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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

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%! 

            

 
Sunday
Jan112015

The HTC RE -view

One of my more popular videos of 2014 was a review of the Polaroid Cube camera. The HTC RE appears to be aimed at the same audience as the Cube. It's a hard device to categorise, it's not really an action camera but it has a wide angle lens, can be attached to a bike and record rain or shine for 90 mins on one charge. Now whilst the Cube just recorded video or stills, the HTC RE ups the feature list by including WiFi, slow motion and timelapse. The extra features packed in the RE result in it costing more than the Cube and it's up to you to decide whether these features are worth the price premium. Watch the video below for the full review.

The slow motion feature whilst fun doesn't produce the sharpest results and the timelapse mode requires the camera to be paired via wifi to a smartphone app - but it can be disconnected once recording has started. I've never been a fan of smartphone app controlled devices - I find them to be a hassle to connect up, so it's a shame that the timelapse mode can't be accessed without the app.

I'm glad that companies like HTC are trying out new concepts and designs. For some people the HTC RE will be a very handy mini camera, it is definitely not for everyone, but it's clearly not supposed to be.

I enjoyed using the HTC RE, and I plan on featuring the timelapse feature again in a future video, once the weather has improved a bit.

DOWNLOADABLE CLIPS
I have uploaded some sample videos and photos - these are avaliable here. Do not stream these as this downgrades the quality - you need to download the clips and then play them back from your computer to see their true original quality. 
  
PURCHASING
I imported my camera from the US via ebay, but it's now officially available in the UK so you can buy the camera and accessories from the official HTC store. 
 
There are links below if you prefer to buy the HTC RE camera from Amazon.
 

  

Thursday
Jan012015

Zmodo Outdoor Night-vision WiFi IP Camera

I thought I'd mix things up a bit and start looking at some new IP cameras this year. Modern IP cams are often capable of transmitting HD video over wireless-N Wi-Fi and this has piqued my interest in this segment. So in amongst the dash-cams, action-cams, vanity projects that hardly anyone watches and my other flights of fancy, I'll be throwing in the occasional IP camera review. 

Since this is a relatively new segment for me, I'm still working out the best way to showcase features, so videos like the one below may be a bit rough around the edges, but with each new camera I test I hope to learn a bit more about what features are important and which can be ignored. 

This video is about the Zmodo ZP-IBI13-W camera. I got this for £59 in a December deal on ebay. It now appears that I bought an end-of-line model as the current Zmodo Outdoor WiFI QR cams have received a slight facelift and come with a new ball-joint mounting system. I expect the performance of the newer cameras will be the same or better than the model reviewed here. 

Below are some purchasing links for the current Zmodo range.

EBAY (Click a Country)  UK   US   DE   AU   NL  

   (UK Amazon Price is Crazy! - use ebay links instead)

Saturday
Dec202014

Six Things of Christmas - 2014 Holiday Special

For 6 days before Christmas 2014, I uploaded a short video each day - the intention was to make a show-and-tell Advent calendar featuring interesting or unusual things that I'd bought via ebay.

Now that it's all over I can reveal the objects are:

1) David Niven's Signature on a Cheque from 1958

2) The Eumig C3R 8mm Cine Camera

3) A Nixie Tube Calculator - the Olympia CD401

4) The Planetron Space Age Radio & 8-Track Player

5) A Curta Model 1 Mechanical Portable Calculator

6) A Starwars Pachinko Machine.

   

   

The most viewed video is the first one by about 30% over any of the others  - which makes me think that this whole idea might have backfired and wound up most of the subscribers. However if you do plan on viewing any of these - I'd recommend number 5 - the Curta Calculator, it's probably the one that is best put together and features the most intersting gadget.

If you need to know about the theme tune - yes it's me playing on kazoos and trying to make a shambolic Christmas style intro. I thought it was funny - but it seems like I might be the only one. 

Sunday
Dec142014

Instant Photo Shoot-Out: Zink Printer vs Film Camera

I've wanted to try out the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 for a while now, so when I saw a deal on ebay that included the camera and film for 100 photos I decided it was finally time to buy one. A few days of testing revealed that the pictures it produced were a much less impressive than I anticipated, so I then bought an LG PD239 ZINK printer, to see if that was any better. 

You can see the results in the video below. 

If you do decide to buy either of these, I found the best deals were on ebay, and whilst the company I used quickly sold out of their stocks of both devices, it's worth waiting for the special offers or bundles that turn up from time to time.

LG PD 239 Portable Bluetooth ZINK Printer

Ebay links (click a country) US UK DE AU NL 

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Camera

Ebay links (click a country) US UK DE AU NL

Monday
Dec082014

Want the Nintendo New 3DS now - then buy one. 

I'm never one to wait if there is an alternative, so rather than hang on until its offical unspecified 2015 UK release date I've imported the Nintendo New 3DS-XL.

Now whilst I'm unable to properly demonstrate the amazing improvement in the persistence of the 3D effect I can give a quick tour of the machine and run a few benchmarks against the old model, so watch the video below if you want to see more.

I should mention though, that the 3D effect is incredible. I've seen all sorts of 3D tech over the years, and I own 3D cameras a 3D TV, projector, etc, etc but the New 3DS totally blew me away.  It's leaps and bounds ahead of the old model, but you'll only know really what I'm talking about when you see with your own eyes, so if you do get the opportunity to try one, make sure you take it.

If you are in the UK and want to buy New 3DS (that name really isn't the best idea ever) - I really don't see any reason to hang around until the official release. I imagine that the current ebay prices for the imported models won't be too dissimilar to the store price when it eventually does come out here.

There are three New 3DS models available. Click the links below to be directed to an ebay store with a good reputation. 

Buy one on ebay here

UPDATE: One thing that I've discovered since uploading this video. It is possible to play any Youtube 3D videos (R/L L/R O/U) by going to the Youtube website using the new browser (rather than using the old Youtube App) and it works amazingly well. 

Saturday
Dec062014

SJCAM M10 - All you need to know

Judging by the comments and emails I receive, it appears that a lot of people are interested in the upcoming SJCAM SJ5000+. Most messages I read point out to me that the SJ5000 is already out and then ask when my review will be coming out...

The SJ5000+ is not out (yet) - it's only a Pre-Order and I can only start a review when my camera is delivered from China (presumably in early 2015). I always try to purchase the things I review so I get the full consumer experience. Pre-production review samples can bear little relation to the finished product due to firmware and hardware changes that take place at the last minute. I don't want to spend weeks reviewing a camera that turns out to be different to the one that goes on sale.

Assuming I get my pre-ordered SJ5000+ camera in early January, the earliest I could get the review done by would be the end of January or in early February. The best way to find out when a video review is ready is to stay subscribed to my youtube channel and as soon as it's ready, you'll be notified. I never have any idea how long a video will take me to put together because even when I'm in the middle of assembling it I don't know how much more I'll need to shoot. I only know I'm finished when there is nothing more to say.

But back to the present, the video below is about the newest SJCAM model that's actually on sale today, the M10. In a similar vein to how console manufacturers repackage the outgoing machine in a smaller, sometimes cheaper package whenever a new model is imminent, SJCAM have effectively repackaged their old SJ4000 internals in a smart new case.

So watch the video below to see why I feel that despite this being last year's warmed up tech, I think that the M10 is the best SJ4000 made. 

You can also see my complete SJ4000 WiFi edition review here (whilst the M10 I reviewed is not the WiFi version - all other features are the same).

Buying the M10 Camera

If you want to buy an M10, then click on one of the links below.

ebay (Click your country)

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

      

Monday
Dec012014

The MOVA Globe

Here's a gift idea for people who have deep pockets but little imagination when it comes to deciding what to buy someone for Christmas. Unfortunately I don't know anyone like that, so I bought my own. Click on the short video below to see it in action.

If you are interested in finding out more then click on one of the links below.

The Manufacturers Website

Youtube video from the Inventor explaining the Mova Globe technology in detail.

Purchasing Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Sunday
Nov232014

The 'Sinclair' Spectrum Analyser

After last week's epic 30 minute video I needed to take a bit of time off and do something far less complicated. So I ended up spending Saturday afternoon repurposing a broken pocket TV to hold a mini music visualiser....and accidentally created the world's first Sinclair Spectrum Analyser.

More info about the spectrum analyzer I used is in its ebay auction (click here) and once that has sold you can see what the designer (Digital Love) currently has for sale here.  I operate mine by sending it audio from the second tape output on my vintage amp but I noticed that the design of the device has recently been updated and now incorporates an audio output so it's easier to integrate into more modern systems. 

Sunday
Nov162014

GoPro Hero Budget Camera vs the SJ4000 (Review)

It's clear that over the last couple of years budget action cameras have been drinking GoPro’s milkshake.

Professional TV production companies are using the high end GoPro models more than ever, but it's at the low end with people like myself who are often opting to choose the cheaper, almost disposable alternatives. The kind of person who plans to go snorkelling on holiday, thinks it would be a fun idea to capture the experience on video but doesn't fancy shelling out hundreds for a camera they might only use once or twice.

Even some people who already have a GoPro are getting the SJ4000 as a second camera to use in places where they wouldn't want to risk their more expensive model. In this context a camera like the SJ4000 With its sharp 1080p video, built-in LCD screen, waterproof case and box full of accessories is a very tempting alternative.  

So after seeing their potential customers go elsewhere, GoPro have launched their own budget camera to compete .

In this review we'll find out exactly what you get for your money and whether this stripped down GoPro is worth the price premium over the SJ4000. I'll run a few head to head video quality tests and list what features each device has in its favour. Ultimately though its down to you to choose the camera that you prefer. I'll present the evidence but you have to make the decisions.

 

DOWNLOADABLE CLIPS
You can download sample GoPro Hero clips from here.  Do not stream these as this downgrades the quality - you need to download the clips and then play them back from your computer to see their true original quality. 
 
There are links below if you want to buy the GoPro Hero on Amazon.
 

   

 

Wednesday
Nov122014

Classic Retro Hi-Fi Turntable: Sansui XR-Q7 

Vinyl record sales are increasing at the same time that sales of most (all?) other physical music formats are contracting.. I'm not going to begin to try and explain the reasons behind this anomaly, but I will say that in my opinion turntable manufacturers just aren't keeping up with this demand.

There are some beautiful turntables available nowadays, but all the high-end machines I've found are manual - the biggest concession you'll find to convenience is the occasional auto-stop or button to select the speed.

I know that there are people out there that consider any kind of automatic turntable mechanism tantamount to blasphemy and they'll stroke their beards in anger at such a crazy idea. These things introduce noise, feedback electrical interference they'll say. Popycock I say - the existence of the SansuiQ7 proves that an automatic turntable doesn't need to compromise on audio performance in the slightest. 

When it comes to cars, some people choose an automatic gearbox and some prefer manual and this is accepted as normal, yet the current turntable manufacturers are only appealing to people who would prefer the pure experience of driving a car with a manual gearboxes, wind-up windows, and no ABS or power steering, radio, heater or roof.

If Sansui (and others) were capable of bringing out a top quality fully automatic direct drive turntable in the early 1980s are the current crop of high-end turntable manufacturers happy to admit that thirty years later they just don't know how to make something as good. If so, they should be embarrased.

Rant over - here's my quick video about my beautiful new (old) turntable. They just don't make 'em like they used to. 

 

 

Monday
Nov102014

Tenvis TH671 IP Camera Review

I receive quite a few requests to revisit IP cameras, so I decided a while ago to review the next budget HD IP camera that showed promise. This particular camera was suggested to me by a subscriber, I picked mine up for £43 and made the short video you can view below. 

If after watching the review you are prepared to live with it's various limitations and just intend to use it as an indoor remote viewable camera then you can buy your own using the links below.

ebay   UK  US  DE  NL  AU