Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Sunday, 3 January 2016

SJCam 4000 wifi review

For Christmas I was given a Sjcam 4000 wifi action camera. I wanted a cheaper camera for B roll footage and one that I could risk attaching to my float contraption and to a kite cam in the future. I'm not quite ready to risk an expensive GoPro for such activities! But this one, well I might!

The SJCam retailed at around £60 and so far I have been impressed. You get quite a bit of kit for a relatively cheap price.

So what came in the box?
Well on the plus side - a variety of mounts, adhesive pad mounts, attachments, cable ties, various clips, Velcro and strap tethers, wire tether, usb cable, waterproof casing, battery.
On the minus side, the box was missing the battery charger plug adaptor and so far trying to get one from the company off which the camera was purchased has been futile. Fortunately my phone charger has the same USB cable and so charges the camera with no problem. In addition I can plug it into the iPad, my power monkey charger and my PC, so the lack of adapter plug is merely a mild irritation.

And what about the camera itself? I am no techie and so if you want all the details about frames per second etc, this isn't the review for you.........sorry! What I can say is the following:

It records at 1080p x 30 fps and at 720p as well
Saves in mov format
Has a 12mp camera
170 degree field of view wide angle lense
3cm LCD screen on back
X 4 digital zoom
Takes up to a 32gb micro card
Has a USB and HDMI port
Roughly same size as a GoPro
A battery time of around 100minutes of continuous use, in my tests thus far
Can download firmware updates to get video time lapse facility
Has a waterproof casing down to 30m

Good points?
Well so far in some short film tests........
Can alter white balance to improve colour tones in video
Intuitive menu operation and easy navigation through the menu screens
Can use as web cam, car dash cam, motion sensor
Links to app on smart phone which allows control and immediate download of films
Fits into a pocket
Mounts are interchangeable with GoPro accessories
Comes in a variety of colours...if that appeals to you...mine is a nice gold colour
Compact and lightweight
Video playback option

Bad points? Well depends on what you want but thus far I have found
You have to select maximum video clip sizes, 3, 5, 10 minute lengths. For me this is perfect. However, I could see it irritating the hell out of people who want longer footage times
When the card is full, it starts to delete the first video clips
Battery charging takes around three hours
Battery life of around 100 minutes is less than my GoPro by quite some way
No operating instructions... The accompanying manual isn't! And trying to find one on line is complicated and frustrating
When you remove and replace a battery some of the settings you have opted for cancel themselves and revert to factory default settings.......irritating!
There is a 2 second delay between what is filmed and what appears on your smartphone when using the approved app....doesn't worry me but proved disconcerting initially
The zoom is electronic not optical and frankly photos just don't look 12mp quality...sorry but photos look 8 mp ish at best
There is a fish eye quality to horizon and close features in the videos

So in summary, am I pleased with it?
Yes, absolutely. What you get for £60 or so is impressive and the video quality isn't far off my GoPro. This is a really good package for half the price of the cheapest GoPro and its wifi enabled as well. It gives me the option of using wifi enabled attributes to mount it on inaccessible places on Arwen or on float and kite cams and the ability to switch on/off and control what I see and film.

So far, I am impressed. As I road test it more, I will post some video footage so you can decide for yourselves. 

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