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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)

My USB socket broke loose inside the camera today, after about 3 weeks use. I know others have had the same problem & have opened up the case. Can anybody tell me how to get into the camera I can get the back off OK but can't see how to go any further. I overcame the power switch access in the dive case problem by drilling a 6mm hole in the case in line with the switch. Through this hole you can press the switch using the end of a pen or matchstick etc. To keep the wet out I have simply stuck e piece of insulating tape over the hole, this can be peeled back & re-fixed several times before it needs replacing.

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

@Steve, to get to the usb port you need to get the back cover off, then the front cover, then comes the tricky part: since the usb port is under the top circuit board, you need to remove it. For that you have to carefully remove the chip from the top part of the camera, which will come off with the circuit board. While slowly removing it in small steps try to pull the camera lens out too (slowly) since it also needs to come out with the circuit board. Good luck and please post back if you manage to fix the port and what method you used.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny B

hi just bought this after your review

... great camera..

one thing you didn't mention is there is a zoom and it records video and stills.

use the up/down on the side..

dom

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdom

Hello

Any news for us timelapse user ?

Have a good time

Gerhard

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGerhard

@ dom and quite a few others. l sometimes wonder why you don't bother to watch Mat's videos and read his words before you comment here on all the things he 'missed'.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

Guys I got some underwater footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d_1DghNVgsg

unfortunatelly the camera stopped working after some minutes recording. I discovered now that droplets are leaking from the case buttons. My behavior now is like the one of Adrian.
I've put the camera also in the rice to try suck some umidity, we'll see, I'll keep u posted.
I have contacted also my seller to see what are the options.

Did somebody try to go underwater with success? :)

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternando

@nando
I used the camera in DVR-auto mode. So it it did not get wet at all. I made a test with the tissue in the water case and saw that some water got it so I had no plans to use it under water until the case was sealed somehow. I am sure that it can be made water closed with some silicone. During the records you did the mic work OK. I had some interferences on mine then it died.
@Steve the front is from metal. Be carefully .. I understand the the mic connection brake easily. I did not open mine since the seller offered a replace. It is always to pay with PayPal. Trying to self fix it is always a last resort for me.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

@Adrian yes i know u didnt put into water but I was just saying mine now works like your: no LCD but redlight when try charging and blue light when pressing power button but nothing else

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternando

I have just received my SJ1000 from Globalalibabahk (Ebay), it has only taken 7 days to get here (UK). I reckon that's pretty good for what was the cheapest seller on Ebay at the time. No customs duty or VAT to pay and it had been "customs declared" as a gift by the sender.
I did order a spare battery at the same time and that hasn't yet arrived so am awaiting a reply to an Ebay message on that issue.
My camera is running the Y130615 firmware.
I thought some of you may like to know that the underwater housing has now changed from "Mat's" model. It now has a single button over the power switch and NO buttons over the "Up-Down" or "Menu" switches.
So three buttons altogether, the two on top for OK and MODE and one on the side for POWER. Looks like the makers have taken your comments on board Mat. I'm not sure at this stage how much of a drawback it will be not to have "Menu" and "UP/Down" available once it's in the housing?
I wouldn't like to say what the UWH lens is but I suspect it's plastic.
Having an initial play around with it now. Wary of what others have already said, I can see that the micro USB connector supplied is a very tight fit and would soon damage the socket, so am using a Nokia phone lead straight away.
Now to take some video!!

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBargain Bob

@BargainBob - good to get your input.. Mine arrived just last week from the same vendor yet took twice as long to get to me (duty free as it was a 'toy worth $5). My firmware is Y13061311 and my UWH is the old design having no on/off switch, so things change rapidly. I'm guessing you have the same instruction book though with its inaccuracies and iffy pictures. I wonder - with the redesign that has resulted in a change of tooling - has the circular window been increased in size to avoid the image vignetting? My window is 22 mm diameter.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

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