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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)

@Adam. I think you'll be happy with the 808#11 or the Jumbo, they don't seem to slow down the frames in low light like the old #3 does. The footage just gets darker. I did a side by side comparison driving in the dark with the KGB camera...check out my video review of this at about the 18 minute Mark.

October 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

High Definition camera take picture a lot more clearer and It can captures in distant things well.

October 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkim@HD camea

where I can get one? I saw there is a new model here:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-HD-Lens-DVR-Keyring-Camera-1280x720-11-H-264-HD818-/150683824583?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item231574b1c7#ht_3692wt_1320
is the same?
thanks

October 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Hi Guys, Just thought i would say that i have just bought 808 #11 720p and seems very good. I was very nervous about removing the date in case i bricked it, but it worked a dream on the latest release (no2) . I have an amber L>E>D now instead of read, but it was quick and easy to do. worked first time and no horrible timestamp. they claim other improvements from the latest re flash. we will see.
Good luck, buy one its great!

October 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterparamotorman

@Raul That's the normal HD808#11 from the same company that I bought mine from.

October 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, I have a 808 key cam micro camera, with 4 GB memory card.
I can't charge the battery, my files have no more than 3 minutes records, either leaving in the usb charger al night. I can't record and charge at the same time!!
First of all, how can I charge it? and there some way to record during the process oh charging?? I saw here that is possible but I don't know if my version can accept that.
Image format : 720x640;
Camera format: 1280x960
Battery: 280 mba (3.7 v)
Anybody can help me?
Thanks!

October 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrodrigo

Hi folks,

I bought a #11 camera a couple of weeks back. I also own a Hobby King HD "Wing" camera, and thought I'd do a side by side comparision video, in homage to those already performed. I hope you find this useful. Some interesting differences in handling of contrast/light shift, also the FOV. As an aside, the Wing camera recorded AVI files, nearly double the size of the MOV files from the #11 and also NEEDS a higher class MicroSD card. This video had a class 4 in the #11 and a class 6 in the Wing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcAfhYRzh8k

November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteveB

Thanx for your excellent review - well done.

I bought the camera and am generally happy with the video quality. I think it came with the new firmware as it has no date stamp. Am disappointed with the still pic quality. Although the image is 2592 x 1944, they are grainy and look much lower rez. Generally happy though!

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKen

My device is recognised as iCatch SPCA1628. Google identifies this as a very sophisticated video processing chip, the specs of which are on the manufacturers website in 'Flash' so I can't download and print. Currently the camera which I bought for £6.00 is not working so I will try resetting and then reflashing. Actually the micro SD card is not being recognised in a reader so that may be the problem!

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Any feedback on this item on Ebay?
150708333555
Bill

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill Kerr

@Bill Kerr: The two sample videos the seller posted is not in h.264 format. The codec is qt for QuickTime, and the format is actually MPEG-4. You can download the "MediaInfo" software and analyze it yourself. Seems like the user is advertising false information.

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterQ

@Bill Kerr Yep that's the Jumbo HD808 I reviewed. Best Micro HD camera currently available (in my opinion).

December 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I have purchased two New “808 cameras” described as HD720P high Definition Video H.264 AVC1 30fps.MOV file format, true 1280x720, No.11 car key camera.
I plan to use them for Ariel photography and your web site has tested and recommended this camera as the best available at low cost, for a high risk use.
The camera looks the same except for the instruction manual and charger seem different. I don’t think this is a problem, however how can I tell this is the genuine N0.11. The supplier was "eletech086" in china and purchased at $37AU ea from ebay, also in the description they said new software will be flashed before being shipped out that includes removing the time and date. So far it all makes sense like you spoke about in your testing, …“except for the SD card”. I need to buy a micro SD card and you have recommend on earlier models using a ( class 10 ) , however you say to use a ( class 4 or better ) for the new No.11. Does this mean my new camera will record fine on a lower class card? I don’t mind buying a class 10 although expensive, but if I don’t need to would save me unnecessary costs.
I enjoy your web site and youtube tests and have found it to be the very best, I mean that so keep up the good work as im keen to see and learn more. Kind regards Kevin.

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Aumann

@Kevin:

First chargers were car chargers with a wire. Later #11 models had a mini car USB plug and USB cable. You probably have the last one?
About class 4 or higher. I have 16GB class4 uSD cars. Sometimes it drops a frame but not very ofthen. For me class 4 is good enough. You might concider class 6 but class10 seems like an overkill to me.

December 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterQuemo

My 808 #11 battery is dead. Please help me to fix it...:(

December 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersagar

H, I have one of the older models which takes a 720 x 480 video, but can't get rid of the time/date stamp. Do you know if there is anywhere I might download a new bios so I can flash it and get rid of the stamp?

Thanks.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred

does 808 #11 have a inactivity timer? I am trying to find a camera that can stay on without movement

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterskatch

Many thanks for all the useful comments and guidance.
I have just bought one of ebay described as 808, 1280x720, .mov format. What arrived from China has the description:

.avi format
1280x1024 (!) for the camera (video)
720x480 for images

Any simple way how to tell if that is the "real" thing?
Merry Christmas!

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBoris

My PC tries to install the driver for this device when I plug it in. Where can I download the driver to install? :-/

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClick

Hi. I forgot to update the time on my spycam when the daylight savings time came into effect. I need to change the video file's time. It is one hour different. Is it possible to change it or edit it. Thanks.

December 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

wow! Thanks for you non- boring reviews on the #808 I'm just sending for one now to fit to a R C chopper.
Keep up the good work mate!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterheilander

hi.. my 808 #11 cam cannot record a video for long now.. i think there is a problem in battery.. can anyone know how to fix it?

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersanx

Hi Mat,

I have an 8gb card in my HD720p HD 808 cam, what is the video recording time available before I try to change the settings etc? I think I read 20 min...if so, it can be changed to 40 min? What is the link to change to more time? I installed two cams on my rocket 9ft rocket at our club, but footage ran out before I launched it...because I had a few items that came up with my gps etc..so I used up all of the time before the actual launch..lol

Thanks,

Michael/Tampa, FL

February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Hi Mat,

I have an 8gb card in my HD720p HD 808 cam, what is the video recording time available before I try to change the settings etc? I think I read 20 min...if so, it can be changed to 40 min? What is the link to change to more time? I installed two cams on my rocket 9ft rocket at our club, but footage ran out before I launched it...because I had a few items that came up with my gps etc..so I used up all of the time before the actual launch..lol

Thanks,

Michael/Tampa, FL

February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

hello, i have one 808 #11 minicamera, and i lost the special charging cable, and with provided usb car charger the cam does not charge, i tried over 20 normal usb cables and none worked. Does anyone have a diagram of how the usb special cable is inside? maybe i can build one myself using a standard usb cable (allready tried, with pin 1 and 4 for + and ground, but it doesn't work either) :(( help please

February 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriupimen

Hi,
I found your videos on the 808 #11 very helpful, I saw in the video that you said you wouldn't show how to get the date removed from the camera but you did finally get it off. Is there any way that you could post just how you did that and maybe you could put a caution that it may not work and could brick your camera to use at your own risk. I would much rather take the chance and have no date on every video I take. I'll keep checking back here for your answer or if you could just email me how to do it it would be appreciated. I have the 808 #11 camera. I know you are busy if you cannot send me an email but posting here would be good too.
Thanks

February 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter126andy

where do I buy the memory card to fit this,EBAY one for sales doesn't come with one? I know nothing about this stuff

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlynda

Here is another seller on ebay , he is based in China and he got the camera to me in just 14 days. Packaged well and good communication from him along with a good price 36.00 US + free shipping True HD jingjiniao20070922

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter126andy

Is there no utility to interrogate the chipset and/or firmware? Other than relying on USB to provide device codes?

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergeorge forman

I bought one of these on amazon but I have not yet determined which version it is definitively... but it refused to charge about three weeks later :( I have ordered another two ... two seemingly different versions

further I hope it will work with a 32gig card. I had been using a 16gig card

Windows 7 pro 64 bit installs ONE of the spca1638 devices but leaves the other without drivers. there are no annoying driver issues in ubuntu.

in ubutntu the power button quickly toggles between device modes.

plugging a known-good cable into either computer or any known-good usb charger bricks NO longer illuminates the yellow led indicating charging. I think the battery is toast. I did run videoing until battery dead and then fully charged between uses. hmmm

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstewie

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