The HuiHeng SJ9000, 170 Ultra-wide Angle lens WiFi Waterproof Sports Camera was kindly provided to me by HuiHeng free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The HuiHeng SJ9000 is available in the UK from HuiHeng Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £64.99 including free P&P. At the time of writing the HuiHeng SJ9000 does not appear to be available in the US. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The HuiHeng SJ9000 waterproof action sports camera is supplied within a retail style two part cardboard packaging similar in style to some premium spirit bottle gift sets. Lifting the lid on the box you are presented with two thin cardboard inserts, the smaller being lined with foam containing the camera in its waterproof case and the larger containing the camera accessories which are all individually supplied in clear resealable plastic bags.
(Unlike every other camera that I have reviewed to date the instruction manual does not mention the included accessories, as such the names given to them are as per found with previous cameras that I have reviewed).
Waterproof case: This comes supplied with the camera installed and I will cover this more in depth later on.
Bicycle bracket / Bike handlebar mount: This is a black plastic clamp mount that has a gap in the centre (to mount on handlebars), two quick release bolts on the edges and a universal female GoPro style mount located on the top.
The gap for the handlebars can be set between 16mm and 22mm, and the jaws that clamp onto your handlebars are padded with a loose fitting piece of silicone padding (this silicone padding isn’t actually attached to the mount so take care not to lose it when removing the mount from your bike).
When the adaptor is mounted to your handlebars you will note that the GoPro mount on the top of the adaptor faces sideways (left to right) and not forwards. Rather than directly mounting your camera to the bike adapter you will need to first attach one of the switch support adaptors which will then change the mount orientation to facing forwards or backwards.
This mount is also suitable for pretty much anything that is round measuring between 16mm and 22mm in diameter such as walking sticks, ski poles, wheelchair frames, mobility scooter handles and of course other frame parts on your bike.
Pedestal base 1: This comes already attached to the waterproof case and it is a flush fitting clip or buckle attachment with a female universal GoPro mount. Both Pedestal base 1 and 2 accessories can be used in conjunction with the helmet mounts as well as numerous other compatible accessories such as chest or head mounts (that are not included).
Pedestal base 2: This is similar to Pedestal base 1 but the female GoPro mount is found further back and is also located slightly raised to offer a greater degree of articulation to the mounted camera (on the vertical plane).
Clip: This is a small black plastic case/surround that holds the bare camera (without the waterproof case). At the top and bottom of the case there are 1/4″ brass mounting threads and on the rear is the retainer for the second part of the accessory which is a spring clip attachment.
Used without the clip on the rear the case is ideal for filming on a tripod and with the clip attached it allows you to mount the camera on a belt, open edge pocket or indeed anything else up to approximately 9mm thick.
Fixed base & Communicator or Fixed base and Adaptor: The underside of the Fixed base accessory is round and flat with a recessed 1/4″ brass thread and on the top there is a female universal GoPro mount which can be used as a basic tripod mount or used in conjunction with the Adaptor / Communicator to create an accessory with 360 degrees of horizontal articulation.
The Communicator / Adaptor also has a round, flat base, but this time with a protruding 1/4″ thread on the underside and at the top there is a male universal Go Pro mount. Also attached to the thread on the underside is a plastic locking dial that is used to provide a secure, flush fit to whatever the adaptor is attached (functioning in the same manner as a DSLR flash locking mechanism).
Curiously, while the Fixed base accessory has a metal nut onto which a quick release bolt is secured the Communicator / Adaptor does not and there is no thread on the mount nor a spare loose bolt to be found in the packaging as such one will need to be salvaged off the other components should you wish to use this accessory.
Switch support 1: This is a short straight (does not change the orientation of the camera when used) male to female universal go pro adapter with a quick release bolt. There’s no point in measuring this as its the shortest possible adaptor that can be made with no extension.
This can be used to make the camera stand slightly proud and offer an improved degree of articulation and it can be used with other components to make a right angle mount as well.
Switch support 2: This is the same as Switch support 1 except that the male and female connectors face opposite directions (a right angle adapter). Again, this has no additional length and is just an adaptor without extension, useful for altering the facing of the camera.
Switch support 3: This is the same as Switch support 2 except that it is slightly longer offering a slight extension (measuring 50mm long in comparison to the 35mm overall length of Switch support 2).
Helmet mounts: There are two helmet mounts provided that are very near identical with the sole exception that one has a 1/4″ brass tripod mount in the centre (that makes for the most versatile tripod mount) and the other does not. Both have strap mounting points on the edges, use clip attachments such as Pedestal 1 or 2 to attach the camera and both have pre attached 3M double sided sticky pads on the underside.
To attach these mounts to your helmet ensure to use both the provided straps, sticky pads and also the use of the steel wire tether (provided) is also highly advised.
Bandages / Straps: There are 4 canvas straps provided for use with the helmet mounts, the first two straps are 21.4cm long, 1.15cm wide lengths of canvas with a 15.5cm long patch of “hook” Velcro on one end and a 5.2cm long patch of “loop” Velcro on the reverse at the opposite end.
The other two straps measure 36cm long and 2.5cm wide and are made from plain nylon canvas. On one end of each of these straps is a plastic overlock buckle and the other end is plain and without feature. These straps can be used individually or secured together to for a greater length to secure the camera to pretty much anything that you can find that will fit.
Tethers: These are actually four 19.8cm long 3mm wide, non reusable nylon cable ties and a single 16cm long, 1mm diameter high tensile steel wire with a 15mm x 4.5mm long loop on each end. These are intended to be used in conjunction with various mounts for sporting activities as a final failsafe, the zip ties are honestly of little use, but the wire tether is something you should always use when cycling/climbing etc.
USB Cable: This is a USB A to 5 pin micro B cable used for data transfer and charging the battery when installed in the camera and it also allows the camera to be used as a webcam as well (feature untested).
Charger: This is a model A1299, 3pin, 5v, 1A, single USB socket charger. I have seen this charger before and I highly advise you to throw it away immediately as it is a clone of an Apple charger with a rather poor reputation, Apple even held an amnesty to try and take them out of circulation back in 2013.
Manual: This is a fairly large manual compared to those supplied with other cameras that I have reviewed. Despite being some 68 pages long as it is in multiple languages, it only offers 11 pages in English and while it is illustrated the images are very blurred and poor quality.
Lens cloth: This is a fairly run of the mill 13.5cm x 13.5cm glasses cleaning cloth with a serrated edge for keeping the waterproof case and camera lens clean.
Protective backdoor: This is a replacement back panel for the waterproof case complete with silicone seal. This is not only useful as a spare for when the seal fails on the pre-fitted door, it is also of use for those wishing to use a floatation block (not supplied) with their waterproof case but do not wish it to be constantly attached.
Overall the quality of the bundled accessories is similar in quality to the 10, 20, 50 in 1 GoPro accessory kits sold by any number of sellers on the web. Some of the quick release bolts don’t quite tighten up as well as they should and some of the male / female universal GoPro mounting sections are a little oversized or incorrectly spaced. They all work, but some are stiffer or looser than others.
Thus far all of the action cameras that I have reviewed have been sold by one company yet made by another, they have either been OEM’s or just simple rebrands. The true origins of a camera are usually easy to discover and by consequence, so are its true specifications. The true make/model of a camera is usually found out by the details tab of an image taken with the camera (in Windows), from the camera Firmware or in the case of action cameras with a Wi-Fi function from the name used in the SSID.
With this camera the product listing states the camera is an SJ9000, the Wi-Fi SSID is “4K SportsDV28f3666b369c” and the details tab on images taken with the camera state “Camera Maker: MAKER NAME, Camera Model: 96660”. None of which offers any clarity to the cameras true origins, the information provided by the details tab in windows for the camera model (96660) does seem to back up the Amazon listing claiming the camera uses the NT96660 chipset.
The following information is as provided on the packaging and also in the Amazon product listing, although some details I have been unable to independently verify.
LCD DISPLAY: 2″LTPS (Low Temperature PolySilicone) LCD.
CHIPSET: NOVATEK NT96660.
LENS: 170 degree, wide angle lens.
IMAGE SENSOR: SONY IMX 117CQT COMS Sensor, 4MP native. (unconfirmed).
LANGUAGE OPTIONS: English (Default) / German / French / Spanish / Italian/ Portuguese / Chinese / Japanese / Russian.
VIDEO RESOLUTION: 4K @24FPS, 2K @30FPS, 1080P @ 60FPS, 1080P @30FPS, 720P @120FPS, 720P @ 60FPS, 720P @30FPS, WVGA P30, VGA P240, VGA P30 and QVGA P30. (These options are as per the camera settings as the Amazon product listing and packaging only note 4K, 2K and 1080P offerings).
RECORDING FORMAT: Video is recorded in .MP4 format and pictures taken in .JPG format.
VIDEO MODES: Continuous, loop, time-lapse and slow motion.
COMPRESSION FORMAT: H.264 (unconfirmed).
PHOTO RESOLUTION: 16MP (4608 x 3456), 14MP (4320 x 3240), 12MP (4032 x 3024), 10MP (3648 x 2736), 8MP (3264 x 2448), 5MP (2592 x 1944), 3MP (2048 x 1536), VGA (640 x 480).
These options are curious as the camera allegedly uses a Sony IMX 117CQT Sensor that is 4MP native, 12.4MP effective. If this is the case, why is there no 4MP setting and how come there are 16MP and 14MP options ?
STORAGE: Both the Amazon product listing and the packaging state that the camera is compatible with MicroSD cards up to 32GB. Checking the manual, however it states the camera is compatible with cards up to 64GB and testing with a SanDisk Extreme Plus 64GB card it most defiantly detects the card as being 64GB and not 32GB. (For the record a 32GB SanDisk Ultra is ample for recording 1080P @ 60FPS.
PHOTO MODES: Single shot, burst shot and time delay that does not appear to have a continuous option.
Zoom: 4x digital zoom in 0.3 increments.
FREQUENCY: 50Hz or 60Hz (no auto option).
Wi-Fi: While this camera offers a Wi-Fi function the band which it uses is unknown (likely B/G/N).
POWER SOURCE: USB, 5v, 1A.
BATTERY: While the Amazon product listing and the packaging both claim the camera has a 900mAh battery the camera does in fact contain a 1050mAh 3.7v user replaceable Li-ion battery.
OPERATIONAL LIMITS: Waterproof to 30m when used within the supplied waterproof case. Sadly, there is no information regarding operational thermal limits either in the Amazon product listing, manual or packaging.
BATTERY / CHARGERS & CHARGING.
The battery within the camera is a 3.7v Li-ion 1050mAh 3.885Wh battery bearing no make or model number. The dimensions of the battery are 29.5mm wide, 32.97mm long and 11.35mm deep/thick and doing a little research they appear to be AHDBT-301 clones which are readily available for around £6 each.
To test how much footage the camera can record in one session the battery was fully charged and then the camera was set to record using the following settings…
Resolution: 1080p @60FPS, Loop Video: Off, Time Lapse: Off, HDR: On, Audio Record: On, Slow Motion: Off, Date Stamp: Off, Motion Detect: Off, Gyro RSC: Off
Quality: Fine, Sharpness: Normal, Anti Shake: On, Exposure: 0/0, White Balance: Auto, Colour: Colour, ISO: Auto, Beep Sound: Off, Frequency: 50Hz, Screensaver: 30 seconds, Car Mode: Off, Field of View: Wide, Fish Eye Adjust: Off, Aqua Mode: Off, Wi-Fi: Off.
Eventually, when the camera ran out of juice and switched itself off it had recorded exactly 1 hour, 15 minutes and 19 seconds of video. While this is slightly greater than the claimed 70 minutes as noted in the Amazon product listing it is still notably less than other cameras I have previously reviewed with smaller batteries. One example for instance is the Campark 4K camera (actually a HDKing Q3H action camera) which only had a 900mAh battery yet manages to record just short of 2 hours of footage when filming at 1080p, 60FPS.
Curiously, even though the camera had stopped recording and shut down indicating a flat battery, I was able to switch the camera back on to discover that the battery indicator was still showing one bar. I once again started to record and this time after exactly 2 minutes and 46 seconds before the camera once again shut down. A third time it was switched on and this time it remained powered just long enough to see the battery indicator was empty and lit red, despite this I was able to switch the camera back on numerous times booting just past the splash screen before promptly switching back off.
Even now as I try to kill the battery to run some timed charge and capacity tests I am struggling to completely drain the battery. I have so far managed to switch the camera back on at least another dozen times with the camera booting past the splash screen and then shutting down after about 2 seconds. This scenario appears to be a common trait with all of the GoPro clones that I have reviewed, although some are worse than others.
The following charge testing was conducted using a Samsung 2A wall charger as supplied with a Tab S2 9.7″ tablet with readings taken from a Drok USB multimeter.
- Initial readings were 5.31v, 1.699w, 0.22A with 4mAh charged within the first minute.
- After 41 minutes the readings were 5.29v, 1.110w, 0.22A and 145mAh had been charged.
- After 1 hour and 21 minutes the readings were 5.29v, 1.110w, 0.21A and 291mAh had been charged.
- After 1 hour and 56 minutes the readings were 5.29v, 1.110w, 0.21A and 418mAh had been charged.
- After 2 hours and 14 minutes the readings were 5.29v, 1.110w, 0.21A and 499mAh had been charged.
- After 3 hours and 9 minutes the readings were 5.25v, 0.262w, 0.05A and 626mAh had been charged.
- After 3 hours and 34 minutes the camera had stopped charging and the multimeter indicated a total charge of 636mAh.
As noted earlier, the battery wasn’t truly dead before the charge test was started, but the battery simply wouldn’t give up and it should also be noted that the Drok multimeter does have a margin of error of 0.8% as well as a 10mA drain.
As you will see from the test I only managed to charge the battery by 636mAh, a whopping 414mAh less than the claimed size of the battery. Despite this it still managed to record just over 5 minutes more footage than claimed when recording at 1080p, 60FPS but compared to the competition this is some 15 to 30 minutes less footage.
There is one particular feature of the HuiHeng SJ9000 which is both wasteful and if I am honest slightly annoying. Every camera that I have reviewed has a small LED indicator either on the back or on the top which flashes while the camera is recording. With this camera, however not only does it have a recording indicator on the top there is also a small pearlescent “i” to the right of the branding on the front of the camera with three Wi-Fi like bars above it that also flashes alternating blue and red while the camera is recording.
Sadly, there is absolutely no means to disable this recording indicator which I find very surprising. The HuiHeng SJ9000 is clearly superior to every other camera that I have reviewed in terms of the user controls and adjustments that it offers, despite this other camera I have reviewed with far more limited controls offer the ability to disable recording indicator lights and perhaps more importantly do not have such an annoying light on the front to start with.
This is a much larger and brighter, lighter than the recording indicators found on other cameras that I have reviewed. This means that it is a greater drain on the battery, a significant cause of distraction if recording people and can be picked up by the lens at night or projected and reflected on to the subject matter. Worst of all however is for those wanting a camera to use on a bike or as a dash cam, while the light is relatively small in the grand scheme of things it is in breach of UK road laws prohibiting the use of blue lights on any non emergency vehicle.
CASE & WATERPROOF TESTING.
This is the 6th GoPro Clone action camera that I have reviewed with the five I have previously reviewed all being in a constant state of use by friends and family over the past year and this camera is the first to have a problem with its case, which is quite a biggie.
When the product was received the box was opened up, the camera (which is located, secured and installed within the case) removed from its protective insert and the front edge of the securing flap was lifted in an attempt to remove the camera. As the flap released the ABS black plastic section of the clip simply shattered in half.
This locking mechanism on the waterproof cases appears to use the same locking mechanism as the cases provided with the GoPro 3/4 cameras which is a bi-fold half metal wire, half ABS plastic clip. This simply levers back and latches on to the top of the back rear opening panel and then pushes forward to lock the case and is simply lifted up on the front edge of the clip to release.
This style of clip I have used a hundred times or more and I am fully aware of how it works and I was far from heavy handed in my attempt to gain access to the camera.
Thankfully these clips are replaceable at a cost of £5 to £7 each, these are however for the official GoPro 3/4 camera cases and not owning such a camera or case I am not in a position to confirm one way or the other if they actually compatible.
I would invite you not to give up on reading the remainder of the review as the camera itself is quite possibly the best action camera that I have reviewed to date, but you should bear in mind that the case is easily the worst supplied with any such camera that I have personally reviewed, much like the battery it comes with as well.
The front of the camera is plastic with a soft, smooth matte black finish, all four sides of the camera, however, are made from what appears to be ABS black plastic sporting a check / diamond pattern that should prove very durable and offer a reasonable grip when in use out of the waterproof case. As for the rear the camera well that is entirely covered by a thin piece of clear plastic with a black border around the display.
On the front to the right, you will find a 14mm diameter wide angle lens and to the left an 11mm diameter power / mode button (information on the controls follows shortly). Below the power / mode button is some lettering in white saying “4K 24FPS ULTRA HD” with an “i” and three Wi-Fi like signal bars just above in pearlescent white (as previously noted in the battery testing section).
On the top to the right is a 10mm diameter OK / shutter button just to the left of which is an LED indicator light that lights up amber when Wi-Fi is enabled or flashes blue when recording.
On the left side of the camera you will find an exposed MicroSD card slot, USB Micro B sync & charge port, a mini HDMI out port and the microphone which is as with all previous action cameras I have reviewed or tested, hard to fault.
On the right side are two long, narrow buttons with the bottom button marked with a down arrow and the top marked with an up arrow and also a Wi-Fi bar strength symbol (again these controls will be discussed shortly).
On the underside the only feature is the battery compartment cover which has a latch securing the cover in place which can be tricky to remove if you have no length in your fingernails.
To remove the battery cover pull the latch to the side using a fingernail on one hand, then using a pencil or fingernail on your other hand pry the cover upwards using the small groove beside the cover to lift it.
On the back of the camera you will find the 2″ colour LTPS LCD viewfinder display, this has a black glossy surround that covers the remainder of the rear of the camera and as previously noted, is fitted with a clear plastic cover finishing it off. There are also two LED indicator lights in the bottom right corner one which lights up blue to indicate the camera is on and the other that lights up red when charging, going out once fully charged.
Power / Mode button: Hold this down for about 2 seconds to turn the camera on or off. When the camera is on tapping this button (careful not to hold it down) cycles through the available modes.
When first switched on the camera is by default in video recording mode, tapping the button once takes you to the picture (photograph) taking mode, a second tap takes you to the photo / video browser and a final tap takes you to the settings menu.
OK button: In video recorder mode, tapping the OK button starts recording video and tapping it once more stops recording. In picture taking mode, pressing the OK button takes a picture. In the image, video browser mode, pressing the OK button will play any selected pre recorded file and in the settings menu the OK button is used to select and confirm.
Navigation buttons (up and down buttons on the side): In the settings menu these buttons are used to scroll through the settings, in the picture / video browser they are again used for navigation and in picture taking and filming modes they can be used to operate the SJ9000’s 4x digital zoom. (To operate the zoom the buttons have to be held down and there is a slightly delay before anything happens which makes for precise adjustment very difficult beyond obtaining and max / min zoom).
The up arrow, the button also sporting a symbol of a Wi-Fi strength bar can also be tapped when either in the picture or video taking modes to enable the cameras Wi-Fi function.
When enabled the camera SSID and password are displayed on the rear viewfinder screen, further details of which will be covered shortly in the Wi-Fi chapter of my review.
RESOLUTION: 4K @24FPS, 2K @30FPS, 1080P @60FPS, 1080P @30FPS, 720P @120FPS, 720P @60FPS, 720P @30FPS, WVGA @30FPS, VGA @240FPS, VGA @30FPS and WVGA @30FPS.
4K @24FPS is passable for standard footage, but far from suitable for action footage. 2K @ 30FPS looks smoother, but to be honest, I would stick to recording at 1080p, 60FPS if filming anything remotely “action” like.
LOOPING VIDEO: Off (Default), 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes.
This setting is useful for those wanting to use the camera as a dash cam in a car or on a bike as it reduces the need for memory card maintenance overwriting the first file created once the memory card is full. It should be noted that the HuiHeng SJ9000 records in 15 minute long segments with no gap between files by default and using this setting, simply removes the need to wipe content from the memory card once it is full.
TIME-LAPSE RECORD: Off (default), 1 Second, 2 Seconds, 5 Seconds, 10 Seconds, 30 Seconds, 1 Minute.
Using this mode the camera takes a still image at preset intervals and compiles the images into a time-lapse video. When using this mode, the camera does not record any audio and given the battery life don’t expect very much footage when recording at 10, 30 or 60 second intervals as when recording at 1080P, 60FPS recording at 2 second intervals the SJ9000 didn’t even manage to record a 2 minute long clip before running out of battery.
HDR: On or Off (Default).
Most GoPro clones use HDR, although it is often either always enabled or automatically controlled. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and what it does is to even out the brightest and darkest sections of an image to create a more balanced image, such as when taking images in low light or when the sun is low in the sky during winter.
RECORD AUDIO: On (Default) or Off.
This simply enables or disables the on board microphone.
SLOW MOTION: Off (Default), 720P @120FPS, VGA @240FPS.
Recording at VGA, 240FPS the footage is slowed down 800% and frankly looks awful, at 720P, 120FPS footage is slowed down 400% and still looks fairly bad viewed on a FHD monitor. Previous action cameras that I have reviewed sporting a slow motion setting offered a 1080P option, such footage is however only recorded slowed down by 100% and you frankly struggle to see at times that it has been slowed down.
Given the output quality at VGA and 720P on a FHD monitor I doubt there is anyone that will find this setting of use as you are much better off at filming at 1080P and slowing the footage down post production.
DATE STAMP: Off (Default), or On.
This either enables or disables a time and date stamp on images or video recorded.
MOTION DETECTION: Off (Default) or On.
Quite honestly, this is another feature I can think of little use for, unless the camera is externally powered even with the reduced power consumption of not constantly recording it is still not going to last much longer than recording constantly. As for the argument of conserving memory card space, this is a non issue as a 64GB card is capable of recording approximately 7 hours of footage using the SJ9000.
GYRO RSC: Off (Default) or On.
When GYRO RSC is enabled no matter how the HuiHeng SJ9000 action camera is orientated whether upside down or on its side the lens always records footage as if the camera were orientated the correct way round and the view screen on the rear does the same. As the GoPro mount on the waterproof case is only on the underside sometimes it is only possible to mount the camera upside down, such as when mounting on a car windscreen and enabling this option will ensure the footage is recorded the correct way around when the camera is mounted either on its side or upside down.
IMAGE SIZE: 16MP (4608×3456), 14MP (4320 x 3240), 12MP (4032 x 3024), 10MP (3648 x 2736), 8MP (3264 x 2448), 5MP (2592 x 1944), 3MP (2048 x 1536) or VGA (640 x 480).
This sets the quality of pictures taken.
SEQUENCE: Off (Default), 3 Sequences, 5 Sequences, 10 Sequences.
This is a burst mode for taking still images, when set to off when the shutter button is pressed a single still image is taken. When set to 3 sequences, 3 images are taken in less than 2 seconds, when set to five, 5 images are taken in less than 3 seconds and when set to 10 sequences, 10 images are (supposed to be taken).
There are some problems, however when using the burst or as the SJ9000 likes to call is sequence mode. When set to 10 sequences the camera only took 6 images and then locked up with the HUD or overlay disappearing from the rear screen. All buttons became unresponsive and in the end, I had to switch the camera off to regain control at which point it was found that only 6 images had been taken.
CAPTURE MODE: Single (Default), 2s Timer, 5s Timer, 10s Timer and 20s Timer.
This mode is more often called timed or time delay mode. When set to single, a single image is taken when the shutter button is pressed, when set to 2s, 5s, 10s or 20s Timer there is a 2, 5, 10 or 20 second countdown between the time the shutter button is pressed and a photo is taken (This can be used in conjunction with sequence mode to set the camera to take 5 images after a 5 second delay for example).
Something offered with previous cameras that I have reviewed, although not evident with the SJ9000 is a continuous time delay. This constantly resets the timer so when set to 5 seconds and the shutter button is pressed it will take an image every 5 seconds until the shutter button is pressed a second time, which can be very useful if you fluff the first shot or want a series with different poses for example. Odd that a camera with such extensive settings options lacks this feature.
QUALITY: Fine, Normal (Default) Economy.
Taking three comparison test shots each image is the same resolution, the same bit depth, ISO, exposure time and bias and F-stop the normal quality image however is 900KB larger than economy and the fine quality image is approximately 900KB larger than the normal quality image. As for the actual image quality, well the difference between economy and fine is clearly evident, although the difference between fine and normal is a little more subtle. (This setting only effects still images not video).
SHARPNESS: Strong, Normal (Default), Soft.
Like the quality setting this is not a feature found on many action cameras that I have reviewed in the past and this is usually best left at normal, although if photographing something with clean straight lines such as a building stronger sharpness may be of benefit and if photographing a group of people soft may be the preferable choice.
ANTI-SHAKING: Off or On (Default).
At all times unless the camera is being used placed on a stable flat surface or on a tripod, this should be left on otherwise the image produced no matter how steady your hands are will be blurred. Sadly, this only seems to affect still images taken with the camera and not video.
EXPOSURE: +2.0, +5/3, +4/3, +1.0, +2/3, +1/3, +0.0 (Default), -1/3, -2/3, -1.0, -4/3, -5/3 and -2.0
This is exposure compensation, if the images you are taking are too dark gradually increase the exposure till you find the perfect balance and if they are overexposed (too bright) then gradually reduce it.
WHITE BALANCE: Auto (Default), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten and Fluorescent.
To be fair, in natural light auto white balance does a decent job, although from my time-lapse video test filming early morning fog it would have likely benefited from using the cloudy setting. For most, auto will suffice, but using the correct setting for your circumstances will produce a better image. As for those using the camera on a bike or car at night, try using the daylight setting which should produce easier to read number plates.
COLOUR: Colour (Default), Black and White or Sepia.
These settings affect both still images and video.
ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400.
Yet another rare to see setting, the lower the ISO, the less sensitive the camera is to light, while a higher ISO increases light sensitivity but can introduce noise to the image making it appear grainy.
DELETE: Delete Current or Delete All.
Delete current will wipe the last photo or video that you took and delete all will delete all photos and videos on the memory card, requiring a double confirmation.
PROTECT: Lock Current, Unlock Current, Lock All and Unlock All.
Especially useful if the camera is being used on a bike or in a car with a loop overwrite active to prevent a recorded incident being overwritten.
DATE-TIME: Allows manual setting of the system date and time.
AUTO POWER OFF: Off, 1 Minute, 2 Minutes, 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes (Default) or 10 Minutes.
This is a standby by shutdown timer. If set to 3 minutes, the camera will turn itself off after 3 minutes if there have been no button presses or pictures taken. It will not, however shutdown if the camera is currently recording, it will only turn off if nothing happens for 3 consecutive minutes.
BEEP SOUND: Off or On (Default)
This enables or disables audible feedback when buttons are pressed as well the simulated shutter sound when photos are taken.
LANGUAGE: English (Default) / German / French / Spanish / Italian / Portuguese / Chinese / Japanese / Russian.
FREQUENCY: 50Hz or 60Hz (Default)
Sadly, there is no auto setting, use 50Hz and if you find that lights flicker in your video try 60Hz. A rule of thumb is UK lighting operates at 50Hz and US lighting at 60Hz although it is often found that anything made outside of the EU is made to US standards and likely operates at 60Hz.
TV MODE: NTSC or PAL.
When connecting the camera directly to a TV using a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable set this to PAL if connecting to a UK TV or NTSC if connecting to an American TV.
TV OUT: On or Off (Default).
When connecting the camera directly to a TV using a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable this must be enabled to switch output from the rear viewfinder on the camera to the TV.
SCREENSAVERS: Off, 30 Seconds (Default), 1 Minute, 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes.
This sets how long the viewfinder display on the rear of the camera remains active when no buttons are being pressed (pressing any button when the screen is asleep wakes it back up). Unless its an issue set this to 30 seconds as the display is by far the biggest drain on the battery.
CAR MODE: Off (Default) or On.
This is the second action camera that I have reviewed and when reviewing the first I could not fathom what it actually did and the manual was of no use. Again with the SJ9000 the manual is of no use I have however since learned and confirmed exactly what it does.
When this setting is enabled and the camera is connected to a power source, it instantly begins recording and when disconnected from a power source it stops. Be aware however if you want to leave the camera constantly setup in your car you will likely find you have to unplug the cable as with my Qashqui a USB cigarette adaptor remains powered when the engine is turned off and thus the camera does not stop recording.
FEILD OF VIEW: Wide (Default), Medium or Narrow.
This is very much a first of any action camera that I have reviewed as all previous cameras had a fixed wide angle FOV. Narrow produces a non zoomed image as per the human eye, medium offers a -0.2x zoom and wide offers a -0.4x zoom (the exact amount of zoom is a guess and not to be taken literally).
FISH EYE AJUST: Off (Default) or On.
When recording using a wide or medium angle field of view, this mode compensates for the fish eye effect that it creates. When using the wide field of view, setting it makes a slight difference, although does not entirely compensate for the effect and at medium field of view the compensation is far more evident or rather effective.
AQUA MODE: On or Off (Default).
This is effectively a white balance setting designed for use underwater. Apparently the deeper you go the “bluer” the image becomes and enabling this mode will enhance reds and reduce blues to provide a more natural image. Living some 130 miles away from the sea and being as it’s December this is not something I am currently keen to test out.
WI-FI: Off (Default) or On.
This is just another means of enabling Wi-Fi on the camera, something that is far easier to do by just holding the up navigation arrow on the right side of the camera when in video or camera modes.
WI-FI SSID: This enables you to manually change the name of the SJ9000’s SSID.
WI-FI PASSWORD: This enables you to manually change the name of the SJ9000’s Wi-Fi password.
PLATE NUMBER SETTING: This enables manual input of a vehicle registration number which is watermarked on any video footage just like the date and time stamp (both can be used at once).
FORMAT: Wipes the installed MicroSD card, requiring double confirmation.
DEFAULT SETTING: Restores all settings to factory default.
VERSION: Sadly, rather lacking in information about the camera, but states… “Version: 4K Sports DV, Date: 20160601”.
While the HuiHeng SJ9000 comes with the worst waterproof case and also the worst battery of any action cameras that I have reviewed it has the most features, functions and user available settings of any that I have reviewed.
There are two uses for the Wi-Fi feature of the SJ9000. The first allows you to connect the camera with a laptop or desktop PC to enable wireless data transfer and the second allows the camera to be fully controlled using a smartphone or tablet.
Wi-Fi can be enabled on the HuiHeng SJ9000 simply by tapping down the up navigation button on the right side of the camera while in video or camera modes or it can be enabled within the settings menu. Also within the settings menu unlike every other camera I have previously reviewed, it is also possible to edit the cameras SSID and password.
To use the Wi-Fi feature as a means of data transfer all you need to do is switch the camera on and enable Wi-Fi, then open up the Wi-Fi settings on your PC or Laptop and click on “4K Sports DV28f36666b369c” (the default SSID of my camera) and in short order the memory card will be accessible from your computer.
The second function allows the camera to be controlled using your smartphone (similar to the way the HP LC200W camera functions). This requires you to download an App called “ZSANYCAM” (available on iOS and Android), it should be noted that this App is a generic catch all program not specific to this camera.
Unfortunately the only devices I currently have to hand are running Android V6.0.1 (Moto G and Tab S2) and while the App claims to be compatible with Android versions “2.2 and up” when I try to run the App on either of my devices, it constantly crashes shortly after each time it is run and reading the App reviews I would not appear to be the only person having this problem with V6.0.1.
Based on my experience with previous cameras, and similar Apps it should be possible using this App to fully control the SJ9000 such as remotely taking stills or capturing video, adjusting any of the and to also allow transfer of data to and from the camera to your mobile device.
Sadly however, I am unable to test and confirm exactly what this App offers and I would advise testing of the App on your mobile device to confirm compatibility (it’s a free download) before purchase. As most of these action camera Apps are not camera specific there is the possibility that there may be alternative Apps that work with the camera. (SJCAM HD does not connect to the HuiHeng SJ9000 and nor does the App SJ5000PLUS).
1. The HuiHeng SJ9000 can be used while it is on charge either if you find the battery lacking or you wish to use as a dash cam. It should be advised however that while the camera never even slightly becomes warm after charging when the camera is switched off or after a 75 minute long recording session. After 20 minutes of charging while the camera is switched on however the camera becomes almost too hot to handle, as such I would strongly advise against use of the SJ9000 as a dash cam especially in summer.
2. In low light video recorded is very grainy, I even took some test footage at night using a GoPro underwater light attachment and while this lit things up, allowing the camera to see them the footage was still clearly very grainy.
3. When using the camera to take stills be aware it doesn’t have a flash so you will either need some steady hands, a tripod or a table unless you are outdoors on a bright clear day or the indoors with very bright lighting.
4. The digital zoom function of the HuiHeng SJ9000 like all digital zoom functions degrades the quality of the image quite badly, its ok up to 2x but given the zoom is operated by holding the navigation buttons down and not tapping it can be very difficult to set the zoom to anything precisely other than 0x and 4x. Not only this you should also be aware that when filming the on-board microphone picks up the sound of any buttons being pressed on the camera either when it is in or out of its waterproof case, which is very unpleasant.
5. Images taken at 16MP take up between 4.3MB and 5.1MB and 1080p video filmed at 1080P, 60FPS averages about 150MB per minute. The figures for still images is about average, but the video size compared to other cameras I have reviewed is very economical which, coupled with the 64GB sized card support will allow for filming and storage of around 7 hours of footage.
6. When recording video using the HuiHeng SJ9000 output files are in a maximum of 15 minute long segments. When filming to test battery capacity the SJ9000 recorded for 1 hour, 15 minutes and 19 seconds before running out of power and this resulted in five 15 minute long clips and one that was 19 seconds long. These clips were numbered sequentially and there was no gap between the recordings.
7. Data transfer from the camera to a PC using a USB cable is painfully slow using a SanDisk Extreme Plus card (about 18MB/s). Use of a USB card reader is significantly faster as is transfer over Wi-Fi is your PC a class N or greater adaptor.
9. I have to confess that I have yet to find fault with the on board microphone or that on any action camera that I have thus far reviewed. Like the microphone on the HuiHeng SJ9000 I have yet to detect any hiss generated while recording an the pickup when used outside of their respective waterproof cases which is commendable.
That said few manage to record any audio at all when being used within their waterproof case and this is sadly something I have been unable to test with the SJ9000 given that the case broke the first time that it was used. One comment I can make about the SJ9000 microphone, however is that it is notably more sensitive than any other I have previously used to the point that trying to avoid producing something that sounded more akin to a dirty phone call I did have to hold it slightly further away from my face to avoid it picking up my breathing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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