SJ8 Pro: The Good , the Bad and the Ugly

Discussion in 'SJ8 Series' started by Michael Dittrich, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Michael Dittrich

    Michael Dittrich New Member

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    As an owner of the SJ7 Star I know my product well. I mostly used it as a B camera for images as a replacement to carry an ultrawide angle lens with me. As a video camera the quality of the footage was in my opinion not good enough. Too noisy and to little bitrate. Overall I liked the device especially the metal body gave the impression of a higher end product.

    The Good:
    - I like the menu structure better than the one of the SJ7 Star. There are also a lot of options/settings present that were missing in the SJ7, like limiting the maximum ISO and some manual settings like shutter speed for still images.
    - The bitrate in 4K@60fps is 100MBit/s when using the fine setting what reflects the maximum quality that can be set. This is sufficient and if you raise it you will need a higher class of SD cards. The bitrate for 4K@30fps is 60MBit/s.
    - There is H.265/HEVC support (but not for 4K, not with stabilization or/and distortion correction). This codec (if implemented well) should result in half the bitrate compared to H.264/AVC for almost the same visual quality. Or better quality at the same bitrate.
    - The tripod mount is integrated in the device and not in the extra housing like on the SJ7 Star.
    - The SJ8 Pro uses the Sony IMX377, the same as my Nexus 5X on which I get imressive results for still images and good and clean video (unfortunately not jitter free).
    - The electronic image stabilization (EIS) works better than on the SJ7 Star.
    - There is image stabilization for 4K (not for the 60fps, but EIS was missing on the SJ7 in 4K completely).
    - There is a flat profile for better color grading in postprocessing.

    The Bad:
    - The H.265/HEVC codec is not working in 4K. This is notmentioned in the spec sheet.
    - In 1080p the maximum bitrate for 24fps is 8MBit/s and for 60fps 12MBit/s when H.265/HEVC is used. This is by far not enough for more complex scenes and they are the rule in outdoor environments. Also in H.264/AVC the bitrate in 1080p is way too low. Much too low even in the fine setting what reflects the maximum.
    - After plugging the camera to a PC for file transfere the camera can not be turned off after this action when left plugged in. With the SJ7 Star this was possible. Also the device memory (the SD card) is not recogniced on my native USB C port on the PC. It works only via an USB hub.
    - The SJ8 PRO records a second (with lower resolution and quality) video file using the LRV extension. This can not be turned off in the FW versions I tried (1.2.5 and 1.2.9). They seem to be needed for the remote smartphone APP. As I never used this feature the files are useless for me and they waste SD card space and consume battary life as they have to be encoded.

    The Ugly:
    Well as a B camera for images the SJ8 Pro is a fail. I have to admit that the out of the camera JPEGs look better than the ones of the SJ7. But with the SJ7 I was able to get quiet a nice image quality out of the RAW/DNG files, so I never used the in camera generated JPEGs (wished I could turn them even off, as they were a wast of space for me). Now with the SJ8 Pro the RAW/DNG files are unusable (I tested it using FW version 1.2.5 what was the installed firmware when delivered and also with 1.2.9)

    So overall I can see a lot of potential that is a litte wasted in one or the the other aspect.
    I hope SJCAM will fix some of the drawbacks in firmware. Higher bitrates in 1080p and the RAW/DNG problem should be solveable with the right amount of good will. Also the behaviour when plugged in to a USB port on a PC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019

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