- 1 SJ4000 vs SJ5000
- 2 SJCAM Manufacturer
- 3 Known problems
- 4 SJ5000 Plus Teardown
- 5 Sample Videos
- 6 Should I Purchase?
- 7 Where to purchase for lowest price
- 8 Firmware
- 9 Unbricking a SJ5000 Plus
- 10 Specifications
The SJCAM SJ5000 Plus is the latest dash cam from the Chinese company Hongfeng Century selling under the popular SJCAM brand. Even though this camera has a similar form factor to the SJ4000 (which is inspired by the GoPro line of cameras), the SJ5000 Plus is based on completely different hardware. The SJ5000+ uses the Ambarella A7LS75 processor and the Panasonic MN34120PA CMOS sensor. The unique feature of this camera is that it records 1080p at 60 fps, with a maximum bit rate of 24Mbps. Most dash cameras only support 30 fps at 1080p.
The SJ5000 Plus has very good picture quality during the day and good picture quality at night, but in some lighting conditions the video can be grainy. The main improvement over the SJ4000 series cameras is the night quality and 60fps mode. While the camera has a 480p at 240 fps mode, the quality is very poor making it unusable.
The initial SJ5000 batch had a yellow lens coating which caused a yellow tint in some videos. Newer batches of a blue lens coating, so there is more of a blueish tint in videos now. Also some owners complain of slow reaction to exposure changes but this will likely be improved with firmware updates.
The camera does not come with a G-sensor or GPS but it comes with a 1.5″ LCD screen. Size is not too large at 60 x 41 x 24.7 mm but the camera is still quite noticeable due to its “Go Pro” form factor.
SJ4000 vs SJ5000
SJCAM has released 5 SJ4000 and SJ5000 models. The main differences are the processor and CMOS sensor used. The following table outlines the main differences for each model. The SJ4000 became a hot seller due to its low price. The SJ5000 Plus is significantly more expensive.
The SJCAM series of cameras has attracted a lot of copies / lower specification versions such as the AMKOV AMK5000. Adding to the confusion is the number of companies involved in this camera. We will try to clarify it here:
- Shenzhen Hongfeng Century Technology LTD is the manufacturer and also the trademark owner for SJCAM. Their official consumer website is sjcamhd.com
- VIOFO is Hongfeng ‘s partner for marketing and distribution. Their official consumer website is www.sjcam.com
There are reports that Dongguan Nengyu Technology Co is a legitimate manufacturer of SJCAMs as well but we have not been able to confirm yet.
The SJ5000 Plus is the first SJCAM using an Ambarella processor and initial firmware versions were not the most stable. There have been numerous complaints from early purchasers of this camera.
Short Battery Life
One of the most common complaints with the SJ5000 Plus is the short battery life, which lasts approximately 30 to 50 minutes between charges. This is not a big deal for dash cam users but if you plan to use this as an action cam, this could be a big issue. You can extend battery life it by turning off WiFi and the LCD display. The latest firmware has improved battery life as well.
Camera Freezes / Lags
There have been many reports of the SJ5000 Plus freezing or lagging while navigating menus, particularly on early firmware versions (1.4). Some examples:
- Camera freezes when pressing the menu button to enter the settings page
- Pressing record button or navigating menus causes the camera to lag
If the camera freezes, you can restart it by performing a long press on the Wireless button or the Mode button. Alternatively you remove the battery and MicroSD card. Once the camera is restarted, it is recommended to format the microSD card using the camera function. Also the choice of MicroSD card appears to impact stability of the camera
MicroSD Card Compatibility
The SJ5000 Plus has had compatibility issues with some MicroSD cards.
The following cards have been unstable or not working:
- 7dayshop C10 64GB
- Kingston C10 8GB
- Samsung EVO SDXC Class 10 64GB
- Sandisk Ultra C10 16GB
- Sandisk Ultra C10 32GB
- Sandisk Ultra C10 64GB
- Sony SDXC C10 UHS-I 64GB
- TDK C10 8GB
- Toshiba C10 UHS-1 32GB
- Transcend C10 32GB
- Transcend Premium 300X 64GB
- Verbatim C10 32GB
The following cards have worked well:
- Kingston 16GB
- Lexar EVO C10 32GB
- Sandisk C4 32GB
- Sandisk C6 16GB
- Sandisk Extreme C10 32GB
- Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB
- Samsung EVO C10 32GB
- Silicon Power Micro SDXC 64GB Class 10
- Sony C10 32GB (SR-32UY)
- Transcend C10 16GB
- Transcend Premium 300 C10 32GB
Many owners have complained of poor sound quality / very quiet sound levels. Others have claimed of distortion. Setting the mic sensitivity to less than 100% has helped in some cases. In most cases, there is no known resolution to the problem.
Camera Runs Hot
Many owners have indicated that this camera runs hot, particularly when using WiFi is running. The latest firmware has reduced this issue but it still runs warm with WiFi on.
LED Light on Video
If the main LED or WiFi LED is activated, the LED light may appear on the recording, particularly in low light environments. The only resolution to the problem is to turn the LED lights off in the menu.
Many users have complained of WiFi issues. This is typically due to the poor WiFi app that was available when initially released. For some users the app is unstable or doesn’t connect.
Some of the early models had a bad connection with the WiFi antenna, but this has been fixed in later batches.
Note there are 2 available applications for this camera, LinkinEyes and INTOVA Edge X. It would be worthwhile trying out both applications if you are having WiFi issues.
A couple of owners have received cameras with “100%” burned into the LCD screen. This is surprising but appears to be rare with only a couple of owners with this problem.
SJ5000 Plus Teardown
Note that the first batch of SJ5000 Plus had a metal plate inside, later batches were made with plastic.
Should I Purchase?
While this camera has the best specs out of the SJCAM family the $170 price tag is quite steep. The SJCAM SJ4000 proved popular given its low price and some of its shortcomings can be forgiven. On the positive side, if you are looking for a camera with 1080p at 60fps and WiFi, this is one of the few that can deliver this.
As strictly a dash cam, the form factor is not the greatest given the “GoPro look” which could attract thieves. Also the early reliability and quality problems are disappointing given the high price point. Overall, an ok camera if you get a problem free one, but not a great value for the money. You can read more about the SJ5000 on our forum. You may also want to consider the Xiaomi Yi which has similar features at a lower price point.
Where to purchase for lowest price
This camera sells on eBay, Amazon and online vendors.
WARNING! MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.
Firmware Update Instructions
- Format the micro SD card, copy the SJCAM_FWUPDATE.bin to the SD card root directory.
- Power on the SJ5000 plus camera, enter to the menu, check the firmware version.
- Press the recording button on the camera top side. It will prompt firmware update like below, just choose the green check and press recording button to start the upgrade.
- Wait about 30 seconds, until you see firmware update success.
- Press the recording button, the camera will be restarted.
Firmware Change Logs
SJCAM V1.9 Update
- Loop mode: If you have it off, it will record 20 minutes video
- Wifi: Better conection, some people had trouble conecting with the camera and others it didnt work very good, mine went on and off on its own
- Better menu interface
SJCAM V1.7 Update
- Auto screen off time change to 1Min no operation
- Solved picture quality setting bugs
- Solved Auto shoot function bugs
- Solved loop recording off but only still auto cut into 5 mins videos
SJCAM V1.6 Update
- Add Wifi SSID and Psw selection to Menu. user can change SSID and Password
- WiFi SSID default: SJ5000+_XXXXXX. can custom 14 or less digit by upper/lowercase letters.digits and symbols combination
- WiFi password default:12345678. user can enter custom 8 digits combination
SJCAM V1.5 Update
- When choose CarDVR on. camera will record once WiFi complete started
SJCAM V1.4 Update
- Solved 720P120 and 480P240 no sound when recording problem
- Solved high frame rates play on computer play speed
SJCAM V1.3 Update
- When recording. long press Wifi Button to change to Wifi model. it will stop recording before restarting
- Solved EV value oppositive
- Add Wifi Led option to menu. can choose ON/OFF
- Change selection Car DV name to Car DVR in the menu
- You can take photo when recording video by long press OK button 2s
- Add status indicator light menu selection: 3\2\1\OFF
- Solved time watermark location problem when video overturn and relevant issues
- Suggestion: Do not operate the camera before WiFi starting completed to avoid crash problem
- Improved preview play back loading method to decrease crash probability
- Improved Photo Mode to decrease crash probability
- Improved menu switch method to decrease crash probability
SJCAM V1.2 Update
- EV Default as 0
- Bitrate increase
- Solved when connect car charger and press Mode button stuck on preview page
- Update Time Stamp can be modified no matter Dual Streams On/off
SJCAM V1.1 Update
- Version number SJCAM V1.1
- File name changed to SJCAMXXXX
- Set SD card as default storage location
- Set power off time shorter to 2-3s after long press model button
- Set press Wifi button 1s to enter wifi model
- Change photo shoot sound to louder one
- Change buttons beep to louder one
- Change buid-in Nandflash will not be recognized. without insert SD card cannot run WIFI function
- Update when playback by Apple App will force appcrash. update several selection non-content
Unbricking a SJ5000 Plus
If you have bricked your SJ5000 Plus, you can reflash the firmware to recover it. Thanks to our member Mtz who provided the detailed instructions. You will need to download the following:
- Remove camera battery
- Press Up Button
- Connect Micro USB cable between SJ5000 Plus and PC
- You will hear a windows sound when it is founding new hardware
- The driver is installed when you see this window
- After driver is installed you can see Ambarella in PC Device Manager. Every time you will connect the camera to PC by pressing the Up button this device will appear on Device Manager
- This PC program is used to flash your firmware using the Micro USB cable. To connect your PC and Ambarella camera you need to press and keep pressed the UP button, connect the USB cable until your hear the Windows sound of new hardware.
The video from out member Mtz shows the steps as well.
Published: March 19, 2015
Updated: March 24, 2015