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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
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
Yi

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%! 

 
« A few short videos about things | Main | Two new videos, A Crystal Watch and an OBD-II Display »
Sunday
Nov132011

A 'black box' for your car.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who are looking for a 'fit and forget' car camera. One that will continuously and unobtrusively record every journey - with no need for any manual intervention. A camera that you would only touch if you got into an accident and you needed to pull the evidence off it. The automotive equivalent of a aircraft black box recorder. 

Well, if you can find a way to hide this camera away in your car then this might be the one for you. The video explains pretty much everything (hopefully) that you will need to know.

Even the Muppets that I picked up a couple of years ago get let out of their display cases to help me explain something. 

If you are thinking of taking the camera apart - I've put a picture below that shows what it looks like without the Suction cup mount and what happens if you try and unscrew and remove the protruding bracket (it contains the wiring to the GPS aerial socket - so you would need to disconnect/snip these wires to be able to remove this section - not beyond the realms of possibility, but also not something that I want to do).

I have also put a couple of untouched 1080p sample clips in a dropbox folder - a 2 min 130MB clip, and a shorter 30 second 30MB clip. Right click and save either of these if you want to test them. 

130MB

30MB

UPDATE - People email me regularly to tell me that this camera is no longer available from Chinavasion. 

A quick search shows that it is still available on ebay though.. 

 

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Reader Comments (241)

@John. I'm not sure anyone can really answer your questions unless they have experience with the specific type of camera you have purchased. Generic answers below :)

1/ Most products will function as a USB mass storage device. Devices with built-in cameras, such as cell phones, often operate in multiple modes, as either Web cams or storage devices, so you may need to press a button to switch modes. The V1000GS reviewed in this blog entry needs to be switched to mass storage 'USB' mode to access it as a storage device, as the USB port can apparently be used for power as well (plus AV).

2/ The battery on the V1000GS/DOD GS600 etc., is essentially for shutting down the camera once power is removed. The x2000 is not very big, so I doubt battery life would be significant. My co-worker has a helmet camera with a ~1000mAh battery (size of a small cell phone battery), runtime is 90-120 minutes at 720P, half at 1080P, two video sources is likely to consume more.

3/ A Class 4 device was used in this review. In theory, Class 4 is plenty fast enough for the job. In practice, the Class classification is not independently validated, and there may be other inefficiencies to consider, such as internal buffers, and the method of data transfer used on the device (SD supports multiple interfaces). There is probably no need to buy an expensive card.

December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSir Humphrey Appleby

The V1000GS came in, and I must say I am 1000% impressed with the improvements over the original GS600 (Dod-tec). The ability to record 45 minute segments is awesome, and all but eliminates the need for super-fast SD cards. In fact, I have no issues with my class 4 card.

Based on the Techmoan's review, I purchased two. But now, I want to get a bunch more to give as gifts to immediate family members. Cheap insurance in a litigious world.

The HD Player that comes with the camera seems to work better than the same software (same title too) from Dod-Tec. But, if the clip is more than 5 min long, the time line runs off the screen. In other words, if I have a clip that is 10 or 15 minutes, the scrubber showing the progress along the time line will run off the screen at 5 min. That means, I cannot see speed, or other XYZ data - nor can I slide the scrubber forward or backward to points of interest.

Has anyone found a work around on this?

December 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentererkme73

Instead of sticking the camera to the windshield, I would like to have it farther back, so it also records my rear view mirrors and the dashoard instruments. Did you try out this? Does it make sense or will the mirrors be to small to see anything? Accident cases often involve somebody coming from behind, recklessly passing or crashing into you. Also I might have to proove whether I had the turning indicator on.

Another function which I look for is a long play surveillance mode, maybe at 1-2fps, to record 24-48 hours. I have to park my car on a narrow street and once every few months, the outside rear view mirror gets damaged by passing cars. Is there any firmware or other camera that can do that?

December 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK.S.

Very informative review. I bought one for each of my two sons for Xmas and tried one today. Cables very easy to hide around the windscreen (Astra Sporthatch) and it is quite discreet behind the rearview mirror. When we played the footage back on the PC with the HDplayer software there was no map showing. Just a black area. The GPS was working because the display showed position and speed. Has anyone got any ideas please?

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeefy

@keefy

Was your PC connected to the internet ? I think it needs to be to get Google map data from the net ? I could be wrong, only a suggestion !
Every time I view the video etc ZoneAlarm asks for permission for the HD Player software to connect.

I also found that my GPS info was a quite a bit out on the map but was soon corrected after installing these updated Codecs & now works fine & is spot on.

http://download.cnet.com/K-Lite-Mega-Codec-Pack/3000-13632_4-10794603.html

Hoping this may help you.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Where did you get the camera? It looks like something you would buy at a best radar detector type of place but I'm not seeing it. I do think especially if you drive a lot for work that having something like this could be genius.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn

I wonder if for those of us that are looking for that built in GPS this camera would in fact have it thus eliminating an extra hanging cable.

Ebay item : 220920625668

From other posts I have read that other cameras that did not have that antenna plug in the picture ended up having them anyways but they were all exactly the same as the V1000GS with the exception of the plug. This one seems different as it has a screen!. Yes it would be a bit bigger than the V1000GS but maybe because of the screen it would eliminate the antenna connector. Anybody tried this camera?

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Alan, that's a very interesting find. It seems like the manufacturer of the original DOD-Tec GS600 has 'widened' their distributorship, and is making different (competing) versions. I just sent the seller an email asking him to confirm what the loop interval times are.

Also, if you watch the sample video (day), the GPS seems to be very inaccurate and laggy. This is exactly what I experienced with the GS600 (but not with the V1000G). I suspect it may have something to do with the internal/external configuration.

BTW, I am fairly certain that when a seller shows the V1000G, despite any claim that the GPS antenna is internal, and photos showing no connector, by it's very nature, the V1000G does, in fact, come with an external antenna. The pictures appear to be of the V1000. Best to send the seller a question to confirm. Given the extremely long GPS lock times, poor accuracy, and very laggy performance, I personally would not get another internal-based system.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentererkme73

I am of the opinion that the external antenna of the V1000GS is the best option. The unit appears to have a standard antenna connector (what appear to be identical antennae are available on eBay), so my intention is to replace the supplied antenna with a smaller one once I've confirmed what type of connector is on the unit.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSir Humphrey Appleby

@ Sir Humphrey Appleby
It's a U.fl connector. Search on u.fl to SMA adaptor.
You can see me use one to boost my Wifi in this old video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9QRXobiF_k

January 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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