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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

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 too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
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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

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 (1215)

Just received a replacement camera and waterproof housing.

And the housing is v2 - which has a beefed-up door and buttons for power, mode and OK (instead of the menu buttons on v1). Which is a much more sensible; the menu options only need setting occasionally, but being able to turn the camera on and off without taking it out of the WPH is handy.

I still need to cobble together a back-to-back clip from the two I had which both failed; a project for one evening this week, I think.

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard D

And if people are experiencing the camera stopping automatically, is that the battery running down, or the 4gb FAT limit? IIRC, the camera can take a much larger SD card, but the file system may well limit each file to 4gb; it might be worth trying it set to record 10-minute cycles, and see if it still misbehaves.

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard D

If cyclic recording is turned OFF then the camera will record up to the 4 GB file limit and then STOP recording. Most other cameras simply start a new file automatically at this point but this just stops and you have to manually restart the recording again. The only way to stop this is to set cyclic recording to 10 mins ... but then you end up with loads of 10 min clips which is slightly irritating. Pretty poor logic all in all.

The company that make this camera need to release and make firmware updates available for free to fix all the firmware issues people have found. They're not looking to do their future reputation any favors if they don't.

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexie

@ tom hardwick

On my bonnet there is a drain hole where I placed and BSF bolt. The bolt is secured with 2 x 50mm washers. Around the half way point in the video you can see the bolt on the bonnet from the camera's position behind the windscreen.

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTuko

In case anyones interested. I have just carried out a timed recording test.
Firmware = Y130615
Using a Sandisk 32Gb Class 10 microSD card.
A fully charged battery.
Recording in 1080p.
Set at 10 minutes cycle time.
I obtained the following:- 137.5 minutes of video, made up of 13 x 10 min and 1 x 7.5 min files. Total memory used 15.3 Gb.

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBargain Bob

@jose
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1100mAh-Rechargable-Li-on-Battery-For-Sport-Camera-Mini-DV-/141012416420?ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1123
To buy the case and new type bike mount, just send her a message.

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

For those that want a spare battery
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/111096074344?var=410184029361&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

July 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKerry Neighbour

Just got one as a present, made some short clips with it.

Really impressed with the quality of it. However, does anyone found a good combination to mount it on a helmet?

I'm using a MX helmet and I haven't found a way to fix it using the mounting brackets it came with. Any ideas?

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Anybody had any luck with support for camera - got no response from the manufacturer.
Video not working - basically can no loger access menu as trying to re format the card.
I have changed card with no success.
I had a similar problem with my wife's EGO - John from liquid image said reformatting card will work and it did.

July 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

How to update the firmware?

July 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjose barroso

Went to snorkel again, this time with more attention to the camera result: SUCCESSFUL!!!
No water leak in the case I've put silicon grease on the Orings outside and inside and wrapped the camera with food plastic foil.
Plus => try to push the buttons outside water: turn on the camera start recording then submerge it, when you are done take it out and stop recording.

I'm just realizing now that the LCD display is pretty useless especially underwater, now i get the point of the gopro designers with the simple display, makes more sense. Anyways this costed me 1/4 of a GoPro, so i'm pretty happy :D

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternando

http://www.7dayshop.com/7dayshop-vehicle-bike-action-digital-video-camera-record-your-journeys
Seventeen quid for an action cam? Complete with battery, clamps and so on? How can this be done?

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

@Nando. Me too. The case is watertight but operating the buttons under water ( to take stills, say) is what lets in tiny amounts of water. Quarter of the Go Pro price? More like a fifth by time you've bought the GP viewfinder and larger UWH.

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

this is a new footage I did with the SJ1000 https://vimeo.com/71287623
I'm actually very satisfied with the underwater images, of course the first important requirement is to dive in clean and nice waters! :D

I would probably never get new firmware updates, but so far for 67€ I'm more than ok with it ;)

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternando

Nice one Nando but shame about the UWH front window. The small amount of vignetting is acceptable I suppose, but the flare levels at each corner of the frame mean you'd have to chop the frame down to 4:3 to get a clean image. But as we all say, at this price it's still an impressive piece of kit.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

@tom hardwick for me vignetting is ok as well as lens distortion, im gonna do holidays movies with the footage nothing professional :D I actually like the effect seems to be in a submarine :P

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternando

"vignetting" is not acceptable in my eyes. If the manufacturer can put the effort into moving the power button to the correct location then why can't they make the lens larger ?? Probably would only need 6~8mm ?? Or even a square/rectangular opening that would give the width needed to eliminate the vignetting.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTuko

I'm right with you Tuko. Under water this vignetting is reduced, but even so the image needs timeline enlargement (8% in air, 3% in water) to remove it, and I was pleased to note that I couldn't spot any increase in flare when filming against the light with the camera inside the housing.

The camera is pretty discreet, and I’ve bought a longer power cable (3 metres, £1.99 delivered) to run totally invisibly up the A pillar and under the roof lining. The camera can be suction cupped anywhere to the windscreen or dash panel. Alternatively one of the supplied self-adhesive pads can be used; I prefer this as it holds the camera rock steady. The suction cup allows slight vibrations to reach the camera and with a CMOS chip, quite noticeable jelly-wobble is the result.

I’ll say it again – how can a camcorder this cheap and this tiny be so good? It’s far better than we have any right to expect, and if we take away the vast array of clamps, straps, the UWH, two power chargers and interconnect cables, what’s left over to pay for the camera? £40 tops I’d say. The camera works well on roads lit only by my headlamps and this is important as most car accidents occur at night or in poor weather and low visibility. I want visible and audible proof that the accident I’m involved in wasn’t my fault.

OK, there are one or two problems. The barrel distortion is there to keep the images sharp at a realistic price-point, but it will upset purists. A firmware upgrade might enable you to have the date displayed as dd/mm/yy rather than always yy/mm/dd but it’s a minor point. I like my viewfinder to stay on all the time, yet the camera always reverts to the LCD screen saver mode after switch off - a bit of a pain.

The vignetting inside the UWH is just a silly design flaw, but some Mercalli smoothing removes it at a stroke. As delivered the camera rather over-sharpens the image, but that’s menu tweakable as are a lot of other things. The colour fidelity, exposure tolerance and image sharpness from that tiny lens (working wide open all the time don’t forget) is remarkable, and using the supplied HDMI cable the image fills a 55’’ LCD telly with ease, and no apologies are needed.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

This is why i hate to buy stuff from china. The seller took 9 days to post the item, 3 days to get out of china, 21 days to arrive to portugal, and from what i know it will take more than 1 month to get out of customs because they are just stupid and slow. looks like they have special treatment for the UK that must be why you got yours in 10 days...

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

@Tom Hardwick - I too was bothered about running an unsightly power cable to it as a dashcam. Therefore I have just purchased one of these:- http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008MXJZ62/ref=pe_385721_37986871_pe_364681_36330151_item
You will see this power pack will give 5200 mAh so should be plenty for me as I don't intend to use the camera as a permanent
"evidence collecting" dashcam. The pack seems small enough to be fixed with 3M Dual Lock (or velcro) above the rear view mirror or behind the sunvisor, with just a short USB lead to the camera. The pack only arrived yesterday so haven't had time to fit it yet, only charged and tested that it would power/charge the camera successfully.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been making new/ adapting the supplied mounts as I too think they can be improved. I'm not complaining though, as I think the overall package is great value.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBargain Bob

Hey @techmoan is there a camera function that will allow it to record past the the 4gb FAT limit mentioned in your review (i.e. continue recording to a new file with minimal time jump)? Thanks in advance!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJules

Just got this camera, and so far I have a few problems with this. The plastic mounts that clip onto just the camera itself without the housing don't fit. This is the one with the belt clip and the mulitfunctional mount. It looks like the housing is not cast with good tolerances such that the lower corner sticks out a bit. I can clip the top tab on and only one of the bottom tabs of the mount. I've been trying to work with the ebay seller to resolve this issue, but they don't seem to get what I'm saying, even with pictures.

As in the video, the suction cup mount doesn't really tighten up very well. You can still move the camera pretty easily and I would expect that if it's mounted to a car, it will eventually droop.

Hopefully the seller will be able to resolve this issue. Any which way it's still a great bang for the buck, just wish they put a slightly bit more effort to the mounts.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I liked your review of this camera, but i have one quick question, can this camera see ir light?
easy way to test this is to point it at the led at the end of you TV remote, if it lights up then it picks it up just fine.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwyatt

@ Andrew - I thought the same about the plastic mounts. On mine it is not easy to engage the clips. However I do find that fitting the single top one first and then easing it onto the bottom two does the trick. It does need a firm push though. They do go with "a couple of small clicks!".
Assuming they are using the same tooling for the injection moulded parts it would be surprising if there was a problem with the fit.
Presumably there are no obvious "burrs" in the plastic?
Good luck.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBargain Bob

Hi,
First of all, thanks techmoan for finding and taking the time to do this fantastic review of this awesome camera.
I have a question for the people that already received the camera:
Has anyone tried to fit the gopro mounting clips to the back of the WPH? Or does anyone have a gopro to test this.
Something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fast-Release-Tripod-Adapters-Mount-Buckle-Bracket-for-GoPro-Hero-1-2-3-Camera-/261253435618?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item3cd3eb10e2

Thanks.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBMelro

Great review! Please indicate the battery code and supplier for spares. What class of micro SD card is required and maximum GB size that can work with the camera.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSorin

@ Bargain Bob

Well, the problem isn't fitting the top one first, it was that the back casing wasn't assembled properly. The casing actually got loose and I snapped it back into place. Once that was in, the mounts fit now.

Has anyone found a good way to mount this camera on a bike without it looking like a complete eyesore? I was hoping that the waterproof casing will mount directly on the handlebar mount, but in fact you have to add the adjustable mount onto the bike mount and then the waterproof case.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Well my replacement from ebay seller howafter2012 came today, plugged it in straight away to make sure it was going to work ok as a dash-cam and it froze on the welcome screen. Had to pull the battery to reset it and it happened every time i plugged it in after that. Unfortunately these cameras seem to be very buggy. Contacted seller for a refund but it's outside the 14 day refund period. Had so many problems with ebay sellers from China that I had decided to avoid them til this camera came up. Oh well, live and learn.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Any way to bypass the 4GB limit file size?

Maybe using the card in NTFS?

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuy

Re. badly fitting clip mounts .... use the little lengths of velcro (x2) that came with the camera to hold it securely in the mount (that's what the velcro is for). You don't need to worry about the clips holding or even fitting properly if you use this.

Re, loose ball mount ... pull apart and wrap a bit of electrical tape around the ball so it's a tight fit and conforms to the ball shape. Shove it all back together and it should be a lot better.

The camera file system is obviously FAT32 so NTFS won't work. There is no way around the 4GB limit. Would be good if they changed the firmware to allow the camera to automatically start a new file when the limit is reached. Right now that appears unlikely because the company doesn't seem interested in offering firmware updates.

Having mounted this on a bike handlebar I'm not sure it's worth it unless you can find some way of shockproofing the mount. The jello from vibration is pretty bad. Probably better off mounting to a helmet so you head acts as a shock absorber.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexie

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