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FOR A CAMERA RECOMMENDATION...

ALL THE ONES THAT I LIKE ARE SHOWN BELOW. 

ACTION CAMS

Sony AS100V

SJ4000

TCL SVC200
SJ1000
 
Sony AS15/AS10
Liquid Image EGO
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
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Vico TF2+
Vico WF-1
Mini 0801
DOD LS430W
Mobius
MINI CAMERAS
Innovv C1
Mobius

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What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - this is the one I use and recommend. It comes with a full-size adaptor, so you can use it in any of your devices. SanDisk UHS-1 is the same speed as Class 10.

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).

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Friday
Feb182011

(Finally) A Real HD Mini Keyring Spy Camera #11 808

After having my hopes raised and dashed in quick succession by a number of "HD" spy cams - I've finally managed to get hold of a real one. It's the latest version of my previous favourite, the DVK808 Keychain spy camera #3, and it's unofficially known as the #11 808 camera.

First a quick word about some of the (non) HD cameras I've received in the past. Some people are still surprised that there are dishonestly advertised Chinese products available. In comments left on my youtube videos, people can't believe that my HD spy pen wasn't really HD, and my 720p Car Recorder doesn't record in 720p - they naively suggest that I must have been using them incorrectly. Surely someone wouldn't sell a jittery SD product claiming it was HD, would they? Well normal trading rules don't seem to apply in China, and to me that's all part of the fun.

If I wanted to guarantee that I got a real HD helmet camera, I could always go and spend £200 on a GoPro or a Contour HD, but where is the fun in that? I give Amazon £200 and they send me exactly what I paid for..... sounds a bit dull to me. I'd much rather send some bloke in China £30 and see if what turns up in the mail a few weeks later. Finding out if  a product lives up to the grandiose claims in it's Ebay listing is a big part of the enjoyment. It's like a lucky dip, some you win, some you lose.

This time I won big..... this camera is the real thing. The video quality on this is astounding considering the size of the lens and the £26 cost. You'll need to watch the video to learn all about this amazing little camera - I will warn you that you may shed a tear at the end, I nearly did.

 

Where can you get one from?

At the time of writing the Ebay sellers who offer this camera are all based in Hong Kong. A few example names of sellers are below (I am not endorsing any of these, but they seem to sell the #11 camera).

 -----> My order from here only took 10 Days to get to the UK!

hxelepro360

power-gps

How can you make sure you are buying the right camera?

Look for the following info in their listings, H.264 .MOV file format, 1280x720, #11 HD car key camera (or words to that effect).

If you see a 1280x960 HD camera advertised don't buy one by mistake, they aren't HD and are only 640x480 upscaled.

How do you change the time?

Here is an example of the TXT file used to set the time. Download this, open it in a text editing program, type over the appropriate time and date, save it and copy it to the memory card in the camera.

Example Photos

It takes mediocre quality photos,  nothing that any modern camera phone couldn't beat. 

Below are some thumbnails which link to the original untouched photos taken by the camera in photo mode.

UPDATE - 21 FEB 2011 - It Lives!

After the video, I retrieved it from the bin and left it on a shelf for a couple of days. I thought I'd give it one last try and put the old firmware back on a Memory stick again. Plugged the camera into a wall charger and tried to switch it into webcam mode. To my surprise it came on and then re-flashed the old firmware. Pushing my luck, I decided to try flashing the date removal firmware again and it worked this time. I now have a time & date free camera. I may even upload the new firmware to the site now.....but don't come running to me if it all ends in tears.

Update 22 FEB 2011 - Firmware!

OK, I've relented. For those people who want to try and delete the Time & Date stamp - the firmware is uploaded on my Files & Drivers page or you can just Click Here to download it directly.  Just a couple of pointers, make sure the camera is fully charged. Put the firmware on a memory card  (preferably using a card reader). Just put the FW96630A.bin file in the root directory - not into any folder & also don't change the filename. Insert the card into your camera. Tap the On button and then wait a few secs - the orange light should flash, wait another couple of secs and then switch the camera off. Remove the card, put it back into your computer and delete the firmware file from the card (if you don't delete the firmware, the camera will just try to re-flash it every time you switch it on). I take no responsibility for anyone who kills their camera trying this....good luck.

(Too many people were reporting errors with these firmwares - so I've removed them)

Update 20 MAR 2011 - Video Editing Issues.

I've come across a strange problem with the .MOV files that this camera creates. iMovie sometimes wants nothing to do with the video files and refuses to import them. This only happens with the 20 minute files that the camera has closed off itself. If I start and stop the recording manually, then the resulting video clip imports fine. So for example if I were to record 30 mins of footage in one go with the camera, the first 20 min clip wouldn't import, but the last 10 min one would. This is weird, its as though the camera is corrupting it's own clips when it closes them. I've get the same results with both my cameras (one with the date stamp firmware and one without). The only way I could get my footage into iMovie was to transcode it first. I tried a few transcoding programs that refused to touch the video, erroring out with unrecognised/unsupported file type messages. Luckily I found that Handbrake was happy to transcode the file into an MP4 which I could then proceed to import and edit in iMovie. 

This might not be an issue to many people, and if the above paragraph means nothing to you then you are probably one of them. If all you want to do is capture video and then play it back through Quicktime or VLC then you are fine - but if you actually want to edit the footage you have shot, you should be aware that it is likely you will need to transcode it first.

Update – 25 March 2011 – New Continuous Recording Firmware

I have uploaded the ‘continuous recording’ firmware to the Files & Drivers page HERE. I have successfully installed and tested this on my second camera. 

This firmware fixes a number of problems. 
  1. It removes the time and date 
  2. When the battery dies, the current recording is now saved, rather than lost. 
  3. Rather than creating a new file every 20 mins, it now creates a new one every 4GB. 
  4. The video files created can be edited as normal - no transcoding required.

A 4GB file will be contain either 50 or 75 mins of video – dependent on the bitrate that your camera records at (there are two versions of the camera, one that records at 7000kbps and one at 10000kbps – the video quality is indistinguishable between them). As the battery life of this camera is approx 45 min, in normal use the camera will record one file until the battery dies. 

If you attach the camera to the supplied car charger, it will keep recording 4GB files until your memory card is full, however if you power it with a normal USB lead, it will only record one 4GB file and then stop recording. This is because of the non-standard way the camera USB power plug is wired. 

Installing the firmware is done in the same way as before – download and extract the zip file. Get the file called "FW96630A.BIN" and copy it to the root of your memory card. Put the card in the camera. Tap the On button and then wait for the yellow light to come on, this should take about 5 seconds. Turn it off again and remove the card from the camera and then delete the "FW96630A.BIN" file from the memory card. That’s it. 
If you ever want to reinstate the time and date – you could re-flash the original firmware – but due to the various drawbacks with the original firmware, I wouldn’t recommend it.

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Reader Comments (254)

sorry... do you suggest or not to remove the data and time using bin file?

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I'm in two minds. It worked for me in the end, but it's not without some risk. You'll have to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself. It also depends how much £30 means to you.

February 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

First, sorry for my english, i'm spanish. Very useful your review about this camera, i bought one of this in ebay 5 days ago, i hope arrives soon.
One question, i'm a padel tenis player, do you think this camera is good to place in a cap peak? or too many movement? xD
Thank u and congratulations for your web!

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

Attaching a camera to your head generally reduces any shaking to a minimum as you tend to keep your head still. The only problem will be that you will have to face the object you are filming without moving your head from side to side which might look a bit strange if you stand and stare at something for too long.

February 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Ok, thanks, I'll show you the results ;P

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

Did you test the camera on your scooter? I ordered a couple of chinese camera's to record some of my travels on my motorcycle. Some worked, some didn't. But I don't really care. We seem to have the same approach to these products. In my opinion there was only one thing that was missing and that was a HD-camera. Now that is resolved I hope it will be a good one.

I do intend to take both my HD cameras out on my bike as soon as I've got a couple of days off work in sunny weather. I was thinking of attaching one to my helmet and the other one very low down on the bike near the road, I just need to find a way to mount it securely.

February 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Mouting it securely without to much vibrations is indeed a challange. You could start with industrial Velcro. I ordered some through eBay.
just search on 3M SJ3540 HEAVY DUTY DUAL LOCK. This is secure but on my 2-cylinder bike it didn't filter the vibes well enough. I'm now testing al kinds of padding. And this seems to work. I'm still not really satisfied but I'm getting there.

I just received this camera today off Ebay for $40 (Aus) and can confirm the flash does remove the date time stamp. Very easy to do, worked 1st shot.

I'll be using this to replace my gum stick spy camera I've currently been using to record youtube vids with when I'm on the bike. If it wasn't for the review on this camera I was about to fork out a few hundred for a Go Pro or equivalent. So you've saved me a few $. Thanks.

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaptainspankmehard

Oh, the #12 camera????

Power duration 4-5 hours
Power supply Embedded 550mAh Li-polymer Battery


US $41.24 / piece
http://www.aliexpress.com/product-gs/387429228-Free-Shipping-New-720P-Car-Key-Chain-Hidden-Camera-DVR-1280-720-Support-TF-Card-wholesalers.html


Is it true?

March 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterca12

Chuck Lohr had an early look at an 808 #12 camera details here ..
http://www.chucklohr.com/808/C12/index.html#110201-C12-720P-AVI-MJPEG
It seems to have dropped frame issues, but perhaps you should get hold of one to try it out.

Thanks for checking in...

Techmoan

March 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Have you seen a review and a sample video of this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5WwUAooQAg&NR=1
I can not find any information about it nor sample video.
it has motion detection that I am interested in.

Can you recommend a good camera of this type that has motion detection feature.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim

@Jim - Sorry for the delay in responding - that video link you sent, goes to some chap on a bike (with an interesting taste in music) using what seems like a #3 808 camera (identified by the font/colour/size) of the date & time stamp. As far as motion detection goes, there are some keyring cameras about that do this - just try and avoid anything with a 1280x960 resolution (upscaled & jerky 640x480 cameras with a poor frame rate).

March 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks so much for the effort put in sharing your find.
I'm gonna get this one for sure and most likely from your proposed -ebayer.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterj0n

Glad to help j0n.

March 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for all the great info on this camera. I've ordered a #11 and my main concern is that it won't save readable files if I leave it running until the battery dies. I understand the best way around this is to update the firmware so that it goes into continuous recording mode. However, the only ZIP I can find to do this also patches the Time & Date, which has the associated risk of killing the device.

Do you have the firmware for just changing the recording mode and not the time & date? If not, could you advise me on how I could rollback the firmware if indeed I do brick my camera using the recording mode/time & date firmware you have in your Files & Drivers section?

Thanks.

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon M

@ Jon M
Updating the firmware runs an equal chance of bricking the camera irrespective of whether the time & date stamp is deleted. It’s the actual act of flashing the firmware that carries an inherent (albeit relatively small) risk. I don’t suppose this risk is any greater than updating the PS3 firmware or the OS on an iPhone.

The usual rules apply, make sure your camera is fully charged, that you are installing the correct firmware and don’t interrupt the process half way through. I’m going to be flashing my second camera with the Continuous Recording firmware tonight and I’ll update the review/blog post with the details. I’ve never bricked anything yet (although it initially appeared that I had in the video).

You’ll have to weigh up the risk/reward yourself, but for me the benefits in the new firmware are worth me taking the chance.

March 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I've had the mini HD camera about ten days now and the picture quality has started to degrade. Every video now has a rather burned out look with speckles appearing all over the place. I suppose it must be the cheap ccd chip - I've done about 7/8 hours videoing in total. What a shame!

March 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

@Andy That doesn't sound good. I hope this isn't a common problem. It's still early days yet, so we'll have to see if anyone else experiences similar problems.

March 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Your review was awesome, I am actually in Helsinki and I would really like to buy that camera. I have checked the links to buy that camera from ebay.co.uk but I have not found the product still. Could you recommend me some link so I could buy that camera? Thank you so much for your help

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBlackie

@blackie I'm not sure why you can't find them on eBay. If I put the text from the line below into an Ebay.co.uk search box and select International, I get 35 results,

Hd 808 #11

March 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

First, thanks so much for this detailed review. Ive been looking for a small camera I can take anywhere with me & use - but that can produce moderately good image quality. This one sure seems to fit the bill & I ordered mine this week. Its tough to know what is real & what is just hype on ebay, so thanks so much for giving us some clarity.

Second, if you ever find an HD (true HD, not upscaled) spy pen, please let us know. This key-ring camera will work for me, but a pen would certainly be a bit more convenient in the long run.

Thanks again. Love your site & youtube channel.

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjustin

I tried it out attached to my Lambretta yesterday morning, footage is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLe3kxbuExk

I just attached velcro to a magnet, and stuck that on the front fender. Obviously, the vibration caused quite a bit of "jelly" effect. I need to work up some vibration damping, perhaps neodymium magnets and a couple layers of inner tube rubber? I still think it looks pretty great.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Hi Techmoan, big thanks for your GREAT reviews.

Today I tried to remove the time from my 2 new HD car key cameras

1st one I copied the FW96630A file to the root directory while Micro SD card was inserted in the HD car key camera. The RESULT? camera #1 is dead. No reposnse at all.

2nd Camera I copied the FW96630A file to the root directory in the Micro SD card in the HD car key camera (through a USB card reader). The RESULT? camer #1 is dead. No reposnse at all.

What am I doing wrong? Both cameras just arrived to me TODAY.

When I plug then in a USB slot the LED light comes on but nithing else. By pressing any buttons get no response at all.

Any help please?

Thanking you in advance

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterteckgeek52

Sounds like what happened to me. Make sure they are fully charged, and if possible attach them to a USB wall charger whilst you do the next step.
Put the original firmware back on the memory card (The Date On firmware). Try and switch it on, by tapping on (and letting go). The light should flash once, go out and then come on again after approx 5 seconds. If this doesn't work then press the front button (nearest the lens and keep it held down while you press the other button...hold for a few secs until something happens. I can't really say for definite what I did with mine, it just eventually came back to life once I put the original firmware back on it. Once the camera light is back on you should turn the camera off and delete the firmware from the card before switching the camera on again, or you'll just end up reflashing it over and over again.

After mine had reloaded the original firmware it was fine for all future flashes. Good luck.

April 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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