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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 


Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi


DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam

Yi Ultra 2.7K
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
Drift Ghost X

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.


RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)


U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)




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'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%! 

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Video8 - The forgotten future of home video recording.

In this video I’ll be taking a look at the 8mm Video8 tape format and hopefully showing you a couple of things that you haven’t seen before.

This was a really fun video to put together and I think it’s one of my better ones, so I hope you get as much enjoyment out of watching it as I did making it. 

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Reader Comments (12)

I remember the early video tape wars when I was a buyer for a company called Teletape in London.
We also had a professional video company called TTV or Teletape Video.
I was told by our professional devision of the company that Sony made a mistake by trying to conquer the USA the market was considered bigger and because Umatic was already established in the UK and Europe but the machines were massive, the tapes expensive and only an hour in length.
In the end it was a case of constantly playing catch up.
Their is no doubt that that the Betamax system was superior but they lost out by launching late.
By the time Hi 8 and all the other formats came out I decided to stick to selling Hi Fi and Audio.
It was nightmare because customers would constantly ask you which format to go for and which would win and there was not definitive answer.

June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

Hi techmoan, I've been watching your videos for around a year now and noticed that you struggle to demonstrate your equipment sometimes due to those pesky copyright controls.
I'm a musician from Golborne (near where you are from) and write my own material in the rock style. I would love it if you would visit my soundcloud, link below, and see if you feel any of my songs can help you demonstrate the audio capabilities in your future videos. You can use them for free.
Loving what you do and look forward to seeing your new videos every week or so. Keep up the good work!


Rob Hughes


June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob hughes

As usual, a fascinating tech-tale, expertly presented. Thank you, Mat!
Video 8 passed me by for some reason - I guess I had too much invested in VHS tapes to make a change until DVD came along. With video cameras, I went straight from VHS-C to mini-DV, the tapes for which were tiny and delivered superb digital quality video. The original JVC dv camcorders with the flip-out screens were incredibly futuristic looking when they first appeared. The Video 8 player you show is a remarkable piece of equipment; you can almost imagine the development teams competing to fit as many buttons on as they possibly could. Initially, DVD was a step back from video tape because you couldn't record easily, and even when you eventually could, there were all the +R, -R, and +/-RW complexities. It's somewhat ironic that the very flexible video tape has been abandoned to be replaced by blu-ray and DVD for pre-recorded material and hard disk recorders for recording off air broadcasts. I do still have a Panasonic hard disk recorder that can transfer recordings to a dvd or blu-ray disc - not that we ever do! I don't think the machines are widely available any more.

June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoland

What do you suggest :
I have several hi8 tapes and I want to save them to digital format, maybe to save it on DVD.
What kind of divide should I arrange?

June 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFrancisco

Actually I've worked at a TV repair shop and we had one customer who actually used Video8 as a home format. That must have been in 1997 or 1998.

Ohh and technically Video 8 uses one essential idea from Video2000. Normal video tape systems use a sync track at the edge of the time. For Video 2000 they used a nifty idea of recording tones onto the slant tracks which then could be used to do tracking. This was licensed by Video 8.

The displays for the original Video Walkmans are currently available on Pollin.

The video compos were popular among TV producers as you could couple those with tiny pinhole cameras. That enabled them to have "hidden camera" interviews.

There even was a CRT-based TV/VCR combo which got some use for film-makers. It had a large enough screen so you could see something, and the tapes were small and could hold much more than a spool of film. The signal came from a little TV camera integrated inside of the film camera. This was done for preview purposes, so you could watch how a scene turned out to be.

June 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Berger

My family were loyal Sony customers in the 80's and so hopped on the Video-8-as-a-home-format bandwagon. We subscribed to a mail rental service from Sony which was somewhat like Netflix and LOVEFiLM was to become later. I also remember that a little later somewhat longer than 90 minute tapes were introduced as we bought a few - I can't remember if they were BASF or TDK branded or if they were 100 or 120 minute tapes though (all of them are still in my parent's attic!)

June 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

Wonderful video. That video 8 compo is an example of Sony's truly imaginative thinking back then. They were certainly pushing the envelope and crating what they saw as the future! I was aware that there were pre-recorded titles on this format but not of how many and how long they were available for! I had a play around with a first generation video 8 Walkman when I was at collage in the late 80's. One of the lecturers brought it in as an example of cutting edge technology. It seemed so futuristic! An early step towards the highly integrated mobile devices that we have now!

June 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Sekinger

I used to work for a few AV / appliance dealers in my past in the US. I own a few Hi 8 , 8 sony products, one was a portable version Deck (GV100?) with separate TV tuner/timer that snapped on the side with an integrated screen, back in the 80's90 , I travelled often throughout the US and Canada, and I would record local news broadcast (typically the 6 or 10 or 11 PM versions)

I probably have 400 local broadcasts from that era...stored some where (not sure if they still survive. ) I'd also record movies off HBO or showtime and I may have purchased a few pre recorded titles. But what i also have someplace is a "Sony GlassTron" On some trips I would take my elderly father and to pass the time on long road trips, he would pop on the "glasstron" and essentially look like he was wearing large ski goggles. (the glasses had two LCD screens inside and when worn stated the effect of watching a 52 in tv secured to your noggin. ..,,it worked really well on one particular genre of entertainment)... but I had difficulty getting used to the glasses and "Sony " had a huge warning at power up if you had trouble viewing the pic or had headaches to immediately stop using the product as it would damage your eyes.

One day I'll upload all those shows to the web , just after I watch all the slides I took on those trips....

Nice seeing the older tech ... Keep up the fine work


June 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMark Bajek

Thanks for sharing that. I do remember the Glasstron, it's funny but it only seems like a few years ago they were selling it...but I know that time passes a lot more quickly than memories do.

June 9, 2017 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Interesting video, as - almost - always...

Being a smart-alec, I have a few remarks and comments.

1. SP is - haha! - short for STANDARD play.

2. VHS-C was introduced before the first consumer camcorders. ( During the infancy of home video, portable video cameras and recorders were offered in VHS and Beta format. In the early 1980s, JVC launched portable VHS-C recorders as a compact alternative to the bulky VHS machines.

3. To my knowledge, Sony developed and patented the M loading that was utilized by VHS. Although they considered it not good enough for Betamax (and were appalled by the fact that JVC used it for VHS) they earned lots of royalties due to the huge and lasting success of VHS.

4. U-matic was jointly conceived by Sony, JVC and Panasonic. Although some US broadcasters used it for news gathering as soon as the first portable VCR was available (to be faster than the competition who had to wait for their 16 mm films to be developed), it wasn't widely adopted as broadcast format before Sony introduced U-matic High-Band (later followed by High-Band SP).

5. Betamax was doomed the moment it came onto the market since it was nothing more than a shrunken version of U-matic, hence, the NTSC versions for the crucial US market had only one hour of recording time - while the NTSC VHS version sported two hours from the start.

6. Sony generously licensed Video8 to almost everybody, including Panasonic/JVC. Panasonic never sold Video8 equipment under its own brand, but served as a camcorder OEM for Blaupunkt (among others) - at that time a recognized brand in some markets.

7. Yes - after the Betamax desaster, Sony strived to establish Video8 as a new, universal video format and successor of both VHS and Betamax. However, as you pointed out, the recording time for the PAL/Secam version was way to short for home use. By that time, PAL VHS offered four hours in SP mode, and even the two hours of NTSC Video8 are not really impressive compared to the two hours and forty minutes of a T-160 VHS tape.

8. A key factor in the realization of Video8 (and later Hi8) were the advancements in tape formulation/manufacturing. While VHS and Betamax utilized chrome oxide or chrome oxide substitute (it was oxide, hence “pre-rusted” in order to provide a recording medium with long-term stability) Video8 used metal particle tape (MP). The pure, non-oxided metal particles had to be coated with plastic to prevent it from rusting. At first, the core of the video tape, a blank plastic film, was coated with the metal particles, later, Sony managed to create ME tape (metal evaporated).
(By the way: Sony’s sustained success as a consumer electronics company over many decades was founded on the ability to manufacture magnetic tape. One of the first products of the company was an audio tape recorder. For that, Sony had to produce tape from scratch.

9. The shorter recording time of VHS-C next to Video8 was no real disadvantage, because the batteries of the camcorders usually didn’t last as long to record 45 minutes under real-life conditions, let alone 90.

10. Yes, the first VHS-C recorders and camcorders only had the so-called linear audio track with poor quality. Later machines had both linear and FM Hi-Fi audio tracks. You could only insert/dub audio on the linear tracks. It sounded lousy, but the final mix would play on every VHS machine.

11. Video8 had mandatory FM tracks and optional/editable PCM tracks. So you could produce a high quality sound mix on a Video8 cassette - but you would hear it only on the few machines that were capable of playing said PCM track.

12. Instead of storing 90 minutes of Video and PCM audio, you could alternatively use the first Sony Video8 home decks as a jukebox with a maximum of 18 hours of PCM audio on one P5-90 cassette. In Japan, Sony even sold car stereos that would play these tapes - pretty nifty in the days before CD changers and USB sticks filled with MP3 files. Eventually, Sony dropped the system, rendering your PCM audio-only Video8 tapes useless on later machines.

13. In the early 2000s, Sony landed a coup with Digital8. These camcorders recorded video and audio in a DV-compatible format on Video8 tapes and served as an analog-to-digital converter for your old recordings. Via the then popular fire-wire link, one could transfer digital and analog recordings effortlessly onto a computer for further editing/archiving.

June 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKurt Mueller

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