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Soon SJCAM will release a new a new series of action cameras! Again? Yes, SJCAM SJ8 series isn’t old yet, they were released mid 2018. Recently they announced the SJCAM ION series, which is supposed for offline sales only. But the new SJCAM SJ9 series, consisting of SJCAM SJ9 Strike and SJCAM SJ9 Max, is really big news. They will offer a feature that was an almost exclusive feature to GoPro cameras. SJCAM SJ9 series will be waterproof without case up to 10m. I don’t really like the term “GoPro Killer” but the SJ9 series seems to be the first action camera, in a long time, to tackle GoPro’s dominance as action camera manufacturer. Let’s take a look at the specs:

Update: There also seems to be a new SJ4000X looking pretty similar to SJ9 Max. I’m currently not sure if there will be 3 new models or if SJCAM SJ4000X will replace SJ9 Max.

SJCAM SJ9 series: SJ9 Strike & SJ9 Max

SJCAM SJ9 series: SJ9 Strike & SJ9 Max

 

SJCAM SJ9 Strike

Since SJCAM SJ9 Strike will be the top-of-the-line camera from SJCAM with many new features, let’s start with an overview of those. They are the important news of the camera, rather than specs, as they seem comparable to SJ8 Pro.

New Features

Waterproof without case up to 10m

The new SJ9 series will be the first SJCAM to be waterproof without additional housing for up to 10m. I think that’s an important feature for an “action camera”. Sure 10m is not enough for diving but covers a lot of water-sports and protects the camera during other activities when it could get wet. If you want to go scuba diving there will be a 30m case.

SJCAM SJ9 Strike - Waterproof without case up to 8m

SJCAM SJ9 Strike – Waterproof without case up to 5m

 

Larger capacity battery & wireless charging

SJCAM SJ9 series will feature a larger capacity battery. If I read it correctly that’s 1300 mAh capacity compared to the 1200 mAh battery that came with SJCAM SJ8 series. It looks like the form factor changed a bit. Even bigger news: the new camera will feature wireless charging!

SJCAM SJ9 Strike will feature wireless charging and an exchangeable battery

SJCAM SJ9 Strike will feature wireless charging and an exchangeable battery

 

SuperSmooth video stabilization

The 6-axis gyro supported video stabilization will be even better than the one on SJ8 Pro (which is pretty good as well). Let’s see how good it will perform comparing to GoPro Hero7 black’s Hypersmooth stabilization.

Livestreaming to Facebook & Youtube straight from the camera

Similar to GoPro Hero7 black and YI 4K & YI 4K+ the new SJCAM SJ9 Strike will feature live streaming straight from the camera.

 

Specs

Image Sensor:
SJCAM SJ9 Strike holds the 12 MP Sony SONY IMX377 image sensor, that’s the same sensor also used in SJCAM SJ8 Pro and YI 4K+ Action Camera.

Chipset:
Also the chipset hasn’t changed compared to SJ8 Pro, it’s the Ambarella H22 processor.

Resolutions & Frame Rates:

  • 4K – 3840 x 2160 – 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • 4K Ultra – 3840 x 2160 – 30 / 24 fps
  • 2.7K – 2720 x 1520 – 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • 1440p – 2560 x 1440 – 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • 1080p – 1920 x 1080 – 120 / 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • 1080p Ultra – 1920 x 1080 – 60 / 50 fps
  • 720p – 1280 x 720 – 240fps

Interestingly there are no high frame rate options for 24fps (e.g. 48 fps). In 1080p a high speed PAL option is missing: 100fps.
While 4K 60fps seems comparable with other top-of-the-line action cameras like DJI Osmo Action and GoPro hero7 black, the 1080p option is a bit disappointing as the competitors achieve 240fps for ultra slow motion.

Image Stabilization:
Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) is available in 4K with 30fps. There are many different terms used “Rocksteady” on DJI, “Hypersmooth” on GoPro and for SJCAM it is “Supersmooth”. Basically they are all marketing terms. All of the cameras hold a 6-axis gyro sensor that records the movement of the camera to support image stabilization. So how good it works is determined by the camera’s firmware, so we need to wait for comparisons.

Digital Zoom:
SJCAM SJ9 Strike offers digital zoom (not optical – as it has a fixed lens like most other action cameras) but it has some restrictions and is not available with lens correction activated or some resolutions with EIS activated.

Recording Format:
SJ9 Strike offers .h265 codec, also known as HEVC (or High Efficiency Video Coding). That’s great as it offers more details in the video recordings while using lower bitrates. GoPro also offers .h265 and has a more detailed video image compared to DJI Osmo action using a higher bit rate but lacking .h265 codec!

Photo Resolution:
Native photo is linked to the effective pixel size of the sensor, therefor SJ9 Strike offers 12 MP photos. There are other options, the image is downscaled within the camera:

  • 12MP – 4000×3000 – Aspect Ratio 4:3
  • 10MP – 3648×2736 – Aspect Ratio 4:3
  • 8MP – 3840×2160 – Aspect Ratio 16:9
  • 8MP – 3624×2448 – Aspect Ratio 4:3
  • 5MP – 2592×1994 – Aspect Ratio 4:3
  • 3MP – 2048×1536 – Aspect Ratio 4:3
  • 2MP – 1920×1080 – Aspect Ratio 16:9

Connectivity & Ports:
Like the SJ8 Series cameras also the SJ9 series cameras offer an USB-C port, the new standard. In general USB-C is capable of video output and microphone input. SJCAM is selling a SJ8 series external microphone with USB-C, I’m not aware of an 3.5mm adapter. I’m also not sure if the DJI or GoPro mic adapters work – the YI adapter doesn’t work and important to know: Phone adapters don’t work in general as they have another pin layout! SJCAM SJ9 Strike can be connected to a computer and is detected as mass storage, hence you can transfer video files. You can not use it as webcam!
SJ9 offers wifi and bluetooth connection and can be remote controlled via phone or remote controller.
The camera features 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.
One of the new features being wireless charging, hence you can charge the camera without a cable but an optional wireless charging module

Display:
The backside touch display is a large 2.33” IPS Touch Screen, similar to all SJ8 series cameras. That’s actually the largest touchscreen among action cameras. GoPro Hero7 uses a 2″ touchscreen and DJI Osmo Action a 2,25″ touchscreen.
Similar to DJI and GoPro there is also a front screen displaying recording data of the camera such as resolution & frame rate selected, battery status, recording status & recording time.

Battery:
Compared to the SJ8 series cameras the batteries now offer a larger capacity: 1300 mAh and allows 4K30 recording for up to 100 min. As mention you can also charge them wirelessly.

Price / Retailer Comparison:

  • Aliexpress: 249 USD (SJCAM official store)
  • Banggood: 209 USD – Coupon Code: BGSJCAMfx
  • Gearbest: 249 USD
  • TomTop: n/a
  • Geekbuying: n/a

 

Menu & Settings

SJCAM SJ9 Strike - Main Menu

SJCAM SJ9 Strike – Main Menu

 

Camera Modes

SJCAM SJ9 Strike offers 8 camera modes. You can select when either swiping up screen or pushing the mode on the bottom/center of the screen.

  • Video – for video recording.
  • VideoLapse – to create a time-lapse with a video file as result.
  • Slow Motion – a slow motion video file is created (you can also do that in postproduction when recording high frame rates)
  • Photo – for single photos.
  • PhotoLapse – to create a time-lapse with several individual photos being saved.
  • Burst Mode – Fast multiple succession of snapshots (up to 10).
  • 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).

 

Available Mode Settings

EV – Exposure Value
Adjust the exposure for the amount of light allowed in. Set this value low to compensate if the scene is too bright; set high when too dark. High EV takes longer for images to be taken, and subject may blur if moving.
Exposure Value EV works by controlling how much light is allowed in.

White Balance
Adjusts the color temperature of the recording to compensate for ambient lighting.

Power On Record
Sets whether the camera automatically begins recording once the camera is turned on. This feature is for video mode only.

Color Profile
You are given 2 preset choices: SJCAM – Vivid, and Flat. Choose Flat to preserve color dynamics; SJCAM – Vivid to enhance colors.

Metering
Tells the camera which portion of the scene takes priority when setting the brightness level of the whole image. Options: Average, Center Weighted, or Spot.

Gyro Sensor
Enable the Gyro Sensor to smoothen out shakiness during recording. Disable the Gyro Sensor when not needed, to gain full field-of-view of the set resolution.
You will know if the Gyro Sensor is active when you see this blinking hand icon near the battery status display.

Encoding
H.264 is a standard for writing video files, high compatibility with video players. H.265 is a newer standard that compresses video much better for smaller file sizes and faster streaming, may require you to update your video player’s codec.

Volume
Sets the microphone sensitivity for how loud or how soft sound is recorded into the video. CAUTION: Setting this too high in small, enclosed spaces may distort the recorded audio.

Sharpness
Sets how much image detail is saved. A higher setting will produce sharper images at the expense of file size. Setting this low will smoothen annoying closely-knit fine lines.

Distortion Correction
Enable this setting to remove the fisheye effect that is inherent in wide-angle lenses. NOTE: Minor cropping of the image will occur for this to be possible.

Loop Recording
Allows continuous recording when the memory card is full by recording over the oldest file in the folder.

File Size
Manually sets the limit of file size length. NOTE: Cards formatted in FAT32 will have a maximum file size of 4GB, regardless of resolution or length of recording. SJ9 supports ExFAT file format which removes this limitation. A visual explanation of how Distortion Correction works.

Video Quality
Gives you the option of recording video in high bitrate for more image detail per frame, but will result in much bigger file sizes.

Photo Quality
Presets for making adjustments on how much detail is written in photos. Options: Fine, Standard, and Economy.

ISO
Adjusts the image sensor’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO will collect more light at the expense of adding noise (grain) into the image when set too high.

Audio
Enables or disables sound recording on your video footage.

Time Stamp
When enabled, will display the date and time of your recording. Great when doing timelapse videos, or for making a documentary. Otherwise just turn it off.

Shutter Speed
Controls how long the image sensor stays “open” to capture an image. Fast shutter speeds allow less light, freezing movement better. Slow shutter speeds allow more light but may blur moving objects. Very long exposure settings are best for night photography.

RAW
Enables or disables saving pictures as image sensor data onto a file (.RAW), preserving image details for editing later. Requires a converter for use with image manipulation software. NOTE: RAW is not readily viewable until converted or output to JPEG.

Video Lapse
Takes a series of photos at set intervals to create a video file that is immediately playable without requiring to stitch each image together. This setting is only available in VideoLapse mode.

Slow Motion
Speeds up very slow objects or scenes such as sunsets for playing back in standard speed to create a video that shows very slow movement. This setting is only available in Slow Motion mode.

Photolapse Intervall
Sets how far apart each frame is recorded. Longer intervals make slow moving objects like clouds appear to move much faster than short intervals.

 

General Settings

Language
Options for system language.

WiFi
Switches WiFi communication to app on or off. When active: scan networks, select your camera’s SSID and then connect on your phone before opening the SJCAM app.

WiFi Frequency
Switch from either standard 2.4GHz, or 5GHz (faster and farther reach).

Format
Completely erases everything on the memory card, then sets it up as a new drive. SJ9 supports both FAT32 and ExFAT. Format the card to ExFAT on your desktop whenever possible, to allow recording files more than 4GB in size.

Auto Power Off
Automatically turns the camera off at a preset time. Works only if the camera is on standby and not recording.

LCD off Time
Automatically turns the display off at a preset time. To wake up the display, simply tap the screen or short-press any button once.

Front Display
Enables or disables the small front LCD when not needed.

Indicator Lights
Turns on or off all status indicator lights on the camera.

Keypad Tone
Enables or disables system sounds as an audible indicator of status and button presses.

Rotate
Flips the recording 180-degrees. Turn this on when mounting the camera in an upside-down position such as on a car windshield or bike handlebar to keep the screen right side up.

Brightness
Screen brightness adjustment. Set to max when in bright daylight; or dim, when in the dark. Tap the X on upper right corner to exit.

Color Temperature
Sets the screens color temperature. Slide to the left for warm (reddish), slide right for cooler (bluish). Tap the X on upper right corner to exit.

External Microphone
Enables or disables external microphone. External microphone must be inserted first into the USB slot (sold separately).

Date / Time
Sets camera system date and time. Files will be labeled according to the setting here. Date / Time will also appear when Time Stamp is enabled.

Gimbal Control
Enables or disables camera buttons being controlled from the gimbal.

Frequency
Sets the screen refresh rate. This setting is dependent on country’s electricity Alternating Current (AC) standards. May also be used to counter screen flicker or wagon-wheel effect.

Default Settings
Resets all the camera’s settings to factory defaults.

Display ISO
Enables or disables displaying ISO setting information on the main screen.

User Interface
Options to switch to standard text-only or colored icon-based user interface.

Version
Shows the version number of the installed firmware, including the date of installer’s release.

 

Conclusion

It seems the new SJCAM SJ9 Strike doesn’t offer new internal hardware specs and is comparable with SJCAM SJ8 Pro. But there is one new feature that is important for an action camera: Being waterproof without case. GoPro first offered this feature with its Hero5 black. Back then I extensively compared it to YI 4K with similar specs, but without the waterproof feature, during my trip to Iceland. I was surprised how important and convenient that is for an action camera. Not only in wet situations, also in dirty and dusty surrounding when mounted on cars or motorcycles.
SJCAM is improving the firmware as well. One new feature: Live-streaming, seems to be included. But I do hope that there will be improvements to image stabilisation as well. SJCAM SJ8 Pro showed great results, let’s see how SJ9 will compare to GoPero Hero7 black’s “HyperSmooth” stabilization.

SJCAM SJ9 Strike could be a game changer. There are so many “action cameras” out there but still no manufacturer tackled GoPro’s USP, being waterproof without case, with a significant lower price. (DJI offers a waterproof cam but at the same price) So this could be an interesting competitor to GoPro Hero7 black if the price is right. I can’t wait to get my hands on it to test it! Stay tuned as more infos will follow!

 

Price / Retailer Comparison:

  • Aliexpress: 249 USD (SJCAM official store)
  • Banggood: 209 USD – Coupon Code: BGSJCAMfx
  • Gearbest: 249 USD
  • TomTop: n/a
  • Geekbuying: n/a

 

SJCAM SJ9 Max / SJCAM SJ4000X- Specs

SJCAM SJ9 Max seems to be a low spec camera, but with the waterproof without case feature. Compared to SJ8 series it will be better than SJ8 Air, but not as good as SJ8 Plus. Here is a spec comparison:

 

 

 

Video

You probably have seen a video on my YouTube Channel. Of course I’ll do a comparison video once I receive SJCAM SJ9 Strike, but I want to know from you what you want to see being tested? Am I missing something in my video reviews? Which cameras should I compare SJ9 Strike to? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

More Infos

An indicator of a new cam being released could be the current price drop for the existing SJ8 Pro: 174.99 USD – Full Box – Considering the release price was 249 EUR (and I expect the new SJ9 to be released within the same range) this is a great deal.

 

 Find the latest news on the SJCAM User Group on Facebook!

 

If you ask yourself if an action camera is the right type of action camera for you, check out my latest article where I compare different types of small cameras for travel and vlog!

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