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Old 25th February 2014, 11:48   #1
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Default SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review(SJM10 update pg.15)

Dash Camera's don't we all love them? In the past few years there has been an explosion of Chinese cameras's with prices ranging 30$ for the cheapest ones to 200$ for the high end models.

Its quite simple. You find a highly rated dealer on ebay.com in HK, buy the cam, and 3 weeks later in a brown envelope it sits at your desk.

However, in this jungle of cameras, its always hard to choose what to buy.

First of all lets define, what is a dashcam?
A dashcam is a camera you attach to the windshield of the car to record video.
Now does it mean, any camera can be a dashcam?

Well no.
For a camera to function as a dashcam it needs to have the following features
1. Wide angle lens
2. Auto start stop when car is powered up or powered down, so no fiddling with switches
3. Loop recording. - Record segments of 3/5/10 minutes, and every time memory card is full, start overwriting the oldest segment.

The purpose of a dashcam is to have proof of "other guys fault". In Russia they are very common, and you even get insurance discount(due to rampant corruption).

In India also, they often make sense, esp with the kind of laws we have here and the corruption in the Authorities.

So enough ranting, lets get to SJ1000.

As I mentioned before the first part of the dashcam was research. When it comes to cameras, its "seeing is believing".

There were lots of good 1080p cameras in the market, and thanks to youtube, there are tonnes of video reviews.

I was looking for something with decent night performance, and excellent color and resolution for daytime. Daytime image quality had had to be excellent. Nothing less will do.

The reason for this is simple. I wanted to use this camera as a photographic tool. As I love timelapses, I knew I would some day be taking every 30th or 50th frame, and stiching together movies of my travels.

Now of course, a dedicated cam which can take a picture every 2 seconds would be better, but at that time(over a year ago) there was nothing with superb image quality which fit the bill.

So I turned to searching for regular dash cameras.

My criteria was simple
1. It should be able to function as a dashcam
2. Excellent image quality for day - and above average IQ for night
3. Usable as an action camera under water
4. Lots of mounts
5. Under 100$

Months of pouring over videos and reviews and RAW sample footage helped me zero in on the camera.

It was going to be the SJ1000
80$ including shipping. Fit sweetly in my budget, and was also good to look at.

Now probably you want to see pictures of the camera. Well I have collected a few from the internet for you. Mine is yellow, but you get the point.
SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review(SJM10 update pg.15)-yxxgizy.jpg

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SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review(SJM10 update pg.15)-xhvjv3p.jpg

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Now lets get the "where to buy part" out of the way
You can buy from this seller
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SJ1000-Full-...item43c30b8693

Payment will be through Paypal. Item will arrive within 3 weeks and you get tracking number.
I was not charged any customs duty but you can expect 600-1000 INR duty. I got lucky I guess!

And now we will proceed to the review

Last edited by tsk1979 : 25th February 2014 at 11:56.
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Old 25th February 2014, 12:04   #2
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Default My SJ1000 - The review

First and formost, let me tell you, SJ1000 has had a rehash.
Earlier models(like the one I have) had a funny waterproof case.
You had to switch on the camera, "BEFORE" putting it in the case. Not a good use model. Had a tough time doing underwater filming.


Current models come with 3 button system where you can switch on camera, start stop recording while inside case, but cannot change modes. But anyways, who changes modes after putting it in case.

That said, before you as, its fully waterproof.
Start stop is automatic. you plug the camera with its car charger it starts recording. If there is a USB host cable attached(eg from computer) it gives you option of webcam or mass storage.

Menus etc., are quite simple.
I use the Wide dynamic range mode as it gives better color.

Now lets look at some samples.
Please select 1080P or atleast 720P. Youtube often shows you 360P which makes everything look botched. So click on that "gear" icon
SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review(SJM10 update pg.15)-gear.jpg
First lets take a look at night

This is the ice road at Kilpisjarvi, Finland. There is no lighting here. Nothing Nada. 100kms of literally no villages. This means, on a moonless night, its as dark as it can get on Planet earth. Add to that clouds, and there is not even starlight.

Lets see, with only car headlights how it does!


As you can see, its quite good in managing the darkness.

Now lets turn to Stress test number two. Into the sunset


Again, very wide dynamic range needed, but this cam does not disappoint.

What if there was no "stress testing" Just normal sunny day. Well, this will reach the level of sony/GoPro action cameras. The proof is in the pudding


Amazing color reproduction, sharp image. The camera does pick up road noise, but then if you have a microphone it will pick up noise.

Another sample daytime video, with us driving into the Sun



I guess this is all you need to see. Or is it? I even made a timelapse taking 1 out of every 30 frames over a 6 hour period


Camera can record anywhere between 4-6 hours till card goes full, and on battery its around 1.5 hours non stop. Some claim 2.5 hours, but 2 hours is max.
But then in a dashcam, you always have power, so that is not a worry


So to sum it up

Pros:
Excellent image quality in daylight
Great dynamic range
Above average night image quality
Works perfectly as dashcam
Case is fully waterproof
Lots of mounts

Cons
Mounts are plasticy and a bit wobbly. Need to be tightened using supplied screwdriver
Velcro straps are confusing to use
Screen is very small for reviewing videos
Voice quality reproduction is about average
No time lapse mode

Last edited by tsk1979 : 25th February 2014 at 12:12.
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Old 25th February 2014, 12:13   #3
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Default re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Note from mod : Thread moved to Main section
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Old 25th February 2014, 12:47   #4
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Default re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Excellent review Tanveer. I got myself a dash camera this month from US.

This one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It isn't as cheap as yours, but I was looking for a rear view mirror mounted model so that people can't make out there is a camera. The video doesn't appear to be as good as yours, but the equipment and fixtures are of very good quality.

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Old 25th February 2014, 12:50   #5
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Default re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
It isn't as cheap as yours, but I was looking for a rear view mirror mounted model so that people can't make out there is a camera. The video doesn't appear to be as good as yours, but the equipment and fixtures are of very good quality.
There is nothing wrong with car mount quality. I was mentioning about other mounts like bike or helmet mounts which are a bit wobbly. Car mount is rock solid, as you can see in the video samples.

For the 129$ price, you can get much better.
For example, you can use velcro mount to attach black SJ1000 to your RVM.

If you want even thinner, you should have gotten the keyring type mobious.
Incidently, my mobious is on its way.

I will be using Mobius for my time lapse stuff
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:21   #6
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

You didn't mention that if it auto starts and stops when it detects a current in the USB port (car start/stop).

GoPro also has this functionality (of looping recording over 5/10/15/30 mins) but its a pain since it doesn't auto start/stop. Plus I use it for other purposes. Wanted to get a dashcam thats cheap and efficient.
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:47   #7
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Quote:
Originally Posted by quickdraw View Post
You didn't mention that if it auto starts and stops when it detects a current in the USB port (car start/stop).

GoPro also has this functionality (of looping recording over 5/10/15/30 mins) but its a pain since it doesn't auto start/stop. Plus I use it for other purposes. Wanted to get a dashcam thats cheap and efficient.
Yes, it does auto start and stop. Sorry for not being explicit. When you start car(power to usb socket) it starts recording.
When you remove power, it stops recording.

SJ1000 is great
SJ4000(its successor) is also quite good. And best thing, you can use goPro accessories with the SJ4000

Other option for dash cam is mobius(~85$ for complete car kit)
Mobious does not have any screen, and config is through PC or android phone.
But its very small and light(size of car remote)
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Old 26th February 2014, 16:12   #8
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Yes, it does auto start and stop. Sorry for not being explicit. When you start car(power to usb socket) it starts recording.
When you remove power, it stops recording.

SJ1000 is great
SJ4000(its successor) is also quite good. And best thing, you can use goPro accessories with the SJ4000

Other option for dash cam is mobius(~85$ for complete car kit)
Mobious does not have any screen, and config is through PC or android phone.
But its very small and light(size of car remote)

Tsk, thanks for the review! I have also been in search of the perfect Car DVR for months - something that would do the job of a typical dash cam, as well as record good quality video to be shared with friends.

I also checked out the SJ4000 and it seems pretty awesome as well for the price. However what was not immediately apparent to me was if the SJ4000 can recycle in 5 min intervals. Are you aware if the SJ4000 has that functionality?
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Old 26th February 2014, 16:28   #9
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbafett View Post
Tsk, thanks for the review! I have also been in search of the perfect Car DVR for months - something that would do the job of a typical dash cam, as well as record good quality video to be shared with friends.

I also checked out the SJ4000 and it seems pretty awesome as well for the price. However what was not immediately apparent to me was if the SJ4000 can recycle in 5 min intervals. Are you aware if the SJ4000 has that functionality?
It does 3/5/10 minutes, same as SJ1000
So yes, it works perfectly as a Dashcam too!

http://actioncamfaq.com/2014/01/11/s...-menu-options/
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Old 26th February 2014, 16:33   #10
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Thanks Tsk for the review. I think the SJ1000 does not record the geolocation along with the video, or am I misunderstood? At the price it comes, it has all the bells and whistles it should. So its a great buy to fulfill needs you mentioned

I was just wondering if from a practicality perspective wouldn't it be nice to have at least 8-10 hours of recording storage capacity in any dashcam we choose? Ideally for daily work commute 1-2 hours is sufficient but when you go on a long drive, you wouldn't get chance to copy the video for time lapses and free up space for more recording. Or unless you have spare SD cards that unit can gobble up every 2 hours!

And hey Sumurai, that video seems to be from Kamat on Mysore road when you, Ajmat and Vid came to see us off to Kannur

EDIT - I think HawkMobile runs one with GeoLocation. Forgot the model though.

Last edited by abirnale : 26th February 2014 at 16:36.
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Old 26th February 2014, 17:02   #11
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
Thanks Tsk for the review. I think the SJ1000 does not record the geolocation along with the video, or am I misunderstood? At the price it comes, it has all the bells and whistles it should. So its a great buy to fulfill needs you mentioned

I was just wondering if from a practicality perspective wouldn't it be nice to have at least 8-10 hours of recording storage capacity in any dashcam we choose? Ideally for daily work commute 1-2 hours is sufficient but when you go on a long drive, you wouldn't get chance to copy the video for time lapses and free up space for more recording. Or unless you have spare SD cards that unit can gobble up every 2 hours!

And hey Sumurai, that video seems to be from Kamat on Mysore road when you, Ajmat and Vid came to see us off to Kannur

EDIT - I think HawkMobile runs one with GeoLocation. Forgot the model though.
GPS for 80$. Not possible buddy.
As for size. Yes, 4-6 hours is a limitation, but thats true for all dash cams as most take 32GB cards.
Mobius after a new firmware can take 64GB cards. Just got the mobius for my time lapse stuff. Experimenting with it over the next few days. Lets see!

In mobious I do not need to shoot video.
I can set it up to take a picture every 2 seconds.(configurable)

In SJ4000 also you can set camera to take pictures every 3 seconds(not configurable though 3 is fixed).

Last edited by tsk1979 : 26th February 2014 at 17:03.
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Old 26th February 2014, 18:22   #12
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

I have been using quite a few of these since early 2011. With and without GPS, Single and Dual channel recording.

Buying them online is a gamble and it may or may not work out in your favor merely on looking the specifications.

I remember documenting about Dashcams on HVK forum long before when I was bombarded with a lot of questions to make it simple for buyers to clear their doubts. I Hope it does the same here too.

PURPOSE:The very reason to have this is to record the drives that you undertake and also capture memories of something that you would want to see again and again and cherish. Apart from these, you may use this as evidence (though we still need to debate whether this can be used legally as proof for claims, Complaints etc).Cameras with GPS Logging capability will also record your drive with GPS Positioning (Lat-long), speed and other parameters.

These would even show your driving, help others review it and shower you with Blessings in either of these 2 ways:
  • God Bless you man, you just whisked off death during that stunt(Feel free to add more reasons as to why one should have a Car DVR)
  • You are indeed a good driver

Below sections will take you through the most common details of a typical DVR Dash Camera:

SINGLE & DUAL CAMERA:

A single channel camera will have just one lens to record the roads while a dual channel will have an internal camera to record from the inside
You can use the settings and record 1,2 or both channels as in concurrence as per needs
The Front Camera is usually better equipped in terms of specifications and recording resolution as opposed to the rear camera

MEGA PIXEL & RECORDING RESOLUTION:
Available in range of 1.3 all to 3,5,8 Megapixels (Front lens)
Along with the MP rating, good to also check the recording Resolution (1024X768 is better than anything less)

FRAMES PER SECOND:
Available in 30-50 FPS. More FPS would be good to have since recording is mostly when you are driving

NIGHT VISION:
Most of the advertised Cameras also talk about Night Vision. If equipped, they do a better job of recording at nights

MOTION DETECT:
Cameras with Motion Detect feature, if enabaled in the settings menu, will record the clips only when your car is in motion. If you come to a standstil, the recording stops.

CLIP LENGTH:
Most of the DVR Records clips in lengths of : 2/5/15 minutes. With whatever setting you have chosen, once the duration of the first clip is reached, it will start recording the next clip immediately.

OVERWRITE MEMORY:
In case you fail to copy the contents of the SD card and empty the space on the memory device, the software will mostly start overwriting from the first video again, thus deleting the older videos stored in the SD card.

CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS:
USB Data Cable
HDMI Output
5V DC Input (For Charging)

POWER & BATTERY:
All these DVRs come with a super long DC Cable where the other end is connected to the 12v Cigarette lighter socket
Apart from this, you have internal battery that supports operation in the absence of direct DC power.
However, I have mostly seen the internal battery back up to be pathetic in latest cameras since they do Dual channel recording, have complex software for logging data and the fact that there is a GPS Dongle attached that consumes additional power too
The Back-up may range from anything from 10 mins (Usual Dual Cam with GPS) to 3 Hours (Simple single channel cameras without GPS).

SD Card Slot:
A few cameras have SD card slot (Support up to 32/64 GB) while a few others have a Micro SD Slot.

RECORDING VIDEO FORMAT:
Most of the DVRs record the video clips and save in AVI format unless specifically mentioned that they use a proprietary format
AVI files are easy to read in most of the TVs, Media Players and Laptops as well.

GPS Logging:
Usually, a Dash Cam that comes with GPS Logging capabilities will be supplied with an additional GPS receiver Dongle. By connecting the GPS Dongle, the system records the following parameters:
  • Longitude
  • Latitude
  • Ground Speed
  • G-Force
  • Data and Time (This feature is available in very basic camera also)

Viewing the videos from the Dash DVR:


1. From a BASIC CAMERA:

Basic cameras store the videos on the SD Card and you can view them by merely copying them to your local machine using any Media Player Software.

2. From GPS LOGGING CAMERAS:
  • Those cameras with GPS Logging come with a pre-loaded software on the SD Card (This Software is written onto the SD card every time a formatted one is inserted into the Camera).
  • This software disallows the user to view the contents of the SD card. So if you connect the camera and see the contents of the SD card you will see only those application launch icons and not the video files
  • Upon launching the application, it usually opens an app similar to Media Player where you can see the list of all your recorded Videos
  • You can click on each of these videos and watch in on the laptop and it will display all the parameters along with a Map in the corner and your position at the time it was recorded
  • From what I understand, you need to be connected to the Internet to be able to see your position move on the map while watching the video through the software
  • Using the same software, you have an option to save the clips onto the local system and that gets saved as per the prescribed format (Mostly AVI)
  • However, the saved clip when played again will not show the parameters and your position on the Map

WHERE TO BUY:
Best sourced from various sites but the most popular ones are:
www.ebay.in
www.dx.com
www.chinavasion.com
www.aliexpress.com

Since these articles are shipped from international locations and will attract customs duty based on the cost.

Samples from my Dashcams:

With GPS Recording (Dual Channel):


Without GPS (Single Channel)

Last edited by paragsachania : 26th February 2014 at 18:24.
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Old 26th February 2014, 23:05   #13
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post

Now lets get the "where to buy part" out of the way
You can buy from this seller
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SJ1000-Full-...item43c30b8693

Payment will be through Paypal. Item will arrive within 3 weeks and you get tracking number.
I was not charged any customs duty but you can expect 600-1000 INR duty. I got lucky I guess!
Excellent review tsk. When I checked out the above link, it says these guys don't ship this product to India. How did you manage to get it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
WHERE TO BUY:
Best sourced from various sites but the most popular ones are:
www.ebay.in
www.dx.com
www.chinavasion.com
www.aliexpress.com
Thanks for sharing the details Parag. There are a lot of models/makes available on these websites. Could also let us know from which model/make you have taken the videos depicted in your post?
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Old 27th February 2014, 08:55   #14
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

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Originally Posted by champ27 View Post
Excellent review tsk. When I checked out the above link, it says these guys don't ship this product to India. How did you manage to get it?



Thanks for sharing the details Parag. There are a lot of models/makes available on these websites. Could also let us know from which model/make you have taken the videos depicted in your post?
buy from dx.com or find another seller who has high rating.
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Old 27th February 2014, 09:33   #15
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Default Re: SJ1000 Action / Dash Camera - An extended review

That's a nice review Tanveer. I was looking at Gopro for some quality shooting on my bike. This seems as a good and quite economical alternative in comparison. Do you think this can serve out the purpose on a bike too?
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