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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%! 

            

 
Saturday
May162015

The Teac O'Cass is the Worst Idea Ever and it's brilliant

How do you like the link-bait headline? After seeing the Gizmodo review of the Tefifon go viral, it seems like it's all about having a catchy headline. I'm joking... but it did make me think how we are so quick to retrospectively judge the work of others whilst sitting at our keyboards eating cheesy puffs.

The Gizmodo headline referred to the Tefifon as "Germany's Doomed 1950s music player". I suppose in that respect a 1980s video recorder was ultimately just as 'doomed'. The Tefifon was manufactured from the 1940s to the 1960s and just because it didn't ultimately take over the world, doesn't mean it was a failure in its day, it just died off, just like everything else eventually will. I'm sure Sony even made a good profit on the Mini Disc....just perhaps not as much as they would have liked.

Now with those things in mind... today I'm looking at a Teac Open Cassette, an idea that seems looks so idiotic you wonder if it was made to win a drunken bet. Every article about the O'Casse I've read states that Teac believed it would work out cheaper for people to replace the reel of tape rather than  buying a whole new cassette every time. I call poppycock on this. I feel like that's revisionist history.

My theory is that Teac brought this out because they hoped people would think it was cool. Japanese culture has a strong fondness for things that are miniaturised and kawaii and I think this was intended to appeal to those people.

It seems wacky ideas are being stifled nowadays, people always want to know the reason for something existing - it must serve a purpose or fill a specific need. However not everything is supposed to replace things that went before, and nobody ever needed a Lava Lamp or a Big Mouth Billy Bass.

The Open Reel Cassette is still a ludicrous idea, something that has no reason to exist, and yet it does....and that's what makes it brilliant. 

With that out of the way, ladies and gentlemen I present to you the Teac O'Casse.

Monday
May112015

S10 budget 1080p Helmet Camera Review

Here's a short video review of the S10 budget helmet camera.

Due to my inability to trim the length of .avi files, I can only provide one 155MB Downloadable sample clip (and a few jpgs) available here.

You can buy an S10 camera here. (ebay - price approx £65/$85).

Saturday
May092015

1950s Jukebox Wall-O-Matic MP3 Player

Thumbnail - Click for actual sizeWhen it comes to wallboxes (jukebox remote controllers) it's the models made by Seeburg rather than Wurlitzer that people think of. Whilst I have no room for a jukebox, a Seeburg Wall-O-Matic is definitely something I can accomodate, however there was little point getting one unless it actually could be used for something. Well I needn't have worried - of course the internet had me covered....

 

Useful links 

I bought my wallbox from here: http://goodstuffnowllc.com
MP3 (or iPod) adaptor can be purchased here: http://cdadapter.com
If you are want to do it all youself - you can pick up vintage wallboxes on ebay: http://goo.gl/YMdrXq

 

Monday
May042015

Answering a few Tefifon Questions


No one asked for it...so here it is, another video about the Tefifon - that obscure vintage piece of German HiFi from the 1950s.

OK, in truth I've a couple of new items to show, some things I want to elaborate on and you'll also get to hear a sample of Tefi music recorded directly (over a cable) from the Tefifon.

If you want your own Tefi ringtone you can download my MP3s here - CHIMES   HORNS 

Previous Tefi article & video here

Friday
May012015

Why I provide sample clips

There are still plenty of people who don't understand how youtube video can look worse than the original source.

It's common knowledge that a tape recorded from a CD or a video copy of a blu-ray will be worse than the original - however when it comes to digital copies of digital sources, some people struggle to understand how things can degrade.

Let me show you how bad things can get - and why downloadable sample clips are the only way to see the true quality of the original recording.

 

Links - 

To see how I mounted the camera in this video - watch this

My 1080p60 Riding Video Clip on youtube is here (Warning - turn your speakers down!).

My full Xiaomi Yi Video Review is here

Downloadable Xiaomi Yi Sample Clips are available here

Friday
May012015

How to make your own POV Motorcycle Camera Mount

A few people wanted to know what equipment I used to mount my camera for recording my motorcycle point-of-view shots. Well it's a lot simpler and cheaper than you might imagine. 

In the short video below I demonstrate how to make your own "Techmoan POV pocket mount"™ - it only takes a couple of minutes and costs next to nothing.

Sunday
Apr122015

Taxi Cam - Dual Lens Rear-View Mirror Car Recorder

One of the more common email requests I get is to do more reviews of rear-view mirror car cameras. It's not for want of trying, but this particular sector of the 'dash-cam' market seems to be particularly under represented. Most of the cameras currently on sale have similar out-dated internals, use the old MJPEG codec and offer (upscaled fake-hd) resolution of 1280x960. 

For this video I managed to find an h.264 camera that is supposed to offer 1080p, has rotating cameras which makes it suitable for both left and right hand drive vehicles and importantly if it's to be used as a Taxi-cam has IR leds that point inwards. Watch the video below to see how it fares. 

ebay purchasing links (click your country).

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

 

Monday
Apr062015

The Tefifon

A few weeks ago I woke up deaf in my right ear. I'm still trying to get that issue resolved, but in the meantime what better thing to do than demonstrate a monaural music player from the 1950s that most people won't have seen before. Full details in the video below.

 

You may have seen some of my other HiFi based videos, but it's more than likely that you won't have seen them all. I'm particularly happy with the video I made about Compact Cassettes (or tapes as they are more commonly known). If you are interested in seeing more, my HiFi videos are all collected on youtube in This Playlist and the accompanying articles are here.

One interesting fact I picked up whilst making this video: As 78rpm records held under five mins of music per side, longer collections of music consisted of multiple 78s held in pages bound together in a book. This book was known as an album (for obvious reasons). When people moved to the 33rpm vinyl record the album name stuck even though the book was no longer used.

My Tefifon was purchased on ebay - where you'll find German sellers offering vintage Tefi cartridges as well as the occasional player, including portable devices. ebay links UK  US,

Monday
Mar302015

The Full Xiaomi Yi Action Camera Review

I must have had upwards of fifty people contact me and ask if I’d heard of the new Xiaomi Yi camera and whether I was going to review it, however a few hours before the first of those messages arrived, I’d already pre-ordered one. I suspected that a budget 1080p60 camera from a reputable manufacturer would be worth taking a look at…and it seems I wasn’t wrong.

I’ve been using it for a little over a week now, and you can find my video review below. 

As I mentioned in the video I intend to revisit this camera when the waterproof case is released. At that point I’ll probably do another video showing how it performs on my motorcycle, however you should be already able to tell that the video quality from this camera is very impressive.

If you want to download my SAMPLE CLIPS & PHOTOS- then CLICK HERE. Make sure you Download and play these back locally rather than streaming them.

Waterproof Case details here (pre-order)

Below are some purchasing links

AMAZON US   AMAZON UK

EBAY (click your country)

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

BANGGOOD (Links below) 

Jungle Colour (Green/Lime & a bit cheaper) or White 

Android App Link - http://sports.xiaoyi.com/app/sports_camera.apk

UPDATE - Connecting to the Camera. 

Since the manual is in Chinese and not everyone is familar with the process of connecting to a WiFi camera, here is a basic guide.

First download and install and update the app listed above. Once it's working, then...

1) Go into the settings on your phone and look for the WiFi option

2) Turn on the WiFi on the Camera (tap the button on the side)

3) Wait approx 15 secs until the blue light starts flashing

4) In the WiFi settings on your phone you will then see the camera appear as a WiFi hotspot.

5) Connect to the hotspot - it will ask for the password - it's 1234567890

6) When the Phone is connected up to the camera - then go into the app and you can access the camera and it's settings.

UPDATE MAY 2015: Whilst the Stills & Auto-Exposure are excellent - I’ve had second thoughts about the video sharpness. After watching the footage I recorded on my motorcycle -  objects at a distance look a little soft to me. I suggest you download some samples and make up your own mind.

Sunday
Mar222015

Rip it up and start again - Sony HAP-S1 vs Pioneer NP-01S

Have you ever had an idea for a product in your head and then tried to find out whether someone was actually making it. That’s what these two videos are about, initially failing, but ultimately succeeding in finding a HiFi component that matched a very specific and personal set of requirements. The HAP-S1 is such a good fit, it’s almost like Sony designed it with me in mind.

 

I do think it would be a great idea if Sony made cheaper version of the HAP-S1 without the built in amp. They do sell an amp-less model - the HAP-Z1 but it is even more High-end, comes with a 1TB HDD and costs twice the price.
  
I’ve seen other reviews of the HAP-S1 focus on the fact that the initial transfer of music to the 500GB internal HDD takes way too long over a network connection and would be better if it could be done via the USB port. Whilst I agree that it is an inconvenience, it only needs to be done once. After my initial set-up I’ve purchased a few Hi Res albums from HDTracks and they’ve each copied over in a few minutes.
  
One thing I didn’t mention in the video is the fact that the HAP-S1 somehow managed to add in almost all my missing album art. After a couple of days I noticed that it was populating the missing art automatically and also seemed to be tidying up the names of some albums and artists. My music collection has never been so neat and organised.
 
The Sony HAP-S1 is not cheap - but sometimes you get what you pay for and for me this is one of those times. I can’t recall the last time I was this happy with a consumer electronics device.
 
You can find out more, or buy a HAP-S1 at Sony in the UK. It’s also available from Amazon in the US and you might be able to get a deal on eBay.
  

 

Sunday
Mar152015

CCTV Basics - Wired day & night outdoor camera.

Over the last couple of months I've been experimenting with CCTV with the aim of setting up a budget system to monitor a garden for nocturnal wildlife. I've condensed what I've learned so far into the video below. You'll see a demonstration of the day and night video quality from three budget cameras, I show how to connect everything together, pass on a few tips and I won't over complicate things with needless technical jargon.

 

After watching that, you'll see that setting up a CCTV system can be done very cheaply. If you want to buy any of the things shown in the video then you'll find the links below. (All links are for the UK only unless specified).

'White' Camera - from China (ebay UK)  - ebay US link here

'Silver' Camera (Amazon UK)                 'Johnny 5' Camera (Amazon UK)

8" LCD Monitor (Amazon UK)                 Old Sony 6" CRT Broadcast Monitor  (ebay UK)

 

   
   
Note - some of these items may come from China, take a while to arrive and could incur import duty costs.
As always I can't guarantee the long-term performance or longevity of anything I review.