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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

 

 
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
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.

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%! 

 
Wednesday
Jul272016

Just a quick comment about comments

First I want to make something perfectly clear....I am not complaining and I am not upset...I am just passing on a bit of important info.

Whenever I've mentioned youtube comments in the past, people think I'm moaning - so please put this idea out of your mind, I am writing because I feel I owe you an explanation as to why the youtube comments will go downhill from here on.

Ever since I started uploading youtube videos, nine years ago, I've tried to moderate the youtube comments, I'd block trolls, remove nonsense, spam, adverts and hate messages, all with the intention of making my channel a pleasant place to visit...but today I'm having to let go. The channel has become too popular, there are just too many comments being posted for me to keep this up...it's a fire-hose.

I'd like to be able to say that moderating it has become a full time job...but it's more than that...it's a full time job for a team of half a dozen people. So as I'm just one man, I'm backing away from the youtube comments. I'll continue to read the top comments every now and then, probably weekly, but it won't be on a daily basis any more. 

I love making videos that entertain people - I enjoy getting feedback and suggestions, I've built the channel through listening to and responding to the viewers who enjoy the videos and I'll miss (some of) the banter, but if I'm going to be able to find the time to continue making videos, I've no choice but to take a step back and let the comments go full Lord Of The Flies...it's become far too time consuming to keep on top of. I won't be blocking or deleting anything any more - it seems right to leave it totally unsupervised. 

I will still read and (try to) respond to comments posted on Patreon, Twitter and this website, but as far as youtube...it was fun, but the party was probably really over a couple of years ago.

I love making things, but I don't enjoy talking about them afterwards. The fun for me is in the creating rather than the explaining. 

Hopefully dropping youtube comment moderation commitments out of my list of jobs will allow me more time to spend on making fun and informative videos...but inevitably the youtube comments will suffer, so if you see anything particularly offensive to others, please do everyone a favour and flag it as inappropriate. 

Saturday
Jul232016

Yi 4K - The best action camera ever?

In July 2015 I bought the Sony 4K action camera, immediately took it on holiday and shot some footage with the intention of using this in a review. When I returned I decided that I couldn't assemble a proper review as I neither had a 4K TV or a way to edit my 4K footage.

A few months later iMovie was updated to include 4K editing abilities and a couple of months later I bought a 4K TV. So now with all these pieces in place I could finally make that review, the only problem was that I felt that technology had already moved on. Whilst the Sony could record in 4K, everything else about the camera seemed old, compared to even the cheapest budget action HD cameras that I'd reviewed since. It was sluggish to operate, had an old over-complicated operating system, ran hot and would eat through a battery in under an hour. I had plenty of other fun things to look at instead, so again it went back on the shelf.

Fast-forward to a couple of months ago when Yi offer to send me a pre-production version of their new 4K action camera. I was a little reluctant to try a 4K action cam review again, but since I was already shooting most of my video reviews in 4K and I'd had a good experience with the original Yi camera, I decided it was time to give it a go, and I'm very glad I did. The Yi 4K action camera shows how quickly technology can advance in a year. Xiaoyi claim the Yi 4K is the 'Best Action Camera Ever' - and I can't disagree. Whilst there may be a contender out there somewhere, I know that I haven't used a more capable action camera. 

In the video below you'll see a demonstration of many of the features of the Yi 4K, presented in 4K, I hope you enjoy it. 

If you want to download sample clips - Click Here (please don't try to stream the clips - these have to be downloaded to be viewed in 4K)

If you want to buy the Yi 4K Action Camera please bear in mind that this is a fully tricked out 4K camera - not a budget model and the prices reflect that. Also it's still early days so there aren't many suppliers, your best bet if you aren't in the UK or US is probably to get one from AliExpress - The affliliated links are below.

Purchasing

You can buy this camera at one of the following links:
  
WORLDWIDE ORDERS:  Aliexpress 
  
The Official Yi Stores on Amazon also stock accessories:
USA http://amzn.to/2aFpwV5
United Kingdom: http://amzn.to/2aYGr7v
Germany: www.amazon.de/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
France: www.amazon.fr/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
Spain: www.amazon.es/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
Italy: www.amazon.it/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
Monday
Jul182016

MINIDISC

I get asked "when are you doing a minidisc video" every day. Some people ask me if I've heard of a 'forgotten format' that was like a small CD held in a plastic tray called 'mini disk' (SIC) so its probably best that I put the record straight....I was all-in on MD back in the early 00s. I loved MD, and I still do, I used it daily until I got my first iPod (which was an iPod colour). I've still got a box full of MDs and I was present at a Sony launch demonstration of minidisc a few months before it went on sale to the public in the UK.  
 
So yes, I'm working my way around to Minidisc. I have been accumulating a number of machines that demonstrate different aspects and milestones in the minidisc format's timeline. There's a lot to cover ATRAC, MD LP, HiMD etc etc.
 
Many of my audio format videos have taken years to assemble, and there's really no rush, MD isn't going anywhere, no reason to panic....a MD retrospective video will happen, when I can do a good job of it. I really don't want to do a format that is so close to my heart a disservice...so please bear with it.
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