My top pick for an action camera might surprise you a little bit if you are familiar with action cameras. I am selecting the Sjcam 5000x Elite as my top pick for an action camera. This is the top pick is due to the fact that the camera itself it is high quality and has good performance along with a very affordable price vs. the top and original action cameras from GoPro. I really did many comparisons for hours on and off in my spare time and found that the Sjcam 5000x Elite will deliver almost nearly identical results of the GoPro 4 series action cameras and at roughly 1/3 of the price.
The Sjcam 5000x Elite features a Sony 12 megapixel sensor that can film up to 4k at 24 frames per second along with the standard ability to film high-definition @ 1080p – 30 frames per second (normal) or the newer enhanced 60 frames per second. A great feature and a big benefit of this camera is that it has an adjustable field of view, meaning that with most standard action cameras you get a 170° degrees field of view picture. That tends to give the video a fisheye look to it and although some people don’t care or mind. I prefer the more standard flat or natural look to the field of view. The Sjcam 5000x will give you the ability to use several different fields of view including 170°, 140°, 110° & 70° most people will use the 170° which is standard, personally I prefer the 140° as it gives an incredible range and captures a lot in the picture but doesn’t have that fisheye look to it.
The Scam 5000x Elite will give you almost or all the same features the more expensive GoPro’s (4 series) will and is so comparable that usually almost all GoPro or Sjcam accessories will be interchangeable. Meaning that if you bought a Sjcam now and got some extra accessories like mounts, straps etc. and then later decided you want a GoPro, the accessories should/will likely all work perfectly together for either brand. There are literally 100’s of different types of mounts, screws, clips, straps, grips and miscellaneous accessories that you can buy for these cameras. I bought a whole box full of stuff and in reality, I only have used about 1/3 of the accessories I have bought. I will recommend what I have found to most useful with the Sjcam 5000x.
The camera itself out of the box comes with the camera, one battery, clear waterproof case and a couple of different mounting options. This is a good but yet basic starting point depending on what type of filming you want to accomplish.
I recommend picking up a few more goodies for this guy, the most needed ones in my opinion, are a good selfie stick, more batteries + battery charger, a floating hand grip for use in the water, a suction cup mount for the car to use as a dashcam and last but not least a couple of micro SD cards. The camera can handle 32 gb micro SD cards or less. Obviously, if you want to use the camera while riding your bike, horse or white water rafting then you’ll probably want a helmet mount. There are many, many different accessories available, you might have to dig a little bit to find exactly what you’re looking for if you have particular needs.
I really like the fact that this camera has a 2-inch LCD screen on the back with an easy to navigate menu that is available in nearly any language you can think of. It is simple and can be mastered in only a couple of minutes playing with it. The screen will turn itself off shortly after starting to record as to not waste unnecessary battery power. Speaking of power, the batteries themselves are 900 mAh and should last you 60-70 minutes a piece with settings tuned to the lower end, like the screen being off and filming at 30 frames per second vs. 60 frames per second, etc. I would recommend getting a dual charger that can charge 2 batteries at once with a USB plug-in, that way you can change it with your computer or through a wall outlet. I personally decided on purchasing an additional 4 batteries, as the best plan to never run out of juice if I was using the camera heavily for a special event.
I honestly haven’t used this Sjcam 5000x Elite more than 25-30 hours at this point, as I usually use the bigger camera while vlogging, but I can say I am very happy with it for the price. I think it is an excellent value if you’re looking for a GoPro alternative. I will likely purchase a GoPro at some point in time down the road and I do recommend their products as well, but for the time being because I personally don’t film enough situations that require an action camera, so I decided to get a more affordable model. The only drawback I have found so far to the Sjcam 5000x is the audio quality is basically just “ok” it’s not really great. With the waterproof case on you will get virtually no audio (just faint tid-bits of noise) with the regular plastic mount you will definitely be able to hear the audio, but it’s not high-quality in my opinion. The camera also does not have the ability to attach an external microphone like the GoPro Hero 4 Black does. Please keep that in mind for what is best for your personal circumstances. I only use my Sjcam 5000x footage and rarely the audio portion for my vlogs.
The Sjcam 5000x Elite is available is a handful of different colors, is lightweight enough that you will forget your even wearing it and comes with many nice features like the GoPro but for basically 1/3 of the price, I got mine through Gearbest for the best price and cheapest accessories. Get yourself one if you don’t want to spend premium money for a GoPro and the premium priced accessories.
The AliExpress product offerings are manufactured in and shipped from China (like many things these days) and usually take a couple of weeks to receive depending on where you are located in the world; if that is an issue for you, Amazon also sells the Sjcam 5000x Elite.