Living with an SJ4000 – The Good, The Bad and the Indifferent.

posted in: Gear, Technical | 0

I’ve now been the owner of the SJ4000 for several months, in fact, I have two and am considering getting a third… And probably a fourth.
As an unmanned camera they can competently record in 1080p for an hour before battery power becomes critically low and that old game of who’ll blink first becomes a cold sweat panic.

My initial fear when I purchased my first one was that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the hype suggested, but on arrival I found no major problems. BUT, I did find a few minor ones, which were all easily resolved.

The first problem I encountered was with the attachments and mounts. Since they are mostly Go Pro compatible (and I’ve also found this when purchasing after market brackets and mounting solutions too) the joins are too smooth. This results in slipping when the camera is mounted. It was an easy one to resolve and the following video (not mine) shows exactly what to do (although it’s pretty obvious):

 

The second problem I encountered was with the second camera, the underwater case appeared fine, and I honestly didn’t think to look too closely to notice initially. There are four rubber nugs on the back door which hold the camera in position when housed. It wasn’t until I was about to start filming that I found the two lower nugs were damaged. This is a quality control issue and was easily fixed as the camera comes with a second door, but without those in place, none of the case buttons connect with the camera buttons as the camera moves and contact is not fully made.

 

door
Images are for demonstration purposes and are not faulty.

The last problem, which was anticipated, is the battery life, and if you purchase from a site which offers additional batteries DO IT! Buy them, especially if you intend to film for longer than an hour in full HD (as previously mentioned).

In the weekend I set up 4 cameras around a stage mounted in various positions with a 5th camera hand held.

What was I using:

1x GoPro Hero 2
goPro hero2

This was mounted on the PA stand, facing into the stage, using a M-B1 Fast Clip:

M-B1 Fast Clip

2x SJ4000’s
SJ4000

I had one SJ4000 mounted using another M-B1 Fast clip on the PA facing across the stage, and the second was mounted on the drummers ride stand using a Standard (quick release) GoPro Bike Mount:
GoPro Bike Moun

2x Kodak Zx5
81Ni0KRg1RL._SL1500_

One Zx5 was mounted on the PA stand on the opposite side of the stage again using a standard GoPro Bike Mount (the quick release version which allows for larger diameters). The other, as stated, was my handheld camera.

Thinking I would probably have issues, I only encountered one camera failure, which was the GoPro. It appears it had discharged instead of charging earlier that day, so battery life was nominal at best and I only captured a little under 8 minutes.

After gathering all my gear I proceeded to drink too much which resulting in a lack of personal functionality for most of Sunday, but the footage I saw turned out better than I expected (all things considered).

Go shoot something!

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