SJCAM SJ5000X review

The combination of 4K video and a bargain price point makes the SJ5000X look very tempting indeed


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When it comes to video options SJCAM offers a good selection, from high resolution 4K for capturing stunning vistas to smaller 720p video at 120 fps for slow motion. Settling on a more standard 1080p at 60fps demonstrated the camera's potential under normal use and conditions.

The lens performs well with the image showing the usual distinctive action cam fisheye distortion. Checking the sharpness reveals good clarity across the frame, but close scrutiny does show some softening and chromatic aberration in high contrast areas and towards the edges.

Sample footage shot at 1080p 60fps: Colour saturation is good and very natural. Contrast is a high and shadow detail can get lost.

Faster motion is captured well with no dropped frames. The slight vibration is caused by the mount rather than the camera.

Flare can often be an issue once you put action cams in waterproof housings, but here the SJ5000X's bulky case didn't seem to increase the influence of flare in any way. Direct comparison with footage from the GoPro Hero4 Black shows that the two camera handle flare in much the same way.

Looking at the image quality, the video initially looks clear and crisp with good contrast and saturation. The contrast is a little too high in bright high contrast lighting, though, and this affects the dynamic range, especially in the shadows. Darker areas of video will loose detail, though highlights are well balanced and the camera's auto white balance and colour saturation does a good job. Overall, the colour is natural, especially when compared with the warmer tones of the GoPro series cameras.

The auto exposure system handles movement from light to dark well, and although there is some burnout in highlights, the auto exposure adjusts quickly to recover the image. In low light conditions the auto white balance does struggle, especially under fluorescent light, but manages to keep noise in check.

Side-by-side comparison of motion footage from the SJ5000X and GoPro Hero4 Black.

Side-by-side comparison of stationary footage from the SJ5000X and GoPro Hero4 Black.

The choice of resolutions and frame rates is good choice for this price of camera with. The different resolutions all produce good usable footage and 24 fps at 4K is enough to make that high resolution footage usable. The 4K footage is actually interpolated, however, with the real resolution being 2880x2160. This interpolation does reduce the quality but it's only noticable when compared directly with other 4K footage, from the GoPro Hero4, for example.

Overall, the visual quality of the footage is excellent especially when you consider the price. Control over the exposure, white Balance and ISO are a nice touch, but the addition of contrast and saturation adjustments would really take the image quality control up a level.

Imaging Lab Manager

Ali Jennings is the imaging lab manager for Future Publishing's Photography portfolio. Using Imatest Master and DxO Analyser he produces the image quality tests for all new cameras and lenses review in TechRadar's cameras channel. Ali has been shooting digital since the early nineties and joined Future's Photography portfolio back in 2003.