- Sharp and colorful video
- Plenty of resolution options
- Stills suffer from barrel distortion
Video quality from the SJCAM SJ7 Star is pretty good. Bright blue skies appear vibrant and image detail is good, even at 1080p and 30fps; there is some grain, and edges aren't particularly sharp, at this resolution, but that's to be expected.
There's an almost bamboozling number of resolution, frame rate and view angle options to chose from, but we found that 1080p at 60fps seemed to offer the best trade-off between image quality and file size, while it offers good flexibility in post-production.
Unfortunately, there isn't an option to shoot the video flat (to allow for greater flexibility in post), nor is it possible to capture stills in raw. That said, only minor tweaking in Lightroom was needed to create some nice imagery, even at 12MP resolution, although barrel distortion in stills is a big issue.
The latest GoPro features a dual microphone set-up, which does a great job of cutting out wind noise for an improved soundtrack. The SJ7 Star's lack of such technology is noticeable, and the audio captured on a blustery ride was pretty much unusable.
You'll only get around 50 minutes of footage when shooting in 4K resolution, but this produces by far the best picture quality of all the settings.
We rode around with the camera mounted the back of our fixed-gear bicycle on a sunny day, and were impressed by the vivid colours and sharp detail. In the clip below t's possible to make out the tiniest patterns in the tarmac, even when travelling at speed.
But the lack of image stabilization at this resolution is a big drawback, as the 4K footage would have been far more pleasant if the annoying scuttle and shake produced by an uneven road surface was digitally reduced.
Editing and apps
- Basic app functionality
- Doesn't allow in-app editing
- No video preview option
Unfortunately, neither the SJCAM SJ7 Star nor the app allows for any editing, with the app serving only as a tool to download clips and stills to a smartphone and correctly line up a shot.
That said, the app is extremely simple to use, and we found that our iPhone 7 had no problems connecting to its built-in Wi-Fi, although it would occasionally drop signal, forcing us to re-connect.
It is possible to review still imagery and video, as well as download selected files to a device, although the app requires video to be downloaded before it can be previewed, which is a pain.
The lack of in-app editing could prove a stumbling block for some potential buyers, as the likes of GoPro and YI Technology understand that not everyone has the time to sit down and put a slick edit together, and so offer easy solutions for creating neat clips that can be instantly shared via social media.