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Pick of the Camera Reviews

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ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
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Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
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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%! 

            

 
« Home Cinema on the Cheap (720p is good enough) | Main | Sony HDR-TG3 with a Wide Angle Lens »
Wednesday
Jun112008

Creative Vado Review and Sample Footage

Vado Out and About



I picked up a Creative Vado today. This might seem a bit weird, given that I already have the beautiful Sony TG3 HD Camcorder– but it does make sense, let me explain.

On my holiday there is a chance that I will end up going on a white water rafting trip. The instructions say wear a swimming costume under your clothes and pack a change of clothes as it is likely you will get wet. Now I don’t expect to get totally submerged given that this is the family friendly Cruise Passenger version of a white water rafting trip. but equally this doesn’t sound like a good place to take my £550 Sony Camcorder, so enter the Vado.


Vado box


You will probably have heard of the Flip Video and maybe even read good things about it. The Flip has been credited with capturing 13% of the US camcorder market in the year or so it has been available. That’s stretching the definition of camcorder a bit if you ask me, I’d consider these devices to be in a category of their own (video clip recorder?) Well at the time of writing, the Flip is not freely available in the UK, but Creative’s version (homage?), the Vado is (I think it only came out a couple of days ago).



The Vado takes simplicity to a new level. The box contents are: The camera, its battery and a couple of instruction leaflets. No carry case, no lanyard, no discs, nuffin.


The camera is roughly the size of a thin mobile phone (it reminds me of one of the Motorolas). It’s very lightweight and slips easily in a shirt pocket or could hang around a neck if a spare lanyard can be acquired from somewhere.


Inside The BoxVado 2


VadoVado


VadoVado



Controls again are foolproof, Record, Play, Delete, FF, Rev, Power. The USB plug pops out of the bottom on a flexible plastic arm and is held to the camera by a magnet when not extended. On screen control for recording, deleting and playing clips is completely intuitive.



The battery charges via USB in two hours, or three if you are using the Vado as a mounted drive on your computer.


Battery life will last long enough to fill up the internal memory which holds 1 hr in HQ (640x480) or 2hrs in SQ (320x240) both record at 30fps.


Vado 4vado


The LCD Screen is actually rather nice, its 2 inches and displays a full 640x480 image. One of the biggest selling points to me is the fact that the Vado has a standard tripod mount on the base. So combine one of these cameras with a Gorillapod and you have a cheap(ish) ‘stunt camera’ to attach to a car, bike  etc.


Stunt Cam



Possible downsides, well as expected there is no Image Stabilisation and apparently the inbuilt software (which is supposed to automatically upload clips to youtube) doesn’t work with a Mac. Splash or water-proofing would be a good idea, but it looks like it would resist the odd raindrop to me. The Youtube thing doesn’t bother me as I’ll be dragging/dropping and transcoding all my clips though Visualhub first anyway and then integrating them with the rest of my edited holiday footage.




The other year I went on a Wave-Runner (jet ski type thing) and took one of the Oregon Scientific ATC2K waterproof cameras with me.


Unfortunately when I got back home and put the SD card in the PC I found that the camera had been pointing in the wrong direction for much of the time so most shots were just sea rushing past. Therefore to me, a viewfinder or LCD screen is essential for one of these devices. Incidentally a friend later borrowed my ATC2K and attached it to his Motorcycle forks and it wasn’t long before its plastic custom mounting system snapped off (it doesn’t use a standard tripod screw).




You might think, why not just use your mobile phone camera instead, and that’s a fair point – but you might not want to drop your phone over the side of a boat any more than you’d want to drop a camcorder, and its pretty unlikely that it can be easily attached to a tripod mount.



Anyway, HERE IS A TEST CLIP taken with the Vado that I’ve uploaded on Vimeo (and HERE IS THE ORIGINAL FILE to download). I tried putting it on youtube, but it looks dreadful on there for some reason (perhaps it didn't like their transcoding techniques). I'm pretty impressed with its wide(ish) angle lens and decent low light performance - the indoor section of the clip is in the Printworks in Manchester and it is really pretty dark in there, the camera picked up more than my naked eye could see.



So overall - very recommended. Currently only available via DSG (Dixons Stores Group) in the UK for around £79.99 . Dixons.com is £4.95 cheaper than PC World (if you can find a way to get free postage) because for some reason Dixons is selling the Silver model cheaper than the pink one at the moment which might be a pricing error. This is top end of what these devices are worth - I think £50-£60 would make this an irresistible proposition.

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Reader Comments (7)

Does the Vado take still pictures as well? Or must a "frame" be captured from the video?

June 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Hi Jim, It doesn't have a still photo button, you must use a frame capture instead. I think the included PC software has this function, but I must admit I haven't tested this out myself.

June 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Techmoan
I just need to know. The test clip you uploaded . . Is it in HQ or SQ ?

- Tobias :)

January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTobias Nielsen

It's an HQ Clip, 640x480.

January 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

I could not find the clip.
"The file you are trying to access is no longer available publicly.

Please contact the user who has shared this file with you. "
Can I see the clip somewhere else?

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Sorry - this was posted over a year ago and since then Adrive seem to have deleted it. If I can find the clip again I'll update the link.

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

I've re-uploaded the clip to Vimeo - Its converting as I type, so I've no idea if it looks like the original - I've also put the original up on Mediafire - links in the original review.

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

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