World's first dual-lens action camera, the SJ20, announced by SJCAM — but why?

(Image credit: SJCAM)

Action cameras, once a little niche that belonged to the newest GoPro, have had a revolutionary couple of years. With the launch of the SJ20, SJCAM is the latest company to offer a new take on the category which could win a lot of attention, especially at the competitive prices announced.

We've seen multiple lenses on the best camera phones for a long time, and even on the best camera drones since the Mavic 3, but I've not seen one on an action camera before. Yet SJCAM's logic is impeccable – after all we have seen both the DJI Osmo Action 4 and the new Insta360 Ace Pro leapfrog the best action cameras table by virtue of their low-light capabilities achieved with larger image sensors. The SJ20 goes all the way to night vision.

(Image credit: SJCAM)

"We tried different combinations of chips, sensors and components to provide consumers with the ideal product," said SJCAM CEO Zhang Hongbing. “After nearly a year of research, development and design, we are proud to launch the new SJ20 Dual-Lens.”

On paper at least, the camera can compete with the leading brands – it can capture up to 4K and stills up to 20MP. It has a 6-axis gyroscope to support electronic stabilization and a massive 7 hours of battery. It also boasts dual touch screens like, 2.29-inch on the back and 1.3-inch on the front. (Putting a touch screen on the front is what DJI do – but more than GoPro has thus-far managed).

It is waterproof without a case up to 16ft (5m) or 130ft (40m) with the case, and the design features the (exciting to me) modular interface approach to connecting accessories. It has to be said, however, the modular concept hasn't worked for everyone – the brilliant Osmo Action 2 didn't become DJI's standard approach for action cameras. That said, the images here seem to show a typical camera body with all the screens and lenses where you'd expect and an 800mAh battery. An extra 1050mAh is detachable from the base, which is probably more palatable to most than the Action 2.

I'm sure two (smaller-looking) cameras won't make sense for every user, but there are plenty of reasons why a dedicated f/1.3 night vision sensor would make sense. It seems it'll be the user's choice which lens to use, though we wait for clarification from SJCAM on this point. I'll certainly be very interested to see the camera in action. As a reviewer of action cameras, I'm intrigued by the promised battery life which seems a lot – though I wonder if this is connected to the 'rechargeable camera grip' mentioned in the launch information, and how much the 800mAh achieves alone.

In the meantime, you can find more information about the device at The camera will retail for $229 / £179 (approx AU$346).

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook