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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%! 

            

 
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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)

The only way to get rid the vignetting issue with waterproof case is to use the digital zoom up to 1.2x. The quality will be degraded a bit tho.

July 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Zoom in is one option. It is better to use another w/proof case to eliminate the problem. :D

July 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

@ emptybee
It's not my workers, it's the thieves that hang around the job site, doing a snatch and run.
The cops suggested we use hidden cameras to get there faces on film or hire a guard.
I was going to use my dash cam, but its too bulky to hide and would probably just get taken as well.
I was working in a lady's back yard, with a 7ft fence. I went out front to the truck to get something and came back to find someone crawling back over the fence with some of my tools.
A couple camping trips back, in a busy campground, we came back from a long hike to find some had gone through our stuff and took some of our food/drinks. Several other campers were all sitting around us in plain sight, but no one saw anything. Butch

July 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterButch777

Is anyone using a 32GB micro SDHC Card Class 10??
Thanks, Butch

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterButch777

@pat which other waterproof case? The liquid ego case? Does sj1000 have the same dimension as the liquid ego cam?

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

@Butch777 I always use a Class 10 32GB card for shooting the footage used in the reviews.

July 2, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@ Butch777

I always use Sandisk class 10 SDHC 30MB/s . There is a higher one with 45mb/s, price also high. This class 10 is "Price and performance" ideal. IMO

@ Frank

I don't know which case to use, but certainly a bigger one which can cover such wide angle. May be wait for the next generation of SJ2000/3000/4000, or they can provide a seperate case? All options open!
I saw a video in a Koi water Pond, at least it is waterproof (cross my fingers!). Another guy modified the camera to get the maximum sound quality. The method is very simple, every one can do if one want quality sound by motorbiking.

I want to use it underwater "occasionally" (Not diving). :)
Well timelapse also nice to have, but I order Cubicam for this purpose. So I am quite happy for now. Still waiting for them to arrive. I bought SJ1000 for HDR quality. :)

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

Tossing up between sj1000 and cubicam. For dinghy sailing and mx biking. ( kids are full on )

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan

@Ian I think the footage the SJ1000 captures is considerably better but then Cubicam looks more waterproof and can apparently use GoPro mounts so it's difficult to say which is best. I'm going to be saving up for a "proper" action cam now I think, waiting for the contour roam 3 to come out. The SJ1000 has been a good way to test whether I actually need/will use one and, whatever I buy, I'll still keep it to use as a second view. Prefer the low profile, rotatable body and inclusive waterproof design of the contour cameras so would use that for a helmet cam and mount the SJ1000 under the seat or on the bellypan of my bike to get some different angles :)

Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that you can pick up a camera for £60-70 that will do almost everything a more expensive one will but I now believe the extra cash buys you the missing functions (timelapse, proper waterproof case, accessible power button and no vignetting of the footage when in the waterproof case, etc.) and that these are fairly necessary for everyday use.

I think the SJ1000 will be okay for sailing as mine hasn't leaked during my tests but you have to make sure the seal is compressed all the way around when shutting the door and then use the latch to hold it shut. The HDR mode will also make the footage look better as the light will change rapidly as the boat moves around and heels over. Check out the cubicam footage on youtube (there isn't much unfortunately, at least when I looked) and see if you would be happy with that, if not the SJ1000 is your choice unless you want to spend more on a "proper" action camera.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteremptybee

Mine just arrived.. the firmware is Y130507 an the screen does not turn off... is there any way to update the firmware on this ?

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

Would you please add a review of 808#26/28? Comparing to older 808#16? Thanks in advance..

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNorbert

The 808 #26 is the 1080P development of 808 #18. The Mobius cam is the 1080P development of the 808 #16 albeit significantly different from the #16 design, i.e. no longer a keyfob cam. I think Techmoan is working on these now judging by his last review video.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexie

Anyone know if this 1/4"-20 Adjustable Camera Clamp TILT gun-shotgun Rifle Bow Crossbow Cam Mount can be fitted with this camea on the shotgun?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-4-20-Adjustable-Camera-Clamp-TILT-gun-shotgun-Rifle-Bow-Crossbow-Cam-Mount-/370801317232?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item56557b1570

Hhow big is the mounting-hole in the camera (the one that sit on the plastic case)? is it 1/4"?

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwibroy

Some minor niggles have cropped up having reviewed the video shot during during my morning bike ride before it fatally encountered the tarmac.

Plenty of CMOS wobble if the camera vibrates during filming (it went mental going over a cattle grid). As it's too bulky to work as a helmet cam, it's important to mount it in a way that is least susceptible to vibration - and I have yet to work out a system to mount on the handlebars which minimises this. There's a slightly odd arrangement of using the same sliding clip attachment to the back of the housing and the top of the various mounts (which would have worked better if they had included one back-to-back slidey-clip-thing). I'll cobble something together from the two broken slidey-clip-things I have (which are *not* to be trusted IME). The CMOS wobble is alarmingly bad when riding over rough roads (ie quite a lot of the UK's tarmac these days), but isn't very noticeable when riding on smooth stuff. I suspect that a less vibration-prone mount would solve most of this.

The camera not recording past 4gb in a single file wasn't very well documented; you have a choice, of either recording in ten-minute loops, or remembering to re-start the recording every 30 minutes or so.

The wide-angle lens has very pronounced fish-eye distortion, although outdoors it's not a big issue - except for the already-noted point that the field of view includes the black ring around the lens window of the waterproof housing. 10 degrees less field of view - or a window with a diameter 5mm larger - would have avoided this.

No on-off switch accessible when the camera is in the waterproof housing. Pretty much all the other functions are available (menu up/down, for example), including several that I would only use when first setting the camera up. But having to take the camera out of the housing to turn it on and off is a bit of a nuisance.

But - it IS cheap, and the video it shoots looks good. The mic is up to the job of recording mostly adequate sound even when in the waterproof housing. I like the fact that the mov files are given titles which relate to when they were taken.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard D

Thank you so much for those review. I got my licence bike today for my motorcycle and I used the SJ1000 to capture my 1st ride. Unfortunatly I put it on HDR... which makes the picture abit more granny. I mounted the SJ1000 with a suction mount that I moded little bit. I put some electric tape in the ball join. The picture is stable enough for me.

I don't think the SJ1000 is that bulky to mount on a motorcycle helmet.

here's some sample http://youtu.be/qpVeZoFZ10U

Please take notes that the road are bumpy in Montreal, Québec. That's usually when it shake a bit more.

I'll try to post more without HDR.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersystemcrash

@ systemcrash - your clip shows that the camera is constantly changing its white balance settings, never quite sure what it should be choosing. Is there nothing in the set up menu that allows you to lock it down on a daylight setting? Very sharp though, but the vignetting is a bummer.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertom hardwick

Just received mine yesterday. US$82, but didn't not have a miniSD card, so I had to run to Costco for a 32GB 10 for US$25.

The mounts are awful - the screw hole for the best mount was lined with plastic which couldn't be removed. So I'll probably try using the tape to stick it to the dashboard.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoginator

@ Tom

Automatic white-Balance is the cause of the changing color. I do realized Contour has neutral / natural color than any other cheap camera. Including JS1000, Cubicam and i Sport2 Camera.

Exposure and white-balance lock would be nice..

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

Looks like it was gloomy on that bike video ... hence the colour shift problems. I suspect if it had been a Contour it would have appeared darker since it doesn't handle low light particularly well whereas I've noticed the SJ1000 tends to make gloom look surprisingly brighter albeit with graininess and colour shift issues. Poor light is usually going to be a problem for these cameras.

Nobody managed to find a generic replacement battery for this yet ?. Can't believe the battery isn't a clone of some other design. Sellers quoting 12 and 17 dollars for these things, 12 maybe but 17 is too much. You can buy the bare Lipo cells for £6 delivered but would need to mess around fitting them in the battery case. Also the charge control circuit seems to be built into the case rather than the cell itself unlike the replacement cells that have the circuit as part of the cell. Might be fiddly getting it to work without blowing the cell !

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexie

@Alexis Buy_ee (the ebay merchant who i bought the camera off) quoted me quite steep for the battery but that globalibaba guy in one of the previous posts charged £6.50 delivered which I think is very reasonably.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteremptybee

@ Alexie

I and emptybee answered your question before, you need to read closely to previous comments. Please.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

Is there a setting to disable the power switch? Mine powered up when it arrived with a one second press of the power button, now it's charged it will only power up on the charger or when plugged into the PC, although when on the PC you can't do anything with it apart from switch from mass storage to pc camera.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArtstu

Sounds like a battery issue to me. Take the battery out and check the contacts are clean, then replace (making sure its the correct way round of course) and then try it again?

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteremptybee

I've reset it to factory settings or something similar (forget the exact wording) and it is now working :)

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArtstu

Glad to hear you've fixed it. Now go film some cool stuff! :)

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteremptybee

Hi
Just bought one via your link on ebay, uk supplier.
What sd card would you recommend ie. speed/class size etc?

Thanks

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

You can usually find a good deal on Sandisk Ultra Cards on Amazon. These are Class 10 speed cards, and I find their red and white colour easier to spot the the usual black cards when they ping out on the floor. Get a 16GB or 32GB card. Use Amazon themselves rather than an Amazon Marketplace seller to be sure you are getting an original (non-fake) card.

July 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for reply.
To clarify 32gb micro sdhc card class 10 sandisk ultra

I take it sdxc is NOT suitable?

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

You need SDHC.

July 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for all the reviews Mat. It was the Honda NC700 review that I found first. Now I've got some footage, is there an idiots guide to dealing with files, saving them and editing and playing them? I've saved them to my Netbook, VLC medis player doesn't want to play it, only the audio keeps going, Quick time player plays them, but in a series of one second jumps.
Any guidance appreciated, messing about with this isn't my favourite pastime and it isn't half time consuming.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArtstu

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