Today’s Tech News and Reviews
SJCam has a new action camera that is launching this month, currently available for order from SJCAM and coming soon to retailers that carry its products. This is the new SJCAM C300 4K Action Camera and it comes with some decent features while also packing some entry-level stabilization to add to your experience.
What’s unique about this one is the fact that it comes in two different forms. The camera can ride by itself via its own exchangeable battery or you can attach a long battery pack in its place that also acts as a sort of handle.
It seems to come with both (at least the kit we got our hands on does), allowing you to choose between the two depending on how long you plan to be out. If you go with the longer extended battery, you can get yourself up to 6 hours worth of video before having to get it back on the charger (USB-C).
It comes in both black and white color options. We have been testing the black one, which is what you will see throughout all of the images here.
The action camera (by itself) is relatively small in size and light in weight. Easy to carry around and comes with a number of accessories as well as many others you can purchase separately (I’m sure that SJCAM will offer bundle options as well as most companies do).
Even with the main battery inserted, it remains small in size making it easy to attach to just about anything. Its own weight will never pose as a risk when it comes to something falling or shaking loose.
The battery easily clips right onto the back of the camera and when using this configuration, you make use of the main screen right on the front of the camera. Sadly, you don’t get the screen on the back since this is where the company choose to place the battery. This must have been a design limitation due to the camera taking up too much space for them to put it on the front so you don’t have to swap between sides for the screen.
I say that because if you choose to use the longer extended battery (above image), it adds a screen to the backside of the camera. It also adds an additional power button as well as a your typical camera tripod threads at the bottom so you have that as an attachment option.
When the extended battery is attached in place of the smaller battery, that back screen becomes the screen in use. Allowing you to view the screen without having to turn the camera toward you. This is the idea position of the screen in most cases unless you attach it in a set and forget scenario (at least by our own shared opinion).
The extended battery makes it easy to handle the camera if you plan to keep it in your hands for whatever reason. You can also attach it in various ways in this format.
However, most of the accessories clearly show preference for the small battery configuration as it makes it a lot easier to mount. It also controls the center of balance so it doesn’t wiggle around if whatever you attach it to experiences a lot of movement.
It does come with plenty of accessories, including a waterproof case so you can take it in the water (something most action cameras strive to offer support for). You get some double stick mounts, adapters, and a few different clip mounts that allow you to slide it into the various action camera adapters out there.
It also comes with a cleaning cloth and some stickers in case you want to slap them onto a case or something.
The waterproof case offers a rubber o-ring running around the hatch that latches down to create a seal. It offers a good fit and works quite well when submerged. Keeping the camera dry in the process. The camera by itself is not resistant, so you want to make sure you don’t forget this case if you plan to get it wet.
The backside of the camera (which gets hidden by either battery when attached) is where the SD card is inserted. It just drops into place and the metal hatch clamps down and clicks into locked position securing it. It can handle up to 128GB capacity options and is a required extra purchase unless you buy into a special bundle deal.
So you have multiple accessories and two different battery options between the regular small battery and the extended handle battery. You can even bring both so you know you will always have the power needed to shoot while you are out and about grabbing footage of your favorite sport or hobby,
The company has a number of optional accessories that you can buy for the camera that extend your attachment potential. Covering some of the most common uses of an action camera.
You have these two accessories, including a durable strap mount as well as a lanyard mount that allows you to attach it to your shirt using a magnet. The latter option you wear around your neck simply as a safety sand the magnet drops down your shirt (you can wear it on the outside but using your shirt keeps it from bouncing around so much). Then the camera snaps into the mount and the mount attaches to that magnet through your shirt.
Of course everyone needs a good selfie stick for their action camera. You can find these all over the internet via various retailers like Amazon. However, most of them aren’t as rugged as the one SJCAM sells. This is an impressive option with a twist-lock design. We made use of this in one of our sample footage videos below (the high-mount while driving video), where we extended our arm out the window and held the camera high as the vehicle zipped through a parking lot.
That same selfie stick also seems to come with a neat Bluetooth remote that allows you to easily control some of the most important options even when the stick is fully extended out. Allowing you to snap images or start/stop video from your thumb’s position. It maintains a solid connection to the camera once paired and is highly recommended by us.
Circling back to the camera itself, it features some of the most common options found in any action camera. Like the ability to take both photos and video content (with audio). But it also has some bonus options, like car mode where it can be used as a dashcam and the ability to live stream, which is an important option to have at this price range ($159).
In car mode it can automatically come on and off with the vehicle when plugged into an aux outlet that powers on and off with vehicle (some vehicles support this, some have outlets that remain on at all times). It does ok in car mode and provides usable video content from the windshield. You just have to remember to flip the image if it is installed to the windshield upside down (we forgot to do this in our night footage below as you can tell by the timestamp after we had to flip the footage during edit).
The live stream option requires the use of the SJCAM app (iOS and Android). It uses Wi-Fi to your phone to establish a connection and from the app you can live stream to certain networks.
It is capable of up to 4K@30 video and and up to 20MP pictures. Keeping modern while still keeping to the sub $200 range (which is smart since 4K is starting to catch up all over, even within some of the budget models out there).
It offers 6-axis image stabilization to help deliver smoother results than you’d normally find with an action camera without stabilization.
And again, it offers water-resistance for up to 98ft under water using the accessories (the camera is not water resistant by itself).
Now it’s time to talk about how well it does shooting images and video. The most important variable any action camera has to live up to.
We took the camera out and about looking for some foliage to capture, as well as some other scenes that would look good on camera. We also (as mentioned) drove around a bit both during the day and at night to see how well it handles.
First up, some general walking footage to see what it looks like mounted to yourself and walking straight forward. You can see that the camera does well with this (as it should being it is one of the most basic shot attempts).
We made sure to have image stabilization enabled for all of these clips for the possible performance. With this, it seems to be able to compensate for the steps just fine. We were walking at a normal pace without adjusting our steps to compensate for wearing a camera.
Next up we take a look at some driving scenarios. In this first one, we used the optional selfie stick with remote to hang the camera out the window and high up. This not only forces the camera to compensate for the movement of the vehicle but also the fact that the wind is blowing against the self stick as the center of balance is up high.
Then we eventually took it on the road at night, attaching it to the windshield in car mode using a suction cup mount we picked out of some of our many action camera mount/adapter supplies we have lying around. As mentioned, we forgot to flip the screen, so the timestamp ended upside down, but that was no big deal.
As you can see, it does an ok job at night as a dashcam as long as you aren’t looking for the crispest details in things like license plates. It can capture larger signs just fine and some other details. But if you want a great all-around dash cam, you’ll be investing into a high-end one that is dedicated to just that job. In this case, it’s just nice to know that this one can be multi-purposed to save some cash.
It definitely does better during the day, so all other footage was kept to when the sun was out to get the best out of the camera. Allowing us to see things like how well it handles detail and motion. With that, the next video focuses on how well it captures fine detail while moving it around foliage to see how well it compensates with stabilization while still trying to keep said detail.
We made sure to keep the camera moving at all times while bringing it in and out of the bushes to see how well it responds to this kind of motion. It is an “action” camera, after all. The end result was ok, dropping it into the entry-level to intermediate 4K action cam range.
This is also a good place in the story to share some of the still images we took at the same park. Resulting in some decent images. You can click on the following images to enlarge them into full size to see further detail.
As you can see it did a pretty decent job with these images. Especially, if you plan to size the images down. However, clicking on them and zooming in all the way does result in a grainy image. This isn’t so uncommon though with action cameras as you likely find better detail in a higher price range.
Now for just one more sample to look at, shedding a little more focus on the level of image stabilization it has to offer. We wanted to do this since we needed something to clearly show what our eyes were seeing so it was easier to explain. With that, we found that the image stabilization in this model is absolutely entry-level when it comes to what SJCAM is capable of in its devices. Because of that, it does smooth out the video a little but does contain some form of jitter.
In this video you can clearly see the jitter take place as the camera is trying to stabilize the movement through the rings. We were walking at a smooth pace this time, compensating for the fact that we had a camera in our hands (using the extended battery as a handle).
As the camera moves down and through the rings, you can see the slight jitter take place. So this is something to keep in mind if image stabilization is heavily important to you.
This is a good kit with the number of accessories and two battery options that come with it. The extended battery is nice to have just in itself and it’s good that it comes with the waterproof case to help sell it. It’s good that it has features like (some) stabilization and car mode, as well as an easy to use interface thanks to the touchscreen (something SJCAM is more than experienced with).
When it comes to overall image quality, it does pretty well but it doesn’t allow it to break out of the intermediate zone. This gets dangerous as there are a lot of models out there within the $130-$180 range that looks quite similar to this.
So the saving factors are the live streaming controls (hopefully, they expand on these in the future as this would help), slight stabilization, and the number of accessories you get (and car mode just slightly). You also get a product from SJCAM, which just so happens to be one of the deadliest competitors to GoPro on the market.
It’s currently available for order from SJCAM’s website as well as pre-order from B&H. It looks like it hasn’t made its way to other retailers just yet for pre-order. Shipments should be going out sometime this month by the look of things.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
Zack comes with a number of years in the technology industry. Specializing in live production and sound recording, his background also extensively covers other categories such as lighting and A/V technologies. With a strong history of both covering and thoroughly understanding technology and science in nearly every category imaginable.
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SJCAM C300 4K Action Camera (Review) – Poc Network
Today’s Tech News and Reviews