Gear Review: SJCam SJ5000 Action Camera

For regular travel, I usually just take photos with my SLR for print magazine features and the blog. Most of the time, I end up using photos and videos taken with my Smartphone for Instagram and social media. But for extreme adventures, motorcycling, biking trips and water-based activities, it’s essential to have an action camera. Video content and vlogs are becoming more popular these days on social media and action cameras can really really help you capture more dynamic content.


I recently got to test out the SJCAM SJ5000 WiFi 14 MP Waterproof Action Sports Camera and was pleasantly surprised at the overall quality. The SJCAM SJ5000 has a 14 mega pixel sensor for shooting crisp photos and recording 1080P videos. It comes with a high precision super wide angle lens that provides superb image quality with vivid colors. For budget travelers and weekend warriors looking for an action camera to capture the thrill of extreme adventures, the SJCAM SJ5000 is a great option.

PRODUCT FEATURES:

  • 2.0 inch Ultra HD screen
  • Multiple video recording formats: 1080P/ 720P/ WVGA
  • Wi-Fi Function, compatible with Android or iOS
  • Water-resistant up to 30m underwater
  • 170″ Ultra orthoscopic camera
  • Support HDMI HD output and USB-AV video output
  • Support storage cards up to 32GB maximum

FIELD TEST NOTES:

  • I’ve tried the SJCAM SJ5000 action camera for motorcycling and biking trips.
  • I used it during water-based activities in Palawan and for taking some random footage around Vietnam.
  • The controls of the action camera are very easy to learn and use.
  • The colors come out natural and video is crisp and clear. My companions were impressed at the quality of the video.
  • With a few minor tweaks on photo editing apps like Snapseed or Lightroom, you can get some pretty decent photos using the photo mode feature.
  • For motorcycling and biking, you can use a number of different mounts and accessories with this action camera, from helmet to handlebar mounts. You can strap it on with a chest mount. For general travel though, the easiest way to use it is with a selfie stick, which allows you to take wider landscapes.
  • The camera is waterproof with a sturdy housing, so you can easily record all water sports and use it even during rainy days.
  • For water-based activities, the camera has a water-resistant casing that allows you to shoot up to 30 meters under water. Great for those beach getaways or island-hopping activities when you want a camera that you won’t have to worry about.
  • With the Wi-Fi function, you can easily connect it to your smartphone or tablet and use it as a photo viewer.
  • Your SJ5000 can keep up with you and your exciting activities thanks to its long battery life. The camera features a Li-ion rechargeable battery 900mAH which can also be detached from the body so you can easily replace it once it drains out.
  • Battery life was good. I charged and brought extra batteries just in case, but one battery was enough to last the whole day of getting short clips.
  • I haven’t tried this function, but the car mode can also turn the camera into a dash cam and it even provides web camera function.
  • The battery is detachable and easy to replace, prolonging the camera’s service life.

SAMPLE PHOTOS:

It was overcast the day we went to Puerto Princesa Underground River. This is an unedited photo straight from the camera.

Unedited photo kayaking in Cowrie Island. You can make the sky bluer with minor edits, but overall the photo quality is good even without editing.

Selfie mode. Didn’t have my phone with me with the SJcam app, so had to manually click the photo button. You can set it to take burst shots though.

Nagtabon Beach in Palawan. Edited this slightly using Lightroom.

Another kayaking shot. Pushed the saturation on this a bit just to make it brighter.

SAMPLE VIDEOS:

Here’s some sample motorcycling footage using the SJCam SJ5000 with Zhiyun Rider M wearable gimbal for stabilization (which makes everything look more cinematic). It was overcast the day we shot in Marilaque (and it rained right after we started shooting) so the colors are a bit washed out, but on sunny days, the colors are much better. Video footage taken and edited by Outside Slacker and uploaded on Youtube. Pardon the rock music. I didn’t choose that.

Here’s some sample footage of jet-skiing in Palawan. I uploaded the video directly to Facebook which sorts of downdgrades the quality. The original video is much clearer, but at least this gives you an idea of how videos will appear when you share them to social media sites. Holding the camera is my roommate Karla of the blog Karla Around the World.

NOTE: Video quality comes out better when uploaded to YouTube, but apparently you can no longer play the videos directly on Facebook when you share the link. Videos now have to uploaded directly to Facebook if you want to get more views there.

VERDICT:

Overall, the SJCAM SJ5000 is a great action camera for travelers considering the color and quality of the video footage, photos, battery life and price. After using it for one trip, I was satisfied with the overall performance and video quality that I asked to borrow it again. While it’s good enough on its own using various mounts and accessories available, you can make it even better with Gimbal stabilization for biking and motorcycling trips. For those with cars, you can also make this a dashcam for your road trips as well. This action camera offers a budget-friendly alternative compared to other action cameras in the market.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The SJCAM SJ5000 Wifi unit I tested came from Powerbee Powerbank and Gadget Holders, a dealer of original SJ action cameras, powerbanks, speakers and other accessories. They currently sell the action camera with warranty for P4,200 for the unit alone. It costs P5,350 for the bundle with add-ons like the Memory card, monopod and battery charger. They’re one of the few dealers that offers 1 week replacement and 1 year service warranty on the SJ action cameras.

NOT READY TO BUY?

For those on a really tight budget, Powerbee also rents out their action cameras for as little as P200 a day! If you just want one for a quick barkada weekend getaway or need additional footage for your video projects, but don’t really feel the need to own one just yet, renting one is a good option. How much?

  • 1 or 2 day rental: P300/day with complete accessories.
  • 3 days or more: P200/day with complete accessories
  • ADD-ONS (Optional)
  • Freebreath snorkel mask:P150/day
  • LED action camera light: P100/day

NOTE: I am not connected to Powerbee Online or to SJCAM, so if you’re interested to buy or rent an action camera, please get in touch with owner Carlos Baldosa directly through his Globe number 0917-4426324 or Facebook Page: Powerbee Powerbank and Gadget Holders.

Here’s another video shot on the SJCAM J6 Legend Action Camera, a higher upgrade from the SJ5000 from a Ride & Camp Trip to Batangas with Wrangler #TrueWanderer 2015 guys Carlos Baldosa and EJ Quiroz. Video footage taken by and edited by Carlos.

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