SJCAM M20 Review - 4K Action Cam
Image sensor: Sony IMX206
Image processor: Novatek NTK96660
Wide angle: 166 °
Display: 1.5 inch LCD
4K @ 24
2K @ 30
1080p @ 60 / 30
720p @ 120 / 60 / 30
VGA @ 240
* WiFi & App
Size: 5.40 x 4.00 x 2.90 cm
1x SJCAM M20
1x Waterproof Case
13x mounts / Kelbepads
1x charging cable
1x cleaning cloth
1x user manual
First impression of the SJCAM M20
Scope of delivery & certificate
The SJCAM M20 comes with all kinds of accessories. In addition to various brackets, with which the Action Cam can be attached to other objects, such as helmets, bicycles or the enclosed adhesive pads, the package also includes a battery required for operation, a USB charging or data cable, a cleaning cloth, SJCAM sticker and a multilingual user manual. A waterproof housing (up to 30m) is also included. However, the Action Cam promoted remote control must be purchased separately.
I particularly like the included clip holder. This mount is multifunctional and offers two tripod threads as well as a clip, with which the camera can also be used as a body cam.
If you would like to check the authenticity of your SJCAM, the manufacturer has attached a certificate for scratching on the outside of the packaging. The genuineness can then be verified via the SJCAM homepage using the number which has been cleared out. However, fakes of the M20 are not yet known or emerged.
Design and workmanship
With a Size of 5.4x4x2.9cm The SJCAM M20 is one of the most compact action cams on the market. Also the very small one Weight of only 55g including battery is presentable. In comparison, the weight of the SJ5000 model series including battery is around 74g. This makes the SJCAM M20 ideal for model making and especially for quadrocopter pilots where every gram counts.
The M20 is operated upright. Front are located Notification LEDs sowie die Lens with the 166 ° wide-angle lens. Das 1.5 inch large color screen is located on the back of the case. The camera has a total of four control buttons. On the top of the case are the power button, as well as the shutter button and another LED. Laterally, the buttons for menu navigation and the Wifi Activation installed.
The connection possibilities amount to one micro USB socket, which serves the loading as well as the data transmission, as well as a micro HDMI socket, Below the ports is also a micro SD memory card slot, Almost the entire housing base takes the 900mAh big battery .
The processing of the SJCAM M20 is successful. The control buttons have a good pressure point and can be very well served by the waterproof housing. The battery compartment is easy to open and closes safely. Also, the display is well embedded and overall, the processing of the case, but also the included accessories are very good.
Commissioning and user interface
With inserted battery and SD memory card, the SJCAM M20 is ready to go. The manual explains the individual functions in great detail.
The SD memory card slot is by default to 32GB micro SD memory cards (Class 10 or>) compatible. But SJCAM also has one Compatibility list for 64GB or even 128GB memory cards.
As soon as the action cam is turned on you will be greeted with the SJCAM logo and the live image output will be displayed directly on the display. It can also read the current settings such as the current recording mode, date and time, the battery level, the remaining recording time including available memory, or whether the microphone is turned on. The power button also serves to select the menu. With this one can switch to the photo mode, as well as in the "Setup".
In the so-called "setup" can be different recording modes (eg FPV, Car Mode, Motion Detection, Burst Mode, Photo / Video Lapse, Slow Rec, etc.). Recorded videos and shot images can be output via the playback function via the M20.
The settings are numerous. Here is a list of all choices.
- Resolution (video): 4K @ 24fps (interpolated), 2K @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60 / 30fps, 720p @ 120 / 60 / 30fps, VGA @ 240fps
- Cyclic recording: Off, 3 Min, 5 Min, 10 Min
- FOV: Off, Wide, Middle, Narrow
- WDR: Off, on
- Gyro Sensor: Off, On
- Audio: Off, On
- Volume: 1-10
- Date Stamp: Off, On
- TV system: NTSC, PAL
- OSD Mode: Off, On
- Video File Format: MP4, MOV
- Bitrate: High, Medium, Low
- Double File: Off, On
- PowerOn Record: Off, On
- Resolution (photo): 16M, 14M, 12M, 8M, 5M, 3M, 2MHD, 1.3M, VGA
- Quality: Fine, Normal, Economical
- Sharpness: Strong, Normal, Soft
- White balance: car, daylight, cloudy, artificial light, neon light
- Color: Normal, B / W, Retro, Warm, Cool
- ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
- Exposure: + 0.0, -1 / 3, -2 / 3, -1.0, -4 / 3, -5 / 3
- RAW: Off, on
- Distortion Correction: Off, On
- License setting
- Date / time
- Auto Off: Off, 3 Min, 5 Min, 10 Min
- Acoustic signal: off, on
- Light setting: 3, 2, 1, Off
- Screensavers: 30 Sec, 1 Min, 3 Min, 5 Min, Off
- Frequency: 50Hz, 60Hz
- Turn: Off, On
- LOGO Watermark: Off, On
- Language: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean
- WiFi SSID and WiFi password
- default settings
SJCAM combines with the M20 already a bit older Sony IMX206 image sensor and the Novatek 96660 image processor, The image sensor resolves natively 16.35 Megapixel and, in combination with the Novatek image processor, allows you to take pictures with one 4K resolution (interpolated), Incidentally, the same image processor is also used in the GitUp Git2 and the first model of the Xiaomi Yi Action Cam.
With the integrated WiFi module The SJCAM M20 can also be operated via the manufacturer's app. Recordings can be stabilized via digital gyro stabilization.
Video and image recordings
Video recording with the SJCAM M20
In a nutshell, the SJCAM M20 allows for great-looking video footage. Colors are reproduced both naturally and vividly. Details come out clean and that too Image noise is very low, What bothers me, however, and is also very well recognizable on the example video I recorded is the Underexposure at high brightness, Especially on sunny days you should choose a suitable exposure setting. What the SJCAM M20 does very well is via transition from light to dark. The adaptation is fluent. Shooting in low light can also convince. Only with active gyro stabilization I could see an increasing image noise.
Gyro stabilization is a nice addition, but it does not replace an 3-axis gimbal. Nevertheless, freehand filmed recordings are altogether more fluid. The video quality remains in good light conditions largely the same, fine details are still lost and that Picture looks a bit muddier overall, In low light conditions gyro stabilization is not recommended.
The recording quality of the microphone is always such a thing with Action Cams. If you use the camera with the waterproof housing, voices or background noise are barely audible. This affects not only the SJCAM M20, but almost every Action Cam.
Without the waterproof housing, the audio quality can be convincing. The superficial tone is clearly audible. Background noise is adjusted accordingly, but remains audible.
Here is an interesting comparison of new and more than twice as expensive Xiaomi Yi II Action Cam with the SJCAM M20.
The image function of the SJCAM M20 convinces with a high resolution, clean color reproduction and highlighted details, With the default settings, lens distortion can be seen. The image noise is very low in good lighting conditions.
The SJCAM app is available for Google Android Devices in PlayStore, but also for Apple iOS in the Apple App Store. With active WiFi function SJCAM M20 builds on their own WLAN to which you can connect to a smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, the app since January 2015 (December 2015 SJCAM Zone) has not been updated and also in the app description the M20 is not even mentioned. Nevertheless, the SJCAM app is compatible with the M20. In the settings, however, only a maximum resolution of 2K can be selected!
About the app can make various camera settings, you can view a live image, recordings and recordings even share directly with friends. In the test, the app convinced by a simple connection and a stable image transmission. However, the picture is delayed by 1-2 seconds.
SJCAM stays true to its lineage and also uses one in the M20 900mAh big battery, Due to the compact design of the Action Cam that has been adapted to the form, which is why other batteries by the manufacturer are not compatible with the SJCAM M20.
The runtime information of the manufacturer can be partially taken over. With a resolution of 1080p at 60 images-per-second are the ones targeted 80 minutes of battery life quite realistic. With a 4K resolution I'm on good 70 minutes runtime came. The battery is charged after a good 2 hours.