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(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K

 

Drift Stealth 2

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Xiaomi Yi

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A119

Transcend DrivePro 220
MINI CAMERAS
(The Mobius also works as a dashcam)
Mobius
Polaroid Cube+

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 a couple.

 

 

 

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%! 

            

 
« Using the 3G ZTE MF10 WiFi router to solve a broadband problem | Main | The RD32 is back....along with a new Metal Bullet Camera (UPDATE - Oh, no it isn't) »
Sunday
Jan082012

The RD32II 1080p .h264 Sport Cam

 

General

This video took a lot longer than I anticipated, but here it is. I've uploaded part 1 in 720p and part 2 in 1080p. This was to avoid oddballs asking what was the point of doing a 720p review of a 1080p camera (as happened with my Extreme camera review). However this isn't really a solution to the problem because Youtube's 720p and 1080p video both bear very little relation to the footage that was originally shot by the camera.

I've converted the video and then editied it and then converted it again and then uploaded it to youtube which converted it again - you can therefore appreciate the fact that the footage you see on youtube doesn't really do justice to the quality of the originals. For example, the Youtube clips start off jerky and then smooth out after a few seconds...the originals of course don't do this.

This isn't a unique problem, if you read any photography magazines they are reviewing multimegapixel cameras and printing credit card sized sample shots on low dpi paper. Car magazines don't let you test the car out, AV magazines try and describe sound quality etc etc.... So like those examples all I can really do is give you an indication of the quality, not a direct demonstration of it.

As I mentioned in the video - the .h264 avi files created by this camera could not be imported into my iMovie so I had to spend a day converting them using MPEG Streamclip into .mp4 files. This was a major inconvenience and something that will probably stop me from using the camera again in the future. Now I'm using a Mac with iMovie. I haven't tried these in Final Cut or any PC editing package, so they may import fine into other editing packages.

Downloadable Test Clips

Therefore  to enable you to test out the original footage from this camera with your own editing packages or just play back some unmolested clips - I have uploaded a few short clips. These are all 1920x1080p 30fps clips you can download them here.

If you just want my opinion and all you want to do is film clear sharp HD footage and don't want to edit it on a Mac in iMovie, then I would strongly recommend this camera. I know that I mentioned the footage had a blue tinge, but unless I had put it up side by side with the Extreme cam, I don't think I'd have noticed it and I also wouldn't have noticed how much more vibrant the colours were on the RD32II either. The footage is very smooth without a dropped frame in sight and the sound quality is totally acceptable for a camera of this sort.

More Info

If you want to see the Camera on the Manufacturer's page here is a link. You can look at the specifications here, which tell you things like you can fit 41 mins of 1080p or 720p 60 video on a 4GB card, the recording battery life is 2.5hrs (it's 1.5 with the torch lit at the same time), charge time is 3 hours and the camera weighs 86g.

Photos

I'm really taken with the 5MP fisheye photos too, they can turn out surprisingly well. My technique when taking a photo is to take four or five shots of each scene, pointing the camera at a slightly different angle each time. When I get home I download the photos and choose the best framed picture of each scene. It reminds me of the days of getting films developed and hurriedly flicking through the envelope of photos hoping that I managed to get a good shot or two - but without all the expense. I've uploaded a gallery of photos from this camera here.

Where can you buy one.

I've seen this camera on sale for about $145 or £90 including shipping (budget for import duties too) which seems a little bit high, although it's early days - something like £75 would seem even more right. Whatever you do though, don't get it mixed up with the original RD32, that one takes 720p mjpeg video and isn't a patch on this. Look out for .h264, 1080p and laser mentioned in the specs- and don't expect it to always be called the RD32II either. 

Places I've found selling this camera are below (Dealextreme also sell the mounting accessory pack).

Ebay

Yellow Camera At Dealextreme 

Black Camera at Dealextreme

The Accessory Pack at Dealextreme 

Part 1 and 2 of the review are below - but view these full screen in HD to get a better idea, and don't try to view the 1080p versions on an old computer unless you have a fire extinguisher at the ready.

 

 

UPDATE: 15/01/12 Importing the Video into editing packages - For iMovie users, you may want to try out a piece of software that was suggested to me by a reader - FLVCrunch, an easy way to convert the files into MP4s which can then be imported into the Apple editing package. Also look in the youtube comments for people reporting back with their results when using other software - the clips from this camera are reportedly working fine with Windows Live Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere and Vegas 9.0b.

UPDATE: 17/01/12 I've had a few requests for downloadable 720p 60fps Clips - which is understandable as youtube can only display 30fps as can my editing package. So ..here is a link to a single clip (24mb)....and here is a zip file containing that clip and another five as well (173mb). If your computer is anything like mine, you may only get the full 60fps effect if you view these full screen. 

UPDATE: 01/03/12 Dealextreme now stock this camera & The Accessory Pack (Essential for mounting it to things other than a bicycle) Links have been added to the sellers section above.

 

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Reader Comments (130)

For someone who's sworn to only get "h.264" cameras from now on, it sounds like you still don't have a good set of MPEG-4 tools.

Get GPAC for OSX:
http://gpac.wp.institut-telecom.fr/downloads/gpac-nightly-builds/#Mac%20OS%20X%2032%20bits

Use the MP4Box tool:
http://gpac.wp.institut-telecom.fr/mp4box/mp4box-documentation/

e.g
MP4Box -new file.mp4 -add file.avi
(assuming all of the streams are supported MPEG-4 codecs)

Bingo, the streams will be repackaged into a new MP4 container file. Since it's not a conversion/transcoding you won't lose any quality and it should be fairly quick.

I don't know about Quicktime compatibility, but it's a step in the right direction.

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIan Tester

Thanks for another professional quality review.

I am suprised they took out the motion detect function. I did have the original RD32 but ended up taking it back.
At the moment I am going to consider a 808 #16 rather than these more expensive options.

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMainsail

@Ian. I'll try those out, but I'm pretty sure these files will defeat all attempts to repackage them. I'll let you know how I get on. You can always download some clips and have a play about yourself too.
EDIT -
OK - Tried it, before I got to the conversion, it locked up my Mac and had to force a power down. Uninstalled, not for me. Let me know how you get on.

January 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the review Techmoan. I like the two part HD offering!

That looks like a nice little camera, albeit annoying that its output can't be edited in iMovie easily and that once it is converted you ended up with dropping frames (kinda defeats the object) and it really is a bit pricey.

I'm thinking more and more that these manufacturers really don't get the point of a cheap camera. It needs to be cheap(!) and easy to use. They are getting to be pretty pricey and still have niggling little faults, that can be excused on a sub £30 keyring camera but less so when it is going to be the best part of £100 once it gets to you. You show that there are accessories for it, but where can you get them?

Doesn't look great value for money to me. But I would have never known had you not put a lot if effort into the review. Thanks for all your hard work!

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

@Voyager03 I think the dropped frames after conversion were partly my fault. I made the bitrate too large (in an attempt to keep the quality unaffected, but then overwhelmed my laptop with the massive file sizes). My iMovie is playing up and refusing to produce h264 Movie output, so I had to use MP4, which youtube will have then converted again. You should try out one of the original files from my site to see how you get on importing it into your software - I may just be unlucky.

I wondered about the accessories, perhaps some companies will sell these in a bundle with the camera on Ebay.

January 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@ Techmoan. I have a 2009 Mac Mini 2.53, 4Gb memory.

Just tried to convert using FLV Crunch. Seems quick enough and then at least imports into iMovie. Give it a go and see if you still get dropped frames.

That might make the camera a bit more usable for Mac users anyway.

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

If you have access to a PC I can highly recommend EncodeHD from Dan Cunningham: http://dcunningham.net/media-tools/encodehd

On the files you have uploaded it converts the video container to MP4 & the audio to AAC in seconds without encoding the whole file again.

All of the files now play fine on my set-top box where before there was no audio.

Ian

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIan

@Techmoan

....and how I get h.264 from iMovie 11.

If I pick 'Share - Export movie' I see 1080p listed but I can only select up to 720p. But if I go via 'Share - Export using QuickTime' Ensure 'Movie to QuckTime movie' is chosen and then click 'Settings', I can choose all sorts including h.264 and HD 1920x1080 16:9.

Produces MASSIVE files though. 720p is fine for my eyesight and this aged monitor.

HTH

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

Another GREAT review.

Thanks for watching... I mean thanks for posting.

Keep up the good job.

BTW, this is probably the camera I like the most. It satisfies my needs.

Best regards.

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalvinH

Anothr fine review Techmoan, thanks for all your hard work.

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Nice review, good job.
Can you tell me please, what's the weight of this camera? I can't find it anywhere.

Thanks.

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrinom

@Trinom - It's 86g. Since it's easy to miss in the paragraphs above, I've now changed it to a bold font.

January 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Good review again! thx for making and sharing it.

About the editing package. You are using a apple computer. Why don't you use Adobe Premiere Pro. It handles both .MOV and .AVI files, never had a problem with it.
I know it's expencif, but you can try it for free before buying or downloading it (no i dont say you have to download it, because thats illegal, but when you do thats your own choice)

i hope there will be more reviews very soon.
I have the jumbo 808 camera. But i'm still looking for an camera which has an pen view angle. So i can stick it on my chest to make some footage. In some cases i need that. And it has to be at least as good as the jumbo 808.

cheers!

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRutger

@Rutger I'd rather not change the editing package I use, I'm used to iMovie, understand it's features and have memorised it's keyboard shortcuts and it does (virtually) everything I need.
I was pointing out the problem with importing into iMovie, to warn others who this might be a problem for. It seems that people are also experiencing issues with Sony Vegas, so I'm glad I brought it up. I've finished my testing of this camera now...and it will probably get very little use from here on, so it's not really a big problem for me.
As far as pen style cameras as good as the Jumbo 808, (if you haven't already) you should consider the KGB Marker Pen Spy Camera - the only thing it's lacking is a wider angle lens.

January 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you for another great review! I think comparing this one with the
Extreme Cam was a good decision.
I'm willing to bet that this one's colors are more vivid because its gain is
boosted a bit even in brighter light. I'll have to go back to the Extreme Cam
review to see if gain was an optional adjustment- seems I remember it was. Or
was that another cam? That would explain the bloom effect this one gives in
lower light. About 1/3rd of the amount of gain might make the Extreme more
competitive in low light.
The simultaneous record and RCA vid out [via mini USB] makes this a
no-brainer choice for FPV for me and the Extreme for great time lapsed stills.
I'm stoked. Thanks again!
P.S. Looks like you are on your way back to being able to model gloves again! ; )

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I think that even if the results are fine, it is just too expensive to be a real option for the established alternatives, such as GoPro. I mean if I can get a GoPro for about $200, why would I pay about $150 for a significantly poorer alternative? The savings are too little to make it worth the compromise in quality.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanne

Great rewiew again!

This nicely fits in between the keyrings and the GoPro.
Having had not much success with an 808 #11, this is an interesting alternative.

@Janne - for UK (and maybe other countries) where the current equivalent price of GoPro is ~$400, there is quite a substantial difference in price.

Would be great if TM got to review a GoPro :)

A big Thank You !

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteremceebar

@emceebar Without looking that hard I've found a UK retailer selling 'GoPro HD Motorsport Hero 1080p wide' which comes with a variety of mounts on ebay as a BiN for £183.81 (they seem to have plenty)

There may well even be better deals than that out there but with the '1080p laser camera waterproof mini sports action' being (at best) £103 without mounts while that is £80.81 cheaper I wonder if that is really enough difference for a 'budget' camera (without the accessory mounts actually being available?)

I think they need to sell the whole kit, camera and mounts, for well under £100 (half the price of the GoPro) before it'll interest me.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

@Voyager03

fair point :)
I should have made it more clear that the price I quoted was for a GoPro II with all the extras.
As you rightly point out, RD32II *doesn't* come with those nice extras
Without those extras, you can get GoPro for less than your price, and I agree, a more realistic comparison

But, is the GoPro *that* much better ?
And is the GoPro II even better ?
I keep seeing (other) forum posts from more experienced users saying they are 'not impressed with GoPro' quality or who want to 'upgrade from GoPro'

An un-biased comparison would be great, hence my suggestion/hope that TM review the GoPro

....

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteremceebar

Hi Techmoan, please upload a short 720p 60FPS raw video. Thanks :)

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarek

@ emceebar I think the RD32II without vehicle/helmet mounts is pretty expensive currently.

If you want a cycle camera I'm sure it is fine but they are now selling the Jumbo808 with a handlebar mount for £28 (or get the mount separately if you already have a Jumbo).

But if the RD32 II had more mounting options and was sub £100? I'd go for it.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

Another request for 720p raw footage... pretty please!

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMich

I'll get a couple of 720p clips uploaded as soon as I've shot some brief ones in daylight. The only clips I have at present are 30 mins long.

Is there something in particular that I should shoot that you would find especially useful.

January 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I'm a Mac guy and use Handbrake to covert to MP4 for use with iMovie.
Quick and easy.
Free download for Intel Macs here:
http://handbrake.fr/

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrailCamFan

Hi Techmoan, you can shoot fast moving objects like trams or cars (to compare with 1080p 30) and you can try panning and static (like raw videos of extreme cam). I want to shoot with this camera from my tricopter so moving objects and moving camera (while walking) will be great sample videos.

PS: I am using Premiere Pro and there is no problem with importing files. Maybe you should try trial version of Premiere Elements if you want.

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarek

I'm also looking at this camera to use on a tricopter. I'm only interested in wide FOV 720p60, and FBAS video out (for FPV) while recording. There aren't many cameras that do that - really the only other option would be the Gopro. I don't need any of the accessories other than the ruggedized housing for the GP. The RD32II would be a no-brainer if it were 30 GBP cheaper.

As it is now, I'm torn between the somewhat cheaper RD and the known-good Gopro. The Gopro II is out because it only has HDMI video-out so isn't usable for FPV at all. It's also far too expensive for what it does although it is a great improvement over the original Gopro.

Anyway, thanks for all the work of doing these great reviews Techmoan - really appreciated!

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

To those people who are interested ......I've uploaded some 60fps clips now - you can find a link to them at the foot of the article. Hope you find these useful. There is one zip file containing six short clips and one clip on it's own (it's one out of the the six).

January 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Just to be fare AVI format is an issue because you use a mac.
Pc users will not hace that issue (or you need to install the codec).
Personally i prefer avi over mov

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeo

Maybe some basics I haven't understood well ...
When it streams (through USB to video or HDMI) it does not record, right? If streaming would consume less power, what battery life would it have then?
Great that it can do charging (USB) and recording at the same time (not allowed with some/most other cams); connected to a power pack, does it allow 'infinite' recording? Or does the cam consume more power than it gets charged with, thus not extending batt life so much?
If it was physically possible to connect both USB (for charging) and HDMI (for streaming), would the cam allow that double function? It doesn't seem all the impossible to slice of some plastics from the rather fat connectors. Sure it is not done to prevent the double connection?

I'm happy you found a substitution for the bike ... with suction wheels instead :) ... I'll miss the angles and the motor sound though.

Grateful,
Ruud - looking for an action cam that can be used in a double wired configuration too (USB charging and HDMI streaming).

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuud

@Ruud This camera can display live video over HDMI or phono when in standby or whilst recording. Someone who has a bit more time and inclination that I would have to see if they could find a way to power/charge and stream at the same time. The camera does have a 2.5hr recording time though, so that would probably be enough for most users.
I'm really hoping to get a motorcycle again in the future...I miss the leaning too.

January 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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