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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

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)

It's about 1.1Gb file for every 10 mins 1080P video. The available storage space for a 32Gb SD can be used is about 30Gb. So one 32Gb SD can store about 260 mins video files. Configure it to 720P and 3 mins interval should save more available space to use. Shorter interval can also cause less corrupt files. Otherwise, try to format the SD on the camera or PC. Make sure the formated available size is about 30Gb. Mine one was formated with FAT32 instead of FAT. Seemed fine because some camera prefer FAT.

December 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

Hi Peta,
I tried to format but it wants to delete all files.
There are some files that i have protected so i need to save them first.
What is the best program on the computer that you recommend to use to transfer the MOV files?

December 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjudeandleo

Do you mean to convert the MOV files to another video format? If yes, try the FREE VIDEO CONVERTER at http://www.freemake.com/free_video_converter/. It's easy to use and with editor too.

December 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

The first thing l'd do is try another SDHC card. I've heard of faulty cards but never of cards that go wrong, though I suppose they must exist.

December 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

Finally fixed the car mount vibration problem by mounting it to the rear mirror support instead of the suction mount. Used only the supplied mounting accessories and no need to buy any other extra parts. No drill, no stick, no damage to the car interior. Can be removed anytime without scratch. Below are some hints & tips. Also the pictures at http://1drv.ms/1vNo1X9

- used the bike mount to clip on the rear mirror support
- needed to use the fastener (supplied) to fix the mounting to the base of the rear mirror support.
- pull the camera backward to let it touch the windshield
- placed a foam gasket (supplied) between the camera and the windshield

Well, the look was a little bit bulky because the supplied fastener was quite thick. Should look better if use the thinner fastener, cable tie or string. My fix is just a reference or trend. You can try to modify or enhance it by your own way.

December 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

I've had my SJ1k for nearly a year now and it's worked perfectly as a dash cam, an under water cam, a bike cam. Can't fault it, £55 delivered. Now they're down to £33 delivered I thought I'd buy another one. Nothing much seems to have changed, all the accessories are identical and the camera's just as good.

However, and this is a big however, the lens sees nowhere near as wide angle as my original. To give some idea as to the huge difference imagine my first camera could take in 5 side by side houses. This new SJ can only fit in three houses.
OK, the change was made so that the image wouldn't be vignetted by the UWH, but it's a retrograde step in my view. Not as good as a dash cam and not wide enough for the telephotoing effect of filming under water. I should have bought the 38 quid SJ4k.

December 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom Hardwick

Hi, hope some one could help me out

i would like to record myself working on my hobby for approx 5-6 hours per day (using recording whilst charging mode)
does anybody know if when using the continuous recording feature if i power off the supply voltage, ie disconnect the car battery/ mains charger then power back on say 20 minutes latter, will the video overwrite the previous recording in other words start again (goes back to the beginning of the disc) or will it continue on from where it left off?

also is this product capable off recording video this long ?


any help please

Mark

December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark R

What is the correct way to mount the suction cup onto the car? It shakes and vibrates when I tested it today. Either that question, or are there any other mounts that you can use with this that stops the shaking?

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterE

Best way a lot of us have found is to abandon the suction mount idea (as you can never remove the vibrations) and to attach the quick release plate directly to the interior mirror mount. That never vibrates .. if it does then your mirror is useless.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

What a very fast comment that was! I'd like to see some quick pictures of this method.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterE

Oh yeah, forgot information. My email is evking22@yahoo.com.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterE

@E, Seems you missed my posted comment at December 14 just from the above. Anyway, i can send the details to your email. It's possible to solve the vibration problem.

January 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

What about other suction cup mounts like this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Mount-Suction-Cup-Bracket-Support-for-Camcorder-SJ1000-SJ3000-SJ4000-Black/111452552556?_trksid=p2054897.c100204.m3164&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140407115239%26meid%3Dec2de86366c44330af72b97528734fd0%26pid%3D100204%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D30%26sd%3D141516607752

Do they hold up the SJ1000 well?

I don't want any mounting options other than the suction cup becuase I move it between vehicles often.

January 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterE

Actually it's not the problem of the suction cup mount. The plastics mount accessories attached with the camera was not hard enough. Well, the disadvantage of the rear mirror support method was you should not take it off and put it on as easy as the suction cup.

January 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

Hi Matt,
I need a camera for work. I'm a lorry driver and change vehicles daily so it will need to be of the suction type. I need a front facing camera plus one for my nearside blind spot. I'm thinking of a dual camera fixed to the nearside of the windscreen with the rear facing camera pointed at the passenger window giving a view of my blind spot.
Can you make any recommendations please?
Regards,
Gary.

February 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergary

Will sj1000 ever be able to run a 64gb sd card in the future at all?

February 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Hellow. i have the SJ1000 and im looking for extension lens cable like the MOBIUS have..
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__51958__Mobius_ActionCam_External_Lens_Module_Extension_Ribbon_Cable_200mm.html

April 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSerjo

My comment is a question. Does anyone know how to charge an ion camo cam while it is recording.
I ride a motorcycle and want to use it duringy ride but the battery dies out.
Skip

July 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSkip Brown

Xtremely irritated!! This man took the best video with this camera but "nothing" about the micro sd card he used, at least not anywhere I looked & listerned. I watched it on YouTube & now here.

September 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Lo

Not quite sure what you're criticising here Ms Lo. The choice of card (as long as it's not fake and is a class 4 and up) makes not the slightest difference to the camera's resolution, graininess, colours, fps, dof, barrel distortion, dynamic range or life expectancy. Choose any card you like up to a max of 32gb.

September 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

tom is right, maybe you should take a look at techmoan guide to first dashcam user for a good start

September 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterphiletcha

Here is the video demonstrating how to modify the original SJ1000 car windshield mount to a NON-SHAKY stable mount.
No need for any double-sided tape on a windshield or any Aluminium plate.
Just dissemble the original mount and re-assemble in the demonstrated way to get the SUPER-STEADY mount. No extra tools required.

https://youtu.be/hHMF4PxSDQk

November 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

Thanks for Pinak's new dashcam mounting solution. It's much more simple and easier.
Well, depends on your country location weather. We got extreme hot and cold at the summer and winter time. Also from day and night. Even the best suction cup still failed from the windshield for several times a year. The worst case was it fell down to hit the touch screen of my head unit and causing damage. I don't want to take the risk again so try my best to avoid using the suction cup method.

November 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

Thanks Peta for your feedback :)) . I agree with you regarding the failure of suction cup mounts. But I still keep using it here in Canada. It does fail sometimes here too. People who are still using suction cup mount can try my method and be happy.

https://youtu.be/hHMF4PxSDQk

November 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPinak Oza

Hi, I ordered mine yesterday out of China as a replacement for my mighty Mobius Dash cam which has developed a slight hiccup or I should say I gave it to it. If this cam is half as good as the Mobius I will be very happy.

My question is whether the SJ4000 battery is the same as the SJ1000 battery I have been told it isn't but would just like to confirm it. Thx

Also any hints as to any seller out of China (Or local) selling Dual Charger+900 mAh Battery Kit for SJCAM SJ1000 or just spare batteries?

As I said I loved the Mobius and found it not only made a good Dash Cam but came in as a fantastic holiday cam during a North American and Caribbean trip last year. Some great memories of walking down Bourbon St NOLA and driving on Grand Cayman and in Panama. This SJ1000 has the added bonus of a viewing screen and waterproof housing. CAN"T WAIT. ;-)

Hoo Roo For Now

November 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPete Down Under

The SJ1k's battery is not the same as the SK4k's, and they are not interchangeable. I have both cameras and both cameras give identical results on screen.

November 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertom

Thanks for that Tom. I thought as much but needed to be sure.

Have you seen any SJ 1000 batteries on sale eBay etc?

Spent the day researching the SJ 4000 WiFi for a mate and silly here has decided he may get one as well. Both cams will come in handy for my February trip back to Vietnam.

Once again any recommended eBay Sellers?

Cheers

Pete

November 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPete Down Under

Worth a look on the banggood site, they've been faultless in response to all my orders, and their prices are amongst the best.

November 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertom

Yep! Got one from Banggood.

SKU1196301110mAh Backup Rechargable Li-ion Battery for SJ1000 Sport Camera DVRx1AU$8.47

Haven't used them in years. They did not have charger. ;-(

Just need a USB or wall charger. I know the batteries are different but does a SJ4000 charger work on the SJ1000 battery?

TIA

November 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPete Down Under

All the micro USB chargers are the same these days, so the same charger that does your phone and tablet will do your SJs and various clones and substitutes.

November 30, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertom

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