SJCAM SJ8 Air – Review

SJCAM SJ8 Air was released alongside with SJ8 Pro and SJ8 Plus. While SJ8 Pro and SJ8 Plus offer 4K resolution – SJ8 Pro even 60fps – SJCAM SJ8 Air is limited to 1296p resolution. But the camera offers similarities to the other SJ8 series cameras. The same high quality body, 2,33″ touchscreen & USB-C port. While this article will be a deep insight into SJ8 Air, you can find a detailed comparison of SJ8 Series cameras here.

 

Video Review of SJ8 Air and comparison with SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Pro

 

SJCAM SJ8 Air Specs

SJCAM SJ8 Air

SJCAM SJ8 Air

Image Sensor:
SJCAM SJ8 Air holds a different brand sensor compared to the other SJ8 series cameras, the 14 MP Panasonic MN34112PA. That’s the same sensor used in SJ6 Air, while SJ6 Legend uses a larger 16 MP Panasonic sensor. This sensor benefits higher resolution photos, compared to the other SJ8 series cameras (14MP vs 12 MP).

Chipset:
SJCAM SJ8 Air also uses a Novatek chipset, Novatek 96658, which is inferior to the one used in SJ8 Plus but the same used in Jj6 Legend.

Frame Rates:

  • 4K Resolution – SJ8 Air does not offer 4K resolution (not even interpolated).
  • 2K Resolution – the highest resolution available in SJ8 Air is 1296p with 30fps.
  • HD 1080p – SJ8 Air only records 30fps in 1080p while the other SJ8 series cameras offer 120fps.
  • HD 720p – also in 720p SJ8 Air only offers 30fps.

Image Stabilization (EIS):
SJ8 Air does not have image stabilization. SJ8 Pro and SJ8 Air offer image stabilization up to 4K 30fps.

Recording Format:
Sj8 Air records in h264 codec as .mp4 file.

Digital Zoom:
Similar to all SJ8 series cameras, also SJ8 Air offers digital zoom, available in all resolution settings.

Photo Resolution:
Native photo is linked to the effective pixel size of the sensor, therefor SJ8 Air offer 14 MP sized photos. You can even scale up the photos to 16 MP within the camera. In this category SJ8 Air beats the other SJ8 series cameras, that can only do 12 MP photos. But compared to the others RAW option is not available.

Connectivity & Ports:
Same as all new SJ8 Series cameras, SJ8 Air offer a USB-C port, compared to the mini USB port used in SJ7 Star & SJ6 Legend.
Be aware SJ8 Air does no have external microphone settings in the menu, compared to SJ8 Pro.
All SJ8 Series cameras as well as SJ7 Star and SJ6 Legend offer wifi and bluetooth connection and can be remote controlled via phone or remote controller.
Also all of the mentioned cameras feature a microSD port for cards up to 128 GB storage. For SJ 8 Air a U1 or class 10 card is enough.

Display:
The backside display is a 2,33″ touch screen. That’s even larger than  YI 4K+ (2,19″) and GoPro Hero6 (2″) and larger than the other SJCAM models SJ7 Star and SJ6 Legend, which also offered a 2″ touch display.
Compared to the other Sj8 series models, SJ8 Air does not offer a front display.

Battery:
Another item all SJ8 series cameras have in common, a removable 1200 mAh battery. Battery capacity was increased compared to SJ7 Star (1000 mAh) but still be a bit lower compared to YI 4K+ (1400 mAh) and similar compared to GoPro Hero6 (1120 mAh).

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Battery

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Battery

 

Accessories:
All SJ8 series cameras will be available in 2 version: Small Box (only including camera, charging cable & manual) and Full Box including a full set of accessories known from the SJ7 or SJ6 Set, including: Waterproof Housing, Touchscreen backdoor, Quick Release Buckle, Handlebar Mount, Curved Adhesive Mount, Flat Adhesive Mount, 3M Adhesive Tape, Universal 1/4″ Camera Tripod Mount, Tripod Mount Adapter, GoPro Mount Adapters, Cleaning Cloth, USB-C cable and Manual. The full box is 20 USD extra.

Within the underwater case the camera is 30m waterproof, when using the touch screen door it’s 3m.

SJCAM SJ8 Plus Full Box vs. SJCAM SJ8 Air Small Box

SJCAM SJ8 Plus Full Box vs. SJCAM SJ8 Air Small Box

 

Comparison

Here you can find a combined list of Specs in comparison to other SJCAM cameras:

SJ8 ProSJ8 PlusSJ7 StarSJ8 AirSJ6 Legend
SJCAM-SJ8-Pro-symbolSJCAM-SJ8-Plus-symbolsj7-star-symbolSJCAM-SJ8-Air-symbolSJCAM SJ6 Legend
12 MP Sony
IMX377 sensor
12 MP Sony
IMX117 sensor
12 MP Sony
IMX117 sensor
14 MP Panasonic MN34112PA sensor16 MP Panasonic
MN34120PA sensor
Ambarella H22 ProcessorNovatek 96683 ProcessorAmbarella A12 ProcessorNovatek 96658 ProcessorNovatek 96660 Processor
Body: PlasticBody: PlasticBody: MetalBody: PlasticBody: Plastic
Lens: 170° FOV
Aperture: f/2.8
Lens: 170° FOV
Aperture: f/2.8
Lens: 166°
Aperture: f/2.8
Lens: 160° FOV
Aperture: f/2.6
Lens: 166° FOV
Aperture: f/2.8
native 4K
max. 60fps
native 4K
max. 30fps
native 4K
max. 30fps
no 4Kinterpolated 4K
max. 24fps
2.7K
max. 60 fps
2.7K
max. 60 fps
2.7K
max. 60 fps
2K (1728x1296)
max. 30 fps
2.5K
max. 30 fps
1080p
max. 120fps
1080p
max. 120fps
1080p
max. 120fps
1080p
max. 30fps
1080p
max. 60fps
720p
240fps
720p
240fps
720p
200fps
720p
30fps
720p
max. 120fps
Bitrate: 65 Mbps (4K30)Bitrate: 33 Mbps (4K30)Bitrate: 12 Mbps (1296p)
Image Stabilization: yes
up to 4K 30fps
Image Stabilization: yes
up to 4K 30fps
Image Stabilization: yes
up to 1080p 60fps
Image Stabilization: noImage Stabilization: yes
up to 1080p 60fps
6-axis gyro sensor3-axis gyro sensor3-axis gyro sensor-3-axis gyro sensor
Digital Video ZoomDigital Video Zoom-Digital Video Zoom-
Format: .mp4 /
.h264 & .h265
Format: .mp4 /
.h264 & .h265
Format: .mp4 /
.h264
Format: .mp4 /
.h264
Format: .mp4 / .mov
.h264
12 MP native Photo Resolution12 MP native Photo Resolution12 MP native Photo Resolution14 MP native Photo Resolution16 MP native Photo Resolution
RAW photoRAW photoRAW photono RAW photoRAW photo
2,33″ Touchdisplay2,33″ Touchdisplay2″ Touchdisplay2,33″ Touchdisplay2″ Touchdisplay
0,96" Frontdisplay0,96" Frontdisplay--1" Frontdisplay
Battery: 1200 mAhBattery: 1200 mAhBattery: 1050 mAhBattery: 1200 mAhBattery: 1050 mAh
wifi: yeswifi: yeswifi: yeswifi: yeswifi: yes
Bluetooth: yesBluetooth: yesBluetooth: yesBluetooth: yesBluetooth: yes
Remote Control:
yes
Remote Control:
yes
Remote Control:
yes
Remote Control:
yes
Remote Control:
yes
microSD:
up to 128 GB
microSD:
up to 128 GB
microSD:
up to 128 GB
microSD:
up to 128 GB
microSD:
up to 128 GB
USB-CUSB-Cmini USBUSB-Cmini USB
external microphone:
yes
external microphone:
yes
external microphone:
yes
external microphone:
yes
external microphone:
yes
Case & Mounts included
(Full Box Set)
Case & Mounts included
(Full Box Set)
Case & Mounts includedCase & Mounts included
(Full Box Set)
Case & Mounts included
Retailer/Price:
(small box)
Retailer/Price:
(small box)
Retailer/Price:Retailer/Price:
(small box)
Retailer/Price:
SJCAM:
269.00 USD
SJCAM:
179.00 USD
SJCAM:
199.00 USD
SJCAM:
99.00 USD
SJCAM:
159.00 USD
Banggood:
219.99 USD
Coupon Code: b71c67
Banggood:
157.99 USD
Coupon Code: b71c67
Banggood:
140.99 USD
Banggood:
87.99 USD
Coupon Code: b71c67
Banggood:
115.99 USD
Gearbest:
215.99 USD
Coupon Code: SJ8Series1
Gearbest:
155.99 USD
Coupon Code: SJ8Series3
Gearbest:
149.99 USD
Gearbest:
79.99 USD
Coupon Code: SJ8Series5
Gearbest:
106.99 USD
Aliexpress:
269.00 USD
Aliexpress:
179.00 USD
Aliexpress:
199.00 USD
Aliexpress:
99.00 USD
Aliexpress:
159.00 USD
ReviewReviewReviewReviewReview

 

Retailer / Price Comparison

SJ8 Series Pro

SJ8 Series Plus

SJ8 Series Air

Older SJCAM Models:

As comparison, here are the prices for the older, still available, SJCAM models:

 

Body, Buttons & Ports

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Body, Buttons & Ports

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Body, Buttons & Ports

Compared to the other SJ8 models, SJ8 Air does not offer a front screen. Compared to e.g. YI 4K, SJ8 Air offers two buttons: Shutter button on the top and a power button on the side, that also works as mode switch button where you can conveniently switch between photo and video mode. This is especially necessary when the cam is inside the underwater case. On the other side you find a door that covers the USB-C port. On the bottom there’s a battery door which also holds the micro SD card slot.

 

Features & Settings

I want to give an overview of the new home screen, available camera modes and settings. Be aware that they are different for all SJ8 series cameras! For a comparison take a look at my SJ8 series comparison article.

Homescreen

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Homescreen

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Homescreen

The home screen, the one you see when turning on the camera, shows the following settings (from top left – clockwise): Current Mode (video in the image above) the available recording time on your SD card. On the top right the battery status. On the right side magnifiers for the digital zoom. When you press the rotary icon you can access the settings: camera & device settings. When pressing the current resolution & frame rate (center), you get to the mode selection menu and the play button indicates photo library.

 

Modes

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Modes

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Modes

When you press the settings in the bottom, middle of the screen you access the modes menu with the following 9 options. As already mentioned the modes are different on all SJ8 series cameras – check my comparison.

  • Video – for video recording.
  • VideoLaspe – to create a time-lapse with a video file as result.
  • Still – for single photos.
  • PhotoLapse – to create a time-lapse with several individual photos as result.
  • Long Exposure, for e.g. night shots.
  • Video / Photo – to take photos within an interval while a video is recording.
  • Motion detection – where the camera starts recording once there is motion within the frame. (only SJ8 camera with this mode)
  • Car Mode – the camera powers on automatically and loop recording is enabled (when used as dash camera).
  • Underwater Mode – which corrects colours when diving.

 

Video Settings

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Video Settings

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Video Settings

Video Resolution & Frame Rates

  • 1296p – 30 fps
  • 1080p – 30 fps
  • 720p – 30 fps
  • WVGA – 30 fps
  • VGA 640×480 – 30fps

There is no option to select PAL (25 fps or a multiple of that). There is a TV Mode selection for PAL in the device settings, but it doesn’t effect frame rates. 24fps is also not available.

Loop Recording
When loop recording is switched on the oldest files are overwritten once the SD card is full.

Video Lapse
You can set video lapse to 1s/2s/5s10s/30s/1m – I’m not quite sure about this setting as video time-lapse is a separate menu item.

Audio
You can switch on/off audio recording from the integrated microphone.

Time Stamp
You can turn on/off the time/date being displayed in your video recordings.

LOGO Watermark
You can switch on / off for a watermark being displayed.

Sharpness
You can set sharpness to strong / normal / soft. For grading I recommend normal or soft.

EV (Exposure Value)
is the exposure compensation. You can adjust exposure by setting up / down EV in these steps: +- 1/3, +- 2/3, +- 1.0, +- 4/3, +- 5/3, +-2.0.

White Balance
You can select predefined settings for color correction based on the given light situation: Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Tungsten / Fluorescent.

Color
You can choose several color options – basically filters: Normal / Black & White / Retro / Warm / Cool. There is no “Flat” option compared to SJ8 Pro.

 

Compared to the other SJ8 series cameras there are quite some items missing: e.g. there is no ISO setting & no distortion correction. Also no gyro setting as SJCAM SJ8 Air does not offer image stabilization.

 

Photo Settings

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Photo Settings

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Photo Settings

Photo Resolution

  • 16 MP – 4608 x 3456 – 4:3
  • 14 MP – 4320 x 3240 – 4:3 (native sensor resolution)
  • 12 MP – 4032 x 3024 – 4:3
  • 10 MP – 3648 x 2736 – 4:3
  • 8 MP – 3264 x 2448 – 4:3
  • 5 MP – 2592 x 1944 – 4:3
  • 3 MP – 2048 x 1536 – 4:3
  • 2MHD

Quality
You can select Fine / Normal / Economy. Depending on your selection the quality of the picture (not resolution) will differ, also resulting in different file sizes.

Sharpness
You can set sharpness to strong / normal / soft. For standard photos I recommend “normal”.

White Balance
You can select predefined settings for color correction based on the given light situation: Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Tungsten / Fluorescent.

Color
You can choose several color options (basically filters): Normal / Black & White / Retro / Warm / Cool. There is no Flat option compared to SJ8 Pro.

ISO
Compared to video mode, in photo mode you have ISO options on SJ8 Plus: 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200.

EV (Exposure Value)
is the exposure compensation. You can adjust exposure by setting up / down EV in these steps: +- 1/3, +- 2/3, +- 1.0, +- 4/3, +- 5/3, +-2.0.

Time Stamp
You can turn on/off the time/date being displayed in your video recordings.

 

Compared to the other SJ8 series cameras there is no distortion correction built in, no RAW and no WDR (wide dynamic range) option. You also don’t have a self timer and no exposure time (shutter setting), you need to go to “LongExposure” mode to enable this setting!

 

Device Settings

In the device settings you can format the SD card, set date & time, change power off options,… Click below to see the full list of options. Compared to the other SJ8 series cameras there is no option to rotate the image.

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Device Settings

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Device Settings

all device settings

Language
You can switch menu between English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese Russian, Czech, Slovakian, Hungarian, Suomi, Danish, Dutch,

Date/Time
be sure to enter the correct Date & Time when using the Timestamp option!

Format
to format your microSD card.

GimbalControl
In case you use SJCAM SJ8 Air with SJCAM Gimbal.

FPV
to enable video output.

TV Mode
as mentioned you can switch between PAL and NTSC, but the frame rate is not changing.

Fast Record
when enabled you can turn on the camera and it starts recording immediately.

Auto Power off
You can set a time to power down the camera when in standby (to save battery).

Keypad Tone
You can switch on/off sound when pressing the buttons.

Screensavers
You can select a time when the screen goes black, also useful to save battery life.

Frequency
You can choose between 50Hz and 60Hz, depending on the frequency the power lines are using in your country. Choosing the wrong frequency artificial light can be flickering in your video.

WiFi
You can switch on / off wifi. Standard Wifi Password is: 12345678 but you can change it here.

Power On Mode
You can choose in which mode the camera should power on.

Default setting
which restores factory settings.

Version
which displays the current version of the Firmware.

 

App – SJCAM Zone

You can connect SJCAM SJ8 Air with your smartphone using wifi. Compared to the other SJ8 series cameras you only got 2.4GHz wifi. The app for iOS and Android is called SJCAM Zone.

How to connect to your Smartphone
Turn on the camera’s wifi, you can use the quick menu when swiping down on the screen. Look for the camera’s wifi on your phone which is displayed as “SJ8AIR” followed by numbers. The standard password is 12345678. Open up the app and connect both devices.

SJCAM Zone
The App is pretty straight forward with all the settings you can select on your camera as well. SJCAM recently introduced a social media platform where you can post your photos, but it has some flaws as I was able to post my photos, but can’t see them any further.

Also the app looks a bit different on every SJ8 series camera. When opening up the app you see a live preview image of the camera. It is also possible to turn the smartphone into landscape mode for a larger image. The available modes are displayed in a line above the shutter button. The icon on the bottom left opens the resolution (and frame rate) menu. By pressing the rotary icon on the top right, you access the camera settings.

SJCAM SJ8 Air - SJCAM Zone App

SJCAM SJ8 Air – SJCAM Zone App

 

Demo Photos

The following demo photos are taken as .jpg photo. All settings were on auto. The photos are unedited, taken straight from the camera. You can click on them to view full resolution:

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 4

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 4

 

Retailer / Price Comparison

SJ8 Series Pro

SJ8 Series Plus

SJ8 Series Air

Older SJCAM Models:

As comparison, here are the prices for the older, still available, SJCAM models:

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