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Pick of the Cameras

(Click the pictures for reviews & links)

ALL THE ONES THAT I LIKE ARE SHOWN BELOW. 

ACTION CAMS

Sony AS100V

Xiaomi Yi

SJCAM SJ4000

SJCAM M10

TCL SVC200
 
 
Sony AS15 / AS10

DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
G1W Budget 1080p Cam
A118 Wedge Cam
Marcus 5 Dual Camera
Vico WF-1
Marcus 4
DOD LS430W
MINI CAMERAS
(Some of these also work as dashcams)
Innovv C1
Mobius
Polaroid Cube
HTC Re

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about and experienced too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. 

NOTE - Some cameras work more reliably with Class 6 Cards as a Maximum (The Mini 0801 is an example).

VERY IMPORTANT. These links go to the product, but not necessarily to the Amazon Direct supplier. I recommend selecting from Amazon themselves not the reseller storefronts..even if it costs a bit more. 

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

CLASS 10 CARD

 

CLASS 6 CARD

 

 

            

Important Info For Companies

I never approach companies to ask for review samples, so if you get a request from someone pretending to represent Techmoan.com, it's bogus. I've been informed about one fraudster who uses the email techmoanreviews@gmail - so please be careful.

Sunday
Apr122015

Taxi Cam - Dual Lens Rear-View Mirror Car Recorder

One of the more common email requests I get is to do more reviews of rear-view mirror car cameras. It's not for want of trying, but this particular sector of the 'dash-cam' market seems to be particularly under represented. Most of the cameras currently on sale have similar out-dated internals, use the old MJPEG codec and offer (upscaled fake-hd) resolution of 1280x960. 

For this video I managed to find an h.264 camera that is supposed to offer 1080p, has rotating cameras which makes it suitable for both left and right hand drive vehicles and importantly if it's to be used as a Taxi-cam has IR leds that point inwards. Watch the video below to see how it fares. 

ebay purchasing links (click your country).

US UK NL IT IE FR ES DE CH CA BE AU AT

 

Monday
Apr062015

The Tefifon

A few weeks ago I woke up deaf in my right ear. I'm still trying to get that issue resolved, but in the meantime what better thing to do than demonstrate a monaural music player from the 1950s that most people won't have seen before. Full details in the video below.

 

You may have seen some of my other HiFi based videos, but it's more than likely that you won't have seen them all. I'm particularly happy with the video I made about Compact Cassettes (or tapes as they are more commonly known). If you are interested in seeing more, my HiFi videos are all collected on youtube in This Playlist and the accompanying articles are here.

One interesting fact I picked up whilst making this video: As 78rpm records held under five mins of music per side, longer collections of music consisted of multiple 78s held in pages bound together in a book. This book was known as an album (for obvious reasons). When people moved to the 33rpm vinyl record the album name stuck even though the book was no longer used.

Monday
Mar302015

The Full Xiaomi Yi Action Camera Review

I must have had upwards of fifty people contact me and ask if I’d heard of the new Xiaomi Yi camera and whether I was going to review it, however a few hours before the first of those messages arrived, I’d already pre-ordered one. I suspected that a budget 1080p60 camera from a reputable manufacturer would be worth taking a look at…and it seems I wasn’t wrong.

I’ve been using it for a little over a week now, and you can find my video review below. 

As I mentioned in the video I intend to revisit this camera when the waterproof case is released. At that point I’ll probably do another video showing how it performs on my motorcycle, however you should be already able to tell that the video quality from this camera is very impressive.

If you want to download my SAMPLE CLIPS & PHOTOS- then CLICK HERE. Wait for this to load but if it doesn't then use a different browser (e.g. chrome) or take a break, have a coffee and come back later. Make sure you Download and play these back locally rather than streaming them.

Waterproof Case details here (pre-order)

Below are some purchasing links

AMAZON US   AMAZON UK

EBAY (click your country)

UK   US   DE   NL   AU   BE   CA   CH   ES   FR   IE   IT

BANGGOOD (Links below) 

Jungle Colour (Green/Lime & a bit cheaper) or White 

Android App Link - http://sports.xiaoyi.com/app/sports_camera.apk

UPDATE - Connecting to the Camera. 

Since the manual is in Chinese and not everyone is familar with the process of connecting to a WiFi camera, here is a basic guide.

First download and install and update the app listed above. Once it's working, then...

1) Go into the settings on your phone and look for the WiFi option

2) Turn on the WiFi on the Camera (tap the button on the side)

3) Wait approx 15 secs until the blue light starts flashing

4) In the WiFi settings on your phone you will then see the camera appear as a WiFi hotspot.

5) Connect to the hotspot - it will ask for the password - it's 1234567890

6) When the Phone is connected up to the camera - then go into the app and you can access the camera and it's settings.

Sunday
Mar222015

Rip it up and start again - Sony HAP-S1 vs Pioneer NP-01S

Have you ever had an idea for a product in your head and then tried to find out whether someone was actually making it. That’s what these two videos are about, initially failing, but ultimately succeeding in finding a HiFi component that matched a very specific and personal set of requirements. The HAP-S1 is such a good fit, it’s almost like Sony designed it with me in mind.

 

I do think it would be a great idea if Sony made cheaper version of the HAP-S1 without the built in amp. They do sell an amp-less model - the HAP-Z1 but it is even more High-end, comes with a 1TB HDD and costs twice the price.
  
I’ve seen other reviews of the HAP-S1 focus on the fact that the initial transfer of music to the 500GB internal HDD takes way too long over a network connection and would be better if it could be done via the USB port. Whilst I agree that it is an inconvenience, it only needs to be done once. After my initial set-up I’ve purchased a few Hi Res albums from HDTracks and they’ve each copied over in a few minutes.
  
One thing I didn’t mention in the video is the fact that the HAP-S1 somehow managed to add in almost all my missing album art. After a couple of days I noticed that it was populating the missing art automatically and also seemed to be tidying up the names of some albums and artists. My music collection has never been so neat and organised.
 
The Sony HAP-S1 is not cheap - but sometimes you get what you pay for and for me this is one of those times. I can’t recall the last time I was this happy with a consumer electronics device.
 
You can find out more, or buy a HAP-S1 at Sony in the UK. It’s also available from Amazon in the US and you might be able to get a deal on eBay.
  

 

Sunday
Mar152015

CCTV Basics - Wired day & night outdoor camera.

Over the last couple of months I've been experimenting with CCTV with the aim of setting up a budget system to monitor a garden for nocturnal wildlife. I've condensed what I've learned so far into the video below. You'll see a demonstration of the day and night video quality from three budget cameras, I show how to connect everything together, pass on a few tips and I won't over complicate things with needless technical jargon.

 

After watching that, you'll see that setting up a CCTV system can be done very cheaply. If you want to buy any of the things shown in the video then you'll find the links below. (All links are for the UK only unless specified).

'White' Camera - from China (ebay UK)  - ebay US link here

'Silver' Camera (Amazon UK)                 'Johnny 5' Camera (Amazon UK)

8" LCD Monitor (Amazon UK)                 Old Sony 6" CRT Broadcast Monitor  (ebay UK)

 

   
   
Note - some of these items may come from China, take a while to arrive and could incur import duty costs.
As always I can't guarantee the long-term performance or longevity of anything I review.

 

Sunday
Mar012015

K1S - The first Front & Rear Hidden 1080p Dash Camera

My full video review for the K1S 2ch HD Car DVR is below. 
   
  
If you want to watch my 'Beginners Guide To Dashcams' video - Click here.
   
The K1S manufacturer website is here, and pdf manuals for the camera can be found here.
   
For my downloadable sample videos click here Give this a few seconds to load up - if it doesn't, try a different browser (Chrome works for me) or try again later. As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Note: These files have been manually trimmed for length (and filesize) - therefore the start and end points for the front and rear clips no longer match each other perfectly.
  
Size Comparison
The control unit is approximately the same thickness as a box of cards but a bit smaller overall (without cables).
   
Buying the K1S
I’ll add links below as and when I discover additional resellers. 
Amazon US Links
Ebay US link here


 
   
UPDATE 02 March 2015
I've received the answers to a few questions I asked the manufacturers.
 
1) The Car Lamp Open/Closed menu as expected does warn the driver if they are driving in the dark with the headlamps off. It judges this by the exposure.
  
2) Apparently the battery used is a Standard GoPro size....which is great. Normally I try to avoid dashcams that use batteries, because when the internal battery fails you have to replace the whole camera - in this case you can buy a new battery. Just a reminder -  I can't comment on the long term reliability of any cam after only a month of use.
 
3) I wasn't sure how the emergency button handled the files. I was concerned that if you saw something you wanted to keep - but the camera started recording the next file before you managed to press the button then you would be protecting the wrong clip. Well it turns out the manufacturer has thought of this. "When this button is pressed, if current recording is less than 1 minute, then current file and the file before this (together 2 files) are locked"
 
4) Not a question, but I have raised the issue of the need for resellers in China who can export to Europe and also the Speedcam database is no use in the UK until the camera can support additional database formats. Both these things are being explored...but the database issue isn't a simple quick fix.
Saturday
Feb072015

The Big SJ5000+ Action Camera Review

Twenty-odd years ago I worked in HMV. I remember being amazed when people came in the shop asking whether the latest cinema release was also available to buy on video. Fast forward a couple of decades and within a few hours of the  SJCAM SJ5000+ being announced as a preorder, scores of people emailed me to inform me that the camera was out now, asking me when my review would be ready. It seems like some things haven't changed much.

I don't know why people thought that I wouldn’t have heard about the SJ5000+. My previous SJCAM reviews have amassed a couple of million views, so it's a company that I naturally keep a close eye on. I bought their SJ5000+ as soon as it went on sale and I've been testing it for the last few weeks.
 

The reason I mentioned the fevered anticipation for the SJ5000+ above, is because I wonder if the pressure on SJCAM to deliver a follow up to their big hit, the SJ4000, may have resulted in this camera being rushed out before it was ready. It's definitely in need of a few firmware tweaks to get rid of bugs and the battery management could have done with optimising before the camera went on sale. 

I'll have to consider this to be a review of an unfinished product.  I intend to revisit this camera if improvements are made to the way it performs and perhaps then I'll also get the chance to take it out on the motorbike on a sunny day.
 
Watch the video below to find out all about the SJ5000 Plus. Both the good.... and the not-so-good.
 
 
  
If you want a 1080p60 SJCAM now, there are some affiliated buying links below:
The ebay links are here: (click your country) UK  US  AU  DE  NL  FR
   
For my sample videos and stills click here (give this a few seconds to load up - if it doesn't, try a different browser or try again later).
As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Other cameras I've recently reviewed in the SJCAM range (all capable of 1080p30).
 
Also note that at the time of posting - Amazon UK have a great offer on the Sony AS30 at £130. This camera may not have a live video screen, but it does record 1080p60 video and has excellent quality video stabilsation, stereo sound, WiFi and GPS logging.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - the Battery life is now approx 55 Mins (Using firmware 1.7) 
See video below for more info.