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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%! 

            

 
« Just a quick video about Bananas | Main | My review of the Sanyo VPC-CS1 pocket 1080p Camcorder »
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 (266)

Hey, Techmoan, I ordered one off Amazon, and I think it's the #3. Is there any firmware available for that? I checked the info, it didn't give me a lot of info.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOinks

@Oinks The version 3 firmware can't be upgraded unfortunately.

May 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Yo, Techmoan, my friend showed me this and I think you'll be interested cause your popular and review stuff..

http://www.monstercable.com/reviewrequest/

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOinks

I did a lot of research for a car dvr system and I would love to use this little camera due to its small size and high picture quality. I would like to attach it to my rear view (in car) mirror to record traffic in front of me. I've seen the bulky bigger car dvr on ebay, and i think that would attract a lot of attention if not removed when not in used. I've been trying to figure out if there is a fix/firmware out there that allow this camera to overwrite old history file so I don't have to mess with taking the sd card to format it everyday. There seem to be a lot of tech savvy people on here that might know how to to this. If this can be accomplish, you are a genius and a god in my book. Thanks everyone.

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterQ

Anyone have success using deshaker with the #11? Any settings or tips?

June 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiteBright

Hello I attempted to insert the firmware to my #11 808 camera and now only get audio when I record. It didnt light up instantly when installing the firmware, and Im wondering did I brick it totally? Possible solutions.?
Anyone had this problem?
I attempted to insert the original firmware via your downloadable content but still does the same thing.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Please disregard the above content. I downloaded another source firmware and thankfully it came back.
To those who read this. I am not bashing this mans area and I am not blaming him for my almost mix up. I am not the most computer savy person and at times do make many mistakes. I could have extracted the zip file wrong or I could have hit a button wrong or just not let it wait long enough to fully install the firmware.
However if you do find yourself in my situation where maybe. I mean maybe your camera is being finiky I downloaded the on/off v2 firmware from this site. Its the third post on this thread.
http://www.wra2.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1528
Again I have nothing against this persons firmware and or them in general. I just wanted to though out this site in hopes it helps others save their cameras from utter death or non-use. Good luck.
Thanks Technoman.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Thank you so much for all of your thorough information. I'm not a techy, but you gave me enough information to pick out a camera. I just ordered mine. Once it comes I'm strapping it to my dog's head and then I will have a doggie cam.

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkeyray

My owner has converted a muzzle into a doggie-cam holder with a velcro attachment on top plus a #11 808 and it works great. He also has the same on his cycle helmet.

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGogi

Fantastic review and information! Your video is the reason I went with the #11 808 camera. Just wondering if you might be able to give any insight into a problem I'm having. I've tried asking on the RC forum and haven't gotten a response yet. I tried the time and date stamp removal, and the camera stopped functioning properly. So, I re-flashed the original firmware on to it, and now when I turn it on, the yellow light just continually blinks and none of the functions seem to work. Do you know of any possible fix, or did I just junk the camera? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for the fantastic blog!

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

@Joe It's pretty hard to really kill one of these cameras, not impossible, but pretty hard. I'd suggest charging it fully, formatting the card, putting a different firmware on, connecting it up to your PC with the two button webcam keypress - basically everything. Something should work eventually.

June 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hello Techmoan. i installed the exposure fix firmware and now when i record and play the video, its a blank screen with only the sound. what do you think is the problem and how can i fix this? thank you in advance

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkeychain

I tried the continuous record and time stamp removal and it worked for me, thanks Techmoan.

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRitchie Barber

i have the 808cay keys micro-camera, it work for the first two days and stop working.the camera is constantly on down without shutting down. in this case no botton is functioning and cannot be read on computer when connected

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterprince

Hi Techmoan! my 808 car micro camera malfucntioning, the on/off and video botton is not working again. when plug to charge, the charging ligth doesn't go off charger removed. please how do i solve this problem.

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterprince

Have you tried the RESET button? I think it might be agood idea

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterteckgeek52

Thank you for the nice review.

I just received the keychain cam from eletoponline365 at ebay but the camera shows blurry edges all over like there was some rain on the lens.

I opened the keychain as described on the rc forums and removed the part of glue bubble that's stuck on the lens holder but it seems like the little part that should be able to turn around to focus the lens is still stuck. Any ideas or maybe picture/video of how it's done? Could that part be glued also?

Thanks in advance!

J.

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoachim

Thanks for the 808#11 updates, I've done the time/date then the exposure firmwares. I found the cam need to be set aside for several minutes for the updates to install. Initially you think that the cam is bricked, so check it out later and don't bin it! ツ

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLocouk

@LocoUK
Thanks...I was on the verge of deleting the firmwares after a few people reported having problems. I thought that the files may have been corrupted during the upload process. So it's good to hear that you experienced no problems.

June 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I've updated the FW's on the 808 via the USB lead and can vouch that they are ok. The exposure FW took longer to update the cam than the time/date fw.
I guess this is what you experienced on the update you showed on YT, other people here have done the same and made a comment and haven't got back to say. (my guess)
On my last YT video I've put this site in the description.. I hope you don't mind?

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLocouk

@Locouk No, of course I don't mind being linked to ...quite the contrary. Many thanks.

June 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Big thanks for your revue Techmoan.
I was attended on your revue by a member of the Dutch motorcycle forum ( http://www.motor-forum.nl/forum/list_message/20087107#20087107 )
After reading all posts I bought this ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160605027176&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT ) item with external power supply.
I will report on the proceedings.

June 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAHA

@AHA

Hope you enjoy the HD808. I've got another Chinese camera review coming in a few days. This time it's one that is designed to be used as a proper helmet camera rather than a spy camera. It costs quite a bit more than an HD808, but it's still a lot cheaper than a Contour HD or a Hero. I'm currently doing some battery life tests on it...looking good.

June 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

How do I know if my 808 will do motion detection?

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDAVE

I just received my camera today and decided to upgrade the firmware. I followed the procedure, but I'm having a problem now and am wondering what else I can try.

The yellow light comes on when I power it on. I press the shutter button to start recording and it goes out as expected. However, from the point on, the camera becomes totally unresponsive. The light never comes back on. If I hold the two buttons down for a few seconds or hit the reset button, it will let me power it on again, but I still can't record.

I tried reflashing with the original firmware, but it doesn't help. I can't tell if it's flashing correctly or not.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShpeel

Well, I tried one last time to flash it again using the latest firmware, and now it's working. I'm not sure what was different on the third try, but the timestamp is gone and I have a working camera once again! Thanks!

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShpeel

hi guys
the time in my 808 runs really fast with a ratio of almost 6:1, in other words every second in reality the camera counts 6. so everytime I record I have to set it back to the right time. I tried resetting the device, installing new firmware but that didn't work. so if anyone knows how to fix this please help me.

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshSS

@AshSS Is it the HD808#11 you have? The firmware updates are only for 808#11, so it won't work on others models. If it the #11 you could try the dime/date stamp removal, otherwise contact the seller if you've just bought it. They are normally very helpful.

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLocouk

I got my #11 808 today I've used the firmware update to remove the timestamp and allow for continuous recording BUT now when I try to view the videos I can only hear the audio, no video. I'm using in on a MacBook Pro. It tries to open it with Quicktime, but nothing happens. I've gone in and opened the file with iTunes and that is when I can hear the audio but no video. Any suggestions?

June 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkeyray

Here not even a vid or sound :(

June 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterXander

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