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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

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 too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
Friday
Jan122018

Dashcam Review - Dual Lens 1080p Z-Edge S3

In an attempt to answer the question "What dual 1080p dashcam would you recommend?"
I'm testing the Z-Edge S3. Video below. 
   
  
Available from.
   
Sample Clips here: http://bit.ly/2mprvVN
   
Beginners Guide to dashcams here: http://www.techmoan.com/guide-to-dashcams/
The camera I put back in the car is a Viofo A119 - here is the review of that one. 
   
Anticipated questions
Q) What cut off the DAB radio reception?
A) Electrical Interference
   
Q) Perhaps the problem with electrical interference is down to the Z-edge’s power supply. 
A) I didn’t use it, I re-used the same USB power adaptor I use on the Viofo A119  
   
Q) Why didn't you adjust the brightness in the settings?
A) There are no options for brightness or exposure in the settings
Friday
Jan052018

RokBlok Review

I first heard about the Rokblok on Kickstarter although I didn't back it, because I really didn't need a novelty way to play back records. I knew all about the Soundwagon Vinyl Killers from the 1970s and to me this just seemed like an updated version with bluetooth. I still couldn't see how driving the stylus around the top of a static record could produce acceptable results. The Soundwagon players of the past were toys, whereas this device seemed to be taking itself much more seriously. 
   
So I forgot about it - the Kickstarter came and went, the project was sucessfully funded and due to be delivererd to customers towards the end of 2017.  However in recent months quite a few people got in touch to ask me whether I'd be reviewing it when it came out. I decided that even though it wasn't for me, perhaps it woud be a fun gadget to demonstrate and I may even be pleasantly surprised with the results. I went ahead and ordered one from their online store.
 
Well here's my video review - as well as a follow up to the review and unfortunately it hasn't lived up to my expectations, and I had set them quite low. I never like to see a product underperform, but I can only report back on my personal experience. I need to stress that the manufacturers have been in touch and stated that it should sound much better than this - so I hope this turns out to be true and if you have already ordered one, yours produces much better results. 
  
Thursday
Dec282017

8ban records - purposefully low-fi

The 8ban is a format I've wanted to cover for a few years, but it's not been simple, as while the special turntables are relatively easy to find, the miniature records that play on them have proved to be much more elusive. 
   
However I've finally been able to obtain a stack of unopened records together with a new-old-stock turntable upon which to play them, so it's high time to take a look at this low-fi format.
   
Friday
Dec222017

Yi 360 VR vs Ricoh Theta V (360º Cameras)

Its the last video before Christmas and I'm looking at two 360º cameras, the Yi 360 VR and the Ricoh Theta V. 
     
     
Managing Expectations with 360º video
   
I've seen people express disappointment with the video quality of consumer 360º devices but they are usually comparing them against professionally shot 360º footage, which just isn't a fair fight. Because while you could take a standard photo on a consumer DSLR camera that can rival the very best photos taken with the best equipment, when it comes to 360º video it's a very different story.
    
When viewing a 360º video you are zooming in on section of the overall image. So while the resolution of the video file might be 3840x1920 you may just be looking at a 640x360 slice from that. The rest of the video is made up of what's going on over your head, down at your feet and behind you. 
   
Consumer 360º camera manufacturers are at the limit of what can be handled by current imaging chipsets. Even if you could get a 360º camera that recorded 8K video, this would still look softer than a standard flat 1080p video once you'd zoomed in on a section of it. 
   
Professional quality 360º videos use multiple individual cameras (e.g. The GoPro Omni uses 6 Go-Pro cameras) and the video from those six cameras is stitched together using a computer. 
   
So this is where it's at with consumer 360º cameras, they are just a bit of fun and won't be capable of producing the same results as a professional rig, but then again the pro equipment doesn't fit in your jeans pocket. 
   
Purchasing Links
   
Amazon US
   
Amazon UK
   
Amazon CAN
Yi 360 (Not Listed)
   
SAMPLE CLIPS
I've managed uploaded a sample video from each camera shot in their '4K' modes to youtube.
You can view these in 360º using the youtube App on a smartphone or tablet...and in the Chrome browser.
Here are the samples 
1) Yi 360  
I don't think youtube can display these in their full resolution modes in 360º and also I've noticed that the Theta Video and Audio are now in sync once uploaded to youtube, so it appears the sync issue is in the IOS app and not the original footage.
Also for some unknown reason the Yi footage looks softer than the Theta on youtube. I don't know why this is.
   
I haven’t found a way to upload the Yi 360’s '5.7K' mode footage to YouTube and have it stitch together. 
 
Thursday
Dec142017

Is Reel to Reel the new Vinyl? 

The short answer is no, but the long answer is much more complicated and requires a video to explain exactly what is meant by reel to reel, because in some ways it’s a dead format, yet in others it’s enjoying a comeback. 

Clearly a short video like this can't hope to cover every possible aspect of the complete history of Reel to Reel from 1928 to 2017...for example it's missing facts like the first stereo tapes were recorded in Germany in the early 1940s, how different thicknesses and formulations of tapes affect sound quality, and why tails-out storage of tapes is recommended.

If you would like more information on the history of reel to reel, the following website is a great place to start: Reel 2 Reel Texas

Other Information/Links:

The Tape Project (Tapes & Useful Information)

The Verge Article from 2015

United Home Audio (High end 15ips machines)

Horch House (Tapes)

Opus 3 Records (Tapes)

Analogy Records (Tapes)

What Hi-Fi? article (Re-mastering)

If you are shopping for a Reel to Reel machine on ebay  - here's my affiliated link.

UPDATE:  Duplication Process

The company I contacted asking for more details regarding their process, have now got back to me. They've confirmed that they borrow the master tape, make a copy (or more likely a number of identical parallel copies on a bank of tape machines)...they then use these copies as their master to run duplicates off that they sell to you. The original master is returned to the studio. 

Demo Tape

If you want to hear the 1957 2 Track Stereo Demo Tape in full - it's here.

Saturday
Dec092017

Star Wars 40th Anniversary Soundtrack

In a sequel to 2016's demo of the Star Wars Hologram Vinyl -  I'm taking a look at the three disc & book Episode IV box-set. This one includes a Death Star hologram, so I naturally take a good look at that as well as flicking through the coffee table book. 

Purchasing Links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2npEdqm

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ksJZGA

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2BKn2D3

Previous videos referenced in this one.

Star Wars - The Force Awakes Hologram Vinyl https://youtu.be/aEbAaL7fPl4

The CTS advert audio tape reel: https://youtu.be/UsUjWKayoGo

Sunday
Dec032017

Tiny Arcade - Miniature Playable Arcade Machines

Ten year old me would think these were the most amazing things ever made…and thirty-odd years later, I’m still inexplicably drawn towards them. Miniaturised fully-functional arcade machines that are almost too small to play, well you can count me in.

    

Available from Amazon US:
Space Invaders http://amzn.to/2i7cFR2
Pac-Man & Space Invaders can also be found on Amazon UK. http://amzn.to/2ADuT5k 
     
Note - if you are thinking of importing these to the UK - not all Amazon resellers send outside the US.  I used a store called -importcds (if it doesn't default to them, look in the 'Other Sellers'  drop-down box in the right-hand column). 
   
Be careful not to confuse these with the various non-playable replicas and inferior games from other manufacturers. These Tiny Arcade machines are made by a company called Super Impulse and as yet they only make the four machines shown. 
I anticipate I'll get lots of comments stating the 8-Bit Guy did videos on these and whilst he has done a video about mini table top arcade games - they are a lot bigger than these and are made by a different manufacturer. He's a patron on my channel as am I on his, so we get to chat about these things sometimes, and I checked before I started making this video that I wasn't repeating something he'd already covered. Here is a link to his video https://youtu.be/Iuo0njOI-qE
  
UPDATE - I have been informed (in the comments) that these are also available in the UK through the retail chain Menkind, they stock two of the range of four machines (Pac Man & Space Invaders). You can also find them in the store Red5 in the UK (which MenKind owns). 
Friday
Dec012017

The Floppy Disk Boombox

There's a lot of tech that only musicians are aware of, and unless you frequented musical instrument stores in the late 1990s this device will most likely have passed you by. In the video below I demonstrate the Roland MT-80S, a portable machine that played music from floppy discs. What, how and why are all explained, you just need to press play.

Sunday
Nov262017

Your own plug and play Retro Arcade

If you've always wanted your own retro arcade cabinet, but don't have the space or money for one, this all-in-one arcade stick might be the answer.
  
The Pandora's Box 4S is a two player arcade quality controller containg hundreds of classic games that you can plug into a TV.
   
You can see my video demonstration below.
   
   
    
The links below will direct you towards Pandora's Boxes on ebay, there are a number of different configurations to choose from, but please look out for anyone pretending to sell these for just £30-£50, it costs more than that for the components.  You should expect to pay £120 - £150 for a Pandora Box 4S model like mine (or the equivalent of this in your local currency). Turn on international search to get the widest selection.
   
   
ebay buying tips
1) If it's too cheap to be true then it's not true. 
2) Only buy from someone who has sold plenty of things and has good feedback
3) Read the feedback to see if they have recently sold something similar to the item you are buying. e.g. If you are buying an arcade joystick but they only sold socks and gloves and their last sale was over a year ago, it's likely you are looking at a hijacked account. 
4) If possible buy from someone within your country to avoid paying duties - that may be  difficult with this, so factor in any potential duty costs.
5) Use Paypal for buyer protection

 

Thursday
Nov232017

Deals & Bargains

At this time of year I get innundated with emails about deals and offers. I thought it would be a good idea to sort through them and post any that I thought were useful. 

So to kick off - Remember the Yi 2.7K dashcam I reviewed a couple of weeks ago - well if you go to Amazon UK at the moment there's a £35 off promotional voucher you can apply (Promotions are shown below the price) - that makes it £69.99 - and it's very likely the best dashcam you can buy for £69.99.

Yi 2.K Dashcam on ebay - http://amzn.to/2jjzKnJ

If I hear about any more relevant deals - I'll add them to this post.

Wednesday
Nov222017

Techmoan Merch - Flippin 'eck

I'm regularly asked if I would consider selling merchandise featuring the Moans (the outro family of puppets). So I'm trying out a storefront on Teespring. Unfortunately the prices are higher than I was expecting, but it seems well organised, so I thought I'd give it a go. If there is any interest I'll add the rest of the family (and Zac) in later.

Here is the link: https://teespring.com/stores/techmoan-merch