SJ8 Pro Action Camera Review

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  • Time for a first blush review of my new SJ8 Pro action camera...

    I wanted something on the Go Pro 7 line, but frankly couldn't afford it. After research I chose the SJ8 Pro from SJCAM. This thing shoots in 4K, is 6-axis gyro stabilized, and shoots in just about every format that the latest Go Pro does. The primary difference between them is that the SJ8 is not waterproof on its own - it has a waterproof plastic box that also acts as a mount. Some folks complain that the waterproof box cuts out the sound - and it does.

    The SJ8 Pro will support an external microphone (about $25 - and you have to use their model, 3rd party mics won't work.) I plan on drilling a hole in my WP case to put a microphone cable through. Don't plan on taking it diving, so water proof doesn't matter to me. Bug proof does, however. Took the camera for a 50 mile ride along AR-23 (the Pig Trail) today, did the loop out AR-16 east to AR-23 north, then back home along AR-74 to Elkins, AR. Take a look at the case after the ride...

    The case is full of bug splatters, but the images were clean and the camera undamaged. I had purchased a frame (open mount) that would leave the camera microphones clear - but I don't think I'll be using it on the Slingshot! Bug splat will ruin the lens and front display, not to mention if I got a pebble or even some sand from a passing truck. You can get a new WP case for about $10 - new camera runs $200.

    The remote for the SJ8 Pro is a champ! My pal Doug & I mounted the camera before the ride, turned it on and the wifi remote automatically synced up. Note that you have to press the "photo" button twice at the beginning. The first press wakes up the photo function, all succeeding presses take the photos. You can see my finger on the button in many of the photos!

    The remote is about 1.5 inches square, about the size of a wrist watch. You can take photos, burst photos, and start and stop videos, even power down the camera. Switching from photo to video is easy, just press the function button you want - first press activates the new mode, next press starts the photo/video process. Remember, you can power down - but not power UP. The camera has no standby power to listen for a signal from a remote, so the remote only works AFTER you power up the camera.

    The camera can adjust ISO (100 to 6400), shutter speed (1/500th to 60 sec), exposure values (+2.0 to -2.0 in 1/3 f/stop increments), you can control color profile, white balance, photo sharpness, metering mode, distortion correction and more... and if that camera crap is a bit intimidating, you can just put the thing on AUTO and let the camera's internal software make all the decisions. That's *probably* what I should have done today! I was using custom settings, but on the ride we went from clouds, to bright sun, to shady lanes from one second to the next - many of our photos were too washed out, but some of the ones shot in the shade were quite excellent.

    Color is very good for a camera this tiny, 7-layer glass lenses and a good SONY sensor help there. Clarity and color were great and the stabilization worked wonderfully considering we were going along twisty, lumpy, rural Arkansas roads from 40-70 mph! Some of the better photos are below. When I get a proper external mic and learn to use some of the features a little better, I'll post them here.

    This is the link to the package I bought off Amazon, SJ8 Pro Package its going for $210 (after coupon) with accessories included just now. Shop around and you can find it bundled with the remote for about $10 more. SJCAM has just released the SJ9 - a waterproof version, so prices may drop a bit in the coming weeks.

    -- Doc

    The smarter you get, the funnier I am.

  • Very nice - I havent even tried taking stills with my GoPro yet. I might have to give it a try. :thumbsup:

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