Action cams have become a staple of extreme sports, being able to record yourself bombing it down a mountain on a snowboard or gunning it through a forest trail on a mountain bike. I even see now people taking GoPros on holiday with them to capture their precious memories. Very viable if you’re packing light. But, they can be expensive, especially when you take a look at GoPro, but there are brands that are offering very decent alternatives at a fraction of the cost, like SJCAM for example, with their new ION Series range. Today we’re writing about the SJCAM Krypton 4K Action Cam.
Taking a look at the camera itself, you will find a decent 170° lens up front, which unfortunately is fixed so you get that fisheye type effect. You can also shoot in a number of resolutions from 4K, right down to 720p. However, 4K is locked at 30FPS while the other resolutions let you hit 60, 120 and 240FPS though you have to drop right down to 720p for those slow motion framerates. The camera can also take 16mp stills which is a pretty good resolution if you’re looking to blow up your images to poster size.
There is a small door for the battery which is a little fiddly to get open on the first few tries before the clip loosens up, and the battery will last for around 1.5 hours. There’s also a 1/4-inch thread on the bottom of the camera for tripods, selfie sticks or a gimbal. The SJCAM Krypton 4K Action Cam does have built-in three-axis gyro stabilisation though so you don’t need to 100% rely on a gimbal.
It also comes with a waterproof housing which is nice touch, although there’s no way to control the camera once inside. It’s an old style waterproof housing similar to that found on early GoPros. It blocks the screen completely, and there’s only access to the power and record buttons as these are below pressure pads. The workaround is with the SJCAM Krypton 4K partner app available for Android or iOS, yet that means getting your phone out every time you want to change a setting, and sometimes you need to quickly change settings on the fly.
You will need a microSD card to store your footage, in which the Krypton 4K can handle up to 128GB.
You can access all of the SJCAM Krypton 4K Action Cam menus from the three inch touchscreen on the rear of the camera. Everything is relatively clear, and I never struggled to read anything. Features offered on the camera range from video capture, stills, photo and video lapses, slow motion capture and even a car mode, which funnily enough, removes the fish eye effect by cropping in the image.
You have the choice to film in h.264 or h.265 codecs although at a glance, there’s no real difference other than file compression.
Filming however I decided to stick to 1080p at 60fps on the SJCAM Krypton 4K Action Cam so the footage would look smooth, especially when shooting action. I know the camera does 4K but you’re locked at 30fps. It’s alright for “vlogging” and the usual home video from a family BBQ, but it becomes a little jerky if you’re throwing the camera around. Images are extremely sharp which is great seeing from a mid-range action cam. Edge to edge sharpness is hindered somewhat by the 170° lens, and vignetting is minimal, but overall I was extremely happy with the footage that was produced from the camera.
The gyro is what impressed me the most. It didn’t quite remove all camera vibrations or shakes, but it’s chalk and cheese compared to when the gyro is switched off. I would recommend it be kept on for everything you do, unless of course you’re wanting to go extra stylised.
Inside the menus are simple options to control your sharpness, saturation and contrast which are basic, but could open you up to colour correcting in post, especially if you set your saturation and contrast on low for example.
The SJCAM Krypton 4K Action Cam is a fantastic little action camera for those not wanting to spend a huge amount. Having a Google, I found it very hard to find any resellers, and when you use the reseller tool on the SJCAM website, it states that the UK doesn’t have anyone selling the camera. Other reviews online though are pricing this camera at around £200. So sorry, but I have no idea on where you could buy one.
One thing I’d like to see improved is the waterproof housing, yet the camera itself is rich with features and definitely shines when shooting at 1080p compared to other similarly priced action cameras on the market. For more information, you can head over to the SJCAM Ion Series Krypton 4K website.