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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

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)

Ah, so it does! Thanks Clouseau, that makes it a little easier.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeske

@Dave. My SJ makes a little plinkerty-plink noise when I turn the ignition on in my car - showing that it's started recording, but I can well imaging that you wouldn't hear that with a helmet on.

There seems to be three different focal length lenses used in various versions of the SJ1000. The original 140 degree lens suffered slight vignetting when used in the UWH and was replaced with a 90 degree (? I suspect 120 degree) lens that doesn't vignette and brought the barrel distortion down to more acceptable levels. But there also seems to be a 170 degree lens that a friend of mine has - and that one suffers huge vignetting in the UWH - having completely rounded-off L & R borders to the frame (like an early NTSC colour CRT TV).

Problem is it's not at all obvious which lens is going to come fitted to the SJ1000 that you actually get sent.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

Will the SJ1000 mounting buckles (shown at 05:15) fit the gopro helmet mounting plates?

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSj1000_Noob

To Sj1000_Noob: No

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFreeman

Thanks a lot Freeman. I've read (or seen in a video, can't remember) that they might fit with just a little filing on the central guide of the mounting plate

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSj1000_Noob

I have managed to upgrade my firmware now.

I'm a linux user and this may be the cause of my issue. However, the fix is to rename the file extension from *.bin to *.BIN

With the extension name in capital letters I've managed to try out 3 different firmwares. Posted the "fix" for anyone else having the same issue.

For those speculating that the new FOV may have been done in firmware I tried the oldest firmware I could find and noticed no difference in FOV. Techmoan's lens seems to be recessed into the housing whereas mine sits slightly proud. I'd guess the different FOV is therefor down to a change in lens element.

SJ1000_Noob - there is a 99p tripod thread to GoPro adapter on ebay to use GoPro mounts

Slightly poorer sharpness and narrower FOV, but still a very usefull little action cam :)

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPuggled

Where is the SJ4000 review? It seems to be the next model up from this one...

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarkus

I got my SJ1000 last week and it seemed 100%.
I tried it in the car and it worked OK but now it does not charge and does not switch on automatically when i have it in the car mode.
It charges only on mains and on non car mode. Isd this normal?
How can i get it to charge and record again in the car?
There is also a rattling noise coming from the camera which is heard in audio playback.
Any help anyone?

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJUDE

I bought one of these but the waterproof housing had ridges round the edge (looked like reinforcing the case) but the problem is they interfere with the screw in mounting disk that catches on the ridge on one side and cannot therefore be fixed tight flat on the bottom of the housing. I guess the solution is to grind off the ridge round the screw fitting or infil up to ridge level with a piece of plastic or tap washer! Bit of a nuisance though

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

JUDE: I had a similar problem. May car adapter was working not correctly anymore. May be you can use a cigarete USB adapter?

In my post at November 29, 2013 I reported a lot of problems but until now I could still use it as a dashcam. But now I noticed that after starting the engine of my car, only the blue led will go on. It is only working after power off and on with the power button, also with a PC connection. Settings are still ok because after power on with only the battery, it starts recording automaticly.

If I disable carmode, I only see a big green battery on my screen if the cam is on, even without a USb connection. Now I could do nothing with it anymore. But after hitting a lot of buttons it came in menu mode and i immediatly set it in carmode.

So now I can still use this cam with some tricks, but automaticly starting does not work anymore and thats what makes it useless for me, because I wanted to use it as a dashcam. Udating to the latest firmware did not help. I think I have bad luck and have a hardware problem. I don't like to return it to China because this will take a lot of time, shippingcosts are high for me and may be this doesn't help because I think it is not an easy problem to solve.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Hello everybody
I have just received the sj1000.
The thing is that It doesn´t charge the battery. It looks as if there was no battery inside.
It doesn`t recognise the battery, so If I remove the usb cable, it switches off.
I have updated the software but.... :( It doesn´t work...

I only want to enjoy the camera, but I can´t.
Any help Please?

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnsel

Great review, going to get one, but is this the same as an SDV1? Like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SDV1-UK-HD-1080P-12M-Waterproof-Mini-Sport-DV-Camera-Dive-Bike-Helmet-Car-Record-/281150405050?pt=UK_AudioTVElectronics_Video_Camcorders&hash=item4175deb9ba
Or is this a sort of copy, or uprated? I'm a bit lost! It looks the same
Cheers

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterblake

Used mine a fair bit before winter set in well and truly. The biggest bugbear I find is that I cant use an external power supply inside the waterproof case. A bit of a MUST for use as a M/Cycle dash cam. tbh I cant find anything that does the job. Anybody who's done any distance in pouring weather on two wheels knows how wet it gets. Will be doing 8 hour saddle days during a summer trip across Europe.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I wonder if the upgraded version of the sj1000 (with narrow fov) doesn't suffer also from underexposure (like the sj2000). I've made a little video ( http://youtu.be/9tj5U4JiNQE ).

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterclouseau

@dausaeu. Your YT footage doesn't look under-exposed to me. If you shoot into the light the camera will under-expose the darker parts to control the highlights, but this is not at all unusual. Because of this I have my SJ's exposure set to + 1/3 stop at all times.

@Blake. The SDV1 seems to be the seller's renaming of the SJ1000, though I've no idea why. He's also renamed all the other cams he sells as SDV2, SDV3 etc.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

I bought an SDV1B (seller confirmed SDV1 and SDV1B are the *same* camera - I had hoped one might have had wider FOV). It is an SJ1000 like Tom said.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPuggled

Just opened the SJ1000 my daughter received for Xmas before it's taken on a Ski trip. Can anyone here advise how long it takes to charge or if any lights come on the camera when it is charging. Despite being plugged in for over an hour it does not seem to have soaked up any electricity, it'll operate direct from the mains giving access to the menus etc and I can also get a fully green battery symbol on the full screen but it does not blink/fill/flash etc is it a duff one ?

January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Michael>when the camera is charging, the micro usb plug is lit in red and when it's complete, it's turn off.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterclouseau

Thanks for the review. Practical and comprehensive as usual.

Will you get the chance to test the SJ4000 which is the new GoPro style version?

Cheers!

Andy

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndySnapper

Hi
I wonder whether this camera can be connected to an android cellphone (say galaxy S3) thru an OTG cable , so that the camera memory content can be managed (viewed , copied, deleted) from the phone .
How can one be confident the camera is not fake when bought on ebay ?
Thanks
Peter

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

Clouseau, thanks but after a nights charge it still won't remain turned on. I suspect the battery is fully charged since the green full screen battery symbol does not flash but when the power button is pressed the camera shuts down after about 5 secs saying battery low, I've updated the firmware with the latest from Dec 2013 (and tried the older version on this site) but no change. What a shame, going to have to be sent back, fingers crossed I get some degree of customer service from the Ebay seller, it was the one Techmoan recommended.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

@Michael, maybe you can ask the seller to ship a new battery to you.
I recommend buy one or to extra battery for sj1000 when order sj1000 camera.
Normally charge it for 30mins to 1hours is OK, no need to charge for a long time.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill

The SDV1 should be the same as SJ1000 camera, some sellers renamed the models and sell it a litter higher price.
About the view angle, I confirmed with manufacturer, it is 140 degree.
The new camera sj4000 support 170 degree view angle.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Hi
I think I'll go for the SJ1000 , did anyone hear about FoxOffer or had experience with them (as seller, support and warranty)?

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

I am also pondering buying from FoxOffer. I Googled their name for reviews and only found one unfavourable one from Holland and another saying how great they were, from a Dutch distributor.

Have you also considered the SJ4000 which is akin to the GoPro?

Andy

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Hi
I also plan to buy one from FO (FoxOffer). I noticed in their blog, the manufacturer come up with an newly designed SJ1000 caled SJ1000B. The new SJ1000 will use Ambarella A7LS75 chip... 1080p 60fps.. 720p 120fps....etc.
Here is a link:
http://www.foxoffer.com/blog/2014/01/03/new-sj1000-ambarella-a7-action-camera/
Avaiable after the Chinese New Year. (after 31. January)
Whats your opinion, it pays to wait for the new version? (Probably, i wait until come out a couple sample video)
(Sorry, my english is poor!)

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteratko08

Hi there,

Recently I purchased one SJ1000 camera from Foxoffer.com. I am very satisfied by their customer service. Unfortunately it had a bad lens alignment due to which images were blurry on the right side of the frame. Left side of the frame was very sharp. Foxoffer gave me an offer for exchange, but I bought another camera from them after proper checking and confirmation.

Later I tried gathering a confidence to repair the faulty SJ1000 lens assembly. I was successfully able to disassemble the camera and reset the lens assembly. Result....Super sharp image across the entire frame :-). Now I have 2 of them. I use them for 3D photo-videography. I am extremely happy with its result.

Check here for pics:
https://plus.google.com/photos/117284745382912426610/albums/5971181628526433153?partnerid=gplp0

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

I believe SJ4000 will cost much more than SJ1000. btw, what makes it so comparable to GoPro?

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

It's advertised at £68 with 2 batteries. Express delivery would add another £11 but otherwise delivery is free.

Check this link out for details of the cam and compare to the much more expensive GoPro.

http://www.foxoffer.com/blog/2013/12/29/new-sj4000-action-camera-arrived/

Andy

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

After some correspondence with the seller it seems my battery is DOA, the camera will operate when connected via USB but the battery just won't hold a charge. Seller is offering to send a new battery so we'll see what transpires.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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