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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
Aug232013

Audio Technica ATR3350 Lavalier Microphone

In the video I refer to this as a review, but that may be overselling it a bit, it's really just more of a quick product demonstration.

The ATR3350 must be one of the cheapest condenser Lavalier Microphones available and yet it still manages to sound better than the microphone that's built into my expensive new camera.
 
Unfortunately most cameras don't have the ability to use an external microphone, however if you are fortunate enough to own a camera with a 3.55 mini-jack mic-in socket, and you record live voice-overs, then this microphone is definitely one worth considering...especially when you consider its discounted price.
 
You can see the current price or BUY ONE using one of the links below:
 
  

 

Sunday
Aug182013

Recommended Cameras

"What is the best car or action camera?" is a question that I get asked every few days. The truth is that I really have no idea. I've only really tested a handful of models and many of these were pretty poor. Statistically I've probably only looked at a fraction of a percent of the models available on the market today. In the time it took to me type this paragraph, another ten new cameras have probably been listed on Alibaba. 

Therefore I've done the next best thing - I've compiled a list of all the cameras I've tested that I think are still worth a closer look. I've put this list on a new page called Recommended Cameras you can find this at the top of the page below the 'n' on Techmoan. You'll find a variety of cameras listed here including Action Cams and Dash-Cams amongst others. Each entry has a link-back to my old review and a buying link. 

A number of cameras that I initially thought were OK have been omitted as a result of reader/viewer feedback from unhappy owners who have experienced relibility problems.

If you want to go there now, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 2014 - The list of favorites is now shown in the right-hand column. 

Sunday
Aug182013

ACMAXX X-CAP Auto Lens Cap

I don't want all my video reviews to be epics that take weeks to make and almost as long to watch...so with that in mind here is a very quick video about a lens cap.

CLICK HERE to buy the ACMAXX X-CAP via ebay.

I'm not convinced that I've made the right decision in buying the G6, although only time will tell. My shopping list of features for my new camera restricted the choice down to just a few models. Most importantly I wanted a Mic-in socket,  a fully articulated touch screen with touch-to-focus and a separate video record button (not just a mode on the dial). I like to be able to quickly alternate between taking photos and videos. It also needed to have MP4 or MOV recording, good low light and continuous focussing during video recording. The G6 offered all these features, but there are a couple of things that I've learnt since buying it that are making me unsure whether it's the right camera for me.

Firstly, I should have realised that a camera like this cannot do macro photography like my other cameras - it needs an adaptor lens (now on order). With the stock lens my demonstrations of things like the buttons on a keyring camera would be too far away. The focussing seems a bit odd - it seems to do a lot of hunting, but I still have to play with the settings for this, so maybe I can find a mode that works better. It cannot be powered and record at the same time out of the box without an expensive adaptor (which is difficult to obtain). I'm currently awaiting this from Germany. I also still have to experiment with my new condenser lavalier to see how well it performs with the camera.

So the jury is out on my G6, it looks great, but it might not be completely suited for my studio requirements. On the other hand the lens cap is a definite success....so I suppose that's something.

Wednesday
Aug142013

Resurrecting a Macintosh Classic - here's to the crazy ideas

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted a Mac Classic II in the background of my Beginners Guide to Car Cameras Video.

Intended for an aborted project, it's a non-functioning model bought from eBay a couple of years ago.

Recently I decided that I wanted to own a fully functional Mac Classic - but after losing out on countless eBay auctions for working machines, I chose to instead take my faulty old machine down off the shelf and see if it could somehow be brought back to life.

The potential fix I found sounded much more like an old wives' tale than science and to attempt it I needed to throw out my preconceptions about electronics and do something completely counterintuitive....But did it work? Watch the video to see how I got on.

Sunday
Aug112013

808#26 1080p Key-fob Spy Camera Review

At long last, here is my long-delayed review of the 808#26 Key-fob spy camera. This video took me much longer than I anticipated to finish. One reason is because I was stalling for an update to either the software or the firmware that would allow me to test all the settings fully, but in the end I reluctantly had to finish the video without using the PC software. Perhaps the most annoying thing about this was that I haven't been unable to update or remove the time and date stamp. UPDATE 20/8/13 (I've now got the software to work - see details at the end of this post).

Another issue for me was that that this camera creates .avi files. My Mac doesn't like these and insists I repackage them into an mp4 container before iMovie will import them. PC's are the opposite and prefer avi files, so this is definitely a camera aimed at the PC user.  

The samples I upload here often have to be trimmed for length to reduce the file size. A 477MB 1080p file is created every 5 mins when I'm driving, but you only want to see a few seconds of that. I like to upload files that haven't been re-encoded so I used MPEG Streamclip to trim them - but it had a lot of problems with these files.

I went on a three week holiday shortly after the camera was delivered, so I've turned this to my advantage, by shooting some additional footage whilst I was travelling. Hopefully this livens things up a tad compared to my usual city centre Manchester clips.

 

DOWNLOADABLE SAMPLES AVAILABLE HERE These will look better than youtube.

BUY ONE BELOW

If you want to purchase the 808#26 there are a number of ebay sellers who have all been recommended to me by the manufacturer Hetai. Prices start at approx £65 for a basic package. 

ELETECH086

POWERDIGITAL898

POWER-GPS 

INTERNET-SHOP365

HXELEPRO360

 Useful Links for additional information on this camera

RCGROUPS.COM Forums (Essential if you plan on using this camera in a Remote Controlled Aircraft)

CHUCKLOHR.COM (Everything you need to know all about the technology inside this camera).


UPDATE RE PC SOFTWARE

Once it was explained to me how to get the camera to connect to the PC, it turns out that the software works fine (thanks to 'theWolfTamer71"on youtube for enlightening me).

For the camera to be recognised, a procedure has to be followed carefully. First, ensure the camera is turned off. Load up the PC Setout tool software. Connected the camera to the PC using the supplied USB lead. Press and hold the Shutter and Power keys together for a few seconds until a red light flashes...the camera will then appear in the software and you can change the settings. When you are happy with the changes - press the Set-Out button to update the camera.  
 
I have tried this on a Windows 7 Machine - I believe the software doesn't work on XP. I haven't tried Win 8. The fact the software is PC only and Macs are more compatible with .mp4 or .mov files rather than the .avi files created by this camera, means that this camera is better suited for use by PC users.

 

 

Friday
Aug022013

The MicroMuff - Wind Noise Killer

This is primarily a review of a piece of wind-noise reducing fluff, but I've also taken the opportunity to show you a few samples taken with my latest 'holiday camera' the Sony HX300. Some people were amazed by the 30x zoom of its predecessor the HX100V, when I showed this in an earlier video, so I've taken a few moments in this video to demonstrate the 50x zoom as well as a few other fun features from the latest Sony Superzoom.

If you want to buy a MicroMuff here is a link to some eBay sellers (CrookedImaging in the UK achieved next day delivery on both of my orders).  On the manufacturers website Micromuff.com you can see more details about the full range.

If you fancy getting a Sony HX300, I'd recommend regularly checking the Sony Refurb store, you may be able to pick up a bargain like I did, it's also currently on sale for £320 on Amazon 

My 808#26 review will be along as soon as I can get it edited together, and it will now incorporate some new video I shot with it whilst on holiday (more interesting than my usual Manchester footage). I've also taken advantage of this delay to reshoot my bike segment as the original stuff was poorly framed.

Monday
Jul082013

The Mobius Camera - The do-it-all mount-anywhere 1080p Micro Cam

Here's my review of the Mobius Camera. This camera has been in development for some time and clearly the manufacturer has listened to user feedback from the buyers of the #16 808 cameras and incorporated many of their requested features into this model.

There isn't too much to add here - this is a pretty comprehensive video that covers most features of the camera. I suppose the only thing I didn't go into was the webcam function. I'm not interested in this myself since all my laptops have had a built in webcam since 2009, but a webcam function can come in useful if you need to refocus the lens and view live video on your PC screen at the same time. As I mentioned at the beginning of the video the manufacturer included a tool to enable you to refocus the (unglued) lens. I know of people who use the keyring cameras mounted on their model trains who will find this very useful.

I also never tried the time-lapse function, which automatically takes photos at your specified interval. You can see these options on screen during the configuration section of the review.

The only negatives I can think of are the narrow FOV in the 720p60 mode (720p30 has the same FOV as 1080p30) and a lack of water resistance, although there may well be accessories released in the future that address the latter issue.

Due to the constant revisions the manufacturer makes to the camera, the features I have shown here could be updated in the future, but even if there are no more changes, I'm very happy wth the camera as it stands today. It never gave me a moment of trouble during the weeks I was testing it. Never once locking up or shutting down on it's own, so for me this has been a totally reliable little camera.

I'm trying to guess what crazy questions I'll get asked, so I can answer them first.

So...

Motion detection? - Latest Firmware has this option (Info added Jan 2014)

Looped/Recycled Video? YES

Can this be switched off? YES

What is looped/recycled video? - See My Beginners Guide To Car Cams Video HERE

Can the Timestamp be turned off? YES

Finally to answer a common question from people who didn't watch the video. - No the silver arrows on the camera are not buttons, they are a heat sink and being aluminium are also not magnetic. Press Play on the video to learn more.

If you have any more questions, you should get all the answers you need from the links below.

To BUY ONE (on ebay) Click your country below

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

I've also put some Amazon links below.

 

 

The Windows Configuration Software and Manual can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE

To Download SAMPLE CLIPS - CLICK HERE

(Wait a few seconds for the samples link to load)

Chuck Lohr's detailed Mobius Page is here

RC Groups.com Forum pages about the Mobius are here

The Downloadable Instructions and configuration software are available from here

I know people are going to ask me whether they should get this or an SJ1000, but they are very different cameras. You'll need to decide yourself what features are important to you. The LCD Screen, Waterproof Case, Ultra Wide angle lens of the SJ1000 or the true 720p60, reduced-fisheye lens and easy mounting options of the Mobius.

DIMENSIONS - Just thought I should add this info.

The Mobius is 6cm front to back, 3.5cm wide and 1.7cm thick.

 

 

Tuesday
Jul022013

The Contour Roam 2 - Using the right tool for the job

After reviewing the SJ1000 camera recently it’s become very apparent that the mounting system a camera employs is every bit as important as the performance of the camera itself.

If you've seen any of my other reviews of action cameras – particularly the Sony AS10/AS15 you’ll know that I’ve struggled to side-mount any of these to my motorcycle helmet. I find the cube-shaped cameras like the GoPro particularly unsuited for this task. Not to mention the fact that a boxy camera mounted on the top of a helmet is guaranteed to make you look like an utter pillock. They may be ideal for recording a free-fall from the edge of space, but are much less suited for a daily bike commute.

It comes as no surprise then that if you want to side-mount a helmet camera then you should buy a model that’s specifically designed for that purpose, like the Contour Roam2.

The Contour Roam 2 which is the subject of this review is the basic model (and is currently on offer for £134.99 at Amazon). The other camera in the range is the Contour +2 which is the all singing and dancing model and costs about £330. The cheaper model forgoes the advanced features of its more expensive brother, such as a replaceable battery, mic-in, GPS Logging and WiFi App Capability, however both cameras utilise the same excellent mounting system and rotating lens. As you would expect there are a variety of optional accessories shown on the official Contour Site.

I don’t know if the video quality varies significantly between the two models but I should hope that low-light performance is improved on the Contour +2 model. Ideally I’d test both models out, but the +2 costs significantly more than I’m prepared to spend on a helmet camera. When you consider that you can buy a nice new Sony NEX3-NL Interchangeable Lens camera for the same price, the Contour +2 does look overpriced.

If you want to download SAMPLE CLIPS recorded with this camera CLICK HERE  all are untouched, but trimmed for length.

Following the demise of Contour the official US website no longer hosts the requried software.....

however CONTOUR SOFTWARE IS STILL AVAILABLE FROM THE JAPAN WEBSITE

(Links BELOW)

WINDOWS

OSX

Sunday
Jun232013

Q) Which car camera is best for catching a vandal in the act? A) None of them.

I wanted to explain in a video why its a really bad idea to consider using a car camera to catch a vandal. You may think that no-one would contemplate doing this, but every week I receive a handful of emails asking me to recommend a car camera for this very purpose. This video also demonstrates why motion activation isn't all its cracked up to be.

Extra information to think about;

If you want a camera to record for a prolonged period whilst your car is locked up you will have to hard-wire it in to your vehicle. Then to catch the offender, the incident would have to happen in the daytime - or in a very well lit area at night, the offender doesn't wear a hood or faces away from the camera, they decides to damage your bonnet rather than the side of the car, you have a tall vehicle, e.g. a 4x4 so you capture more than just an image of their headless torso, and you'll also have to notice the damage to your vehicle and check the footage on your memory card before it is overwritten...this will usually happens every few hours. In addition if you park on a busy street, every passing car or pedestrian will trigger the camera to start recording. It's more than likely that something happening at 10pm will not longer be on your memory card when it gets light enough for you to spot the scratch the next day.

You may not agree with my assessment, and if so that's great, please do whatever makes you happy - but IN MY OPINION, trying to catch someone 'keying' your car with a dashcam is ALMOST impossible.

 

Sunday
Jun162013

The Rollie Eggmaster Vertical Grill

This is the second of two videos I made featuring unusual kitchen appliances imported from America.

This video features the Rollie Eggmaster Vertical Grill.

Here is a link to the Rollie Website but they don't send to the UK, so I imported mine via Amazon.com.

 

Sunday
Jun092013

SJ1000 - At last...a good cheap action camera 

After years of fruitless searching and a not inconsiderable amount of money spent, I've finally found a good, cheap, 1080p waterproof action camera.

I get a lot of emails from people asking what action camera I would recommend for occasional use for paint-balling, mountain biking, etc - that costs around £50. Prior to today, my response has been that the cheapest camera I could really recommend was the Liquid Image Ego, but it costs£100.

If your budget doesn't stretch to £100 then there are very few action cameras to choose from. Perhaps the best camera from a very short shortlist is the the RD32II, but it suffers from a substandard mounting system and a non-standard video format. 

The SJ1000 changes everything. For about £60 you can buy a camera that is capable (under the right conditions) of producing video that rivals cameras costing over four times as much. I'm not suggesting that people throw away their GoPro HDHero 3 Black Edition cameras and get this instead...but if you are on a limited budget or don't see the point in spending £200+ on something you only plan on using a couple of times a year then this might well be the camera for you.

You'll have to do a bit of experimenting to get the mounting options to fit your requirements, but it's definitely worth the trouble when you see the video quality that you can get from this small camera. 

 

WANT TO BUY ONE?

Click on your Country of Choice ... US UK AUS DE NL

 

Here is a folder of downloadable sample clips

I should mention that I haven't shot many 720p60 clips...and you'll only find 1080p on the bike.

The only thing I think that I forgot to say in the video was that when using it as a car DVR there is no gap between clips (as you expect nowadays)...in fact each clip repeats the last second of the previous one just to be sure.

UPDATE - 10 June 2013 - Answering a few questions.

First some bad news - The 720p60 mode turns out to actually be 720p30 (every frame is shown twice). I should have spotted this earlier, but I had only been testing the 1080p30 mode as that's the one I use. iMovie always converts 720p60 to 720p30 so that's why I didn't notice it before...apologies for that. Here is a link to a fast moving 720p clip I shot today.

Motion Detection mode - When this is on, the camera records 10 seconds of video and then stops until it sees another movement. If a movement occurs during the 10 seconds when it's recording then the timer is reset and it records for another 10 seconds. This way if the movement doesn't stop then the camera doesn't either....hope that makes sense.

The camera should be able to be mounted the right way up in a car if the correct mounts are combined....this is demonstrated in some of the ebay auction photos. 

File Sizes: 10 Minutes of video takes up 1.2GB in 1080p or 1.07GB in 720p modes.

The case floats in water and on it's own weighs 66.7g.

The camera itself is 7cm tall, 4.5cm wide, 3 cm thick at the bottom and 3.5cm thick at the top where the lens makes it deeper.

The timestamp can be switched off. I turned it off for the Night Time Driving clips and show this option on-screen 19:57 into the video.

I think the manufacturer may be a company with the snappy name of Shenzhen Hongfeng Century Technology Co. Ltd.

BATTERY LIFE is 2hrs 15mins (Could be 2hr 30 mins or more with the screen off)

UPDATE 29 August 2013 'NEW' FIRMWARE!

I know a few people have been waiting for this - so finally here is the updated firmware that fixes the screensaver bug. If the fact that the screen didn't automatically blank out wasn't an issue to you, I'd suggest skipping this update. If you want to update the firmware, you can download the file from the Files & Drivers Page. Updating it is very easy, but just in case you are unsure...here's a quick video. Beware, if you somehow kill it, you are on your own.

Update 27 Sept 2013

Here's a link to another review of the camera by Tom Hardwick (he likes it).

Update 28/12/13.

This is a six month old review and a lot has happened since. You'll find the cases are improved, possibly the mounts too..and you now have the ability to turn the camera on when it's inside the case due to a different button arrangement. The current crop seem to have a 90º lens rather than the 140º on my camera. That means no fish-eye - but less FOV. I'm not doing any more videos about camera this but.....PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS...before posting a question that's been asked countless times before, it's the least you could do for all the kind people who have given up their time to elaborate on the features of this camera and posted their findings in the comments.  I'll give you a starter...NO IT DOESN'T DO TIMELAPSE...The way you can tell this is because there is no option for this on the screen when I go through all the menus in the camera...and it's the kind of thing I would have mentioned. I tend not to mention the things a camera doesn't do because we would be here all day....you can't clip your toenails with this camera, it can't be used as a flotation device, it won't take x-rays etc.....