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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
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%! 

            

 
« The Multi-Function Spy Cap | Main | The Cheapest 8" Android Tablet in the World? »
Sunday
Sep182011

The Crocolis HD Extreme Cam - Longest review ever.

This is very likely going to be the only video review I'll make for a £100+ Action Camera and that's because when you get a camera that does pretty-much everything you want, then there is no need to go looking for another. The alternatives from GoPro, Contour and Drift cost considerably more and don't offer me anything extra that I need. I was really just looking for excellent quality 1080p 30fps and smooth 720p 60fps video with a nice sharp fish-eye lens in a waterproof case and an LCD screen - and that's exactly what I got.

The only significant issue with this camera is the sound quality. Normally this wouldn't be a concern because virtually all Action Cam footage gets overdubbed in post production anyway. But the problem with this camera is that the quality of it's video is so good that I am tempted to carry it around with me like a normal camcorder - unfortunately the wasp-in-a-tin-can sound quality means that it's not really a suitable as a camcorder substitute.

I think this might be the best (and longest) video review I've done so far. It's took a lot of time and effort and I think I've managed to cover everything that I wanted to. The only bits of info that may have got lost in the mix somewhere are the video formats - it's AVC .MOV - which imports into iMovie extremely quickly. One hour of video at 720p 60fps used up 3.63 GB of storage, the bitrates are CBR rather than VBR, the battery lasts about 2.5 hours and you can of course charge and record at the same time (very useful for time-lapse photography).

I'll just try and pre-empt some of the more predictable (but silly) questions before they get asked.

Does it work as a Webcam or have motion/sound activation? - No. Why? - Because it's not a Spy Cam it's an Action Cam. It's the same reason why your washing machine doesn't make toast.

If anyone desperately wants to see some original .mov footage from the camera then I'd appreciate it if you could suggest a reliable & free online place where I can post them. One that doesn't delete files automatically after a while. I would upload some 1080p and 720p60 clips, because youtube doesn't do justice to the brilliant video quality - the youtube clips look considerably softer and less vibrant than the originals. I didn't put the review on youtube in 1080p because you need a powerful computer to play 1080p flash video smoothly. *** Update - Clips added, see below***

I have to thank the 'extreme' skateboarding lads in Manchester - I'd imagine that they were more than a little bit concerned about the creepy middle-aged bloke asking if he could film them. Hopefully their Tony Hawks-esque videographer remembered my youtube channel name - please leave a message chaps if you do see this.

I'll be having a bit of a break for a few weeks before any more updates - but I can confidently say that the next video, whatever it is, will be a lot shorter and simpler than this epic.

This camera can be purchased from the nice people at Chinavasion - Here is the link

*UPDATE* SAMPLE RAW VIDEO CLIPS

If you wanted to download some (unedited) sample clips to see the original quality of the video (before youtube has mangled it) you are in luck. Below are five clips, two are in 1080p30 and three are in 720p60. These are not the best framed/shot clips - but they are short enough to share.

If you are playing back these clips, you should download them first (right click) and then play them on your computer in Full Screen mode. I know that on my Macbook if I show the 720p60 stuff in a window then it only displays it at 720p30.

1080p30 Static

1080p30 Panning

720p60 Static

720p60 Panning

720p60 Skateboarders

 

UPDATE 26 September - Important extra info about sound quality.

I've discovered that the mic hole on the front bottom of the camera seems to do nothing at all. However opening the rear LCD screen door does effect things immensely. With the door shut tight, only the loudest sound gets through to the mic (like shouting into a pillow), however with the door open, sound gets recorded at an acceptable volume. It's still rather hissy and metallic sounding, but a infinitely preferable to the water-in-the-ears type sound you get with the door closed. To record sound the door doesn't need to be wide open - just left slightly ajar.

As a further experiment I also removed the dummy screw in the base of the camera but this had absolutely no positive effect on the muffled door-closed sound .

On the subject of sound I bought a small microphone with a 3.5mm plug and found out that the socket on the camera is actually 2.5mm (apologies for the factual error in the video). Luckily I have a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor and have tested out the microphone and noticed no obvious difference between the hidden internal mic and my new mic. So some good news and some bad news - the sound is better than I thought, but seemingly cannot be improved upon (I suspect a low bitrate sound encoder). The sound test in the video when I'm talking into the camera is still an accurate demonstration as the door was open throughout. I may do a follow up video when my second test mic turns up in the post. 

Further Update 26 October

I've been informed (see the comments) that the Sound from an external mic is actually OK, it just needs to be seperated out from the sound from the internal mic which also gets recorded at the same time, messing it up. I haven't tried this out. 

Also that mystery screw in the base is a kind of heatsink (in screw form) - so leave it screwed in.

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Reader Comments (168)

this is a good file uploading share site

http://www.file-upload.net/

September 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

@Matt Thanks, I'll have a look at it.

September 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Vimeo's free account allows for 1x HD upload per week: http://vimeo.com/join

September 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulieanne

@Julieanne Thanks, I think I've got an old Vimeo login somewhere.

September 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@techmoan: I would say "titlt", pan is for panorama isn't it? :)

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlito

@techmoan: sorry, I wanted to say "tilt"...
when you compare the properties of the different files, why the current size is still 1280x720pixels ???

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlito

@Carlito. I took screen grabs off my MacBook whilst the videos were playing. QuickTime was scaling them to match my current screen resolution of 1280x720. I think tilt is right...it just sounds like there should be a better word.

September 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Great review, but can you tell me , can you control the recording by the car power lead as you can other models..i.e plug into 12v - starts recording, remove 12v - stop recording? cheers

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarren

@Darren. There are no auto start/stop functions on this action camera.

September 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for making such a great review! I can't wait for the straight from camera samples, especially 1080p/30fps and 720p/60fps. Amazing camera for the price!

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLau

Yep, panning is done horizontally and tilting refers to the vertical motion. The term "vertical panning" also seems to be accepted...

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLau

Great review, although I would have liked to see it mounted on a bike and tested. I would have also liked some night footage out on the roads.Any chance you could do that for me?

Can that screw in the handle bar mount be removed and a shorter one used? So the camera sits lower on the mount.

Graeme

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGraeme

@ Graeme I'm guessing that you are one of the chaps from the BNA forum (I saw your links coming in). Unfortunately there will be no on-bike test as I don't ride a bike - I leave that one to you. The night footage will be poor - it really favours a nice bright day - it doesn't seem to get grainy - just dark.
On a more positive note - I have quickly made a quick video showing the handlebar mount just for you.... here http://youtu.be/ZUbKsHlmby8

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

"Sorry, this product is not available to buy any more. Please browse Chinavasion for alternatives."

Already discontinued? :(

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

I think i must have been lucky , i ordered mine last night...did i get the last one maybe??? ooops!!!

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarren

Excellent review. The time lapse function looks like a lot of fun. Does anyone know a good windows program to assemble such photo's?

September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/1080p-sports-waterproof-digital-video-camera-w-4x-digital-zoom-av-out-hdmi-sd-1-5-lcd-72861 ?

September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRashid

i need this extreme cam for surfing shootage!!!!can you try a waterproof test?????????

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris

found this...certainly waterproof

http://vimeo.com/29285015

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarren

You can publish HUGE video files at http://www.archive.org/create/ I've uploaded some 3,7GB files directly from my GoPro Hero HD, works fine.

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon bendtsen

I bloody love your reviews - you should be on telly. Seriously mate. Brilliant.

Question: I'm really attracted by the time-lapse feature which is something I do in my day job. Can you power the camera with the power supply that comes with it, or is it only for charging the battery?

This would be a bonus as I could do with something that would run for a few days at a time and I don't expect the battery to last very long doing timelapse. Any hel pwould be greatly appreciated.

Keep up the good work.

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlloaVJ

@AlloaVJ - Thanks a lot . I suppose I'm already on the telly - as long as your TV can stream Youtube ;-).
The supplied adaptor is just a 5v USB charger - this or any other USB charger will power the camera (and charge the battery at the same time). You can therefore power the camera as long as you need for timelapse photography.
On battery power I got about 2.5hrs out of it when I shot my timelapse clips.

September 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I have no sound in the camera, even with the external microphone, can you tell me whether this is a setting or is there something defective, the camera via the internet ordered from Chinavasion, is new and came out of the box

October 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

Just read your review, you may need to update the audio part again.

Audio is 384Kbps stereo AAC in 48KHz, that is NOT low bitrate.
This is my experience:
You need to split the stereo track to mono and salvage the left(ext. mic. input) channel to ONLY get the external microphone recording. Else the internal(which still records) will overshadow the added quality of other external microphones when you play back the file. I did the same mistake myself at first thinking this was the noisiest crap I have ever heard. How ell it can get with a pro mic is still unclear, got other stuff on my hands so it gets postponed all the time.

Your 1080p youtube performance comment is also... odd. An OSX problem? My 2006 computer(running win) got no problem.

The Deep Blue is an archaic chess computer. I wouldn't be surprised if it couldn't play back those videos. Most computer's you could go out and by today would probably match it's effective performance in chess with new software algorithms for x64. And totally obliterate it in media/graphics.

October 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllium

Thanks for your explanation, the problem is in the USB cable, so I have a new cable, it is now 100%

October 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

I love your reviews, but do you also know there a new type of this camera !?
I found it here; http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/extreme-cam/article?mid=5522&prev=5545&next=5482
(scroll a bit down)The blue one, i think its much nicer, but i can not find anything about it.
On the housing is the txt "CAMSHOT", but never to find this type !?

Do you know this type ?

October 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGEW

I believe you said that the red light while charging never goes off. Actually it does go off but it takes hours and hours to fully charge the camera. When the camera is charged the red light switches to blue.

The handle bar mount is extremely low quality though, it may seem rigid and it certainly is but the threads are horrible. I work at the funfair at a roller-coaster and I was able to mount the camera onto the gondola to film the riders. This required a tight fit and the part that screws attaches to your handle bar had a tight fit. however the camera had to be secure so it didn't twist during the ride or shake loose because of vibrations. Had to screw the camera really tight and I easily ruined the thread on the bottom to which the little "plug" goes on which you attach camera.

I used some glue on the threads and let it dry to form a bit of a barrier so the nut would fit better but that didn't do the trick long enough. I had to resort to hot-glue the "plug" in place in the mount.

The image quality is quite brilliant, it does cope fairly well with the vibrations that occur during the ride. The gondola however is so wide that even the 173° 720p mode doesn't fully film everybody in the gondola.

October 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaxlaam

Fantastic review, I loved the detail and coverage you gave it. I know need to buy one unfortunately.

and yes, "been caught stealing" is the Jane's Addiction song very close to what you filmed in that shop

October 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Hello,
Nice reviews! I tend to disagree with the sound quality using an external mic, but that's another story :)
I have a question: Did you figure out what SIZE setting means and how it affects the video quality? I couldn't see the difference between 5m(default) and 16m when playing a fullhd video...
I'm sorry if it is a silly question but I have an excuse: I'm a complete ignorant when it comes to video editing/analyzing/whatever :).

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhangover

Nevermind, I guess it refers to pictures resolution, not to movies :D.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhangover

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