Let’s clear up one thing upfront with the SJ6000 action camera. It is not made by SJCAM, even though it’s named “SJ6000”. So why has it been named this way you would ask? In all earnest, it probably is to indeed make you think it’s an SJCAM. But hey, let’s not come up to any conclusions too soon, and let’s start with the review shall we!
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Specifications
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Box Contents
Action Camera, Waterproof Case with Screw and Mount Base, 900mAh Battery, Backdoor for Protective Case, 2 x Velcro Band, 2 x Hand Band, Long Connector + Short Screw, 2 x Short Connector + Short Connector, Bike Handlebar Mount, J-Shaped Base Mount, Backpack Clip, Backpack Clip Case, Flat Mount, Curved Mount, 2 x 3M Adhesive Tape, 1/4 Adapter, Tripod Mount Adapter, USB Cable, Cleaning Cloth, AV Cable, Power Adapter, 4 x Nylon Cable Tie, English User Manual.
The SJ6000 comes with loads of mounts and interestingly, also comes with an AV cable which makes this action camera apt for RC flying enthusiasts, who want to have an FPV experience. How this works is: you mount the camera to your RC drone/airplane/helicopter, connect the AV cable to a video transmitter (needs to be bought separately) which streams video to your smartphone or any other compatible device.
Coming to the waterproof case, it is claimed to be usable up to a depth of 30m. I couldn’t test out the waterproofing efficiency at those depths, but I submerged the case (with the camera inside it of course) in a bucket of water for about 2 hours and the result: no water whatsoever inside the case.
Coming to the manual, it contains basic information about the device and does include a few instructions on operating the device. It isn’t exhaustive by any stretch of imagination, but it is useful nonetheless.
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Design and Build
The dimensions of the SJ6000 action camera are similar to most action cameras out there, like the SJCAM SJ4000. The build quality of the camera is decent, with a rough texture to it for good grip. The buttons feel sturdy, with good feedback from them in the form of slick resonating clicks at the press of any button. As far as the waterproof case is concerned, the quality here is good as well, with the buttons being optimally sized for least amount of stress on the fingers during operation. That being said, the feedback from them is varying in nature, with the power and OK button giving good feedback in the form of clicks, but the up/down buttons not up to the mark. As far as the mounts are concerned, they feel strong enough and should last well.
The front of the action camera features a wide-angle lens. with the power button besides it encasing a blue light that lights up when the device is on. The back side houses a 2-inch screen, while the top has a shutter (OK) button encasing a green/orange notification light. The right side houses the up and down buttons for cycling through menus, while the left side is equipped with a microSD card slot, a micro-HDMI output port and a micro-USB (AV out) port. The bottom of the action camera houses a replaceable battery.
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: User Experience
If you happen to purchase the SJ6000, the manual provided won’t give you a detailed operating guide as I said earlier. So here is a detailed guide to make life easier for you:
The power (switch/mode) button on the front of the action camera is used to power on and power off the unit. You simply need to short-press this button to power-on the device, which might lead you to accidentally power up the device, so I would have preferred to have a long-press of the button to boot the camera. Luckily, turning off the device happens with a long-press of the same power button (for about 2 sec).
Once the screen is on, the default screen you will see is the video recording screen. But what I also noticed is that each time the device is powered on, WiFi is enabled by default, which I need to turn off each time by long-pressing the OK button. Pretty annoying I must say, as having WiFi accidentally on would reduce battery backup. To toggle between video recording, still image capture, video/photo playback, and settings, short press the power button.
Now let us now assume you are on the video recording screen. Short pressing the OK button starts video recording, with the same button stopping the recording. When video recording is on, a green light inside the OK button blinks. While on the video recording screen, pressing the up button turns on motion detection if it’s enabled in the settings (more on motion detection in the “video” section) and pressing the down button captures a still image.
Now let’s assume you are on the still image capture screen. Pressing the OK button captures the image. Zooming in and out is carried out with the help of the up and down buttons.
On the playback screen, the OK button starts/stops video playback, with the power button then taking you back to the screen where you can cycle through all the videos/images by pressing the up and down buttons.
On the settings screen, you can cycle through the various options by hitting the up and down buttons. Selection of a particular option is via the OK button but one aspect I did not like is the inability to quickly toggle between the 4 main settings menus. What I am trying to say is: you need to press the down button a good number of times till you reach the miscellaneous settings screen. So apart from the slight annoyance on the settings screens, I found the user interface to be easy to learn and use.
In each mode (video, image), the screen shows the battery status, WiFi on/off symbol, exposure value and other things like resolution, frame-rate, burst-mode, loop recording, etc displayed according to the selected mode. As far as the screen goes, the SJ6000 features a 2-inch one that is bright enough even in broad daylight.
There is one drawback with the SJ6000 that marred the user experience to a great extent though: it hung up several times during regular usage, and there was no way other than removing the battery to restart the device.
As I said earlier, WiFi is enabled by default each time the device boots up. Now you need to install the”AIT WiFi Cam Viewer” app on your Google or iOS device (the manual says you can use another app called “WiFi Camera” as well, but it couldn’t connect with the SJ6000 on an Android smartphone) and connect it to the camera by entering the password mentioned in the manual. Once synced, launch the app, and you should now be able to control the camera from your phone.
From the app, you can start/stop video recording, capture still images, play recorded videos, and also change settings like the resolution, white balance and exposure (did not work). To be honest, I did not like the user interface of the app. It does not display anything that lets you know video is being recorded and moreover, navigating through the various menus is a bit of trial and error. Another con is random stuttering of the live-preview when video recording is going on. On the positive side of things, WiFi range was about 15m, which is pretty good.
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Video
Supported Video Resolutions:
The SJ6000 supports 1080p (30fps), 720p (60, 30fps) and VGA (30fps) resolutions. 60fps video recording at 1080p is not available but hey, at under $50, you can’t expect to get top-of-the-mill specs.
1. 1080p, 30fps video:
2. 720p, 60fps video:
Note: For all the above video recordings, a SanDisk class-10 microSD card was used.
As you can see from the sample videos I captured, overall video quality is good at 1080p (30fps) as well as at 720p (60fps). Color reproduction is accurate, there is no stutter or blurriness present, and there is no color saturation even under direct sunlight. All in all, I am really happy with the video quality on this camera.
Here are the customization options you get on the SJ6000:
When enabled, it records videos in segments. When the microSD card is full, the first video is erased, and so on.. This particular feature is useful when the camera is used as a dash-cam.
The SJ6000 can capture still images at intervals as set by the user. Once done, the device automatically stitches all the images together and gives a time-lapse video as output.
With this particular feature on, the camera should start recording video as soon as any motion is detected by the camera. This feature sadly didn’t work at all, even after fiddling around with the settings related to this feature.
With this feature turned on, the camera automatically starts recording video when a USB cable is attached to the camera: a useful feature when using the device as a dash-cam.
The default option here is “Auto”, which I recommend sticking to for most situations. However, you can also set this option to sports, portrait, landscape, snow, beach or fireworks mode.
Exposure level can be changed as well, though I recommend sticking to the default.
The default option is “Auto”, which should work for most users. But you can experiment around by choosing other options like daylight, cloudy, fluorescent and incandescent.
ISO sensitivity can be changed too, with auto (recommended), ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400 available as options.
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Image Capture
The SJ6000 supports image capture at resolutions ranging between VGA to 14MP, but don’t expect smartphone-like image quality as action cameras are primarily intended to capture video. Here are a few images I captured at 12MP in broad daylight, with default settings. Click on them to view them in their uncompressed form.
As you can see in the images above, quality is mediocre, with a lot of blurriness in the pictures. On the other hand, color reproduction is accurate, with a curved appearance especially at the sides of each image captured, owing to the wide-angle nature of the lens.
Coming to customization and options, you get the same options as you get in video mode, with the addition of a few image capture specific settings as follows: self-timer, burst-mode (capturing continuous images in a second), color saturation (natural, vivid, pale) and effects (normal, sepia, black and white, emboss, negative, sketch, oil, crayon).
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Battery Performance
Powering the SJ6000 action camera is a removable 900mAh battery that slots into the bottom of the unit. The battery takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge from the included AC power adapter. When the unit is being charged, a battery symbol blinks on the screen, with the stop of the blinks indicating charge is complete.
The battery managed to last a good 90min of continuous video recording at 1080p (30fps), which is pretty good for a 900mAh battery capacity. You also get auto-power off and auto-screen off options that should help increase overall battery backup.
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Verdict
The SJ6000 retailing at under $50 is surely a value-for-money product what with a whole bunch of mounts, good build quality, good video quality and decent battery backup. There are a few downers as well though, like the camera hanging up now and then, and the inoperative motion detection function.
SJ6000 Action Camera Review: Image Gallery
You may also have a look at some other action camera reviews in the reviews section.
Thanks to Gearbest for shipping a sample for review!
Design and Build