SJ5000x Elite is a WiFi, sports camera made by SJCAM. It’s a fifth camera from SJ5000 series. What makes it different compared to other models is that it is the first one to implement Sony’s IMX078CQK 12 megapixels image sensor.
Other important hardware components are Novatek NTK96660 processor or chip and a 7 glass, wide angle lens. Besides that, it is powered by standard 900mah Li-Ion battery and can support maximum of 32GB of external memory (though in my tests it worked with 64GB cards as well).
Oh, I nearly forgot. It has a 2″ screen at the back.
Without any doubt, SJ5000x Elite looks great on a paper. It is actually the first SJCAM camera after SJ4000 that got me so excited. Let’s be honest, their previous models like SJ4000+, M10+ and even 5000X ( difference between 5000x vs 5000x elite) were a total flop.
I was quite harsh in my reviews on those models, and I still think those were heavily overpriced and over-hyped products that offered less bang for the buck compared to competitors.
Can 5000x Elite be a camera that will bring this Chinese brand back to life, or will it put one last nail in the coffin?
You are probably here because you want to find out how the camera performs and does it justify the cost? Or should you choose another brand instead?
No worries, I got you covered.
I’ve been using this camera for quite a while now and I am locked and loaded to tell you everything. We certainly have lots of things to cover here, so allow me to begin with most basic stuff, such as product overview and specs. Later on, I will test its video, photo and audio quality together with usability and support.
SJCAM 5000x Elite specification
- Image sensor
- Max image resolution
- Max Video resolution
- Video compression format
- Image format
- Photo time-lapse
- Video time-lapse
- Car camera
- Remote controller
- External Mic
- Video Stabilization
- Sj5000x Elite
- Sony IMX078
- 7 glass
- Weight : 68 grams / 2.39 ounce
- Size : 59.27*41.13*29.28mm
- 2" LCD
- 12 megapixels
- Video Resolutions : 4K (3840 x 2160) 24fps
2K(2560 x 1440)30fps
1080P (1920 x 1080) 30,60fps
- Image format : JPEG
- USB, HDMI
5000x Elite unboxing
Two previously released models SJ4000+ and M10+ had quite high quality packing. However, for some unknown reason, SJ5000X Elite arrives in a pretty simple-looking cardboard box that looks nowhere as cool as those prior to it. It’s obvious that two predecessors models had much better protection.
Now, I can only guess why the Elite packing is designed and made to look like this. First is obviously to decrease the production cost and the other might be the visibility.
With this kind of “opened” packing design, camera is better visible on the shelves of a brick and mortar stores.
Awkward thing is that on a box there is no “Elite” sign, it only says 5000X, so one’s might confuse it with that model. Accessories are not organized well either, everything is just stuffed into a box.
Not a huge deal, since you will not record your movies with a box, but I thought to cover product packing as protection as well. Like with all cameras after the M10, this one has a safety code which you can scratch and enter on their official site to see verify the authenticity of your cam.
There is a huge list of gadgets that come with the camera.
- 1x camera
- 1x waterproof housing (30m waterproof)
- 3x bandage
- 2x 3m self adhesive tape
- 1x USB cable
- 3x switch mount
- 1x bracket for mounting on a 1/4″ screw
- 1x flat base
- 1x curved base
- 1x J shaped mount
- 1x bicycle mount
- 1x cleaning cloth
- 1x base mount
- 1x spare back door (not waterproof)
- 1x manual
- 2x SJCAM stickers
- 1x lens cap (for protecting lens)
As you see, camera comes with a lots of additional accessories. Gear is pretty much the same as any other Chinese camera. The only thing they included compared to earlier model is a lens cap. This is a nice additional protector for your 5000x Elite lens. I know its probably the cheapest of all, but its quite handy. Some other cameras that included lens cap in a box were Firefly 6S and Git 1.
There is no wall charger included, so you will have to buy one separately. Camera can be charged by plugging supplied USB cable into a PC or a power-bank.
Manual that arrives with Elite, is literary copy/pasted from all previous models with only few technical things changed. It does not provide much information on settings and features. That’s why I recommend you to take a look at our own SJ4000 manual. Because of the similarities in most of the options, it will help you understand technicalities.
Besides these standard mounts and accessories, there are also few pieces of additional gear that can be bought separately on manufacturers website or through plenty other online shops. Good news is that camera is compatible with all standard SJCAM accessories. And if you want to see which additional accessories I recommend, you can read this SJ4000 accessories list.
Design and built quality
Design-wise Elite is similar to any other SJCAM camera. What makes it slightly different compared to most of the manufacturer’s models is a 2″ LCD display at the back. I found display of this size just about right for previewing videos and photos that I captured and also for live-view recording. It helps a lot especially with video and photo composition.
On the side, there are three buttons. Two up and down arrows, used for menu navigation and also zooming in and out. (digital zoom, not optical). Third button is a WiFi and a gyro shortcut. When you press it, camera’s WiFi will be enabled. However if you hold it for over 2 seconds, it will turn gyro video stabilization on or off. Stabilization can be switched from on to off even when you are recording.
What bugged me about the buttons is that they are so tiny and to close to each other. Even though my hands nor fingers aren’t huge, I found it a bit cumbersome to navigate through the menu while pressing them. In my previous review of M10+ model I said that that one can be operated with one hand, well this one certainly can not. I always had to use the other hand to hold the camera firmly.
Other side of the camera has 2 ports (USB and HDMI) and one slot for memory card.
Additionally, it has 2 led indicators at front. Those two, alongside the one of the top and one of the bank blink blue when the camera is recording. The other one at the back will be red while the camera is charging. When it turns of you will now that the 5000x Elite is fully charged.
What I really did not like was the battery cover. I still can’t believe that it is made so flimsy and hard to open and close. That would be okay if this was their first model that had this very same issue, but as the matter a fact, if I am not mistaken, this is their 6th camera with exact same issue.
On the bright side, camera is available in 7 different colors, so if you are picky about coloring, I am sure you will find one to match your preference. I got the black one because its neutral and looks more serious compared to pink or yellow.
Camera is made out of plastic and has patterned edges. It’s built in the same way like most of the cameras from the brand. Even though its light-weight, I really had no feeling that I am holding a well crafted product. If you need something quite compact and better built, you might take a look at Dazzne P3 or Git 1 or Git 2.
Weight and size.
The total weight of SJCAM SJ5000X Elite camera is XYZ grams with and without the battery. It has absolutely the same size as its predecessors. Dimensions of 5000X Elite are 59.27*41.13*29.28mm.
Even though on few forums I’ve seen people complaining about video color looking unnatural, I can tell you that personally I am satisfied with the way Sony’s sensor handles colors. Perhaps those people were referring to earlier software versions.
Images below are extracted video frames in 1920 x 1080 resolution.
I had some complains about sharpness with the previous model – SJCAM M10+, but 5000x Elite creates quite sharp video.
If you would like to download video samples and preview them on your own PC (which is highly recommended), you can download original files on this link.
Here is a video uploaded on YouTube.
The biggest novelty of 5000X Elite is that has Sony’s IMX078 image sensor. This means that the camera captures still images in true 12 megapixels. For the similar price range, their predecessors M10+ and SJ4000+ had only 4mp photo resolution.
Even though initial firmware that I used 1.22 had problems with bleached out colors, I was quite satisfied with the results after the upgrade to latest software version. Colors are quite natural looking in my opinion.
Camera handles the details quite when, and you will see in the next few samples.
Even before I received my 5000x Elite, there were rumors that the microphone quality is terrible. Once I received my unit and tested it through various firmare upgrades, I can confirm that the audio quality is really bad. Not only that the sound is muffled on the unit I got, but it is also quite low.
The reason I’ve been prolonging the review of this model (It took me 3 months to write it down) is because I was really hoping that sound can be boosted in software upgrade. However, despite SJCAM clamming otherwise, I do believe that it’s a poor quality hardware inside which causes sound to be this bad.
The quality of the sound can be compared to some other cameras when they are in a waterproof housing.
When the camera is in a waterproof housing you can’t hear sound at all, especially due to low-level microphone which SJCAM 5000X Elite uses.
Note : Manufacturer confirmed that first few batches of the 5000X Elite have sound issue, so I can’t really talk about other “batches”, from what I have here, if sound matters to you, avoid 5000X Elite by all means necessary.
SJCAM 5000X Elite camera operates in 3 main modes :
- Video / Photo
- Video Lapse
- Slow rec
- Photo Lapse
- Burst Mode
- Long Exposure
- Motion Detection
- Car Mode
This mode has multiple sub-modes. There are 6 main sub-modes. My overall impression is that SJCAM over-killed the camera with so many options that will rather confuse than help.
Below, I will try to explain each of these, so bear with me.
I warn you that this is extremely dull part of the article. Especially because most of these features haven’t changed in years. They are the same in most of Chinese cameras. There are few new options that this camera has, and I paid special attention to them.
I was bored to death writing it, but it helps newbies and action camera owners, so it had to be done. You can skip it if you wish, unfortunately I couldn’t.
Returns you to a video mode where you can record movies or capture still images.
For previewing videos and photos on your PC, you need to enable this option and get an HDMI cable like this one. Plug the narrower end of the cable into camera HDMI port and wider one into your TV (make sure your TV supports HDMI, very old TV’s do not have this port).
Video and Photo Lapse
I really like that camera has both video and photo time lapse features. If you are a beginner and do not like to use video editing software, choose video-lapse and camera will create right out of the box ready video, that you can upload on YouTube right away.
For those advanced users who like color-correction and other stuff, use photo lapse, and camera will create bunch of photographs (1 photo represents 1 frame of a video). Import those into your editing software and everything else it up to you.
Intervals are a bit different for some reason.
- 1/2/5/10/30/60 seconds – Video Lapse
- 2/5/10/20 seconds – Photo Lapse
Just to explain, if you choose 2 seconds, this means that camera captures image every other second. So if you leave your camera for a 100 minutes to record, you will have 1200 photos ( 6000 seconds /2 = 3000 photos. Each photo is 1 video frame, so if you want your video in 30fps, you will have time lapse video length or 3000/30 = 100 seconds).
There are two options to preview the videos and photos. Except exporting and previewing on your computer, you can either view them from App, camera itself or on your TV.
Be aware that if you are using 64GB memory card (camera officially supports 32gb, but I used Sony 64GB Class 10), you will not be able to preview videos.
The most extensive sub-menu is the Setup which contains insane amount of options that you can adjust.
- “4k” – 24 fps – 2860 x 2160 – interpolated, not true UHD 4K.
- 2k – 30 fps – 2560 x 1440
- 1080p -30/60fps – 1920 x 1080
- 720p – 30/60/120 fps – 1280 x 720
- VGA – 240 fps – 640 x 480
- Off/3/5/10 minutes
FOV, or field of view is very interesting feature. Since some people do not like the wide-angle lens, since it creates distortion, you can choose the angle you like the most. Be aware that camera scales the video image, which means that the video might not be as sharp. Similar to situation with a gyro sensor.
- off (default)
WDR or wide dynamic range is an option used in situations where you have a lots of contrasts.
Even though most people believe that a gyro is software part that stabilizes the video, it is actually a tiny chip (hardware) which eliminates shakiness from the videos. Stabilization of this kind is similar to digital stabilization. This option does excellent job in stabilizing when camera is moved up and down, but does not work when you move it from one side to another. However this is without any doubt huge advantage of this camera.
It is advised that you turn gyro off when taking photographs, because it will reduce image sharpness. WiFi button located on the camera’s side is at the same time a shortcut for turning video stabilization on or off. If you hold it for 2 seconds you will turn on/off gyro. Great thing is that this shortcut allows you to switch through gyro on and off while recording.
Until this day I do not understand why this feature is in an action camera. In theory, when turned on, camera will start recording when detects a motion. But for any sort of serious home surveillance, do yourself a favor and get a proper home-surveillance camera.
Audio and volume
If by any chance you wish to turn the sound off for your videos you can do that. Additionally you can set up audio levels from 1-8, one being the lowest and eight the highest.
- on/off audio
- volume – 1-10 levels
One very interesting option is called slow motion. This feature will create out of box slowed down video, without you having to edit it further. Quite handy for people who are unfamiliar with video editing software, but need slow motion scenes.
Video file format
Camera gives you the option to choose between two formats. Quite honestly, I did not quite get what’s the point of this, but I am sure there is one. I use MOV format.
Under the image size, you can navigate through different photo resolutions. Of course, it’s highly recommended to use highest one, unless you want to save a bit more space on your memory card, in that case you can use lower resolution and sacrifice image quality.
- 12 mp
- vga 640×480
I use standard.
I set mine to normal.
It really depends on light, environment and the effect you wish to achieve. In a bright sunny day, I found that daylight has the most vivid colors. For most of my video samples I used auto white balance. There is no general rule when it comes to this one.
This feature is one of my favorite. It allows you to have photos and videos in black and white and sepia. Warm color adds slightly more vibrancy, but nothing significant.
- Black and White
- Retro (sepia)
If you do not want to bother with how much light goes into the sensor, just leave ISO to off. It’s not an option you will use quite a lot, as camera is pretty good on detecting this parameter automatically.
EV, or exposure value determines how bright or dark your video or photo will be. I mostly kept mine at 0.0, but I encourage you to experiment with this option, as it really depends on a situation and light conditions.
Besides standard JPEG image format, SJCAM 5000X Elite can export images as RAW. I talked about RAW in my Gitup GIT2 review. Please check the “RAW” paragraph out, as it clarifies what is RAW, who should use it and what are its benefits.
When you enable the burst mode, camera will capture up to 10 photos on a single shutter click. Useful for sports photography and fast-moving objects.
I always encourage people whose main interest is to capture a traffic with an action camera, mostly because action cameras are not made for that purpose. However if you want to record traffic from time to time with camera attached to a car charger, enabling this option will turn the camera off, when you turn your car off, and vice-versa. Use it in combination with loop recording.
Below is a brief overview on other options, that are pretty self-explanatory, but I covered them as well.
- License no set – if you wish to have a custom name on datestamp, for instance pevly.com in right corner, etc.
- date/time – set date/time
- auto power off – activate if you want camera to turn off after selected period of inactivity – good for saving up the battery
- keypad tone – turn the keypad tone on or off
- light set – (off – turns all LED indicators off, 1 turns on only top indicator, 2 turns front ant top, 3 turns all indicators on)
- screen savers -set the screen to turn off after inactivity – good for battery saving
- frequency – refresh rate for your screen
- Logo watermark – show SJCAM logo on your videos and photos or turn it off
- Language – select the menu language (17 different languages available)
- WiFi SSID – camera WiFi name
- WiFi Password – WiFi password, default is : 12345678
- Delete – enters delete mode so you can remove images or videos you do not like
- Format – formats the memory card, erases everything.
- Default settings – returns all options on default
- Version – shows firmware/software version
Buttons and functions
Here is an overview of buttons and their functions on 5000X Elite camera.
- Shutter/OK button (Press to record video and to confirm options inside the menu)
- Recording indicator – flashes blue while you record
- Wifi/Gyro shortcut – press to activate WiFi or hold for 2-3 seconds to turn gyro on or off.
- Up arrow – navigation through the menu and zooming in (8X digital zoom)
- Down arrow – navigation through the menu and zooming out.
- Power/Mode button – press to turn camera on, hold to turn it off. Short click switches from photo, video and settings.
- Recording indicator
- Recording indicator
- LCD Screen
- Memory card slot
- USB port (charging, file transfer)
- HDMI out (Previewing footage on your TV with HDMI cable)
Other technical stuff
Due to many questions that regularly occur on all SJCAM reviews, I created two paragraphs that will respond to ones most commonly asked. Once again, if your problem is quite specific, it is the best to reach out to manufacturer directly.
How to update the firmware?
- Make sure your camera is at least 50% charged.
- Download latest firmware from manufacturers site. Firmware>SJ5000 Series>SJ5000X Elite (Note make sure to read instructions on their site carefully, as some firmware updates have different upgrade procedures and require different steps.
- Unzip the folder.
- Format the memory card inside your camera.
- Attach a camera to your PC via USB and choose Mass Storage.
- Copy the .bin file from the folder you previously downloaded and unzipped to the memory card.
- Turn off the camera.
- Unplug the USB cable.
- Turn ON the camera.
- Blue light will flash for around 20 seconds. Do not interrupt this process. Camera will restart when the process is done.
- Once the camera has turned on itself, format the memory card to delete .bin file.
- Go to Settings>Version to see if the firmware corresponds to the one you downloaded (For example if you downloaded 2.2 firmware and you see 2.2 version inside the camera, the upgrade was successful.
Frequently Asked Questions – 5000x Elite
- Can the 5000x Elite record when connected to a power bank? – Yes.
- Can the 5000x Elite record when connected to a power bank without the battery? – Yes.
- Does it support AV-Out? – Yes. (For FPV related questions, please check this video, I am not an expert in aerial photography so for those questions, go to RCgroups forum and ask experienced users.)
- How can I watch videos/photos on TV? – Buy HDMI cable like this, plug it into the camera, set TV Mode > ON, plug into HDMI port of your TV.
- Can it record videos while being connected to a TV? – Yes it can.
- Will I hear audio on my TV while recording in TV mode? – No you will not hear output audio on TV, but you will hear camera internal sounds on TV.
- Should I buy SJCAM 5000x Elite or Gitup 2? – I have not done side by side comparison yet, so I do not know. Please check comparison page, my article will be there when I publish it.
- Does 5000X work as a web camera? – For me it does not work on Windows 10, not sure about operating systems.
- Does SJCAM 5000X Elite support external microphone? – No it does not support external microphone.
Where to buy SJCAM SJ5000x Elite?
Here are few links where you can buy this camera.
There you have it. First of all, I’d like to apologize to all the readers who have restlessly emailed me and ask “when 5000x elite review will be done”. It’s taken me longer than usual, mostly because tons of software updates SJCAM did. I waited until they had a stable software. I hope that this review of mine helped you decide if SJCAM SJ5000X Elite is good enough camera for you.
At the end, let’s summarize the things I personally liked, but also the ones I did not.
SJCAM 5000X Elite is certainly way better camera compared to M10+ and SJ4000+ I recently reviewed. It provides better bang for the buck. Positive thing is that SJCAM finally started using serious image sensor components in their models.
New Sony’s sensor might not be that good in low-light, but it creates quite sharp 12 megapixels images. Colors on both video and photo are quite natural for my taste. Accessories that arrive with the camera are quite standard for all SJCAM models. Nothing new when it comes to equipment.
New features like slow motion, long-exposure and underwater mode are things I really like. My overall opinion is that video stabilization has to be better optimized and I expect that to happen in the next firmware update.
Sound is huge problem with 5000X Elite. Not only that it’s quite low, but you will barely be able to hear anything (at least that was a case with my camera) until you set up volume level at 10. Even then, the sound is inferior compared to some most cameras I tested, especially Gitup Git 2 or Xiaomi’s YI. Additionally, unlike some of it’s competitors, it does not support external microphone. As already mentioned, you can barely hear a person speaking
User navigation is a bit confusing, there are tons of options and setups. It took me a while to get used to new menu design, especially since it has been modified with each software update. Good news, is that camera works quite fast and there were no issues with it’s performance.
While the design is quite standard, I believe it’s high time that SJCAM starts making higher-quality and better-built cameras. Camera is light-weight, but feels quite fragile, even though I did not have problems breaking anything while using it in different conditions.
Finally, only if sound is not in your priority list, there is a point in getting 5000X Elite by SJCAM. If the microphone inside was better, this would have been quite decent camera for the money, but with sound level being terrible, it will be a deal breaker for many people.
Thank you for taking time to read this article. If you find it helpful, I’d appreciate if you could share it on Facebook or Twitter. For any sort of question, feel free to leave a comment below, I’ll do my best to reply asap.