SJCAM SJ8 Series – introducing 4K EIS and 4K 60fps

SJCAM is about to release a new series of action cameras. SJCAM SJ8 series include 3 models: SJ8 Pro, SJ8 Plus and SJ8 Air. Pro and Plus will feature EIS with 4K resolution and therefore exceed the specs of SJ7 Star. While Sj8 Air seems to be some kind of entry level camera which doesn’t even match the specs of the released SJ6 Legend. Therefor I want to give an overview of the new lineup in contrast of the current SJCAM cameras as well as some competitors before going into detail about their features.

In this article I want to do a comparison of the new SJ8 series, but I also didi individual, in-depth reviews, pointing out all specs and features:

 

Video Review and Comparison of SJ8 series

 

SJ8 Pro vs SJ8 Plus vs SJ8 Air Specs

SJCAM SJ8 Pro vs SJCAM SJ8 Plus vs SJCAM SJ8 Air

SJCAM SJ8 series: SJ8 Pro vs SJ8 Plus vs SJ8 Air

Image Sensor:

  • SJCAM SJ8 Pro holds the 12 MP Sony IMX377 sensor (1/2.3″ CMOS) known from YI 4K+ Action Camera and YI 4K action camera.
  • SJCAM SJ8 Plus uses the 12 MP Sony IMX117 also known from SJ7 Star, Firefly 8S or GoPro Hero4.
  • SJCAM SJ8 Air holds a different brand sensor, the 14 MP Panasonic MN34112PA. That’s the same sensor used in SJ6 Air, while SJ6 Legend uses a 16 MP Panasonic sensor. This sensor benefits higher resolution photos, but is not capable of 4K resolution video.

Chipset:

  • SJCAM SJ8 Pro holds the new Ambarella H22 processor. This processor enables 4K 60fps but it is not Ambarella’s top of the line chipset, which is the H2, that is used in YI 4K+.
  • SJCAM SJ8 Plus uses a different brand, the Novatek 96683, that enables EIS in 4K resolution. And that’s the difference compared to SJ7 Star which uses the Ambarella A12 (but as mentioned the same sensor).
  • SJCAM SJ8 Air also uses a Novatek chipset, Novatek 96658, which is inferior to the one used in Plus and the one used in Sj6 Legend.

Frame Rates:

  • 4K Resolution – SJ8 Pro shoot up to 60 fps, while SJ8 Plus can do 30 fps max. SJ8 Air won’t record 4K video, not even interpolated. SJ7 Star records up to 30fps in 4K while Sj6 Legend only does interpolated 4K at a max of 24fps.
    4K 60fps – The new SJ8 Pro is the new top of the line product offering 60fps in 4K, similar to YI 4K+ and GoPro Hero6.
  • 2.7K Resolution – is available up to 60fps, same as on SJ8 Pro. SJ8 Air only shoots “2K” – 1296p.
  • HD 1080p – The new SJ8 Pro, same as SJ8 Plus and SJ7 Star can do up to 120fps in 1080p that’s similar to YI 4K+. The only cam I’m aware of that can do better is GoPro Hero6 with an amazing 240fps in 1080p. SJ8 Air can only do 30fps, which is quit disappointing, even SJ6 Legend can do 60fps.
  • HD 720p – While SJ7 Star can only do 200 fps in 720p, the new SJ8 Pro as well as SJ8 Plus can do 240fps – a multiple of 30fps. For Sj8 Air also in 720p resolution only 30fps are available!

Interestingly you can only choose PAL (25fps and a multiple of that) on SJCAM SJ8 Pro. Even tough SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air offer a TV mode selection for PAL/NTCS you can’t record 25fps!

Image Stabilization:
Both SJ8 Pro and SJ8 Plus will offer EIS in 4K resolution at a max. of 30fps. With SJ7 Star the limit was 1080p resolution and 60fps. While SJ8 Pro has a 6-axis gyro sensor, SJ8 Plus has a 3-axis gyro sensor. SJ8 Air does not offer image stabilization!

Digital Zoom:
All SJ8 series cameras offer digital zoom in their highest resolution. Some restrictions apply: It is not available in 4K60 (SJ8 Pro), when distortion correction is turned on or FOV is selected.

Recording Format:
In general the format is .mp4; SJ8 Pro and SJ8 Plus offer the new .h265 codec as selection! You can also choose .h264, for SJ8 Air .h264 is the only available codec.

Photo Resolution:
Native photo is linked to the effective pixel size of the sensor, therefor SJ8 Pro & Plus, same as SJ7 Star, offer 12 MP sized photos. SJ8 Air tops them in that category due to its 14 MP sensor. But you can select RAW photo on SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus, which is not available for SJ8 Air.

Connectivity & Ports:
All new SJ8 Series cameras offer a USB-C port, compared to the mini USB port used in SJ7 Star & SJ6 Legend. In general USB-C is capable of video output and microphone input. Only SJ8 Pro offers an external microphone selection in the menu! On the other hand SJCAM is selling a SJ8 series external microphone for the whole SJ8 series!
All SJ8 Series cameras as well as SJ7 and SJ6 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. Be careful which card you choose, for 4K video U3 cards are needed, if you plan to record 60fps, choose a very fast card.

Display:
The backside touch display is larger on all SJ8 series camera as they feature a 2,33″ display. That’s even larger than  YI 4K+ (2,19″) and GoPro Hero6 (2″)! SJ7 Star and SJ6 Legend offer a 2″ touch display.
SJCAM SJ8 Pro and Sj8 Plus also feature a 0.96″ front display to check the settings, similar to SJ6 Legend.

Front Display on SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus

Front Display on SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus

 

Battery:
Another item all SJ8 series cameras have in common, a removable 1200 mAh battery, so battery capacity will be increased from SJ7 Star (1000 mAh) but still be a bit lower compared to YI 4K+ (1400 mAh) and similar compared to GoPro Hero6 (1120 mAh). Great to see this compatibility when you want to upgrade your camera later on.

Same Battery for SJ8 Pro, SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air

Same Battery for SJ8 Pro, SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air

 

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. All SJ8 series cameras use the same underwater case!

There are several optional accessories available (original SJCAM):

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

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

 

Check out our Facebook Group for the latest updates!

 

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:

 

Comparison

In my written list of specs I tried to put the new SJ8 series cameras a bit in contrast to their competition. If that was too confusing for you, here’s a comparison chart of the new SJ8 series cameras and SJ7 Star as well as Sj6 Legend.

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:
188.99 USD
Coupon Code: 369eae
Banggood:
157.99 USD
Coupon Code: b71c67
Banggood:
135.99 USD
Banggood:
87.99 USD
Coupon Code: b71c67
Banggood:
116.99 USD
Gearbest:
215.99 USD
Coupon Code: SJ8Series1
Gearbest:
155.99 USD
Coupon Code: SJ8Series3
Gearbest:
159.99 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

 

Body, Buttons & Ports

SJCAM SJ8 series body: SJ8 Pro vs SJ8 Plus vs SJ8 Air

SJCAM SJ8 series body: SJ8 Pro vs SJ8 Plus vs SJ8 Air

As mentioned, only SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus feature a 0,96″ OLED front display that shows the current settings of the camera and indicates recording as well as the time. Compared to some touchscreen cameras (like YI 4K), SJ8 series cameras offer two buttons: Shutter button on the top and a power button on the side. The power button 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. The body of all SJ8 series cameras is (except the front screen) the same. It has a some kind of rubber finish which seems to be high quality. Interestingly only the shutter button of SJ8 Pro is illuminated in standby (can be turned off in the menu). When recording the shutter button is flashing on all cameras.

 

Features & Settings

In this article I want to do an overview and comparison. If you want to know about all available settings on the camera, check the individual reviews of SJ8 Pro, SJ8 Plus and SJ8 Air.

Homescreen

Homescreen comparison of SJ8 Pro - SJ8 Plus - SJ8 Air

Homescreen comparison of SJ8 Pro – SJ8 Plus – SJ8 Air

As you can see SJ8 Pro shows the most information on the home screen. This screen is displayed when you turn on your camera. In general the menu of SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air seems more comparable, SJ8 Pro is different in many ways. On all Sj8 series camera you can find the icon of the current mode on the top left, next to it is the available recording time displayed. On the right side is the battery info; on SJ8 Pro the indication if audio recording is enabled. On all SJ8 series cameras digital zoom is available which can be choses with the magnifier icons on the right.

On SJ8 Plus and SJ8 Air you can access camera & device settings via the rotary icon. Clicking the resolution & frame rate info in the center you get to the mode menu. On the left side you can access the library via the play icon. SJ8 Pro offers more individual menus. The rotary icon gets you to the device settings, whereas the wand icon (?) gets you to the camera settings of the current mode you are in. Clicking the mode in the center gets you to the mode menu. Pressing the resolution and frame rate on the left next to it gets you to the resolution selection. I prefer home screen of SJ8 Pro as you get to the desired settings way quicker. Also the display of time, ISO (and shutter tim in photo mode) is a great info.

 

Modes

Not only the mode menu looks different, also the available menus differ among all SJ8 series cameras:

Mode Menu of SJ8 Pro - SJ8 Plus - SJ8 Air

Mode Menu of SJ8 Pro – SJ8 Plus – SJ8 Air

Whereas SJ8 Pro offers 8 Modes, SJ8 Plsu & SJ8 Air offer 9 modes – but they are different.

Same modes on all cameras:

  • 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.
  • Video / Photo – to take photos within an interval while a video is recording.
  • Car Mode – the camera powers on automatically and loop recording is enabled (when used as dash camera).

Different modes:

  • SlowRec – for slow motion recording. The camera is recording a higher frame rate and the info already stored within the file to play it at a lower frame rate. SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus (SJ8 Air only offers 30fps in all resolutions, hence no slow motion)
  • Photo Burst – for fast consecutive photos. SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus
  • Underwater Mode – which corrects colours when diving (this mode is missing on SJ8 Pro, but there is an underwater WB setting). SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Air – SJ8 Pro has white balance settings for diving in the menu!
  • Motion Detection – the camera starts recording when there is motion within the frame; you have to stop manually! Only SJ8 Air.
  • Long Exposure – for shutter settings and long exposure photos. Only SJ8 Air. Don’t worry, SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus offer shutter settings in the photo settings.

 

Mentionable Differences

Here are some mentionable differences in the settings of SJ8 series cameras.

NTSC vs PAL
When selecting resolution and frame rate on SJ8 Pro you also see PAL options (25fps and a multiple of that). Even tough SJ8 Plus and SJ8 Air list a menu item “TV MODE” where you can select PAL, 25 fps are not available. With the latest firmware update, SJ8 Pro now also got a 24fps option.

SJ8 Pro vs SJ8 Plus - no PAL option on SJ8 Plus

SJ8 Pro vs SJ8 Plus – no PAL option on SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air

 

Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) – Gyro sensor
Image stabilisation is enabled via the menu item gyro sensor. This sensor supports stabilisation by recording data on the motion of the camera. Image stabilisation is only available on SJ8 Pro and SJ8 Plus!

EIS is available on SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus. SJ8 Air does not have image stabilization!

EIS is available on SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus. SJ8 Air does not have image stabilization!

 

Distortion Correction
Built in distortion correction is only available on SJ8 Pro & SJ8 Plus. This is helpful when you don’t like the fisheye effect of the wide angle lens.

External Microphone
Even tough an external microphone would be available with an USB-C port, but only SJ8 Pro offers the selection in the menu. I’ll investigate further!

Battery Charging
This is one thing I find quite annoying on SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air. While charging the LCD screen is turned on indicating charging. On SJ8 Plus the front screen as well. On SJ8 Pro there is just a little LED indicating that the camera is charging. I don’t know if charging takes longer while the display is lit, but the camera gets hot and I guess the green will be worn out faster.

Battery Charging on SJ8 Pro, SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air

Battery Charging on SJ8 Pro, SJ8 Plus & SJ8 Air

 

Demo Photos

Photos are unedited, taken in .jpg without distortion correction (not available on SJ8 Air), other settings were set to auto.
You can click the images for full resolution!

SJCAM SJ8 Pro - Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Pro – Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Plus - Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Plus – Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 1

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 1

SJ8 Pro seems to have the most natural colours, while SJ8 Plus has a bit more war colours and SJ8 Air has a very cold white balance setting. (All were on auto)

 

SJCAM SJ8 Pro - Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Pro – Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Plus - Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Plus – Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 2

SJCAM SJ8 Pro - Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Pro – Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Plus - Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Plus – Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 3

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 3

As you can see in the two comparisons above it seems SJ8 Plus is lighten up the image bit compared to the others, but therefore contrast seems to be lower.

SJCAM SJ8 Pro - Demo Photo 4

SJCAM SJ8 Pro – Demo Photo 4

SJCAM SJ8 Plus - Demo Photo 4

SJCAM SJ8 Plus – Demo Photo 4

SJCAM SJ8 Air - Demo Photo 4

SJCAM SJ8 Air – Demo Photo 4

Here you can see it obvious how Plus, and Air a bit, lighten up the image. Pro comes the closest to the actual situation which was very low light. Actually they all perform very well under these low light circumstances. Real low light (night) shots will follow!

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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