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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%! 

 
Friday
Jul152016

Design Classics: The Panasonic SG-515

Sometimes I'll pick up a piece of technology that isn't unique, that doesn't tell a special tale or demonstrate a forgotten technology. An object that's probably not the first or the last, the biggest or the smallest, but yet there's something about the design or its implementation that I find interesting. In order to give me an opportunity to showcase some of these items here I'm trying out a new format that I've called 'Design Classics'. 
It's like a more interesting unboxing (for things without boxes), or a show-and-tell for adults. 
As I look around the room some objects that might make suitable subjects for one of these short videos in the future are a couple of mint Walkmans, a BNIB unusual early Minidisc player, and the most impressive looking portable radio I've ever laid my eyes on. 
In the video below I look at a radio...but one that has a particularly clever party piece. I hope you enjoy it. 
Saturday
Jul092016

Out with the old and in with the new (amp)

I recently bought a new amplifier and it is the most expensive piece of HiFi equipment I've ever purchased. This was something for me rather than an oddity acquired just for the purpose of making a video. Whilst it's not as flashy or quirky as most of my HiFi equipment, I suspect it will outlast the other components and quite probably me as well. Some people wanted to see a video about it, so here it is. 

You can aquire refurbished Azur 851A Amplifiers on eBay in the UK - CLICK HERE

Sunday
Jul032016

Retro Tech: The Wire Recorder

This retro tech video features the first format that brought affordable and practical audio recording to the home, the wire recorder.
The video covers the history of wire recording and you'll get to see and hear a sixty three year old machine in action. Click on the video below to see more. 

Thursday
Jun232016

Dashcam Review: DDPai M6+ is the best mini cam I've used

In the video below you'll see a full Review of the best Mini Dashcam I've used. I've been using this in my car for six weeks and I can't fault the performance. I'm so happy with it that I have plans to buy a couple more when I can get the money together. Then I can replace the camera in my other car as well as try the dual camera functionality in my roadster. 

The highlights of this camera for me are the magnetic mount, the video quality and the time-lapse parking mode. Other notable features include WiFi, GPS and a wireless remote.

I bought mine from the ebay store linked below: (Click your country to see the current price). 

 UK   US   AU   DE   AT   BE   CA   CH   ES   IE   IT   NL

I’ve purchased from this store plenty of times over the years without any problems. Delivery usually takes approx 10-14 days to the UK.

 

I cannot report on the long term reliablity of a product that has only been on the market a few weeks...but I do hope it carries on working for a long time, as I really like this one. 

Downloadable sample clips here: http://pc.cd/WSdctalK - Please don't be that guy who always tries streaming the videos and then gets back to me to say that they look terrible when streamed. These are provided for Downloading - they look like they were recorded with a potato if streamed over pcloud.

My 'BEGINNERS GUIDE to Dashcams' can be seen here: https://youtu.be/HQ0Tm9FFpKM

UPDATE - I must stress that this is not a basic simple camera suitable for beginners - it has a lot of features and you need to have a bit of experience with apps, smartphones and previous dashcams before you buy this camera.  If you are looking for your first car camera...this is not suitable. I have a list of recommended dashcams and something like the Transcend Drivepro 200 is a good place to start. Big clear screen, minimal options and simple features, no WiFi or reliance on smartphone apps which can lead to potential compatibility issues with specific phones. 

UPDATE 2 - OCTOBER 2016

I was getting a lot of questions about this camera - if you read through the comments below you'll see that the same questions keep popping up - so to help anyone out who is having issues with the smartphone features of this camera - please watch the video below - you'll also see a demonstration of the CPL filter in use. I recommend you watch this one on Youtube itself (click the youtube logo at the bottom of the video) and then you can skip to the appropriate section you need. 

Monday
Jun202016

The flashing lights on this EL USB cable aren't just for show.

A short video about a USB cable that's a bit smarter than most.

The links below are affiliated.

   

 

Friday
Jun172016

Star Wars Scratch-Hologram Vinyl 

A quick video looking at the Holographic Star Wars The Force Awakens soundtrack record.

You can buy this record from Amazon in the UK and the US amongst other places.

If you've got ten minutes to spare, take a look through the youtube comments to see how many people insist on informing everyone else that Jack White and Rush used scratch-holograms on records first (without themselves noticing that dozens of people already posted this same information)....bizarre with a twist of irony.

Sunday
Jun122016

Vantrue Dashcam Discounts

I have been given some discount codes to share for the Vantrue Dashcams I reviewed recently. These are fathers day discounts and are valid between 13th June 2016 and 19th June (or until stocks run out).

Important

The Deal times are active from: 13th June 2016 00:01 PDT/BST until 19th June 2016 23:59 PDT/BST

Outside these times - the deals Will Not Work.

Vantrue N1

Using the Discount Code YHBTWINU at checkout will unlock the following prices.

Amazon US: $69.99 http://amzn.to/1UJQoFa

Amazon UK: £59.99 http://amzn.to/1PmHysV

Amazon CA: CAD$99.99 https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01A4YUITY

Vantrue R2

Using the Discount Code UHBTWINY at checkout will unlock the following prices.
Amazon US: $99.99 http://amzn.to/1PmGF3w
Amazon UK: £79.99 http://amzn.to/1PUmCiu
   

I have been advised that the codes mean "You have been there when I needed you", which is a Father's Day message. 

Thursday
Jun092016

Bring out the Gimbal

It's always great to try out some tech I haven't used before.  So when I was offered the opportunity to try out the AiBird Uoplay Smartphone Gimbal, I couldn't refuse.

I'm a big movie fan, there's nothing I enjoy more than discovering a great movie from the 60s or 70s that I haven't seen before, and the way that the look of movies has changed over the years, can often be attributed to the technology that was available at the time. For example in the 1960s, smaller hand held cameras gave filmmakers a way to get out from the film sets and shoot gritty street scenes in real locations. 

More recently, improvements in digital photography have allowed filmmakers to shoot scenes at night time using ambient light. The improved low light sensitivity of a digital sensor over film stock has made movies like Collateral,  Drive and The Revenant possible.

Steadicams started off being used for a handful of shots in a film, but they quickly become a standard tool in a filmmaker's arsenal. Before the steadicam, to follow an actor walking through a scene, a dolly track would have to be set-up to give the camera a smooth surface to roll down. This restricted the length of the shot, it meant the camera couldn't shoot angles that might show the track, it would be difficult to go across uneven surfaces or up a hill, and going in any direction other than a straight line was problematic. A steadicam operator can do away with the track and follow the protagonists round a corner, through a doorway, and up the stairs. It has changed the whole look of movies. 

Nowadays an amateur video maker can shoot 4K footage with a smartphone, and by using a handheld gimbal can achieve results that a filmmaker in the 1960s could only have dreamed of. 

A gimbal is still very much a product for an enthusiast, rather than the mass-market, but for those people who want the benefits of a steadicam but can't afford $25,000 - it's a revelation. 

Watch the video below to see how I get on with the Uoplay 3 Axis Gyroscopically Stabilised Smartphone Gimbal.

PURCHASING

You can buy the AiBird Uoplay Gimbal from Amazon the US & the UK - links below.
 
ebay links are below - Click your country to find the best price. 
UK  US  DE  CA  AU  NL  BE  FR  CH  ES  IE  IT 
When buying items from China, don’t forget to factor in potential import duty charges.
   
The official website for the AiBird Uoplay Gimbal can be found here.
  
Additional Countries AMAZON Links DE  ES  FR  IT

 

Sunday
Jun052016

Retro HiFi: The DBX Disc

One thing that often comes as a surprise to anyone getting into vinyl for the first time is surface noise. As soon as the stylus touches down on a spinning disc there’s a noticeable background rumble. You could spend thousands in trying to eradicate this, but turn the volume up and you’ll discover that whenever one object scrapes along another, surface noise is inevitable. 
  
The absence of any background noise was one of the things I noticed when I listened to a CD for the first time in 1982. The complete lack of vinyl rumble, or tape hiss between tracks was something that was impossible to miss. A father of a friend who sold BAE aircraft around the world brought a Sony CDP-101 player back from a business trip to Japan. I remember turning the volume way up in order to hear what wasn’t there, just as much as what was.
  
In addition to no surface noise the new CDs had no static cracks and pops, and classical music recordings benefitted from the expanded dynamic range offered by the new format. Other attractions were of course the smaller size, longer playing time, easy track access, and a resilience to dust.
  
It turns out that many of the ‘new’ features available on CDs were already possible with Vinyl, it’s just that most people weren’t aware. Track access, random play and  each side play were all possible with the right turntable. Lesser known is the fact that zero disc noise, CD levels of dynamic range and reduced pops and crackles from dust were all features available on the obscure DBX disc format since the early 1970s.
  
In this video I look at (and listen to) DBX discs for the first time, and I’m shocked with the results. Watch the video below to find out more. 
You can still find old DBX Disc decoders on ebay where you can also find some DBX encoded records. The Discogs marketplace is also a good place to source DBX discs.
  
UPDATE: 
In a (soon to be proved misguided) attempt to placate the angry crowds brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches - HERE IS A DIGITAL RECORDING of the first two minutes of Pramlatta's Hips. 
 
You can hear the needle drop at 2 secs in...the silence after that is the lead in and then the music starts. There has been no manipulation of the recording - it's just phono out from the DBX 224 decoder into the audio in of a Sony HDR-MV1 recording in PCM WAV
  
I still feel that analog audio can only really be experienced in person, not via a digital recording - just like a photo of a oil painting, while all the information is there it's just not the same ...but hey what do I know, I'm just some guy on the internet.
Friday
May272016

Dashcam Battery pack lets you record whilst parked

The Cellink B Dash-cam battery pack is an unusual device that can only really be explained in a video. In the past I have reviewed the DOD SP1 camera provided by HDigital Eye in the UK, so they got in touch again to see if I would demonstrate the new Cellink B dashcam battery pack for them. Watch the video below where I expain how it works and go through the various installation options including hard-wiring it to a fuse box. 

In Korea where they take their dashcams seriously, this is a best selling product. In the UK dashcams are still quite a niche product, which makes this is an accessory for a niche product. As a result, the vast majority of people watching this video won't have a pressing need to buy one. However from the feedback I receive, I know that there are also a lot of people interested in recording video whilst their car is parked...so this could be the thing that they've been waiting for.

Purchasing

If you want to buy one (and are in the UK or Australia) the links are below.

ebay: UK  Australia 

Amazon UK
Monday
May232016

Cheap Gadget: USB LED Dimmer light

I have been asked to feature cheaper gadgets every now and then...so here's the cheapest yet. 

 

You can buy these USB 6 LED dimmer lights from the links below (Click your Country) 

UK  US   CA   AU   DE   NL   BE   FR   ES   CH   IE   IT 

They are also available on Amazon - but usually cost more and often still come from China.

Amazon UK  Amazon US 

The Pebble USB Battery Pack can be found (heavily discounted) on Amazon UK or Amazon US