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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)

All i see in specification about fps the same as sj1000 http://www.foxoffer.com/sj4000-full-hd-waterproof-action-helmet-camera-p-659.html#.Ut-OKfvQlQI http://www.aliexpress.com/item/SJ4000-Waterproof-HD-Camera-Sport-DV-Novatek-1080P-30fps-12-Mega-Pixels-H-264-1-5/1592961363.html

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMrBig

Here are some links to other SJ4000 clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d34b5PSlMS4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gycem4rWhPg

Looks great to me for the comparatively small outlay.

Definitely worth considering!

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Snapper

Hi, for some reaosn i haven't been able to reply to this to say thank you for the guys confirming that the SDV1 is the same camera. I ordered one, and hopefully should be here tomorrow

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBlake

Just got my Sj1000 (I bought it just after watch this nice review).
Take some clips and in all of them the audio is delayed (for about 1 second).
Did anyone had this kind of issue with the SJ1000?v
Thanks.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEpo Brazil

Sounds like a PC playback issue, rather than a camera one. Try a different player...like VLC and/or download the K-lite codec pack.

January 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, I've been researching small action type cams, mainly for home surveillance and your review for the SJ1000 almost made my mind up for me. Then I noticed the wifi versions of similar cameras. Frankly the choice is mind boggling, even in this price range.

I was wondering if you plan to review any of these models.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Easypix-GoXtreme-Wi-Fi-Action-Camera/dp/B00E8GC000

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Newest-Wifi-Sports-CAM-5-0MP-Full-HD-1080P-Waterproof-Action-Camera-WDV5000-/291053586786?pt=Camcorders_Professional_Video_Cameras&hash=item43c4254962

What I really want is something like the SJ1000 with wifi capabilities and also a motion sensor. The cameras I've linked two are both cheap enough to take a punt on but I can't find any details re: motion capabilities.

Thanks for the SJ review, very helpful.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBaz

@Epo. When you replay footage in camera, the audio and video are in sync, surely. You make it sound like an SJ1000 fault, which is unfair.

January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

My last footage with the SJ1000, slightly color correction with Sony Vegas:

It was a 200 km bike ride to countryside: Challenge 200 km Aracaju to Canindé Part 1

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRuy

Sorry the hyperlink didn't work:

200 km bike ride with SJ1000: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1d88s0ug8s

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRuy

I'm hesitating between the SJ1000 and the new SJ4000. After a little research I found out that apart from the design the main difference between the two is size and weight (101g vs 58g) and this means smaller battery, shorter battery life. SJ1000 is said to have more than 2 hours of battery life with a single charge, while SJ4000 is 60 min.
I think I'll go for the good old SJ1000.

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergyula hegedus

Szia Gyula!

I' ve just received my SJ1000. My first capture was in nighttime and it was very poor quality. After that i realized it has got HDR option...Much better quality! Quite clear in shaky hands!
You can buy battery very cheap from China, I can record 2h 15m with it. I ordered the original SJ1000 (brand new) with plus battery and 16gb Kingston microSD under 15.000 HUF (Hungarian forint ~75USD, 50EUR)

My only problem is very hard to take out from the beltclip / adjustable clip. + Its hard to add clips to airsoft MICH2000 helmet without damage or glue it.

Adam from Hungary

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVasshammer

Hey Adam,
Sounds great! How much did you wait for it to arrive? Which site did you order it from? Did you have to pay any customs tax? :)

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergyula hegedus

There is one more difference between the two : sj4000 has 170 vs 140 degrees fov at SJ1000
Which is preferred? 140 for me is better (if you're not free falling from space....)

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

Hi Gyula!

I ordered it from taobao.com, its a chinese ebay :D. My relative works in China, Zhejiang and came back to Hungary nowadays. So, the delivery was free :).
But in airports there was some truoble with the batteries, I think there is no way to take batteries into you luggage. For hungarian discussion please contact me at the email address, you can find it here: https://sites.google.com/site/famatcsapat/home

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVasshammer

Hi Guys,

I bought my camera last month and again there is trouble with the car charger as it only charges with USB.
There seems to be an issue with the battery itself but i have ordered a new battery and car Charger from China.
I have tried all the mounts in the car and cannot get it to sit upright, only upside down. The result is upside down videos.
Can any one help me here with guidance as how to flip the videos the right way up?
Also, as the recording loop records every 3 minutes, there loads of 3 minute video of playback on the computer.
How can i link them all together during playback?

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJUDE

Jude,
Assuming you've got a pc, windows comes with windows movie maker, which is pre installed/free (might have to download for windows 8) import videos there, rotate 180 degrees.
Not sure about looping (though you could string them together in movie maker) but since my camera hasnt arrived yet, I'm guessing its either camera settings, or memory card size?

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterblake

@Jude> you could use avidemux (http://avidemux.sourceforge.net/), it's free. Just drag and drop each file and avidemux will join them. After, you go in the video menu > filter > transform > rotate and choose the angle. Then save the video.

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterclouseau

Hi Guys!

I attached the camera to my MICH2000 helmet successfully.
https://scontent-b-vie.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1/1625473_676279039061357_1611033238_n.jpg

I used the original SJ1000 belts and nylon bands from a crap backpack. I hope I can help somebody :)

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVasshammer

Second and final part of my 200km bike ride using SJ1000:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL5EaGVsZUY

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRuy

Hi, I have posted a nice video on youtube in 3d format regarding how to repair any blurring issue with the SJ1000 lens.

http://youtu.be/kO0xTf0JwLM

Other 3d videos shot by two SJ1000s can be found under my channel. Look for pinakoza on youtube.

http://youtu.be/JPDEtYFSBGI
http://youtu.be/8Hp-_N2isgs

Any help required, email me.

Thanks...

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

I bought this camera (from Amazon) around the 9th of November (approx ten weeks ago) and it has already developed many problems.

It will no longer connect to a PC at all, to transfer the movie files, which means it can also no longer be used as a webcam. It also stops recording and turns itself off randomly, and sometimes suddenly turns itself on for no reason. After a full charge, it also says it has a low battery. I've contacted the seller for a replacement or refund, we'll see what happens...

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I've just bought this camera, and while I'm mostly happy with it, I'm unable to get it to connect to my laptop which runs Win 8.1 Does anyone out there happen to know if different firmware would work? The FOV also seems to be only 90 instead of the 140 that was advertised, but this isn't a real deal breaker for me, but connecting to a PC is. I know it's not the camera as a friend has Win 7 and it connects fine.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteralex

My usual advice is to get a USB SD card reader £1 at Poundland.

January 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Alex, SJ1000 does work very well with my Win 8.1 laptop. Try updating your OS. Firmware Version on my camera is 131217V01.
If you wanna run SJ1000 as webcam, don't forget to change camera by clicking right mouse button in default webcam camera software of win8.1. My SJ1000 works in BOTH modes.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

Thanks for the replies guys. @ Techmaon and Pinak Oza. It turned out to be the USB cable that was supplied with the camera! I just tried my wife's S3 mini cable and it connected straight away! So a good quality cable was all that was needed! Thanks again guys.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

hello ther,,i was wondering how do you compress your video files,,,,the sj captures quite huge capacity for a 5 minute full hd vid,,,thanks,,,and keep the reviews coming,,,love ur site...

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteryohan

Hi Yohan, use Magix movie edit pro or any video converter. Any of them will convert the SJ100 movies in to smaller ones with same resolution (1920X1024) and clarity. I ALWAYS use them.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

Hi, I am interested in knowing the 35mm equivalent focal length of SJ1000. If anyone knowing about it, please let me know. Thanks...

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

SJ1000 FOV = 140 degrees, seems to be perfect as advertised (Formula = FOV = 2 arctan (x / (2 f)), where x is the diagonal of the film)
SJ1000 35mm equivalent (crop factor) is 7.6
SJ1000 lens focal length calculated by me is roughly = 2.5mm
Calculated on basis of following observation:
Object 36.00 inch (3 feet) wide fills the frame of SJ1000 sensor at distance of 18.80 inch (1.57 feet)
Using calculator on website - http://www.pelco.com/sites/global/en/sales-and-support/downloads-and-tools/tools/lens-calc.page
focal length of SJ1000 comes out to be 2.51mm.
Putting crop factor 7.6 in calculator given on this website - http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/technology/fov.html the FOV comes out to be 140 degree diagonal.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

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