Published on November 4th, 2015 | by admin0
SJ4000 SJCAM Budget Cam Review
Ever fancied recording your rides but have been put-off by the cost of the well-known brands sports cams? Well if so this review is defiantly for you. I have been playing around with the Sj4000 CAM which by all accounts is a very good clone of a very well known “Pro” Cam. You can own the Sj4000 for as little as £40 from retailers on EBay and Amazon. It is a fact that the SJ4000 has become so popular that there are literally dozens of lesser quality clones now available.
Sj4000 SJCam Sports Cam
The SJ4000 SJCam is available in a variety of colours plus a standard and Wi-Fi version. This review is for the standard non Wi-Fi version.
SJ4000 Cam Description
The Cam is amazingly small measuring in at 59.27mm x 41.13mm x 29.28mm. The cam only has 4 control buttons as you can see below.
The front button has a dual role as it is the main power button plus it is used to switch modes. The top button is used as a selection button for wither modes or option menus whilst the up and down buttons are used to move to different options. Just playing around with the cam for a few minutes is all you really need to get to grips with the menus and options.
The cam is also supplied with a water proof case. The documentation states that the case is water proof to 30M. I have tested the cam in my pool and in heavy rain and report that the case is indeed water proof.
The Sj4000 is supplied with a vast array of accessories as you can see below.
The accessories do indeed look impressive especially when compared to the accessories that are bundled with other cams. The bad news is though is that all the attachments are plastic, meaning that using them it is virtually impossible to secure the cam tightly so that there is no movement during filming. If you purchase this camera for use on your bike then I would strongly suggest you purchase a quality aluminium mount. Quality mounts are available from EBay and Amazon for a few pounds.
How To Spot Fake SJ4000 Cam
As already stated there are many copies of the SJ4000 which are of a lesser quality. It’s easy to spot most of the fakes as they don’t have the SJCAM logo on the front of the cam.
The SJCam is supplied with 1 x 900mAh 3.7 V Li-ion Battery. I have found that the battery lasts for around 80 to 85 minutes during continues filming in HD. A backup battery is of course a good investment. A couple of extra batteries plus an external charger (from EBay) cost just over £10.
One problem I found with the battery which drove me bonkers was actually getting the battery out. The battery compartment has a removable door, which is opened by releasing a little switch. The trouble is that sometime the switch becomes stuck. To solve this problem I just made sure that I always left the soft tab of the battery sticking out the case so I could always easily remove the battery.
SJ4000 Menu System
The menu system of the SJ4000 is extremely easy to use. Simply “short press” the font mode button. Short press the button again and again until you access the menu system below.
To access different options from each page use the up and down buttons to move to different options on the page then use the top “OK” button to select the option you require.
SJ4000 Camera Review
You can use the SJCAM as a normal camera either in point and shoot mode or in timer mode. In timer mode you can set the camera to fire every 5, 10 or 20 seconds. You either select “single” from the “Capture Mode” option or either of the timer settings. You can use the timer mode setting to create time lapse videos which I’m going to cover in-depth next month. The battery life in continues mode is just under 90 minutes.
As the cam has a wide lens, it is not really ideal for standard picture taking. For example look at the photos below taken with the SJCam.
See how the straight lines of the window frame are distorted by the wide angle lens?
Here’s an interior shot.
And outside in the garden.
So I guess it would be ok for taking a few snapshots whilst on your ride although the reality is we all carry phones nowadays which will have a much better equipped camera.
SJ4000 Cam Test
Ok the bit you have all been waiting for. What’s the actual video recording like? Well in my opinion it is indeed good. To be honest for the modest outlay it’s very good. If you take a look at the video below, which was recorded with the SJ4000 bolted to my handlebar, with an aluminium clamp, I think that the result is pretty decent even though YouTube has vastly reduced the quality.
At a higher resolution, even though the light was not great, the quality is very good!
As you can see from the above, even though the video has only been upload at 480p the resulting video is still good.
The cam, like most others has no inbuilt memory / storage but does support storage cards up to 32GB maximum (Micro SD Card Class6). The card simply slots in to the side of the cam. I found that 80minutes of video used around 10gb of storage on the card. Thus with a continuous power supply such as a USB power pack you could record for up to 4 hours.
Update 4th November 2015 – Di Dolan
I took this small and compact movie/stills camera on a six month cycle trip using it mainly mounted on the handle bars of my bike.
It was easy to use and gave good quality movies and stills with no blurring in movie mode, even when the road surface left a lot to be desired. I was impressed by the way it transitioned form open road to tunnel and back again.
Not So Good
It has an orange light which flashes while it is recording but this is partially obscured by the clip which secures the rear of the waterproof case. The case also cuts out the audio, so when mounted on the handle bars you only hear road noise via the bike frame. The lens cover on the case has also grazed over the six months causing sun flares on the videos.
The SJCam is far from perfect. The battery door is a nightmare unless you use the “leave the battery tab out” trick. Another irritation is that all settings revert back to default when the battery dies. The timer options for time lapse photography are good but a setting less than 5 seconds would be beneficial.
For the relatively low price, currently around £40 to £50, the SJ4000 is a great buy. You must remember though that you will need a decent mount (£5), plus a 32 GB micro SD card (around £10). For a total of let’s say £70 including postage, you will have a decent setup to record rides, which in comparison to some of the branded cams, will save you a couple of hundred pounds.