SJ7 report

eng3

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#1
My main goal was to find a portable camera that could record REAL 4k video AND had a wide angle lens. (And "cheaper" price).

This is one of the only cameras that I could find that fell into this categories. Other 4K ones did not have a wide angle lens (though I wish it were a little bit wider). The ones that did have a lens were "fake" 4k. I wish it were a little wider though. The video quality does seem to be significantly better than 1080.

Now the bad:
Night video is very noisy because of the auto ISO. There is an ISO setting that lets you change the ISO setting but it doesnt have any effect. You end up with noisy video or the thing you are trying to record (if it is being lit) is all washed out.

The deal breaker though is that the battery contact is defective or very poor/worn either on the camera or all three batteries. When I insert the battery, it doesnt seem to make contact because nothing happens when I press the power button and it wont charge. I found that if I slowly pull the battery out a little, it suddenly does make contact. This doesnt always work and I have to pull it out and reinsert it many times until it finally makes contact and works. But then if I shut the battery door and/or push down on the battery door, it slides the battery in slightly further and then the contact is loss. This is totally unacceptable since there are many times you need to use a camera and can't afford to take 15-30min to fiddle with the batteries to get them to mate properly to the camera because you will have missed the moment. I can't tell if the issues is on the camera side or with all three batteries. Even when it seems to work, it's not reliable. I tried recording a few videos and it seemed to work fine, but when I went to hit stop, I noticed that it stopped on its own at some point already. Imagine recording your priceless moments only to find out your camera decided to stop on its own. I also noticed at least one instance where the screen started flickering and the whole camera just turned off. I assume this was due to the battery contact issue. I have no idea if the recording stopping on its own has anything to do with it.

Finally, they include a SJ6 Charger. The SJ6 battery contact is on the other side so the SJ7 won't physically fit. It was packaged with two SJ7 batteries so someone screwed up.

So this one is being returned and my search continues. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
So now my requirements are: Real 4K, Wide angle lens (~170deg), Manual ISO control.
 
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eng3

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#3
Get a Yi 4k+ action cam or the Gopro 5, or 6, all superior to Sjcam.
Except all are not wide angle. There are lots of 4k cameras, I haven't found many that also have a wide angle lens
 

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#4
Except all are not wide angle. There are lots of 4k cameras, I haven't found many that also have a wide angle lens
Gitup F1 or Xiaomi Mijia 4K?

They are a bit cheaper than the SJCAM but still good quality. Not sure what you are looking for from a wide angle lens but the F1 is wider than most dashcams.
 

TwoBlues

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#5
The only benefit I see to an action cam with 170 degrees wide angle is in underwater photography! Ugly fisheye! The fixed focus lens is puny after all.
The SLR or DSLR with interchangeable lenses is superior, but you can't take it with you on your surf board.
 

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#6
Indeed, i only put my little cameras where i would not or can not put my Nikon.

I never carry a action camera cuz " well its smaller than my Nikon" and my phone camera i mostly use it to take a picture of something small and then blow it up on its screen to a size where i can read it.
 

RBEmerson

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#7
I've said this before, if the SJCam product doesn't do what's wanted, move on to what does. Complaints, even for f/w changes, clearly are not being acted on.

In my case. I'm particularly annoyed (or more) about battery destroying and finger burning heat. Using the camera without a housing, and without a battery, is a poor work-around. I tried a GoPro Hero 5 Black. No fingers burnt, no swollen batteries, but unacceptably poor imagery.

I could, of course, buy any number of Chinese camera in hopes of finding a camera with good imagery, 170 deg. FOV, and no heat issues. I choose to spend my money elsewhere.
 
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eng3

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#8
Gitup F1 or Xiaomi Mijia 4K?

They are a bit cheaper than the SJCAM but still good quality. Not sure what you are looking for from a wide angle lens but the F1 is wider than most dashcams.
I should have mentioned I need a screen so the Gitup F1 isout. The Xiaomi FOV might be ok, I'll have to do more research

The only benefit I see to an action cam with 170 degrees wide angle is in underwater photography! Ugly fisheye! The fixed focus lens is puny after all.
The SLR or DSLR with interchangeable lenses is superior, but you can't take it with you on your surf board.
Well then thats why you don't need a wide angle. However I do. The SJ7 has a 166deg FOV and I found that to be just barely wide enough.
I don't like the fisheye either, but I can easily take it out in post processing (which is mainly why I need 4K resolution and more than 166deg so I have some room to work with)

Indeed, i only put my little cameras where i would not or can not put my Nikon.

I never carry a action camera cuz " well its smaller than my Nikon" and my phone camera i mostly use it to take a picture of something small and then blow it up on its screen to a size where i can read it.
I don't really need an "action" cam, I'll usually be standing still on dry land when I use it. I just want something that can comfortably fit in a jeans pocket without breaking when I sit down. (like cell phone size). My cell phone does record 4K but it tends to overheat when I record more than 2min and stop or drop frames. Plus it doesnt have a wide enough lens. I tried the clip on kind but it makes the sides look blurry. I started with looking at regular cameras before ending up on the action side.

It seems very rare to find a real 4K camera that also has a wide angle (166deg+ FOV) lens that actually works. I'm even wondering about getting a VR camera now just because its so hard to find one.
 

kamkar1

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#9
Some of the pocket cameras do pretty well with both photo and video, but they are also a bit larger than a action camera.
And they dont have the super wide angle lens but then they do have optical zoom which i personally find i use more than wide angle shots.

The super wide lenses are often a hoax or creative number, some list the horizontal FOV but many list the diagonal FOV, most if you measure them probably sit around 130 degrees horizontal.
Even if you could fine a insane wide fisheye lens ( and they are out there as some CCTV gear use them along with some VR cameras ) then if you flatten the image in the camera hardware or in post production you still end up with something around 130 degrees.

Personally i find the 360 degree video bubbles of VR cameras sickening to watch, so much so it detract from the otherwise "smart" that you can pan around 360 degrees

You can also get burned on the VR cameras i find, some are 4K but thats for the whole bubble, and really it should at least be 8K in total i think.
 
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eng3

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#11
Something the size of a cell phone, maybe a little bigger is fine for me. I don't need something the size of an action cam. I just don't want a big SLR. Unfortunately, the only camera I could find that offer a "wide angle" is action cams. I couldnt find any regular cams that offer a wide angle unless you are buying a wide angle lens to attach.
OK, you don't need wide angle and use zoom more so that's great for you but I do need wide angle.

As I've said, I tested with the SJ7 and the wide angle is barely wide enough (marketed at 166deg). I have one I can attach to my phone which is advertised as "0.35x" which is the perfect angle for me, but the edges are blurry and my phone can't handle 4K well. I'll have to figure out the FOV angle for that. That's the FOV I need before post processing to a lower FOV. So I've tested and know what angle I need. Maybe other people don't need that, but I do.

Yes, I agree that VR cameras need a high enough resolution. That is why I require 4K at least for the wide angle. I'd want even higher for a VR camera but I think its too early for that.
 

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#12
@eng3 Where did you buy your camera? The charger should accept SJ7 batteries. You need to take this problem up with the seller. Or buy SJ7 batteries from Amazon. I bought some batteries and received a charger for each battery.

The SJ7 is not a night camera and is never advertised as one. The ISO settings are for still photography; autoISO is intended to deal with, as a example, partly cloudy days where clouds pass over the sun and they move on, or driving through a tunnel.

Asking for a wide FOV and not wanting the "fish eye" effect it is not possible. This applies to any wide FOV lens projecting its image on any flat plane. The SJ7 (and video editors) has a function which corrects the fish eye effect to some extent. However, as an example, driving past a set of lamp posts or telephone poles will show the correction produces an incorrect perspective. There is no simple correction for the fish eye effect.

If 170° isn't stisfactory, then the SJ7 isn't your camera.

Frankly, you're expecting a camera that meets all of your requirements and the SJ7 doesn't meet them. Good luck with your search. Please keep in mind that this forum is only for the SJCam SJ7.
 
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eng3

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@eng3 Where did you buy your camera? The charger should accept SJ7 batteries. You need to take this problem up with the seller. Or buy SJ7 batteries from Amazon. I bought some batteries and received a charger for each battery.
I bought it from amazon. It came with 3 SJ7 batteries. All three do not mate well into the camera (ie. the camera wont turn on without adjusting the position of the battery). Two of the batteries were packaged with an SJ6 charger. Yes I have taken it up with amazon and requested a refund.

@eng3The SJ7 is not a night camera and is never advertised as one. The ISO settings are for still photography; autoISO is intended to deal with, as a example, partly cloudy days where clouds pass over the sun and they move on, or driving through a tunnel.
I've never heard of a camera that is specifically designed to only work during the day and not at night but OK. As for ISO, there is a setting in the video menu. To me, if the option is there that is an advertised feature that does not work. If it is not a features, they should not have the option.

@eng3Asking for a wide FOV and not wanting the "fish eye" effect it is not possible. This applies to any wide FOV lens projecting its image on any flat plane. The SJ7 (and video editors) has a function which corrects the fish eye effect to some extent. However, as an example, driving past a set of lamp posts or telephone poles will show the correction produces an incorrect perspective. There is no simple correction for the fish eye effect.

If 170° isn't stisfactory, then the SJ7 isn't your camera.
I never complained about the fish eye effect, that was other people. I can simply remove it so its not an issue for me. I also said that the SJ7 angle of 166deg is satisfactory.

@eng3Frankly, you're expecting a camera that meets all of your requirements and the SJ7 doesn't meet them. Good luck with your search. Please keep in mind that this forum is only for the SJCam SJ7.
Frankly, if the SJ7's advertised features worked properly, then it would meet almost all of my requirements. Unfortunately, many things don't work properly. (ie. battery connection to camera, randomly stopping, random choppy video, Manual ISO in video). I think discussing the issues with the SJ7 and/or suggestions of alternate cameras with similar features is most appropriate for this forum/thread. But I think I got my answer.
 

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#14
@TwoBlues I have no idea regarding when SJCam will come back to the SJ7. I suspect the SJ8 is getting all of their attention. Too many companies do this, and SJCam seems to be one more company on that list.

I think the only way to deal with SJ7 problems is to use the SJ7 f/w that's closest to meeting your needs and accepting the parts that don't. I'll go back to 1.15 to see if it limits overheating. Fortunately, its images are still very good. I don't use 4K for extended (one or more hours non-stop) video and 30 fps produces too much streaking for my needs. The SJ7 isn't set up to use the new SD's that might support extended video.

This strategy is a poor(!!!) way to proceed but I see no other way to shoot video with the SJ7.
 

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#15
@eng3 The poor battery connection is enough to the qualify the camera as defective.

If you ordered extra SJ7 batteries and got an SJ6 charger, the seller either shipped SJ6 batteries (in looking for SJ7 batteries, the SJ6/SJ7 issue is often buried in the fine print) or simply made a mistake for any of a number of errors.

The sensor for any action cam using the GoPro size casing uses a very small sensor. At low light levels the sensor won't capture as many photons as present in "normal" lighting. Boosting the signal from the sensor will also amplify internal sensor noise. The only fix is to increase the size of the sensor to increase the capture area and overwhelm internal noise by reducing the amount of needed amplification. Low light video with the SJ7 just isn't going to happen.
 
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eng3

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The package that was being sold included the two extra batteries and charger. It was strange because the two SJ7 batteries and SJ6 charger were sealed in one package inside the box so the mfr must have screwed it up.

Has anyone else had the same issues that I have?
-Poor Battery connection
-Video randomly stopping
-Video choppy sometimes (ie dropped frames)

As for the sensor size, I understand the issue and you are exactly right. I'm not really recording "low light". What I usually record is well lit (but at night). The camera AUTOMATICALLY over amplifies to make the background visible when I don't care about the background and the part that I want which is well lit becomes saturated and everything gets noisy. There is sufficient lighting to capture what I want, the auto setting is just overdoing it because it is trying to make the whole frame bright. My subject is wide (hence the wide angle) so I can't just zoom in. I assume the sensor size on my phone camera is similar to what the SJ7 has. I can get "good" video on my phone because I can set the ISO to a lower number. I don't know if it really changes ISO or if it just lowers the brightness, it basically lets me lower the amplification so it does saturated and is less noisy. The issue with my phone is that it can't handle 4K before overheating. If this is achievable on a phone camera, I assume it is achievable on an action cam. I'm not asking the camera to do anything extraordinary, in fact, I want it to do less. It is just that the feature doesn't work or is not available on the SJ7.

Aside from the broken ISO setting, if the camera just worked reliably, it might be worth another try if it is just defective.
I updated to the latest firmware. I did not consider going back to an older version. I made the assumption that newer versions fix bugs, not create new ones.
 

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#17
-Poor Battery connection
-Video randomly stopping
-Video choppy sometimes (ie dropped frames)
None of these are acceptable, period. The camera is defective. Send the camera back and decide whether you want a new one, or will buy something else.
 

RBEmerson

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#18
The transition of telephone-like devices into full photographic devices is, I guess, fine for sharp, clear selfies. But as an attempt to rival a Sony Alpha 7... [/ head scratch ] I guess that's a generational thing for me.

F/w V1.21 is, in more than my opinion, seriously flawed. It appears to be what most would call a beta, with not further development to date. V1.20's not too bad. V1.17 and .18 are beta and finished (sic) f/w revs. V1.15 lacks a number of features seen in later rev.s, but is quite reliable. I shot a week of extended video (shoot 4-5 hours, change battery pack, and start the camera again). I can't recall if V1.15 locked up or not, but I think it didn't. I did lose some video, but it was due to the battery packs. Here's a sample: (regular readers are permitted to roll their eyes and say "oh lordy, not again!")
 

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#19
@TwoBlues I have no idea regarding when SJCam will come back to the SJ7. I suspect the SJ8 is getting all of their attention. Too many companies do this, and SJCam seems to be one more company on that list.

I think the only way to deal with SJ7 problems is to use the SJ7 f/w that's closest to meeting your needs and accepting the parts that don't. I'll go back to 1.15 to see if it limits overheating. Fortunately, its images are still very good. I don't use 4K for extended (one or more hours non-stop) video and 30 fps produces too much streaking for my needs. The SJ7 isn't set up to use the new SD's that might support extended video.

This strategy is a poor(!!!) way to proceed but I see no other way to shoot video with the SJ7.
Probably they will repeat their "who cares" attitude about their products with the Sj8 series! In contrast Yi tech. has been responsive to my queries about aspects of my Yi 4k+ cam purchase!
 

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#20
They already are doing that. GearBest sells the camera, I checked Amazon.com, .de, .fr - no listing. In some cases an LG soundbar was selected, and the French site offered a €68 wannabe. NTL we hear that they SJ8 product range is sold in the Ukraine and the Philippines. The SJ8 Pro is listed on US eBay. A seller in Wisconsin priced the SJ8 Pro at $415. There are listings from China - prices are in the $240-290 range. The Air is also listed - on average $125. There is no explanation for this. And I don't expect to ever hear an explanation.
 
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