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Info guides and mods

DVR Car Cameras

Here is what I have learned about in car cameras

Modification Details




What Are In Car Cameras?

Have a look at the Techmoan video, it's very good.

Why Have One?

18th November 2011, a Polish lorry decided to change lanes on the M25 right into the side of my 6 month old car.



It was a lot of hassle, his English was as good as my Polish, his crash investigation sheet that I had
to fill out was confusing and looking at the lorry, he had done the same thing a few times before.



My car was undriveable and his lorry was fine. I took all manner of photos as proof of everything
and despite quite a few people witnessing the incident, none of the fuckers stopped.

Luckily enough I had put down so much detailed information on his crash sheet, he couldn't say it was
anything but his fault. The insurance people obviously said I had driven into him so they wanted a 50/50
blame, I wasn't having that. I went all legal on them (like I have done with the DVLA and Pioneer and
won outright both times) and they agreed I wasn't to blame so it was all good.

The photo showing his side indicator not working helped.

Wouldn't It Have Been Easier If...

However, from that day on I thought that it would have been so much easier if I had an in car
camera recording everything as evidence. Back in 2011, amazingly, there wasn't much to
choose from, the specs were average and the prices were a bit high. Since then, a lot of
Chinese companies have been releasing their own versions of the in car camera, each trying to out do the
other. This increases the specs and drives down the price so you really are spoilled as to which one to get.

This page is to help you decide what specs you actually need, it'll tell you the pros
and cons of each camera so you can work out exactly which camera suits you.

Where To Buy?

The obvious choice is eBay but it's worth checking out FoxOffer as they are usually cheaper and have free shipping. 

DVR Camera Specs

Night Vision

Many of these cameras have infra red LEDs mounted on the front that are supposed to light up what is in front of it. Unless you are filming the inside of the car there is no point having these. They will not light up the road in any way shape or form. If anything, the light (which is invisible to the naked eye but visible to the camera) will reflect on the windscreen giving you a worse picture.

Resolution

480, 720 and 1080 are numbers that tell you the resolution of the camera, they refer to how
many horizontal lines make up the picture. Ignore cameras that are 720i or 1080i, this just
means that they render every other line so the refresh rate is half what it should be.

Cameras will normally say 720, 720p, 1080 or 1080p. Don't even entertain a 480 camera. Standard TV
broadcast resolution and DVD is 480, Blu-Rays are 720p or 1080p. The better the resolution, the more
detail you will see. Ideally you will want to be able to read number plates from a reasonable distance.

The resolution number isn't all you should go by though as some companies sell 1080 cameras that are
just upscaled 720p. It's best to actually look at the output of the camera to decide if it suits you or not.

Frame Rate

A decent resolution is worth nothing if the picture stutters. Most cameras will state 720p at 30
frames per second, 1080p at 15 frames per second and some at 1080p at 30 frames per second.

Obviously the higher frame rate will produce a smoother video. 15 frames per second can look a little choppy.

Again, don't be fooled by the numbers as cheap processors are used and many don't get that close and drop frames.
Take a look at actual footage taken by the camera. Remember that footage on YouTube has been
compressed by YouTube to reduce the size, therefore expect higher quality footage than that on YouTube.

Using a low "class" memory card can also cause choppy playback and dropped frames.
Try to use a class 6 memory card or higher if possible to help the DVR out.

Display

Some people want a display on their cameras, some don't. Personally I do, I like to know what I'm filming.
Many DVRs have an option so that the screen turns off after a while so it doesn't distract you or light up the cabin.

GPS

Some cameras have built in GPS that plots your position onto the memory card so you can show where you were on Google maps for example. It can also show your speed so be careful about using it for evidence.

Incident Reporting

Some cameras have G meters or vibration sensors in them. If the camera experiences a knock as if the car had hit something or been hit then it will automatically lock the current recording so it can't be recorded over accidentally.

Loop Recording

Quite an important one for an in car camera if you don't want to have to mess about with it constantly.
This setting records clips of set intervals until the memory card is full up, it will then rerecord back over
the oldest file. If you don't have loop recording then when the memory card is full it will just stop
recording until you blank the memory card again.

Movement Sensor Recording

Some cameras can be made to sit on standby and record when any movement occurs in front of the cameras.
I'm not sure I see the point in this feature but you may think of something.

Auto Start

One of the most important features on a car camera is that it automatically starts up and begins recording as
soon as it receives power. This means that you don't have to manually start recording every time you set off.
Auto start and loop recording are bare minimum specs so only cameras with these functions are shown below.

DVR Cameras

Luckily enough, there is already a guy called Matt (smart owner) who has made it his mission to buy loads of these cameras and do an excellent job of reviewing them.  Check out TechMoan for review of many things, not just DVRs. They are very entertaining. I have a few cameras that he hasn't covered so I will put up a quick bit of info for those.

Any Dedicated Forums?

Yes of course. Rob sent me an email bringing my attention to DashCamTalk which is a site that reviews
DVRs and has an open forum for people to discuss their own experiences, issues and discoveries.

Recommended Camera

If you can't be arsed to read the bits below or watch a few very entertaining videos, scroll to the bottom of the page
where I will list the current best camera tested (In my opinion). This will change when a better DVR comes along.

Setting Up Your DVR Camera

Have a look at this page.


Techmoan.com Reviews

CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO SEE THE VIDEO REVIEWS

DVR D011



Day image: 5
Night image: 4
Pros: infinitely adjustable mount, cheap.
Cons: 2 second gap between clips, narrow field of view, tricky controls.



HD DVR



Day image: 5
Night image: 4
Pros: sensitive microphone.
Cons: 3 second gap between clips.



V1000GS



Day image: 7
Night image: 3
Pros: Good video quality, GPS data logging.
Cons: tricky to use with no screen.



Vehicle DVR



Day image: 6
Night image: 4
Pros: cheap, wide angle lens.
Cons: quiet audio, pointless night vision.



K2000



Day image: 3
Night image: 3
Sound quality: 3
Pros: none
Cons: terrible night vision LEDs, poor video, poor audio



SmartCam



Day image: 7
Night image:8
Pros: good night image
Cons: large mount



X3000



Day image: 7
Night image: 7
Pros: cheap, dual camera, GPS.
Cons: large mount, no IR filter.



SC260B



Day image: 6
Night image: 4
Pros: easy to clip into the mount, gapless video clips.
Cons: large mount, low FPS in 1080.



Vehile DVR



Day image: 7
Night image: 7
Pros: separate rear camera, built in mount.
Cons: lower resolution rear camera.



New HD



Day image: 6
Night image: 7
Sound quality: N/A
Pros: GPS, small, 
Cons: mount is flimsy, leads have too many connections,



X888B



Day image: 6
Night image:6
Sound quality: 4
Pros: clips over the existing rear view mirror, gapless recording
Cons: massive, interferes with sun visors, camera adjustment poor on RHD cars, choppy at 1080.



Smallest Car DVR



Day image: 4
Night image: 8
Pros: Good night video, small.
Cons: Issues with day video, not plug and play.



A8



Day image:6
Night image:6
Pros: small, easy to use.
Cons: not plug and play.



DR32



Day image: 8
Night image: 8
Pros: small, good video quality, small adhesive mount available.
Cons: Large sucker mount is too big



Blackvue DR500GW-HD



Day image: 8
Night image: 8
Sound quality: 8
Pros: small, easily adjustable, voice prompts, wifi, gapless recording.
Cons: awkward wiring and setup, expensive.


 

Proview HD Action Camera (DV95)



Day image: 8
Night image: 3
Pros: waterproof case, remote
Cons: expensive for a budget camera


GPS Dashcam GSE550 & GSE520



Day image: 7
Night image: 3
Pros: good day image
Cons: large in the windscreen, low quality build, GPS software poor, bad design



Viofo VF960 & VF960s (G900)



Day image: 8
Night image: 8
Pros: excellent day and night image.
Cons: very low level audio recording, narrow screen field of view, mount is quite big.


Mobius



Day image: 9
Night image: 8
Pros: small, excellent image, good mounting options, good audio quality
Cons: narrow field of view at 720p


Mini 0801



Day image: 8
Night image: 8
Pros: small with screen, GPS, excellent image, removable
Cons: GPS mount costs extra, has to be imported


Mio MiVue 358



Day image: 8
Night image: 8
Pros: small with screen, good motion detection
Cons: silver ring around lens is obvious if left in the car, talks Chinese at you.


Vico WF-1



Day image: 8
Night image: 7
Pros: small, uses smart phone as a screen and an app to control it.
Cons: Night image a bit hit and miss, button glows brightly.


GF6000L



Day image: 5
Night image: 5 
Sound Quality: 5
Pros: cheap.
Cons: front flashes blue when recording (illegal), not real 1080p.


Vico TF2+



Day image: 9.5
Night image: 9.5
Sound Quality: 8
Pros: HDR gives excellent night video quality, good mounting options, wide angle
Cons: full size SD not micro SD, grey sticky pad


DOD LS430W



Day image: 9.5
Night image: 9.5
Sound Quality: 6
Pros: WDR gives excellent night video quality, GPS, black sticky pad, speed display, no fisheye, Mac software
Cons: a lot of icons on the screen, not that cheap, buttons hard to use when driving


G1W



Day image: 9
Night image: 9
Sound Quality: 5
Pros: great day and night quality video, very cheap to buy
Cons: cheaply made mount, sound not great, auto exposure makes the scene dark in bright sunshine, delivery time
 


Vico Vation Marcus 3



Day image: 10
Night image: 9.5
Sound Quality: 9
Pros: 1296p, high quality day and night video quality.
Cons: small buttons, expensive.


Mini 0803



Day image: 9
Night image: 9
Sound Quality: 6
Pros: good day and night video quality, small but has a screen, 1296p.
Cons: sound quality not great, connections may not last if you remove the camera a lot.


Transcend Drivepro 200



Day image: 9
Night image: 9
Pros: Comes with a genuine Transcend SD, good day and night video quality, WiFi, capacitor powered, clear screen.
Cons: Incredibly quiet microphone, WiFi playback choppy, WiFi transfer slow, not discrete in screen. Poor reds.


Evilution Reviews


No videos, just info.

F9000


Day image: 5
Night image: 3
Pros: cheap
Cons: poor night image, large when fitted to the mount


GS8000



Day image: 7
Night image: 7
Pros: small, good quality video, GPS built in, removable
Cons: GPS fix seems very slow

 


Recommended Camera

Here is the current recommended camera(s) based on video and audio.

Vico TF2+


DOD LS430W

Best Budget Camera

Not the best you can buy but the best you can get for not much money.

G1W


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