Product Review: SJ4000 Action Camera Review WiFi Model


I love action cameras, especially affordable ones. While GoPro often comes to mind when action cameras are discussed, there is actually a huge number of options available for anglers on the market today. One of the most exciting and affordable action cameras today is the SJ4000. It has been extremely well-received online, with multiple reviewers praising it. So, it's only fitting I feature this intriguing GoPro-alternative in our continuing review series on affordable action cameras. 


(Read on after the jump!)


First Impressions:
After unboxing the SJ4000, you'll notice a nice, rubberized grip surface. It comes in a variety of colors; but the black version (shown above) seems to be the most common. Camera is light but doesn't feel cheap. Buttons are fairly simple, a good thing for easy recording, with a power/menu button on the front, record on top, and up/down/wifi selector on the side. Camera boots up quickly, with a nice SJ4000 splash screen, and audible on/off sounds. 



Specs:
When I review action cameras, I look at a select set of specification to better know what kind it is capable of. For me, field of view, FPS and resolution are extremely important. You will notice a lot of cameras that purport to shoot in 1080p and also offer 170 degree field of view. However, closer inspection shows they will only shoot in 170 degrees at a lower resolution (720p, etc), and don't truly offer full 170 at 1080p. The SJ4000 excels in this area, as it films in a variety of resolutions, up to 1080p, and stays at fixed 170 degrees angle of view. The 1080p resolution only comes in 30fps, and the 720p at 60 fps isn't quite a 'true' fps, as it simply doubles the frame instead of creating a second one. Still, 30 fps at 1080p is sufficient for the vast majority of action camera users, especially when noting the FPS restrictions YouTube imposes on its uploaders. Following is a list of the total specs, taken from the SpyTec website.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)1.5LTPS
Lens
170°A+ HD wide-angle lens, 6G lens
Language Options
English / German / French / Spanish / Italian / Portuguese / Chinese Traditional / Chinese Simplified / Japanese / Russian
Resolution of Videos Recorded
1080P (1920*1080 ) 30FPS
720P (1280*720) 60FPS
VGA ( 848*480) 60FPS
QVGA (640*480) 60FPS
Video Format
MOV
Compressed Format of Videos
H.264
Resolution of Photos
12M / 8M / 5M
Storage
Micro SD
Shooting Mode
Single Shot / Self-timer (2s / 5s / 10s / Continuous Shooting
Frequency of Optical Source
50Hz / 60Hz
USB Interface
USB2.0
Power Source Interface
5V1A
Battery Capacity
900MAH
Power Dissipation
400mA@4.2V
Recording Time
1080P/ About 70 minutes
Charging Time
About 3.5 hours
Operating System (OS)
Windows XP/VistaorAbove/Win7/Mac os
Dimension
59.27*41.13*29.28

Performance:
I was able to easily film in a variety of outdoor environments with the SJ4000. Buttons respond quickly and it's easy to switch between recording on/off quickly. I really love the wide-angle look, especially with fishing and hiking videos. I feel it best captures the true expanse outdoors and the SJ4000 does an excellent job at recording all in view.  I do wish the record on/off sounds were a little louder, as they are somewhat muted once the camera is inside the case. Video quality is very good, most users would not be able to tell the difference between this and GoPro once edited appropriately and uploaded to YouTube. The only complaint I have is the camera tends to oversaturates blue skies-but otherwise handles a wide range of colors very well. It even did decent in low-light conditions, as you can see in the following video clip towards the end.


Even more impressive is the amount of control the camera gives you over its actual video and photo settings. Jump into the menu on the camera and you can adjust ISO, color, white balance, exposure, face detection and more! This is very impressive and not a feature I have encountered on other action cameras. Camera also has dash-cam abilities with a Cyclic Record option, should you choose to use it as such. 

Accessories:
The SJ4000 comes with a excellent selection of accessories. Let me also note that the waterproof case design is also compatible with GoPro mounts, opening up a huge range of options for mounting this action camera. Accessories included range from a variety of bar mounts, the required underwater case, adhesive mounts, helmet attachments, and even unique belt mount clip (great for hiking). A lense cleaning cloth, charging cable, and handy screw adapter round accessories. I am extremely happy SJ4000 mounting options are compatible with the OEM and generic GoPro mounts, as it allows me to use it with many of my already-existing mounts (chest, helmet, floaty, etc). 

The waterproof case feels very, very solid. I'm always wary of the potential for a leak to spring out on a loose camera case; however, the SJ4000 case seems very well-built. The rubber seal and double clip really adds a nice peace of mind for me when using it underwater. Camera fits quite snugly as well, not loose or shaking once it is in the case. The flat lense handles underwater footage extremely well, as this snorkeling video I shot shows:


It's also worth mentioning that there are two versions of the SJ4000; the original and the 2nd version with WiFi app capabilities. I am using the 2nd version, which allows you to connect to a mobile device (phone, tablet). From here, you can stream video, adjust the menu options, remotely control the camera, and even review/delete recordings. The app worked just fine on my Android phone and is available here on Google Play



The SJ4000 performed excellently on a variety of fishing, hiking, and outdoors trips. Here are several photos taken as examples of the photo-quality







Conclusion:

I am extremely impressed with the SJ4000. It's truly one of the most affordable action cameras ($99 via SpyTec) on the market today, with a host of features more common in high-end cameras. The SJ 4000  is a much better purchase than the GoPro HD that recently came out (doesn't even have a viewfinder/LCD panel!). If the SJ4000 was setup in major retailers, such as WalMart or Target, I imagine it would sell remarkably well. Just make sure to be careful to avoid the fake SJ4000s that are common on eBay (great guide on spotting the difference)! Please strongly consider the SJ4000 if you are looking for a awesome action camera without having to spend a small fortune. I will definitely be using this one in future videos!

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4 comments

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April 9, 2015 at 9:20 AM delete

Hey iWalton,
I am very impressed with the quality and price of the SJ4000 action cam, but I have seen many issues on amazon and other sites with people receiving very poor quality fakes that are nearly identical in looks. Where did you get yours, and how can I avoid getting a fake when purchasing online?
Thanks,
Kyle

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April 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM delete

Hi Kyle,
Mine was provided by Spytec, link at the end of the article.
RCgroups has a nice forum thread on the SJ4000 and spotting fakes. Furthermore, this may be helpful: http://sjcamguides.com/sjcam-sj-scam-difference-real-fake-camera/

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September 19, 2015 at 7:00 AM delete

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