SJCAM SJ6 Legend Review
SJCAM has pretty much become one of the leaders of the action camera market. They are known for their budget friendly cameras and have tremendously improved their quality in the past years. So if you are looking for a great bang for buck product, then SJCAM has the best cameras for that. I have tested a number of action cameras and their SJ6 Legend is one of the best in terms of price and quality.
- Chipset: Novatek 96660
- Sensor: Panasonic MN34120PA 16MP
- Dimensions: 59×41×29mm / 2.3×1.6×1.1″
- Weight: 83g / 0.18lbs
- Field of View: 166°
- Video resolutions: 4K 24fps; 2K 30fps; 1080p 60fps; 720p 120fps; 420p 240fps
- Bitrate: 30Mbps
- Photo: 16MP
- Image format: JPEG, RAW
- Modes: Video, Video Lapse, Slow Rec, Still, Photo Lapse, Burst, Video+Photo, Car Mode, Underwater
- Digital Image Stabilization: Yes
- Screens: 2″ LCD Touchscreen, LCD info screen
- Connectivity: WiFI
- Ports: MiniUSB, MicroHDMI
- Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
The SJCAM SJ6 Legend has a pretty standard action camera design. It’s of course really small and has a dimension of 59×41×29 mm / 2.3×1.6×1.1″. It’s also really lightweight, weighing at around 83g / 0.18lbs. That also includes the battery. The camera itself is made out of really nice quality plastic. The sides of the camera have textured ribs, that improve the grip while holding onto it. Overall it feels nice and solid when holding onto it. The plastic also has this rubber feel which I also really like.
You can also choose between three colors: black, silver and rose gold. I personally have the black version. The color is actually matte black. I prefer that over glossy as matte finishing doesn’t display fingerprints. Plus it looks more neutral and sleek.
The same type of high quality can also be seen on the other parts of the SJ6 Legend. There are in total 3 buttons on the camera: record/shutter, power and settings. All of the buttons have a solid feel and you can feel the “click” when you push them down. They don’t feel soft like they are going to break or stop working. I really like that. The action camera also has 2 LED screens. One on the front, next to the lens, that displays information about the current recording mode and battery life. A bigger 2″ LCD is located on the back of the camera, which is also a touchscreen.
I have to say that the touchscreen on the SJCAM SJ6 Legend is one of the best I have ever used. It works perfectly and it’s responsive. Not once have I ever had to tap multiple times or have problems swiping down. It works exactly as it should and that get’s a thumbs up from me.
Besides the screens and buttons, the action camera has also got a MiniUSB and MicroHDMI ports. Underneath them is also a MicroSD card slot. The bottom of the camera has a compartment for the battery and a threaded tripod mount for accessories.
The best part about SJCAM and it’s action cameras are the accessories. SJCAM is truly generous when it comes to the amount of different mounts you get with the camera. You get different mounts and connections. There is a bracket for the SJ6 Legend which let’s you attach the camera to a mount without having to use a waterproof case. There is also a threaded screw connection which you can attach to the bottom of the action camera. Both of those are attached to a SJCAM clip-on adapter. It’s similar to the GoPro adapter but not as thick. So you can’t use it with any GoPro mounts, unless you get a GoPro clip-on adapter as well. SJCAM has also included 4 adhesive mounts, two of those have a base that can be rotated 360 degrees. And of course a bicycle handlebar mount.
Besides that, the set also includes a waterproof case and two rear pieces you can choose from: plain plastic and touchscreen friendly. The touchscreen friendly back part has this flexible material used that can interact with the cameras LCD screen. So you can use the touchscreen even when you are underwater. It’s pretty cool and I haven’t seen it on any other brands.
Besides all of that, SJCAM has also got other extra accessories that you can buy separately. For example there is a remote control with a wrist strap. You can wear it as a watch and use it to record from a distance. It’s useful if you are on the move and can’t use a phone to activate the camera.
Need better audio quality? Not an issue, SJCAM has an external microphone that has a MiniUSB cable. Just plug it into your action camera and you’ll have improved audio quality with the camera. I have lately noticed musicians using action cameras to record their music. Having an external mic will definitely be perfect that.
You can also pick up a lens filter. I use UV filter when filming outdoors during a sunny day and it helps a lot. You can also just keep it on to protect the lens. Either way it’s a good extra to have when recording without a waterproof case.
The first thing I want to point out is that the SJCAM SJ6 Legend supports an interpolated 4K video recording. What this means that the camera actually records a video in 2K resolution and the software doubles it to 4K. It basically adds extra pixels to make up the size difference in resolution. So while you end up with 4K resolution, the quality will be worse than an actual 4K camera. So definitely pay this in mind. If you are looking for an actual 4K action camera, then I recommend looking at the SJCAM SJ7 Star instead.
I mostly use the camera to record Full HD 1080p videos. That also allows me to turn on Gyro/Digital Image Stabilization system. Which does enable me much smoother videos, especially when riding a bicycle. This action camera is meant for extreme environments and what’s better than riding down a mountain in the mud. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t use it as a dashboard camera. It does indeed have a dash cam mode but I’ll write about that under an example video.
The SJ6 Legend uses MN34120PA sensor by Panasonic. It’s a great sensor and you can take breath taking videos with it. The quality is really good. The only downside is that it’s just as easy to get a really bad video. Having a good lightning is extremely important. When everything is good, the video quality is sharp, colors are amazing and everything looks like it’s supposed to. But when there is bad lightning, you’ll start to notice noise and blur.
Here’s an example of the video quality recorded at 1080P resolution and at 60fps. I also used set the white balance as AUTO and turned off the gyro. What I really like about the SJCAM SJ6 Legend are the colors. They are really natural and everything is exactly what it’s like in real life. I have messed around with different white balance settings as well for cloudy days etc but I have found that keeping it on AUTO works the best. There is obviously some blur as well but the overall image is pretty sharp. You can clearly see everything so overall the action camera can definitely be used to record good videos.
I also wanted to show a video of what it’s like with the GYRO turned on. Again I recorded the video in 1080P 60fps and white balance set on AUTO. The stabilization system does work really well. You can still see the video jump now and then but it’s nothing compared to when it was turned off. The downside of using GYRO is the image quality, which does contain more blur than when recording without it. Overall though the colors are again natural and you can still tell every detail. For example the text, “Review us” at 1:55, was even readable at that distance.
Besides recording videos, you can also take photos with the SJCAM SJ6 Legend action camera. The best part about it is that you also have the option of taking them in RAW format. Which means that you can later on edit the colors etc in Photoshop for example. You will also need a SJCAM program to convert the RAW files into a readable format. Below are two examples that I captured with the SJ6 Legend.
As you can see the overall quality is okay. I used the following settings: ISO 400, 12MP and White Balance on AUTO. The main downside is that most of the better end phones have better image quality. So it kind of doesn’t make sense to use an action camera to take photos. But you still have the possibility if you want to. As long as you don’t zoom into the images or open them up at full resolution, the quality should be fine.
The photo quality does also depend quite a lot on the environment. In my case, it was cloudy so there wasn’t that much light. With more light though, the photos are definitely sharper and more vibrant. So the darker it is, the more blur and noise there will be. The same can also be said about the videos.
The battery life mostly depends on which resolution and frame rates you recording with. Below is what I have managed to achieve while recording in different video modes (WiFi and screen was turned off).
- 4K 24fps – 84 minutes
- 2K 30fps – 89 minutes
- 1080p 60fps – 86 minutes
- 1080p 30fps – 134 minutes
- 720p 120fps – 131 minutes
- Recharging Time – 140 minutes
Obviously the battery life will be much lower if you keep the screen and WiFi on during recording. Otherwise though, you get a pretty decent amount of recording time.
Connectivity & Menu
All of the SJ6 Legend settings can be changed on both the action camera and from an Android or iOS device. First the camera. All of the camera settings can be accessed from the touchscreen on the back. There is a gear icon and tapping it will get you to the settings part. From there you can change both current mode settings and the overall camera ones. Such as the language, date/time, format, light, frequency, WiFi and of course view the current software version.
Changing the recording mode can be done from the first screen. You’ll notice there is a small triangle next to the current mode. Just tap that and then you can pick from the different modes the camera has to offer. Video, Video Lapse, Slow Rec, Still Photos, Photo Lapse, Burst Mode, Video+photo, Car Mode and Underwater. Once you pick the mode you want you can tap the gear icon again and change all of the mode based settings. For example I still have the Video mode open and I can change the resolution, field of view, turn on/off low light mode, gyro, bit rate and much more.
The action camera can also be connected to a remote control via Bluetooth and a iOS or Android device via WiFi. For that, you need to go back to the first screen and slide down. That will bring down a new screen with icons for turning on WiFi, Remote Control, Drone Mode and Lock. Turning on WiFi brings up the networks name of your camera and the password. I really like that as it’s impossible to forget the password to the network.
Once that is done, you’ll need to first connect to the cameras WiFi with your phone. After that you’ll need to open up the SJCAM iOS or Android App and tap the top image. It doesn’t say anything on the image but you’ll notice that it displays a phone and camera. From there all you have to do is tap “Connect camera” and that’s it. If everything is done right then you’ll notice the cameras live view from the screen of your phone.
I also mentioned that there is a drone mode. The drone mode turns on the TV OUT feature which transfers the live feed from the camera to an external device. In our case that would be a drones video transmitter. For that you’ll also need to get an FPV dongle from SJCAM. It has all the cables needed to connect it to a standard video transmitter.
The SJCAM app has been very well made. It’s easy to use and you can change all the settings from there as well. Plus start recording. I like using it to see what the video looks like on a slightly bigger screen than on the camera. It gives me a better view of if I need different colors etc. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices.
The SJCAM SJ6 Legend is the best action camera in it’s price range. The camera comes with a huge range of different mounts and accessories. Plus it’s easy to use and everything works really well. Only downside is that it doesn’t have the real 4K resolution capability but still most videos are recorded in 1080p. And if you do want native 4K videos, then I recommend increasing your budget. Either way, this is a fantastic action camera for extreme sports, drones and even cars.