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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%! 

            

 
« The Rollie Eggmaster Vertical Grill | Main | The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker »
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)

Hi, a quick question for any SJ1000 owners. I see this camera now seems to come in two different flavours-with either a 140 degree lens, or a 90 degree lens.
My primary use for this would be as a car-cam (both for normal driving and track days), so which lens option would be better suited, or is there very little difference??
Thanks in advance.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobo-Bob

Thanks for the info on the update. odd that this page says there has been no update for a long time but my version that came with it is 131209v01. Seems close in time but will give it a go and report back how it goes. Thanks for the tip.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbecky

There's quite a big difference Robo. If I were you I'd go for the wider lens as put simply, it sees more. There's more barrel distortion and it vignettes inside the UWH slightly, but there's no substitute for seeing more when you're driving.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

did anyone dive with this camera ?
I didn't see any underwater demo .

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

Thanks Tom, great info. To be honest, after looking at various youtube vids shot at 90 and 140, I actually prefer the look of 140. The barrel distortion/fish-eye doesn't bother me in the slightest and, as you say, a wider field of view is far better as a dash cam.
Thanks again.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobo-Bob

@Robo-Bob

The best (imho) resource for dashcam users is dashcamtalk, so have a browse.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterruss331

On p34 January 16, 2014 I reported that my cam did not start automaticly anymore in car mode when I started the engine. But the next day it worked again and it still does now. But it does not go off automaticly.

As I metioned before: my battery seems to be not working when it arived, although the voltage I measured was ok. After removing some plastic near the contacts of the battery it was working.

February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Hello
I have a short question.
How do i know that the battery is fully charged?
I didn´t find anything in the manual.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Hi thanks I found this review after I bought one of these. Really pleased with it but I can get it to loop record in car mode. Can you advise me what to do to make it do the looping? Mine keeps filling the micro SD card and then stopping on a full card.

Thanks

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermartin

Martin. Set it to 3 mins in the Cyclic menu.

February 13, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Howdy Robert, little red light near the SJ1000 plug goes out.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkurt john

Thanks for the answer kurt!
The first time i charged it over night but the light didn´t go out.

Yesderday i have filmed 1 1/2 until the battery was empty.

Then i charged it once again over night and this time the light went out.
I started the camera right after i pluged it out but the camera didn´t show full battery (one bar was missing).
I tryed it an it filmed 2 hours which is ok for me so i will let it as it is and don´t do any firmware update or anything.

One more thing to say:
My suction cup mount and my waterproof case (3 buttons + bigger lock mechanism) look different to the ones in the video and there is a mount that looks like it is a tripod to "gopro-mounts" adapter.

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Can i still buy 140 degrees sj1000 camera somewhere?

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergamebox

Sure, gamebox!
I got mine from foxoffer.com for 75 $
I saw it on aliexpress even less expensive. .

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

peter_w, How much long ago?

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergamebox

Gamebox, I ordered it from foxoffer 3 weeks ago and got it 3 days ago.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

I contact with one Ali seller, he send me photo from sj1000. Is that 140 degrees? I'm not sure

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergamebox

well, the distortion looks "fair" enough to hint a large angle , but this kind of "landscape" does not sell.... from what I know, it underwent some changes (software, underwater case) , so if it's not an old version, should be ONLY 140 degrees angle.
Everything I got from aliexpress reached me in a very long time (if at all ) , so if there's no big price difference , I'd go again to foxoffer.

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

Hi Robby,
You got your sj1000 around the same time that I got mine.
You said that yours has timelapse.
Can you please tell me the sequence of events on the menu so that I can check mine to see if it has timelapse?

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJude

Hi all

i got my sj1000 yesterday, i looked at techmoan clip and saw that when the camera is upside down, the video flip too so the film is in good direction, i tried many times with mine but the image doesn t flip, it s in wrong direction
(sorry for my bad english)

that s tor any clue

phil

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterphiletcha

To philetcha: You just flip it in the post-editing. It has been said in the review and written here many times ;-) .

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFreeman

Thanks freeman, which program do you use for flipping ?

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterphiletcha

To philetcha: Sony Vegas Pro 12, never felt any need to try anything else. There are lots of alternatives in the discussion, just look it up...

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFreeman

thanks again freeman

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterphiletcha

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have the same problem with my SJ1000
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUpVhXmGC7k
please help!
I flash new firmware...no effect

HELP
___________________________________HELP!___________________________________
HELP

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdigit

On the video you hold the button. Try to press the power button without holding it! My camera works and do the same when i hold the button.


i can't find a link whit latest version of fw 131217v01. Is there any?

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentericooci

gamebox>to be sure it's the 140 degree, ask the seller to take a video with the case: if you've got vignetting, it's the 140° version.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterclouseau

Hello
I saw this review and bought a Sj1000 two months ago.
As It didn´t work, the seller sent me a new battery, but It doesn´t work. I have updated the filmware ,but neither does it work.

I need help, please

here a link with a video and the problem
http://youtu.be/JTwzpDWLSWk

Hopelessly :(

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnsel

Hey Ansel,
I had the exact same problem. It's not the battery, it's a faulty contact. In my case the battery was charging normally but the camera didn't run on the battery.
You need to change the camera. Send it back and ask for a replacement, or you can open it and try to find the loose contact, but I wouldn't advised it.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIonut

Ansel,
did u try to check contacts between battery and camera contacts?
try to clean and verify they make good contact - try to push the battery toward the camera while disconnecting the usb cable.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeter_w

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