SJ4000 Vs GoPro: The Head to Head Product Comparison

sj4000 vs gopro

GoPro is, by far, the durable, waterproof, sports action-cam marquee brand. However, a head-to-head comparison of the “budget” competition’s SJ4000 vs GoPro’s budget-friendly “Hero” model shows that the “budget” brand is (almost) giving GoPro run for its money.

What Are a SJ4000 and a GoPro?

Any brand that achieves enduring marquee-level recognition (and consumers willing to pay a premium for it) will inspire competition to position “budget” alternatives.

The Original

GoPro defined the tiny, mountable, rugged, waterproof action camera market. Its cameras spawned action-oriented YouTube channels devoted to everything from surfing, to para-gliding, car racing, and even airline pilots in action. Their cameras have even been adopted by the professionals, surviving major falls and explosions in Mythbusters and even being strapped to players during National Hockey League games.

Despite the fact that everyone is now carrying advanced iPhone and Android cameras, GoPro maintains a massive following. Though intensely single-purpose, their cameras are small and rugged enough to survive in places and situations no one would dare risk a phone, including being mounted to surfboards, helmets, motorcycle handlebars, and even airplane wings.However, with GoPro’s cameras retailing for north of $300 (and flagship models commanding $600+), many would-be auteurs are priced out of the market.

GoPro Clones

The SJ4000 represents what could be called a budget GoPro “clone”. It has the major features GoPro offers: it is compact, waterproof, rugged, and mountable to a whole host of accessories. It takes comparable-quality video in the same formats. Looks-wise, it could even be mistaken for a GoPro, particularly to the non-discerning eye.

SJCAM Original SJ4000 WiFi Action Camera 12MP 1080P H.264 1.5 Inch...
  • 12 Megapixel CMOS Sensor with HD wide-angle lens;A water-resistant casing that allows you to film fascinating water...
  • Wi-Fi Function, the user can operation or review via Android or for iOS Device. Generic image, model you receive will be...
  • Mini appearance, diversified colors available;High definition screen that displays and replays fascinating videos...

What that non-discerning eye would appreciate even more: the price. In fact, in an ironic turn the SJ4000 vs GoPro price difference meant people who bought GoPros to spare damage to their smartphones have since bought SJ4000s for filming situations where they might damage their GoPro.

GoPro "Budget" Models

The low-price competition changed the market and inspired GoPro to introduce its own entry-level model, branded the GoPro “Hero”. Though the Hero receives some criticism for being previous years’ GoPro cameras technology dressed up as though it were new, it provides more direct competition and (most importantly) comparable GoPro vs SJ4000-level pricing.

GoPro Hero
  • Stunning video quality: Record gorgeous 1080p30 and 720p60 video;diverse photo capture: capture 5mp single, time lapse...
  • Durable + waterproof to 131 feet (40 meters): Designed to withstand extreme environments and conditions
  • Compatible with all GoPro mounts: 60+ mounts and accessories GoPro software: View and share your content

Is There a Need for SJ4000 or GoPro?

Short answer is "yes." The long answer requires a feature-by-feature comparison of the two cameras. In many respects, the two cameras are the same, with some minor (but important) differences that consumers should consider before deciding.

  • View Finding
  • Battery Life
  • Image Stabilization
  • Field of View
  • Image Exposure
  • Image Sharpness
  • Image Color
  • Still Images
  • File Size and Editability
  • Sound Recording Quality
  • Accessories Ecosystem
  • WiFi Option
  • Dashcam

WiFi Option

One feature the SJ4000 offers (as an option) that the GoPro Hero does not is WiFi. This allows the user to view the live image from the camera using an iPhone or Android phone, as well as allowing cable-free footage uploading to a PC or Mac.

Information On and How to Use the SJ4000 vs GoPro

One consideration users should give when evaluating these cameras is how they are going to use it.


If you are intending to do more intensive post-production editing or are even considering using the camera in professional broadcast or film work, the GoPro more likely fits your needs. But it will also require more effort to learn to use at that level. GoPro also makes editing software for use with their cameras and the additional data contained in the footage recorded by a GoPro means it will be more useable in higher-end editing and post-production packages, such as Apple's Final Cut Pro.

Down and Dirty

If you are looking more for a quick, waterproof camera to toss in your bag for a weekend surfing or para-gliding trip, the SJ4000 is likely more your style. You still get great, editable footage suitable for YouTube uploading.

Learning Curve

Learning to use the SJ4000 vs GoPro Hero cameras requires similar technical know-how. Both cameras are fairly easy to use straight out of the box, with more advanced features requiring more effort to understand. Each camera comes with a brief “getting started” instruction manuals. Savvy users will find numerous online forums and user groups to help advance their knowledge and answer questions. Of course, GoPro’s market longevity and wider user base means more resource of this sort.

Physically, the relatively small size of each camera means that the controls and indicators are equally small, which may be a challenge for users with larger fingers and/or difficulty reading small print. Think in terms of trying to set a digital watch. The tiny buttons and tiny screen may obscure features, requiring lots of experimentation and/or manual-reading to access.

The SJ4000’s LCD screen is an ease-of-use advantage in this area, as many of the settings are displayed on here vs the GoPro’s tiny black-and-white screen.

The SJ4000 vs GoPro Conclusion

Despite minor differences, the SJ4000 vs GoPro are both capable, rugged, waterproof and budget-conscious sport cameras. The biggest difference between the two comes down to price. Though GoPro Hero created the Hero model to compete with budget clones like the SJ4000, the GoPro tends to be priced at nearly twice the cost of the SJ4000.

One consideration worth asking is how much risk you are planning to take with this camera. Are you placing it in a situation where it could get dropped, burned, or lost? A camera mounted on your dashboard to record that glorious coastal drive is limited risk; suctioned to your surfboard or wing is a bit less limited.

For the truly budget-focused, but aspiring, filmmaker, one GoPro Hero = Two SJ4000s. Slightly less data-rich footage, but twice as much of it. (Or two different camera angles.)

Price aside, those considering either camera should note the SJ4000 vs GoPro differences:

GoPro Hero

  • Useable while charging
  • Longer battery life
  • Slightly better image stabilization
  • Better in mixed lighting conditions
  • Warmer colors
  • Higher-quality sound
  • More post-production options (due to larger file size)
  • Larger (but more expensive) accessory ecosystem

SJCAM Original SJ4000 WiFi Action Camera 12MP 1080P H.264 1.5 Inch...

  • LCD viewfinder screen
  • Removable case
  • Swappable battery
  • Sharper image
  • Smaller file size
  • Wifi (option)

In the end, it's up to you!


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