SJCam SJ8 Pro$199.99
Video - Day9.0/10
Video - Night7.0/10
Ease of Use8.0/10
- Sharp, detailed real 4K
- Effective image stabilisation
- Accurate colour balance
- Large, vibrant touch screen
- Tons of professional features and settings
- Above average battery life
- Good still images
- Some issues with lens flare
- Audio becomes muffled by wind noise
- Start/stop recording beeps are very quiet
The SJCam SJ8 Pro is SJCam’s top end action cam with a feature set to match. With 4K at 60 FPS and stabilised real 4K at 30 FPS, on paper this camera has a lot going for it. Can it live up to the hype?
The SJCam SJ8 Pro is SJCam’s top end action cam with premium features. As a result it is SJCam’s highest priced camera, coming in at a whopping $220 on Amazon. Now don’t mix this one up with the other SJ8 cameras because the SJ8 Pro is different in a good way.
Build Quality and Appearance
The body of the SJ8 Pro is well made, featuring solid plastic that is firmly constructed. There’s no flex or gaps here, and outside of GoPro this is one of the best built cameras I have held to date. On the back of the camera is the giant bright touch screen. SJCam has cut back on the number of buttons in favour of a touch screen user interface. That means inside of the waterproof case you can really only switch modes and turn the Wi-Fi on or off. This won’t matter as much if you’re only going to use the cam in shallow water with the touch screen back or are going to use the camera outside of its housing. I personally prefer the option of buttons or touch screen like the Firefly 8SE has.
The SJ8 has all the professional settings from white balance, exposure, ISO, and a flat colour mode. This is great for those who want tweak their camera in order to get the most out of the video it produces.
Video – Day
The video from the SJ8 Pro is great. 4K 60FPS is detailed, smooth and colourful. 4K 30 is stunning: crammed with detail and steady thanks to image stabilisation. This was the mode I left it in the majority of the time and the video I got as a result was near perfect, as good as one can expect from a sub-$200 camera anyways.
The SJ8 Pro is physically identical to the lower end SJ8 Plus. In fact, if it didn’t have the name on the front I would have no idea which cam is which, that is, until I saw the video side by side. In a separate video I will compare these two cams in depth but just consider this: the SJ8 Pro is better in almost every way, and I can whole-heartedly say that the extra cost is worth it. In fact, I don’t understand why anyone would buy the SJ8 Plus when this camera is often less than $20 more on Chinese e-tailers.
This camera does not have the colour balance issues. The 4K does not stutter. It is just all around a better value proposition. This is the SJCam to go for.
Video – Low Light
Since this camera is based on a higher-end sensor and processor there’s more flexibility when filming in low light. Now keep in mind it still won’t be fantastic, as it is limited by the small sensor size, but with the SJ8 Pro you can specify a maximum ISO allowing you to proitize brightness in low light, image noise or shutter speed. This gives you the flexibility to boost the ISO to get a faster shutter speed and keep things a bit sharper.
As a result of the higher end hardware video at twilight looks really good, and after dark it’s still respectible. I would recommend turning off image stabilisation in the dark because it causes some blurring in low light.
Audio quality from this camera is excellent while you are standing still but the camera itself is susceptible to quite a lot of wind noise. I was going to try and narrate this entire video using the SJ8 Pro (since I think it’s good enough quality for that), but I ran into issues where I was riding my bike and wind noise completely overpowered my voice. Check it out.
This camera features 6-axis stabilisation and the difference it makes is noticable. I test these cameras mounted to my helmet which tends to shake and throw itself around as I’m riding my bike as you can see by the way the camera is jumping however it still does make a lot of difference compared to no stabilisation.
Mounted on my handlebars you can see a comparison with the Firefly 8SE, which also has a 6-axis stabilizer. Which do you think looks better? Let me know in the comments and let me know if you want to see a full comparison of these two since they’re currently some of my top recommended cameras.
I have a feeling SJcam is intentionally handicapping the SJ8 Plus so that people will upgrade to the pro, and why wouldn’t they? The pro has better video quality and most importantly does not stutter while filming 4K with stabilsation.
Where to Buy
If you want 4K at 60FPS but you don’t want to spend GoPro money, this is the camera to get. It’s the first SJCam in a while I feel confident recommending without saying “but”… The SJ8 Plus is fine, but the 4K skips and it has colour balance issues. The SJ7 Star is a fantastic camera but it is too expensive compared to the Firefly 8SE and the audio quality is not as good. The SJ8 Pro on the other hand – I’ve got a lot of good things to say about it, and when it goes on sale for $175 with a full accessory kit it’s hands down the camera to beat.