Car dashboard camera?

Discussion in 'Digital and Video Cameras' started by AnitaPeterson, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. AnitaPeterson

    AnitaPeterson Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2001
    Messages:
    5,511
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi folks,

    I've seen more and more cases of bad driving in my city over the past few months, culminating with two near-misses (one of which took place last night, leaving me quite shaken and angry).

    As such, I've come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to acquire and install a dashboard camera in my car, and use the video if I ever get hit by one of these morons (as well as be able to report outrageous bad driving cases, if necessary).

    This equipment is not be very common here in Canada, but I'm pretty sure lots of you already have experience with it, especially Stateside.

    I'm thinking about something that can be charged from the lighter socket, and uses a SD card, which can either be reused or kept. It would have to have a wide angle lens, and good light sensitivity. Obviously, I hope it wouldn't break the bank, either.

    Aside from the obvious (but rather expensive) GoPro cameras, what would you guys recommend?
     
  2. FrankSchwab

    FrankSchwab Senior member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. AnitaPeterson

    AnitaPeterson Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2001
    Messages:
    5,511
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you for the link!
    I'm wondering what (if any) experience other people have had with any particular product.
     
  4. Gooberlx2

    Gooberlx2 Lifer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    15,373
    Likes Received:
    1
    Now that my new phone has arrived, I'll be turning my old Android phone into a dash cam using DailyRoads Voyager.
     
  5. Gintaras

    Gintaras Golden Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    0
    You meant near-hit? near-miss - when vehicles collide...
     
  6. mikeford

    mikeford Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,091
    Likes Received:
    0
    Near miss is airplane talk, anytime a minimum distance is breached its considered a near miss and gets official attention.
     
  7. Bowfinger

    Bowfinger Lifer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Messages:
    15,341
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. luv2liv

    luv2liv Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2001
    Messages:
    2,673
    Likes Received:
    4
  9. Mark R

    Mark R Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    8,496
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've got a DR400G-II. It's a fine camera and I'm quite happy with it.

    However, for an expensive product, it has a lot of bugs and other minor glitches. The support status of the V2 is also unclear - there is no official english firmware/software for it, except that which comes pre-installed on cameras bought via official dealers. Grey-import cameras usually come loaded with Korean firmware. With no way to download an english firmware, you are SOL, unless you speak Korean, or are good at hacking firmwares.

    The image sensor burnout problem with the V1, despite the marketing literature, has been improved, but not completely solved. The V2 still burns out sensor chips in SoCal type climates.

    The image quality is excellent, with a decent frame-rate achievable at 1080p. The lens is wide angle, but sufficiently sharp that plates can be read during the day. Plate reading isn't possible after dark, but detail is still plenty adequate for most purposes.

    For an expensive camera, it is disappointing that the camera does drop frames periodically, and this can upset some media player software/media streamer boxes which can't handle variable frame rate video. But realistically, you're not going to be shooting cinematic masterpieces with it, so it's not exactly a significant issue.

    The camera has GPS and a 3-axis accelerometer. The shock detection firmware, however, is buggy. This leads to random event recording on minimal (or even no) bumps, even when sensitivity is set so low that genuine evasive action may be ignored. Again, not much of an issue; you may run into issues with the card getting filled up with locked event files if you do a lot of driving on poor roads.

    There is also a minor issue with event recording generally. The camera starts a new file about 5 seconds before "impact", so you don't get much "preamble" recorded with the "event". You will have the file before it as context, but there is a glitch between the two files.

    There are a few people who have issues with the supplied SD card. If the card is never removed from the camera, eventually the file system on the card suffers fragmentation and the budget SD card has terrible access time, it lags out causing the camera to crash. The solution is to use the card in a card reader and manually delete the files once a month or so, or to upgrade to a higher performance "class 10" card.

    The supplied software is windows only (no mac), is very basic and only runs in a non-resizable postage-stamp sized window, where the video is downscaled to a tiny resolution. There are alternative shareware products available which are much more feature rich (e.g. registrator viewer) but they have their own bugs which make them unsatisfactory when used with the DR400G.

    That said, if all you want is something small, discrete and easy to install, that can record in good image quality, then there really isn't an alternative on the market. The other high-end cameras are all equally buggy as well as being bigger and/or needing an external GPS antenna.

    Obligatory example video
     
    #9 Mark R, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  10. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    What's the record quality for the inside cam and rear cam?

    All it say is 720p for the front, didn't say anything about the insider cam and rear cam, would suck if I order this and it's 480p
     
  11. rsutoratosu

    rsutoratosu Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    2,540
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amazon and user above says
    1080P: Identify a vehicle's license from far away
    The Full HD BlackVue with its VGA and HD counterparts on the market.
     
  12. rsutoratosu

    rsutoratosu Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    2,540
    Likes Received:
    0
    Problem with 1080p, it eats up 32gb in like 3-4 days with 1 hour driving each way. I been recording for 4 years now. I have various cameras, some of my favorite camera are countour or drift hd cam. They're mainly action cams that I use for paintball but works great as dash cam. I had tried many cameras and the ones I settle on is contour or drift hd. What ever you do don't buy the JVC Adixxion GC-XA (no rotating lense and you need to answer a question everytime you plug the usb into the camera).

    In buying cameras, you need to first figure out how to mount it. Both my car uses headrest mount. There are suction cup mounts, etc.

    Rotating lens - Depending on how you mount it, you're gonna need to rotate the lense so its in the right orientation.

    1080p vs 720p, most camera max out at 32gb, so I empty them every 4-5 days or use 720p, i can hit 6-7 days of commute. 32GB microsd are so cheap, i keep 4-5 and swap them out if I ran out of room during the week.

    Contour and Drift lets you charge and record at the same time. I think blackvue lets you record on motion, I dont care when its parked, so if you need something that records while you're parked, contour & drift are not for you. Contour needs their special charger (15-20) while drift I just use a usb cable into the usb cigarette lighter.

    On top of each mount I added a quick release plate so I can grab it when I valet park it.

    Like all camera, night video arent as good but as long as you can prove you didn't hit people, rest is easier.

    Ram head rest mount.

    [​IMG]

    ie Contour on a CruiseCam headrest mount.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.cruisecam.com/products.html - Cruisecam shortbar headrest
     
  13. AnitaPeterson

    AnitaPeterson Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2001
    Messages:
    5,511
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you for the impressive (and extensive) write-up!
     
  14. RU482

    RU482 Lifer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    12,681
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been interested in getting a dashcam also....but how well is an SD card going to hold up?
     
  15. rsutoratosu

    rsutoratosu Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    2,540
    Likes Received:
    0
    sd/micro sd is so dirt cheap, you can buy like 20 of them, most of the deals were like 15-22 bucks for a 32gb
     
  16. takeru

    takeru Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,191
    Likes Received:
    0
    nvm
     
    #16 takeru, Apr 9, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  17. shortylickens

    shortylickens No Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    61,754
    Likes Received:
    175
    It depends on your camera and its compression. Mine does 1080p and i use a 32gig card, but it lasts for weeks. And thats two hours on the road each day.

    Also, I prefer a wide angle that sits right up in the windshield so it can see stuff to the right and left. Thats important if a guy was swerving around you.
     
  18. cyberwolvie

    cyberwolvie Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    #18 cyberwolvie, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  19. Raduque

    Raduque Lifer

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    12,218
    Likes Received:
    5
    I use cheap ($50-60) GoPro clones from Amazon - look up "SJ4000". 1080p, good image quality, can be set for continuous record, powered from USB/internal battery, writes to microSD cards, and the one I use even powers up and starts recording automatically when plugged into power.