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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
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
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)

@Pinak. It depends what lens comes with your SJ. If you have the most common 140 degree lens then the 35mm full frame equivalent is 17 mm, or 11mm on a crop frame DSLR. Of course the massive amount of barrel distortion makes the comparison somewhat meaningless, but there you go.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

hello all, great job on this site
i ve just purchased my new SJ1000. Yesterday i had my first try. Cloudy day and the capture was great. i had mounted the car-bracket on the window of the car, but the result was too shaky. i could see the bracket shaking on the window during capture.
do you have a better car-bracket to recommend for this camera?
Additionaly i have to say that the battery dosnt last more than some minutes. i had left it charging overnight and it seemed to be full charged. I think that i have to replace the battery with a new one (probably was expired). Do you have any site in ebay where i can buy a guarantee quality battery?
Looking at the version of this camera, its 0831. Does it mean anything about the manufacturing date?
thank you in advange
Giorgos GR

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGiorgos

Hello Tom, very much thanks for sharing this knowledge. I was always searching for focal length and 35mm equivalent of this camera's lens to calculate stereo base for 3d photography. You provided me a very exact information.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

Hello Giorgos GR, I purchased spare batteries for my SJ1000 from this site
http://www.foxoffer.com/spare-replacement-battery-for-sj1000-action-camera-p-581.html?zenid=ac1dbbuj1ijo71hnv2bcg0bn31#.Uu-dw3-9KK0
No knowledge about car bracket.
Yes firmware version number seems to be indicating date...Fiirmware of my is 131217V01 (17th Dec 2013!) which I downloaded from
Devsign.co.za/firmware/

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

To Giorgos GR,
of course give the battery another shot, a fellow responder enlightened me to little red light by that charge plug, battery shud last couple hours.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkurt john

Both the supplied and spare battery work great for me (the source for the spare now increased the price ten times, so there is no reason in including the web address). I shot my first day skiing in 2014, battery lasted for more than 5 hours of turning off while on ski lift and on while riding. It was also quite cold, that surely didn't help. It was also an night skiing, so it had to cope with light issues, but it did great job (and Google did great job and ruining that image, but whatever :-) ).
You can check it check it for yourself, if u want ;-) .

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFreeman

Hi, firstly...fantastic site! Secondly, my sj1000 has just arrived, only issue is that files are in mov. format, im using moviemaker on a windows xp pc which doesnt recognise the file. Any advice? Convertors etc?

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrob

hello to everyone,

i have noticed that when i press the record button the camera records continuously for 35 minutes and after that it stops recording.
i have to press the button again if i want to continue with recording...is that normal ?

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGiorgos

Giorgos> yes, it's normal because the sdcard use the fat32 format, and a file cannot exceed the size of 2^32-1 bytes = 4 Gb = 35 min @ 1080p. What I do is a 10 min loop video recording and I join them later.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterclouseau

clouseau> thank you very much for your valuable answer.. what do you mean when you say "a 10 min loop video recording and i join them later"? could you please tell me more details?

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGiorgos

Giorgos> on the camera, I use the feature in Menu>Cyclic record, so it's record for 10 minutes over and over until I stop. And after, I use avidemux or virtualdub on the pc to join all the clips.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterclouseau

@rob, Handbrake will convert your files to mpeg4 and it's free.
http://handbrake.fr/

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony P

hi Freeman,

nice video, but where's the sound?
how did u put your camera? not on the helmet , right?

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

I bought sj1000 a month ago and mine has timelapse.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrobby

To peter_w: I accidentally put the camera on mute, so that is why there is no sound.
I used the camera in Underwater Housing strapped to my chest using DYI chest mount, were it on helmet, it would probably be little less shaky, but since helmet is round, it is not that easy to mount something there firmly, if it moves around even a little bit, it would be even less steady than the chest.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFreeman

Just installed my sd card. How to you get it out?

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFred Weaver

I use the sharp tip edge of a box cutter blade.

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkurt john

I am having the same battery trouble as others, but can't see if anyone found a solution. Bought the camera, looks like it is charging but camera always says battery is low and shuts off right away. I requested a new battery but that will be on a slow ride from China some time after new year's holiday is over. Has anyone tried a new battery and did that work or is there something just wrong with these cameras? Not sure if it is the battery, the charging circuit of the camera, or the camera's ability to recognize the power level.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbecky

If you are using a 1AMP charger and it isn't working - perhaps try this firmware that's supposed to resolve "Battery Issues'
http://www.foxoffer.com/blog/2013/12/11/how-to-update-the-sj1000-action-camera-firmware/

February 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Kurt John I had the same problem and a new battery fixed what was obviously a faulty battery. I have also bought the Hitachi action cam from Argos and after a week skiing I rate the Hitachi over the SJ 1000, the Hitachi was £55 from Argos fyi.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

My problem is charging error with this cam. Even when I am not charging it, the screen will show the blinking charging icon, meaning that the status detected by the camera is charging mode. So the cam is perpetually in charging mode.

This provide faulty as it cannot get out of charging mode, and thus cannot automatically record and stop when the car engine is started and killed off. So this camera cannot really function as a full-fledged dashcam.

So annoying.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercharging error

@Michael

Perhaps you could record some simultaneous video clips of the SJ1000 & Hitachi in action, & upload then to YouTube in split screen format, e.g. SJ1000 top half of screen, Hitachi lower half.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterruss331

Russ331 Might just do that but currently at the top of Zugspitz having lunch and drinking beer between ski runs! I've got 32g of footage from both cameras to edit when I get back home.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Hello, wondering if anyone can help me..I suddenly couldn't take snapshot while recording and it's shows a "key" symbol on the screen. thanks

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkomi

To komi: That's because you've got it wrong. You are trying to take snapshot by clicking mode, but that only locks the clip and protects it from deleting, which is really great way of preserving interesting shots. If you, on the other hand, want to take snapshot, just tap the power button ;-) .

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFreeman

many thanks to techmoan for his reply to "becky" and giving the link for the upgrade of the FW... it worked perfect to me ..many thanks Techmoan.

After some discharge/charge cycles, it seems that the battery lasts on recording mode at about 2h10min.. it seems that it started working...in cases like mine (new camera) try to give some cycles in order to "wake up" the battery...it worked to me...

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGiorgosGR

@Freeman: Thanks for the reply...Tried the power button but still won't take a snapshot :(

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkomi

hello everyone. please help me, i did th firmware update but now my screen icon is upside down. what can i do to fix it??? :(

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergiannisg

@ Giannisg - Hi, I don't have any specific solution for it, but you may try installing other older version of firmware and then reinstall the one you want (latest!). That should solve the problem!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

my camera became unusable after being connected to car charger. not idea what died in it but it just doesn't stay on.
i made a video
reflashed back old and new FW , no effect.
also when i removed battery , i noticed , connectors inside camera are bent and left and middle connector touch each other when battery inserted.

it was working fine with latest FW for 2 days.
Any idea what that might be?
battery voltage is 4.2V as measured on contacts. But battery self discharge in 1 day when inside turned off camera.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxmmz

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