SJcam SJ7 Star review and video test

sjcam-sj7-star

This is the SJ7 Star review, we will analyze specifics and video quality of this cam. In the world of 4K action cams, there are new competitors coming out: the new GoPro Hero 5 Black was just released, the Xiaomi Yi 4k sold a lot in just 2 months, Sony already had is X1000 and is now releasing the X3000 with optical stabilizer, Eken H8 Pro was just announced, Andoer C5 just released and now also SJCam is entering in this 4K segment with this new SJ7 star.

SJ7 Star can record native 4K@30fps videos – we remind you that SJ5000X and SJ6 record interpolated 4K videos from 2880×2160 resolution to 3840×2160 -, thanks to 12MP Sony IMX117 sensor, the same used by GoPro in the Hero 4 black, and to Ambarella A12 chip.

SJ7 Star aims to appear as a premium action cam, so it has a cool and elegant design with a full metal body. As all SJcams it features a 2″ display that in this cam it is also touchscreen, like in SJ6, very useful to change options and navigate quickly in the menu.

SJ7 can be used with an external microphone, and with an optional remote control.

All of this for 199$.

Available @ Gearbest

Coupon code: ocuyhg (157€)

SJ7 Star review

We just got our SJ7 star from Gearbest, in few days we’ll make the the full review, with comparisons with Thieye T5E, Yi 4k and Gopro 5. For now I wrote the unboxing.

Picking up the cam you immediatly have a feeling of quality and solidity. The materials are pleasant to the touch and beautiful to see, a satin-quality plastic for the front, and the body entirely in brushed aluminum, beautiful, light and strong, with rounded contours. Analyzing the body of the SJ7, on the front, in addition to the lens, there are two large buttons, one for on / off and change modes, and one to change settings. There are also two status Leds, for recording and wifi indication.

SJ7 star recensione

On the left side two holes for the microphone, and mini USB and micro HDMI ports, in addition to the slot for micro sd. The mini USB port allows the use of an external microphone with SJ7 star.

Recensione SJ7 Star

On the bottom there is the door to gain access to the removable battery that has a capacity of 1000mAh and allows you to record 1h20m at full resolution. The shape and the voltage of the batteries are the same as other SJ and Git2, so you can use any compatible battery and charger. There’s not the classic thread to attach the cam directly to a tripod, but in the packaging there’s a frame that allows you to hook it to any gopro accessory even without the diving cover.

Batteria SJ7 star

On the right side there’s nothing. On the top there is the release button to start/stop a video and shoot a photo, as well as a LED and a speaker.

SJ7 star lato

On the back side there is the big 2″ display, we remind it is touchscreen, it allows you to easily control the cam with your finger, change settings, playback movies and photos in the memory card. The screen is very bright and shows all essential information: mode, resolution, fps, battery status, stabilization, image quality, time / date, wifi status, space remaining in the micro sd card.

SJ7 star touchscreen display

Accessories

The SJ7 Star comes with an underwater housing for up to 30m. The buttons are big and soft to press. There’s a closing locking lever, the mechanism seems solid and durable and you should not risk accidental opening. The buttons are big and soft to the touch, SJcam has learned its lesson from the old poor quality houses with hard buttons, creating a case that gives you a good feeling and makes it easy to use the cam even when inserted into the housing.

You can access almost all the menus by pressing the physical buttons even when the cam is inside the case, like change settings, resolutions, etc., but it’s not possible to access to the general menu – to set the date, time, format, and other things unnecessary for recording – and the menu functions, to review photos and video, turn on wifi or connect the remote control, but these are all options that presumably under water no one would care about. Besides, in the package there is an additional opening for the underwater case, made of a rubbery material that allows the use of the touchscreen underwater.

SJ7_Star_case subacqueo

The action SJ7 Star cam comes in a box with a lot of accessories, the waterproof case, an additional touchscreen cover for the case, USB cable,handlebar attachment for bicycle, J support, stickers and helmet hooks, two fixed and two rotatable, a frame to use the cam with the mounts, cloth for cleaning the lens, tripod adapters, a USB to mini USB cable, two SJcam adhesives, and a user manual (in English, Chinese, Russian and German). It has everything you need to start recording, except the micro sd card.

Accessori SJ7 Star

Menu

As I said the display is touchscreen, so you just need to use your finger to touch the display to change the settings easily, and depending on which part of the screen you swipe, you can access a different menu. Alternatively, you can access all the functions using only the physical buttons, like when the cam is inside the waterproof housing.

Swiping your finger from the top of the screen downward, you enter the functions menu, with 4 entries that allow you to: playback the photos stored in the micro sd card, playback the videos in the memory card, connect the remote to your cam, turn on wifi.

One swipe from the bottom of the display to the top allows us to enter the mode menu, where you can choose to take a picture, a self timer photor, photo burst, record a video, a timelapsevideo or timelapse pictures. And it’s also possible to switch from photos to videos simply by swiping your finger from right to left or vice versa when you are on the main screen.

Pressing the options button, representing a ‘gear’, on the front side of the cam, you enter the main menu, where you can change the resolution and fps of video or photo, choose the quality, enable / disable gyro sensor – only available at 1080p 60fps or lower -, enable motion detection, video stamp, choose the interval for the timelapse video or photo, activate the loop record, the dv car mode, the microphone volume – off, 50% , 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100% -.

Pressing the settings icon on the left, you access a submenu with all general options, such as Quick Capture, Delay off, TV mode, Frequency light, Auto Off , Auto power Off screen, setting of LED, TV out, beep sound,date and time setting, date format, language, wifi activation, wireless network name and password, format the card, reset the default parameters and indication of the firmwaremy  has version V1.0. It is possible to update the firmware of the SJ7 star using the Sjcam Zone app or from this page.

Talking about resolutios, we can see there’s the 4K at 30fps and 4K at 25fps SuperView.

SJ7 star

SJ7 Star video quality

We are now going to analyze what really matters when choosing an action cam: video quality. The SJ7 Star records video in H.264 BP / MP / HP Level 5.1 format and with the MJPEG codec, so can actually record native 4K, as you can see in the “Level” section on this page.

We’ll start talking about the video quality from color rendering, which is really good. The colors are natural, fairly neutral allowing you to apply effects of color correction in post production without losing quality. Besides, they are lively, not dull, the sky takes on a beautiful blue color. The color range is very wide.

The definition is excellent also at 1080p, at 4K is amazing. The videos are crisp, the outlines are clear, details are well-defined. The fluidity is good even at 4K resolution.

The light changes are well managed, the transition from shaded areas to areas with plenty of light is fast and without artifacts, the exposure is always optimal even in difficult light conditions. The white balance is always optimal. The presence of the sun in the frame does not cause failure, the cam creates a small halo of light around the sun and the rest of the sky is well colored.

The audio is good, SJcam understood that also this aspect is important. In 1080p video below you can hear the audio environment.

The only discordant note for now is the stabilizer, which does not work well in all situations as they used the SJ5000X and SJ6, it dampens lighter vibration effectively, it helps to create a more stable video when the cam is carried by hand, but it is not effective in extreme situations, for example if the cam is mounted on the handlebars of a bike while running in a field. It’s an “issue” common to all the action cams with Ambarella chipset, like Gopro5, Yi 4K and Thieye T5E, the only one with an effective stabilizer in every situation seems to be the Andoer C5.

In this video shot with the SJ7 at carnival, the first part is recorded in Venice shortly before sunset and you can see colors, sharpness and definition at 1080p, the second part was recorded in a bike in the street and in a field with the cam mounted in the handlebar to test the effectiveness of the stabilizer:

SJ7 Star photo quality

I brought with me the SJ7 in Venice on Saturday of Carnival, and I took some pictures just before sunset in Piazza San Marco, I will propose some below. As you can see the photos are very sharp, quality is excellent, they have natural and neutral colors, great for post production to add contrast and saturation as you wish without losing quality.

When the sun enters in the frame, the whole sky is not burned as it happens in many action cam and cameras, but just near the sun itself there’s small areawhere the image is slightly burned, while the rest of the sky is of a fine blue.

The overall quality is very similar to that of Yi 4K, which we appreciated previously. The white balance is always optimal. I was really surprised by the quality of photos and videos outdoors.

SJ7 photo sample SJ7 photo sample SJ7 photo sample
SJ7 photo sample SJ7 photo sample SJ7 photo sample
SJ7 photo sample SJ7 photo sample SJ7 photo sample

Conclusions

PRO

  • 4k@30fps / 1080p@120fps
  • good video and photo quality
  • 2″ touchscreen display
  • gyro electronic image stabilizer
  • remote control (optional)
  • external microphone (optional)
  • many accessories included
CONs

  • there’s no thread to attach the cam directly to a tripod
  • price is high if compared to competitors with similar hardware

Available @ Gearbest


SJ7 star overview and specs

sj7_star_specs

Image Sensor: 
SJCAM SJ7 Star is equipped with a 12MP Sony sensor IMX117, the same sensor used by GoPro in the Hero 4 Black, so a quality Sensor without any doubt. IMX117 sensor is also present in the Andoer C5 , another 4K action camera.

Chipset:
SJ7 Star features Ambarella A12 chipset, the same used by EKEN H8 Pro &  Andoer C5. It supports native 4K and electronic stabilization.

sj7_hardware

Lens:
166° Wide-angle Lens, f=3mm, F/2.5 aperture.

sj7_lens

Display:

SJCAM SJ7 Star features a 2″ touchscreen LCD display with a resolution of 240 x 320pixels. The touchscreen is very useful to navigate the menu and change options, and the screen itself can be used to see what you are recording and to playback your videos or photos.

sjcam-sj7-star-touch-screen

2″ is a generous dimension, and you can clearly see what you are recording or playback it, even under direct sunlight.

sj7_display

Frame Rates:

  • 4K (3840 x 2160) – 30 fps
  • 2K (2560 x 1440) – 60 fps
  • 1080p (1920 x 1080) – 120 / 60 / 30 fps
  • 720p (1280 x 720) – 200 /120 / 60 / 30 fps

Recording Format:
.mp4 or MOV with h.264 codec

Image Stabilization:
SJ7 star features a built-in Electronic Image Stabilizer (EIS) for smooth videos without vibrations and shaky videos. It uses a Gyro sensor combined with a Acceleration sensor to perceive and stabilize vibrations and shaking during a motion.

sj7-star-gyro

Photo Resolutions:

The sensor is 12MP but this cam can shoot 16 and 14MP photos, this means these 2 resolutions are interpolated and I suggest not to use them.

  • 16M
  • 14M
  • 12M
  • 8.3 M
  • 5M
  • 3M

Connectivity & Ports:
SJ7 has built-in wifi that allows you to connect the phone to the cam using the app SJCam Zone (iOS / Android)

sj7_app
It has a microHDMI port for HD video output, and a mini (?) USB port.
It is also possible to use an external microphone plugging it to the USB port.

sj7_external_microphone

Storage:
SJCAM SJ7 Star supports microSD cards up to 32GB, selected microSD cards also up to 64 GB. Class 10 (U1) is recommended, U3 for 4K recording.

Battery:
SJ7 star uses a 1000 mAhremovable battery. SJ4000 and 5000 use a 900mAh battery.

Remote Control:
SJCAM SJ7 Star can be controlled by a remote control, very similar to the SJCAM M20 one. Perfect when you put the cam in places you can’t reach with your hand, like the helmet, kayak, outside the car or other places. You can start/stop recording, take a picture, change mode, turn off wifi and even turn off (and on?) the cam.

sjcam-sj7-star-remote-control

 

Dimensions:
Size: 58 x 41 x 20.5mm

Colors:

sj7_colors

SJ7 star buttons and ports:

SJCAM SJ7 Star - Buttons & Ports

SJcam SJ7 Star has 3 buttons,On/off, Setup and Shutter releas to record/stop videos and take pictures.
On the left side there are mini (?) USB port, micro HDMI port and microSD card slot.

Available @ Gearbest

Coupon code: GBCE (-13%)

SJ7 Star features

Loop recording:
You can change select the video length: 2 / 3 / 5 min. and the oldest files will be overwritten once the SD card is full. Select this mode if you use SJCAM SJ7 Star as dashboard camera.

Photo Mode:
You can select Single Shot / Self-timer / Continuous Shooting.

Time-Lapse:
Following intervals are available to select: 1s / 2 / 5 / 10 / 20 / 30 / 60 sec. Video Time-lapse is available as well.

Burst Photo:
SJCAM SJ7 Star can do 3 photos per second in full resolution.

Manual White Balance:
You can set White Balance to: Auto / Incandescent / D4000 / D5000 / Daylight / Cloudy / D9000 / D10000 / Flash / Fluorescent / Water / Outdoor.

Exposure:
You can also correct exposure: +-2.0 ~ +-0.3 EV.

ISO:
You can manually set: 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 ISO.

Available @ Gearbest

Coupon code: GBCE (-13%)

Specifications

General Brand: SJCAM
Model: SJ7 STAR
Type: Sports Camera
Type of Camera: 4K
Chipset Name: Ambarella
Chipset: Ambarella A12S75
Sensor: CMOS
Storage Max External Card Supported: TF 64G (not included)
Display Screen size: 2.0inch
Screen type: LTPS
Power Battery Type: Removable
Capacity: 1000mAh
Charge way: AC adapter,Car charger,USB charge by PC
Primary Info. Wide Angle: 166 degree wide angle lens
Video/Image/Audio Video format: MP4
Video Resolution: 1080P (120fps),1080P(30fps),1080P(60fps),1440P (2560 x 1440),1440P (30fps),1440P (60fps),2.5K (30fps),2.5K (60fps),2.7K (30fps),2160P (2880 x 2160),4K (25fps),4K (30fps),720P (120fps),720P (30fps),720P (60fps),960P (120fps),960P (30fps),960P (60fps)
Video Frame Rate: 120fps,25fps,30FPS,60FPS
Video Output : HDMI
Image Format : JPEG
Audio System: Built-in microphone/speaker (AAC)
White Balance Mode: Auto,Cloudy,D4000,D5000,Daylight,Fluorescent,Incandescent,Underwater
Functions WIFI: Yes
Loop-cycle Recording Time: 2min,3min,5min
Motion Detection: Yes
Remote Control: Yes
Interface Type: HDMI,Micro USB,TF Card Slot
Language: Czech,Danish,English,French,German,Hungarian,Italian,Japanese,Korean,Polski,Portuguese,Romanian,Russian,Simplified Chinese,Slovak,Spanish,Thai,Traditional Chinese
Dimension/Weight Product weight: 0.074 kg
Package weight: 0.650 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 6.00 x 4.10 x 2.47 cm / 2.36 x 1.61 x 0.97 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 25.50 x 13.50 x 7.00 cm / 10.04 x 5.31 x 2.76 inches
Package Contents Package Contents: 1 x SJ7 Action Camera, 1 x Waterproof Housing + Mount + Screw, 1 x Frame, 2 x Base, 2 x Adhesive, 2 x Mount, 3 x Connector + Screw, 1 x Handle Bar Mount, 1 x Tripod Adapter + Tripod Mount Adapter, 1 x USB Cable

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18 Comments

  1. Kristen

    Hi,
    We own a classic sailing yacht named Galatea. She was built in 1899. We participate in classic sailing regattas through out the Caribbean. We are wanting to purchase at least 2 action cameras to record our races. We already have the Hero 4 Black. But we would like two more cameras but not wanting to spend too much. Which one would you recommend for our purpose?

    Reply
  2. Richard

    Does this camera support
    1. on/off with external power
    2. no gaps between clips in carcam mode (like the SJ5000)
    3. external power at the same time as external mic (this is the killer feature if possible)

    Reply
    1. mork

      This cam is still to be sold (it will be at the end of january) so i couldn’t test it on my hand, but i suppose yes for 1. and 2. (all sjcam do it), but no for 3. as the ext mic has to be plugged in the usb port, as the charging cable.

      Reply
  3. Peethss

    Hi mate, great review. Need a help. I have a question. I am looking forward buy a new action cam for daily motovlogging with external Mic support. I have narrowed down to sj7 star and yi 4k plus. I am more keen to sj7 star, the reason being external Mic support and superview. However, I am also impressed by the yi 4k plus specs of 4k@60 fps and image stabilisation till 4k@30 fps. If Yi 4k plus would have had superview then I would have definitely gone for it. Can you please help me here …

    Thanks
    Peethss

    Reply
  4. alex90123

    Hello guys,

    I’m considering to get sj7 star, sj6 legend or the tectectec xpro4+. What do you think is better? I know sj6 legend doesn’t take videos in 4k natively, but between the others two I don’t know what to choice.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. TechFunology

      Hi, leave tectec right where it is. SJ7 is very good for video and photo quality, but is expensive, and stabilization is not so good. SJ6 has a good stabilizer but video and photo quality is worst. I would suggest SJ7, or better Firefly 8s, you can get it for 106€ using coupon code F8SIT from here. It has the same visoe quality of SJ7, better stabilization with 6-axis gyro, external microphon. It only lacks touschscreen display (has a normal display).

      Reply
      1. alex90123

        Hello,

        That’s right. I was checking videos of Firefly 8s and the video quality and stabilization is amazing.
        I was checking the model and it seems that you can only dive until 20 metres, this is only the bad news. I’m checking for any way to go more down (until the typical 30 metres)…. do you know if it is possible? 🙂

        Regards

        Reply
        1. TechFunology

          I can not guarantee to you, but all these cases are almost the same for all chinese action cams, so it should go to 30m as the other cams. To be sure, you can buy a gopro 4 one (40 or 60m), as the dimensions and main buttons are the same, just you can’t navigate the menus when the cover is on, but you can change from photos to videos and shoot photos/record videos.

          Reply
  5. Erwin

    I search a action camera for my holiday for diving round 20/30 metre. What is the best camera for this moment?

    Budget round 200 usd. I read very much topics about camera.

    Kind regards,
    Erwin

    Reply
    1. TechFunology

      Hi, if you want to save money and buy a great cam, go for Firefly 8s with no doubt: Firefly 8s. Use coupon F8SIT.
      If you want something more (touchscreen, better app, same excellent video quality) go for Yi 4k with coupon GBIT22.
      I suggest firefly, as the video quality is the same, it’s cheaper, comes with many accessories, it just misses touchscreen.
      SJ7 also is very good, but it’s more expensive, same video quality than yi 4k and firefly.

      Reply

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