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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%! 

 
« 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)

@ Tom

I made a test on Light Balance, and found out when set on "Cloudy" it is actually daylight (color is naturally nice), "daylight" is PERHAPS cloudy. I filmed in the shadow and color very warm and yellowish.

August 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

Can someone let me know, how can i tell that it is fully charged?

August 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPantelis

On this mount, I found that the camera housing does not sit properly to allow the back door to open and close correctly. It also didn't allow the thumbscrew to be tightened fully against the clear case housing at the bottom. I solved this issue by going to my local hardware store and in the plumbing department obtaining a small-sized toilet cone washer. I didn't have the mount with me at the time, so I got one that was a bit too tight to fit well onto the mount bolt. I took it to my garage and reamed the center hole out with a 1/4" drill bit. I removed the white rubber shim that was inserted into the plastic thumbscrew and put on my cone washer to replace it. The cone washer cushions the camera house, as did the white rubber washer, but it additionally sits the camera housing up high enough to allow the back door to close and the hosing to be elevated enough to allow the plastic thumbscrew to be fully tightened. No shake for the camera when this cushioning cone washer is added and the camera housing locks into place very securely on the mount.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9451223073/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9451223155/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9451223229/

Hope this tip works for someone.
Huey

August 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoupe1942

Here are some pics of a really cheap camera tripod-style mount that I made up for my SJ1000 camera. I took the flat mount supplied that had the female fitting anchored at the bottom of the mount. I went to Lowe's or Home Depot and picked up a standard rebar end cap for less than $3.00, each. I drilled out a 1/4" hole through the center of the bottom of the end cap. (There is metal to the inside of this cap, so you have to drill through both plastic and metal). I can now thread a flat head 1/4 X 20" bolt that is approximately 3 to 3 1/4" long through the end cap and attach it to that stock flat surfaced mount that came with the SJ1000 camera. I additionally cut away some of the plastic surrounding the bottom of the end cap so that any bolt did not stick out and make the bottom surface uneven. This mount locks down securely and the end cap base makes for a neat little tripod mount that is not too big and won't rock over easily. This is a very easy and cheap accessory mod for this camera. It frees up my hands and allows me to film things close, especially if I am working in confined areas such as beneath my motorcycle.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9452694245/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9452694331/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9452694393/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9452694451/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a1930ford/9452694559/

August 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoupe1942

any good after market mount for this actioncam?

August 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

hi, thanks for the review, I have a couple of other cams in my car but was after something better for my wife's car than the current cheap ebay cams. One thing I want to ask is what's the low light capability? The one's I have in my car had a rather dim f2.4 lens (like a webcam lens), fortunately I managed to cut the glue, unscrew the lens and fit an f1.2 lens, so I get a decent image even driving at night (with headlights and street lighting). How does the SJ1000 fair in this respect?
Thanks

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeeB

seems most of them use avi for a video format, but yours is mov, what is the difference ?

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergary

@LeeB, and from a previous post of mine: The lens' focal length isn't given (probably in the region of 2 mm). It has a very wide angle of view, easily seeing both my A pillars when stuck to the top of my car's windscreen. It is sharp corner to corner, but the barrel distortion is severe and Photoshop can only partially remove it. It works well in low light - noticeably better than my Crocolis with it's f/3.4 max aperture. It has a fast f/1.6 maximum aperture but *everything* is shot at f/1.8. The multi-coating is very impressive indeed and you have to shoot right into the sun to get flare in your shot. Mov files are Apple wrappers, the MP4 is still H264 encoded. Much more of a problem is that this camera only shots at 30fps, unlike the Crocolis that will shoot at a true 25fps and therefore renders every frame useable inn the timeline.

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

I modified my SJ1000 mount to work on my helmet. It is shown in this flickr set. I have not tested it out to see how it reacts when riding, but it seems pretty secure so far. No video with it just yet. At least on this helmet it can be installed with no real problem. Not sure what other helmets may allow for the adaptation though.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=one_set72157634691823964

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoupe1942

Ben, from your June 24 reply to this thread: Those small clips that hold the camera into the holder are best used by snapping the top one to the camera first and then pressing the camera into the holder. Once it is done in that manner, the camera locks in pretty securely to the mounts. I always recommend the use of a tether for any camera of value, so I use a small rubber band that I put over at the top of the holder and set it at just below the lens. It holds the camera securely in that manner.

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoupe1942

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