160

Best regards and keep the good work!

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjose barroso

Alex: that's the old camera with low resolution, I know that design from chinese company AEE, I bought one in 2011. Thanks for posting links where to buy these new cameras because they don't have brand names and then it is quite problem to find any of these on eBay or elsewhere. :-)

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTNT

I have just ordered this bases on your review.
The plastic screen on the protection housing can be replace with glass very easy.. I hope I will try it.
I hope one of the good version arrives to me. I will let you know.
Thank you for the review.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

Great review.
I was wondering is there were any chest or head mounts for this camera?

thanks

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdq

I'm not sure what all the mounts do....so there might be an option in there that would work. The T shaped piece can attach to quite a few things.

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

3rdhalf: Sharpness can only be adjusted for photos, not video. The options for photos are Strong, Normal or Soft. The photos in the review are using Normal.

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

If you're buying from UK ebay guy in Wales you better get them quick.
last night he had 88 of them ,atm he has 73 left,but more importantly the price is rising ,£62.90 before you're review, this morning they went up to £64.90 ,now a day after the review they are £68.90.
So get em while they're hot guys.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwasp131

Thanks for the review, do you happen to know if the manufacturer has a website/will be releasing a firmware update to fix the screensaver issue?

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohnnyB

I think I've found the manufacturer....I'll add a link at the bottom of the review.

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Guys, you may check this out as well.. just refer to the pictures for extra information.. http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.87.W5BAPD&id=24906508109

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbassyee

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