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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%! 

            

 
« K1S - The first Front & Rear Hidden 1080p Dash Camera | Main | JBL Pulse - The Bluetooth Speaker Party in a can »
Saturday
Feb072015

The Big SJ5000+ Action Camera Review

Twenty-odd years ago I worked in HMV. I remember being amazed when people came in the shop asking whether the latest cinema release was also available to buy on video. Fast forward a couple of decades and within a few hours of the  SJCAM SJ5000+ being announced as a preorder, scores of people emailed me to inform me that the camera was out now, asking me when my review would be ready. It seems like some things haven't changed much.

I don't know why people thought that I wouldn’t have heard about the SJ5000+. My previous SJCAM reviews have amassed a couple of million views, so it's a company that I naturally keep a close eye on. I bought their SJ5000+ as soon as it went on sale and I've been testing it for the last few weeks.
 

The reason I mentioned the fevered anticipation for the SJ5000+ above, is because I wonder if the pressure on SJCAM to deliver a follow up to their big hit, the SJ4000, may have resulted in this camera being rushed out before it was ready. It's definitely in need of a few firmware tweaks to get rid of bugs and the battery management could have done with optimising before the camera went on sale. 

I'll have to consider this to be a review of an unfinished product.  I intend to revisit this camera if improvements are made to the way it performs and perhaps then I'll also get the chance to take it out on the motorbike on a sunny day.
 
Watch the video below to find out all about the SJ5000 Plus. Both the good.... and the not-so-good.
 
 
  
If you want a 1080p60 SJCAM now, there are some affiliated buying links below:
The ebay links are here: (click your country) UK  US  AU  DE  NL  FR
   

As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Other cameras I've recently reviewed in the SJCAM range (all capable of 1080p30).
 
Also note that at the time of posting - Amazon UK have a great offer on the Sony AS30 at £130. This camera may not have a live video screen, but it does record 1080p60 video and has excellent quality video stabilsation, stereo sound, WiFi and GPS logging.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - the Battery life is now approx 55 Mins (Using firmware 1.7) 
See video below for more info.

 

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Reader Comments (94)

Thanks for the review. I read enough comments about the 5000+ that I opted for the new 5000 wifi instead. I've head none of the firmware-related issues that the + seems to have. If there's a mic volume setting on the 5000 wifi, though, I've yet to discover it.

February 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLM

LM, could you tell us something about your experience with the SJ5000. For example, how's the battery life and image quality on your model.

Thanks!

And Techmoan, great review again! I love what you are doing.

February 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJordy

Good review our tech guru!

A fair review that shows that you doesnt change your belives whatever you show us!

thanks+

btw i bought a sjcam sj4000 wifi but the wifi button broke

February 8, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergeorge

Fair comment on the camera as you received it. Mine has firmware version 1.7 and has been more stable than you report apart from sharing the dreadful wifi, possibly even worse than yours. Definitely a work in progress. This is my first action cam and as a professional photographer I had modest expectations of image quality. I will be carrying out some experiments into getting the best possible still and video images, documented at :

http://sjcamsj5000plus.blogspot.com/

I bought the camera in the hope of having something I could take decent stills on in adverse conditions which were up to being used for publication and the main disappointment is the lack of control over sharpening. Out of camera jpegs have pronounced sharpening haloes and noise is enhanced by the indiscriminate sharpening carried out in camera. I would much prefer to have a zero sharpening option and carry this out myself in post processing. I hope that SJCAM persevere as I think there is a useful little camera in there trying to get out. I have given the manufacturer some feedback and hope other unsatisfied users do the same. As well as the sharpening issue top of my wish list is a 1sec option for Auto Shooting as I want to be able to produce 4k time lapse from full res 16 MP images.

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Anthony I'm guessing that this is your website - if so I'd recommend people also have a look at your comments about this camera and perhaps provide feedback or suggestions too.

February 9, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

That is disappointing.

I sold my SJ4000 so that I could buy SJ5000 Plus (for 60fps recording) for next cycling season, however with such terrible battery life (I need at least 90 minutes of recording) and series of issues, and still no stabilization it seems like it's a no go.

What should I buy in same price range? Is SJ5000 (non plus) worthy upgrade from SJ4000 (i don't need wifi)? Battery life, video quality?

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSJ_what

I just checked GoPro 4 silver values, and it provides 1080p60 for 100 minute recording and also has mountable battery pack which SJ doesn't... how bad the battery is for it to provide only 38 minutes of recording...

Hero 3 Plus 135min of 1080p60. Crazy.

What they were thinking?

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSJ_what

Thanks for the review.

My next inclination is to look around and see what's available (I blog about drone DIY). My thoughts at the moment are looking at the Sony AZ1, I think it's the more new version of the Sony AS30?? The only thing holding me back on the Sony is I have no idea if it has usb video-out functionality like the Mobius/808 #16 has (I need this so I can output to a transmitter for flying)

I'd love to know anyone who has an AS30 or better yet an AZ1 and could answer the video-out question. All-in-all I'm just not really that comfortable strapping a £300 gopro for my flights, and besides, i'd sooner spend that amount of money on a new CSC body to upgrade from my Sony C3.

Hey Techmoan, you're welcome to head over to the Pendle area with your vast abundance of actioncams and perhaps make a mega-test-video for drone flying, demoing vibration tests, and what not.

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbenbojangles

Yes Matt, I'm interested in hearing experiences from other buyers. Very frustrating as it has produced some very tolerable video for me, though this isn't necessarily visible in the Youtube samples. Nice to see familiar bits of Manchester in your tests. I'm coming up from Sunny Devon in April to cat sit for my son and explore Manchester and the Peaks for my "real" photography. :-)


http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/search/2/image?family=creative,editorial&artists=Anthony%20Collins&excludenudity=false

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Was the "39 minutes" 1 clip? Or several on/offs?

The Panasonic HX-A500 4k camera - There are significant penalties for on/off usage. It's all mentioned in the Panasonic user manual.

February 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbri

@benbojangles The sony fdr-x1000v 4k action cam is scheduled for march 2015. Looks to have excellent stabilization and specialized stuff for drone shake.

February 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbri

I have found a blog site that caters to pretty much all the SJCam firmware range;

http://blog.geekbuying.com/index.php/2015/01/08/new-firmware-update-for-sjcam-sj5000-plus-sj5000-sj4000-sj-series-cameras/

Maybe Techmoan could make this a sticky somewhere on his page (if not already)?

February 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMiklos Koncsek

b&h shipping with f/w 1.7

Why wouldn't you go directly to sj website for f/w? http://www.sjcam.com/en/

February 13, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbri

How long can it record with firmware 1.7 at 1080p30?

February 13, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrcboosted

Thanks for the review.
It appears SJCAM have bombed on this one. I was eagerly awaiting this camera to replace my sj4000. However at this price and with this many issues I will spend a little more and get a more finished camera from a name brand company. The short battery life is of particular concern.

February 13, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteraquacove

v1.7 1080p/30 with 5 minute clips - 01:22:35

February 14, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbri

@bri thanks for that info.

@Techmoan If 1.7 can record 1:22:35 at 30fps, that's a crucial point that is missed in the review. The SJ4000 couldn't do 60 fps, so comparing sj5000's 60 fps recording time to sj4000's 30fps recording time is not fair. This is easily the case of, if you want to record at 60fps, expect less recording time. Otherwise, at 30fps, you have over 80min of recording time.

February 14, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrcboosted

My SJ4000 was able to record 1:43 @ 1080p/30fps

Even 1:22 is a downgrade @ 1080/30fps

Compare battery life to the ones of GoPro I posted above, they are without battery pack, 1080p/60fps has around the same times as 1080p/30 on SJCAM 4000.

Battery is TERRIBLE, 40mins is UNACCEPTABLE. Don't make excuses for them.

I saw there is 1100mah battery, and seems it works, so it might get 1080/30 recording to SJ4000 levels and raise 1080/60 to slightly better results, but still it's terrible. Even for the price, half of the case in camera is empty and they save money on battery....

February 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSJ_what

Not too sure how so many people appear to be missing the two onscreen annotations on YouTube and the info in the YouTube description box and my comments under the video on YouTube and the the bold text below the video here......but please note:

************ BATTERY LIFE IS NOW 55mins (Using Firmware 1.7) ************

Now I'm not saying that's great.....but it's better than the 38 mins I got on firmware 1.4.

February 14, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I viewed your review with great interest; thank you for that.
I myself own a SJ5000 Plus (firmware 1.4) and am experiencing many troubles right from the start: lots of lock-ups on random moments, WIFI not working or absolutely not reliable and lots of recorded movies can not be read/viewed. If the camera locks up the only solution is to remove the battery, for it completely freezes.
Getting tired of all that, I tried to download fw version 1.7. But the only one I found on the internet was a indonesian version; first I do not speak their language so did 'nt understand the instructions and second after installing the firmware the amount of troubles and lock-ups only seemed greater.
So I had no other option then downgrading to version 1.4. This worked and the camera is operating as before; not better anyway.
At last I decided to wait for the official release of fw 1.7 by SJCAM, but their site (www.sjcam.com) seems to be completely deleted/hacked/vanished, for when I try to go there nothing happens at all.
Does anyone have suggestions for a reliable address to become reliable version of firmware 1.7?
I would be helped a lot if the problems could be solved; I'm planning a motorcycle-trip to Scotland in may this year and would be very pleased to be able bringing some nice pictures and movies back home.
Thanks a lot in advance - Haver

February 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHaver

So - Mat - would you recommend the SJ5000+ over the SJ4000+ ?
If 60fps was not as important to me, would the SJ4000+ be the better option? Or would you preference the M10?

Interested in seeing a "side-by-side" of all 3 if you have time... :-)

Cheers & love your work.

Matt

PS - you really should try reading some Thomas the Tank Engine at some point.... ;-p

February 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I prefer the M10. But these things are very much down to personal preference.

February 16, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I just wanted to mention that some video packages (sony vegas pro/pinnacle studio) have or have add ons($) to remove the "fisheye effect".

February 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbri

Thanks for the firmware 1.7 update, my battery life tests are in line with yours. Rumour has it that after Chinese New Year (when everything stops for tea) there will be revised firmware released. (I hope not improved hardware as I don't want to have to return mine). I am continuing to explore the capabilities of the camera including still and time lapse as well as post processing to try and squeeze out the last drops of image quality. Documented at: http://sjcamsj5000plus.blogspot.com/ I haven't seen any real comparison of how hard image files from other Action cams like the SJ4000 and various GoPros can be "pushed" before they start to look ugly.

Tony

February 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

For those who are interested in the Xcsource 1100 mAh batteries:
I did 2 test with 2 different batteries in a SJ4000.
Test 1 was at night with HDR on, white balance on Auto and Exposure on +1, 1080p30-> 116 minutes
Test 2 was at daytime, HDR on, white balance on Cloudy and exposure on +2/3, 1080p30 -> 117 minutes

These batteries give the SJ4000 around 30 minutes more battery life.

The SJ4000 used is one of the first types, so with the old lcd screen and without wifi. The firmware used is 20140110V01 (original firmware that came with the camera).

So no test in the SJ5000+ YET. My brother just received his SJ5000+ and Xcsource 1100mAh batteries. I will post an update about the battery life when tested. It however seems obvious the SJ5000+ will also benefit from the larger battery capacity.

February 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJordy

Great review.

One thing worth mentioning is that SJCAM offers a motorcycle-specific case for the SJ5000+, with an integrated 12v lighter cable, so you can keep it running without having to replace batteries all the time if you have a 12v socket on your bike. Unfortunately the cable is not so long for helmet use so if the camera is helmet mounted you might need an extension for the cable.

http://www.sjcam.com/en/accessories/81-sj5000-waterproof-case-for-motocycle.html

February 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterUbirata Silva

Thanks for the review - helped me to learn a little more about my sj5000+
Mine came with fw 1.7 but I also concur about the battery life and will look for the higher capacity ones as a previous poster has mentioned. I also find this buggy too with and have needed to remove the battery several times to resolve. Note that you need to enable dualstreams to watch playback whilst recording via the phone app so give this a try.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

Dear Techmoan following your recent review on the SJCam 4000 wifi, i purchase (I PAID), a camera directly from SJCAM, , that was in 27 Dec 2014, and until now ZIP, nothing, NO Delivery, and now now even answer
I have been asking for the refund for non delivery and nothing
I have been sending e-mails and asking the refund for it, and NOTHING..
I hope this FRAUD takes HELPS thinking wether one is interested in throwing your money away....

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo Diogo

Ricardo, I assume (by your name) that you are either from Brazil or Portugal, is that correct?

I purchased a camera (an SJ4000, I wish I had bought the M10) from the SJCAM website (sjcam.com) on Dec 19th, and it was promptly shipped. In fact, it has just arrived at my city post office (Guará, Distrito Federal, Brazil), and it is waiting for me to show up, and pay the custom duties to take it home. I wonder what might have happened to you.


It took a whole of 63 days until it was available for pick-up. I´ll go there tomorrow. Here´s my whole tracking.

Data Local Situação
23/02/2015 09:52 AC GUARA I - Brasilia/DF Aguardando retirada
Endereço: QE 02 LOTE P AE BRASILIA - Guara
20/02/2015 09:38 CEE BRASILIA SUL - Brasilia/DF Encaminhado
Em trânsito para AC GUARA I - Brasilia/DF
19/02/2015 12:16 CTE BRASILIA - Brasilia/DF Encaminhado
Em trânsito para CEE BRASILIA SUL - Brasilia/DF
13/02/2015 19:53 CTCI Paraná - Curitiba/PR Encaminhado
Em trânsito para CTE BRASILIA - Brasilia/DF
13/02/2015 05:37 UNIDADE TRAT INTERNACIONAL PARANA - Curitiba/PR Encaminhado
Em trânsito para Fiscalizacao Aduaneira - Fiscalizacao Aduaneira/BR
29/01/2015 12:57 CTCI Paraná - Curitiba/PR Não localizado no fluxo postal
Por favor, entre em contato conosco clicando aqui.
15/01/2015 13:49 CTCI SAO PAULO/GMIMP - Sao Paulo/SP Encaminhado
Em trânsito para CTCI Paraná - Curitiba/PR
15/01/2015 07:57 UNIDADE TRAT INTERNACIONAL SAO PAULO - Sao Paulo/SP Conferido
Recebido/Brasil
05/01/2015 08:20 PAISES BAIXOS Encaminhado
Em trânsito para Unidade de Tratamento Internacional - BRASIL/BR
05/01/2015 08:20 PAISES BAIXOS Conferido
Recebido na unidade de exportação

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterUbirata Silva

Ricardo, I assume (by your name) that you are either from Brazil or Portugal, is that correct?

I purchased a camera (an SJ4000, I wish I had bought the M10) from the SJCAM website (sjcam.com) on Dec 19th, and it was promptly shipped. In fact, it has just arrived at my city post office (Guará, Distrito Federal, Brazil), and it is waiting for me to show up, and pay the custom duties to take it home. I wonder what might have happened to you.


It took a whole of 63 days until it was available for pick-up. I´ll go there tomorrow. Here´s my whole tracking.

Data Local Situação
23/02/2015 09:52 AC GUARA I - Brasilia/DF Aguardando retirada
Endereço: QE 02 LOTE P AE BRASILIA - Guara
20/02/2015 09:38 CEE BRASILIA SUL - Brasilia/DF Encaminhado
Em trânsito para AC GUARA I - Brasilia/DF
19/02/2015 12:16 CTE BRASILIA - Brasilia/DF Encaminhado
Em trânsito para CEE BRASILIA SUL - Brasilia/DF
13/02/2015 19:53 CTCI Paraná - Curitiba/PR Encaminhado
Em trânsito para CTE BRASILIA - Brasilia/DF
13/02/2015 05:37 UNIDADE TRAT INTERNACIONAL PARANA - Curitiba/PR Encaminhado
Em trânsito para Fiscalizacao Aduaneira - Fiscalizacao Aduaneira/BR
29/01/2015 12:57 CTCI Paraná - Curitiba/PR Não localizado no fluxo postal
Por favor, entre em contato conosco clicando aqui.
15/01/2015 13:49 CTCI SAO PAULO/GMIMP - Sao Paulo/SP Encaminhado
Em trânsito para CTCI Paraná - Curitiba/PR
15/01/2015 07:57 UNIDADE TRAT INTERNACIONAL SAO PAULO - Sao Paulo/SP Conferido
Recebido/Brasil
05/01/2015 08:20 PAISES BAIXOS Encaminhado
Em trânsito para Unidade de Tratamento Internacional - BRASIL/BR
05/01/2015 08:20 PAISES BAIXOS Conferido
Recebido na unidade de exportação

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterUbirata Silva

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