Top positive review
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SJ1000, the pebble-cam
on 4 November 2013
How can a camcorder this cheap and this tiny be so good? It's far better than we have any right to expect, and if we take away the vast array of clamps, straps, the UWH, two power chargers and interconnect cables, what's left over to pay for the camera? £40 tops I'd say.
The camera works well on roads lit only by my headlamps and this is important as most car accidents occur at night or in poor weather and low visibility. I want visible and audible proof that the accident I'm involved in wasn't my fault.
OK, there are one or two problems. The barrel distortion is there to keep the images sharp at a realistic price-point, but it will upset purists. A firmware upgrade might enable you to have the date displayed as dd/mm/yy rather than always yy/mm/dd but it's a minor point. I like my viewfinder to stay on all the time, yet the camera always reverts to the LCD screen saver mode after switch off - a bit of a pain. The vignetting inside the UWH is just a silly design flaw, but some Mercalli smoothing removes it at a stroke. Later editions of the SJ1000 come with a longer focal length lens, removing this vignetting.
As delivered the camera rather over-sharpens the image, but that's menu tweakable as are a lot of other things. The colour fidelity, exposure tolerance and image sharpness from that tiny lens (working wide open all the time don't forget) is remarkable, and using the supplied HDMI cable the image fills a 55'' LCD telly with ease, and no apologies are needed.