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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

 

 
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
Drift Ghost X

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)

Hey @techmoan is there a camera function that will allow it to record past the the 4gb FAT limit mentioned in your review (i.e. continue recording to a new file with minimal time jump)? Thanks in advance!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJules

Just got this camera, and so far I have a few problems with this. The plastic mounts that clip onto just the camera itself without the housing don't fit. This is the one with the belt clip and the mulitfunctional mount. It looks like the housing is not cast with good tolerances such that the lower corner sticks out a bit. I can clip the top tab on and only one of the bottom tabs of the mount. I've been trying to work with the ebay seller to resolve this issue, but they don't seem to get what I'm saying, even with pictures.

As in the video, the suction cup mount doesn't really tighten up very well. You can still move the camera pretty easily and I would expect that if it's mounted to a car, it will eventually droop.

Hopefully the seller will be able to resolve this issue. Any which way it's still a great bang for the buck, just wish they put a slightly bit more effort to the mounts.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I liked your review of this camera, but i have one quick question, can this camera see ir light?
easy way to test this is to point it at the led at the end of you TV remote, if it lights up then it picks it up just fine.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwyatt

@ Andrew - I thought the same about the plastic mounts. On mine it is not easy to engage the clips. However I do find that fitting the single top one first and then easing it onto the bottom two does the trick. It does need a firm push though. They do go with "a couple of small clicks!".
Assuming they are using the same tooling for the injection moulded parts it would be surprising if there was a problem with the fit.
Presumably there are no obvious "burrs" in the plastic?
Good luck.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBargain Bob

Hi,
First of all, thanks techmoan for finding and taking the time to do this fantastic review of this awesome camera.
I have a question for the people that already received the camera:
Has anyone tried to fit the gopro mounting clips to the back of the WPH? Or does anyone have a gopro to test this.
Something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fast-Release-Tripod-Adapters-Mount-Buckle-Bracket-for-GoPro-Hero-1-2-3-Camera-/261253435618?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item3cd3eb10e2

Thanks.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBMelro

Great review! Please indicate the battery code and supplier for spares. What class of micro SD card is required and maximum GB size that can work with the camera.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSorin

@ Bargain Bob

Well, the problem isn't fitting the top one first, it was that the back casing wasn't assembled properly. The casing actually got loose and I snapped it back into place. Once that was in, the mounts fit now.

Has anyone found a good way to mount this camera on a bike without it looking like a complete eyesore? I was hoping that the waterproof casing will mount directly on the handlebar mount, but in fact you have to add the adjustable mount onto the bike mount and then the waterproof case.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Well my replacement from ebay seller howafter2012 came today, plugged it in straight away to make sure it was going to work ok as a dash-cam and it froze on the welcome screen. Had to pull the battery to reset it and it happened every time i plugged it in after that. Unfortunately these cameras seem to be very buggy. Contacted seller for a refund but it's outside the 14 day refund period. Had so many problems with ebay sellers from China that I had decided to avoid them til this camera came up. Oh well, live and learn.

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Any way to bypass the 4GB limit file size?

Maybe using the card in NTFS?

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuy

Re. badly fitting clip mounts .... use the little lengths of velcro (x2) that came with the camera to hold it securely in the mount (that's what the velcro is for). You don't need to worry about the clips holding or even fitting properly if you use this.

Re, loose ball mount ... pull apart and wrap a bit of electrical tape around the ball so it's a tight fit and conforms to the ball shape. Shove it all back together and it should be a lot better.

The camera file system is obviously FAT32 so NTFS won't work. There is no way around the 4GB limit. Would be good if they changed the firmware to allow the camera to automatically start a new file when the limit is reached. Right now that appears unlikely because the company doesn't seem interested in offering firmware updates.

Having mounted this on a bike handlebar I'm not sure it's worth it unless you can find some way of shockproofing the mount. The jello from vibration is pretty bad. Probably better off mounting to a helmet so you head acts as a shock absorber.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexie

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