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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%! 

            

 
Thursday
Jul052012

A 1080p Wired Bullet Cam

This review is almost a half-hour long, and yet I'm sure that I will have skimmed past things that I wasn't interested in, but other people would want to know about. Therefore, if there is something specific you do want me to cover in a follow up video, let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do if/when I get the chance to do a follow-up video.

CLICK HERE for RAW SAMPLES from this camera.

If you click the link above you will find a shared folder  containing 720p60 & 1080p30 clips as well as a few stills.

So why no price or seller link? (Updated  now included.... see below)

You will notice that there are no links to a seller or even details about the price. I briefly explained why this was the case at the end of the video, but I'll elaborate here. I've been contacted by resellers/retailers who have indicated that they would like to use my videos as product demonstrations on their web stores, but when I promote the name of their competitors as my source, it makes it impossible for them to embed the videos on their site. Therefore for this video I'm trying something different. I've reviewed the product but left out any mention of supplier or price.

If there are any resellers who do stock this camera and want to provide a link to their store in the comments below, please feel free to do so. Likewise, I'm happy for you to embed this video on your website/store. Also if anyone spots these for sale anywhere, you can also post a helpful link below. I'm basically putting a call out and asking you to help one other to find the best place to buy this camera from.

This is just an experiment to see how this affects my viewing numbers. Don't worry, the next few items I'm reviewing after this have been sent to me as review samples...so of course I'll be providing full links to the retailers on these products. You'll have seen a subject for a future review making a cameo appearance in this video. However, please be patient as these reviews take me a long time to put together.

P.S By the way just because the control box has an HDMI in socket on it doesn't mean it will work as a PVR. The camera is using this as a data port only, not for streaming encoded video.

EDIT 12/08/12 I've given the experiment long enough and now it's time to name where I bought mine from

When the auction I've linked to expires, you'll have to look at the seller's page to see if he is selling more.
In future, links to sellers will be on this blog rather than in the video...because that will enable me to keep this information up to date.

UPDATE - 18/8/12 I've now done a review of the car accessory lead and the microphone. This video also includes some night driving footage for those people who were interested in seeing this.

Sunday
Jul012012

The 808 #18 - A Reluctant Review 

This camera can really be summed up in a few words. It is an 808 #11 camera with AV-Out. Unless you need AV-out you are probably better off getting the #16 camera instead. 

I am not going to link to any sellers of this camera. If you do want to buy one…you'll find it on eBay where you will most likely be importing it from China. If you are unable to find it using the eBay search function then I'd recommend also avoiding the camera as perhaps technology isn't your forte.

 

Links:

Tom Franks Invaluable thread about the 808#18 Cam on the RC Groups Forum

My old articles and videos about the HD 808 Keyring Cameras 

My original 808#11 Review

A follow up to the 808#11 Article

The 720p Jumbo (#11 With a bigger Battery)

My first 808#16 Review (a pre-production model with a few issues)

The 1080p Jumbo Review (Video includes a comparison with a fully functional 808#16)

 

Saturday
Jun232012

Q8 Car DVR Miniature DSLR Style Camera

When I pulled this mini camera out of its box, I thought that it would make for a really interesting review. It records in 720p, has a 350 min battery life, looks fun but can perform a real function as a car DVR. Its very well put together, feels like solid steel and has a useful screen and lots of buttons that make it simple to use. So what could possibly go wrong........

Friday
Jun222012

The Seki Slim IR Learning remote

 It might not look like much, but believe it or not, I've searched everywhere I know on the internet for years for a remote that works like this.....and it only costs £10.

 

 

Friday
Jun222012

I've been on Holiday (it does happen)

For those people who are expecting camera reviews...I do actually have a couple of new cameras in to review....but I need to take them outside to shoot some test footage and the weather is so atrocious at the moment that I've had to delay these reviews for a while. 

I've just been away on holiday for a fortnight and upon my return I picked up hundreds of emails and saw a few impatient comments in there, one chap in particular vexed me after he posted that he was unsubscribing from my youtube feed because I hadn't posted any videos in a while. My last video was three weeks earlier. I know that this is just one fool, and I'm better off without subscribers of this caliber,  but stuff like this really gets me down sometimes. If anyone else is similarly frustrated with my lack of videos please let me know and I will refund you in full the cost of your youtube subscription to my feed for the three week period in question. Actually, what the heck, I'll refund double. 

Anyway, now that has been said, for all the normal people I should have some interesting stuff coming along soon, but it requires some patience. I'm not a team of hipsters based in San Francisco doing this full time, I'm just one middle aged chap with a camcorder and a few spare hours a week. I'd imagine that most people could  find something else on the internet to occupy their time until my next video is ready. Many thanks for reading and understanding.

Friday
Jun222012

The CruxFLIP iPad Case

Here is a quick review of my latest iPad case. Not much more to say other than have a look at the manufacturer's website here 

Monday
Jun042012

Sony MHS-FS3 3D Bloggie - Discounted, Discontinued and Disappointing

When I was researching this camera, deciding whether it was worth buying, I found it impossible to find any raw unconverted sample clips that had been produced by this camera. There were a few videos on youtube, but as we all know, these aren't an accurate representation of the true video quality.

Everything I did manage to view though looked absolutely terrible. Washed out, shakey and blurry. Well it turns out that this was in fact an accurate representation of this camera's capabilities after all. There are a few reasons as to why this is the case. First off, the 3D video is 1080p AVC MP4 Half SBS, which means that each eye gets allocated half of the 1080p frame - this results in softer video than normal 2D 1080p. This would be forgivable, if it wasn't for the camera's achilles heel.

This camera deactivates image stabilisation when it is recording in 3D mode. A camera this small relies heavily upon image stabilisation to prevent the footage degenerating into a shaky mess. This is probably even more important when recording in 3D mode. The final problem with this camera is that its lenses are far too close together to capture a proper sense of depth. I really don't know what Sony was thinking here, but the effects of having the lenses next to each other like this, is that anything more than a few feet in front of the camera ends up on the same visual plane. Untimately it becomes very difficult to spot that the 3D footage is actually 3D. It just ends up looking odd. The 3D effect produced by this camera is to 3D what virtual surround is to Dolby 7.1. You can tell something different is supposed to be happening, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is.

So in effect we have a 3D camera that takes soft, shaky, flat 3D video. I can see why Sony discountinued this one very quicky and liquidated all existing stocks through heavy discounting. I just can't understand why they went ahead and brought it out in the first place. However if you want a pocket camera that records reasonable 1080p video then this isn't a bad camera. Just make sure you keep the 3D mode switched off at all times.

You may have noticed from file dates in the video that a lot of the work on this 'review' was done in March 2012. I sold the camera on ebay and moved on to other things. I've only just managed to return to this and finish it off over this bank holiday weekend. This explains why I didn't go as indepth as normal on this review, and it is why I will find it difficult to answer any questions about this camera.

The main reason I decided to go back and finish this video is so that there is a bit of context to the sample clips that I wanted people to have the opportunity to download and see for themselves. One other reason is that I could finally delete the video files off my laptop to free up some space.

Below is a link to the sample clips. All of these are straight from the camera and uploaded to Mediafire. All video clips are unedited and in AVC MP4 format. The 3D video is SBS 1080p. The 3D pictures are in JPG+MPO format. You will need playback and display equipment capable of showing these file formats.

CLICK HERE to download sample Video & Photos

 

Wednesday
May302012

The LCJ-HJ Camera Case for the Sony HX100V & HX200v

Just a quick video demonstrating a camera case for my Sony HX100V. I was expecting to have the Sony HDR-GW55VE by now...but every time I look at Amazon the release date for this camera has moved further into the future. I was intending to take the pocket sized GW55VE on holiday this year, but since it's not arrived, I bought a case for my Studio camera, the HX100V, instead so I can take that on my travels. I wanted the smallest case possible, and this one comes with the added benefit of a hand strap which makes the HX100V feel more like a camcorder. I think this will be a good enough compromise for my trip.  I still prefer to travel with something a bit more pocket sized, but at £38, this one is definitely a little friendlier on the pocket than the £500+ I was intending to spend on the new camera. 

I bought mine from Amazon.

By the way, if anyone was wondering why there is velcro on my lens cap and the bottom of the camera....well I'm sure you can figure it out.

Saturday
May262012

Cheap Dual Camera Car DVR with GPS

Chinavasion got in touch with me recently. I hadn't spoken to them for a long while so it was a bit of a surprise when they suggested that I might want to look at a car camera for them. I've done quite a few car camera reviews recently, so wasn't entirely enthusiastic about the idea until I had a good look at the camera on their website. This camera did seem to offer a lot of features for a low price and I hadn't tested a dual-camera car DVR before, so I asked them to send one over and here is my review of it. Just to confirm, I didn't pay for this camera (other than the usual Import Duties).

 

Slightly off topic - Answers to common questions about car cameras.

There are a few questions that I get asked virtually every day via email about car cameras. To save me typing the same answers out countless times a month, I'd like to try and address them here.

I often get asked to comfirm which is the best car DVR that I've tried, or which one I would recommend. I really cannot answer this one easily because all the cameras that I have tried have some issues which mean that I can't hand on heart recommend any of them wholeheartedly. I like to test things out and let the viewer make their own mind up as to whether the item is suitable for them. I've really only tested a very small fraction of the car cameras on the market today...so it's highly unlikely that I've stumbled across the best or worst models out there. 

Another type of question I get asked regards inappropriate uses of these cameras. One example is when someone  asked which car camera was the best one to use for shooting a road trip travelogue. Well a car camera is not the right camera for this purpose unless you just want a jerky fisheye view of the last 45 mins of your two week trip. For this purpose I'd suggest getting a video camera and a decent windscreen mount, or at the least an action camera. Always try and get the right camera for the job, no one camera does everything. 

The most common and baffling question I get asked regards using a car camera as a security camera. The usual scenario is that the person asking for advice is a victim of car vandalism and they want to catch the offender in the act. The reason I say that this is baffling, is because when I think about it, everything seems wrong with this idea. Ok, so if you live in an area where some idiots like to vandalise cars, wouldn't leaving a camera in a car make it more of a target? A car camera also points out of a car, therefore it's pointing away-from rather than towards the scene of the crime.  Someone could steal all your tyres and scratch a key down both sides of a car and still not be caught on the camera pointing out of the windscreen. Finally crimes like this invariably happen at night, a camera in a car at night would need to have night-vision and a power source connected that could last overnight...not a normal feature of a car camera. If it used motion activation it would most likely not pick up on a person walking past your car in the dark. So the only thing I can suggest for someone in this unfortunate situation is perhaps installing CCTV on a house but the answer does not lie with a car camera.

And finally I'd just like to say that with any reviews I do, I cannot comment on the long-term reliablilty of a gadget. I'll leave that for others to do in the comments, and I appreciate the feedback. I only get to test a gadget out for a short time and then have to move on to the next. The V1000GS is a good example of a camera that worked fine for me, but other people had big issues with subsequently. So again, I'm not endorsing any of these items, just saying what I see. So please choose carefully and do as much research as you can before spending your hard earned money.

Sunday
May132012

The Korg Kaossilator 2 - Fun product, dull video

I realised half way through making this video that it wasn't turning out how I wanted. Demonstrating all the features of a musical gadget as complicated as the Kaossilator meant that there would be way too many shots of my hands just tapping away at the same plastic black and yellow box.

I like to try and vary the shots in my videos whenever possible, and the sections where I demonstrate the functions, buttons or on-screen-menus of a device always ends up being the dullest segments of my videos. In the past i've tried speeding these segments up, using freeze frames, or putting them PIP, all in an attempt to make them more visually interesting. 

Unfortunately all the features of the Kaossilator would need to be demonstrated in the same visually dull manner, so I decided to it was better for me to cut the video short. By doing this I hope that the video doesn't overstay its welcome, but as a result, I've also left out a number of the device's features. These include sampling, loading loops, altering pitch etc….but I think what is left in the video should give enough of an idea as to whether the Korg Kaossilator would be of interest to the viewer. 

I think it's a really fun musical gadget, but unfortunately it doesn't hold much enough visual interest to warrant a complete video demonstration. It's a bit like someone talking about a guitar for 20 mins……I'd much rather just hear them play it. 

Update 16/05/12 - Contrary to what I said in the video, it is possible to load and save loops quickly by holding function and pressing the I or II keys. Also the Function menus can be scrolled through by holding Function and using the scroll bar thing. There are a couple of other useful key shortcuts as well. The price was £130 and I bought mine from Dawsons (who's service I'd definitely recommend). 

Saturday
May122012

The Smart ForTwo vs The Toyota IQ (an owners perspective)

A bit of a departure this one. I regularly review gadgets that work inside a car.....but up until now I've never reviewed a car itself. People from outside the UK often comment, that to them, I sound like James May....so I thought, why not follow in the footsteps of my sound-alike and attempt to review my new car. After all, a car is probably the most expensive gadget that most of us will ever buy.

Now I must point out that this is not a traditional car review, I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable about cars to do a detailed critique of things like performance and handling, instead I've just concentrated primarily on comparing the general design and practicality of my new car against my old car. One reason for doing this is because both of these cars are targeted towards the same customer, which is very apparent from their names (Smart, IQ... get it?). There should therefore, I assume, be a significant number of people interested in seeing a comparison video of these two ‘City Cars’, from someone who has owned both.

The two cars being compared are a 2009 Smart For Two Coupe Passion 998cc and a 2012 Toyota IQ3 1.33 with the optional CVT (Auto) Gear-box

This was a complicated video for me to put together because I had to trade in one car to get the other. I therefore didn’t have the luxury of doing a side by side comparison between the two vehicles. Instead I shot all the footage for one car and then a couple of weeks later attempted to replicate those shots with the new car.

This video isn’t intended to be a basic, ‘which one is best’ type video because that’s really not for me to decide, I’m just pointing out some of the features of each car. The Smart has a significant disadvantage in a direct head to head comparison due to the fact it was three years older and worth approximately a third of the purchase price of my new IQ. The Smart has had a couple of minor revisions to trim and body panels since the model shown in the video, but the overall basic design and mechanics remain unchanged since 2009.

I still have a lot of fondness for the Smart and like its exterior dimensions, plastic body panels and overall concept. It is more quirky and interesting than the IQ and in some ways it’s more practical. However when it comes to choosing a city car that incorporates all the latest technology, the IQ is currently the best car for my needs.

Now, my requirements when it comes to cars are very unlikely to be the same as someone else, so I wouldn’t dream about telling other people what car they should buy. It really is none of my business. So therefore I really hope that any comments on this video doesn’t degenerate into a slanging match, with people saying things like “this car is ****” and “you should have bought a ”. Unfortunately cars videos, much like Apple product reviews, have an unfortunate habit of bringing out the comment trolls.....so if you see anything like this, please ignore them and they'll go away.