26 July, 2013

T2L4* Driving Video Recorders

*Things To Look For
drive driving camera cam dash dashboard dashcam cams cameras dashcams
Since I'm getting a car, I'm thinking more about this.
  • As wide angle of view as possible
  • Good low light performance
  • Front and back recording, if possible
  • Files must be readable even if recording is interrupted - like in a crash. Either internal battery or dual recording media. Shock/crash/g-force detection. Ideally able to record the destruction of the camera itself (of course with the card undamaged). May require fancy file formats.
  • Heat resistant
  • Motion detection for recording when parked - this will require wiring to the car's electrical systems. Probably needs professional installation. Needs some form of power management to prevent draining car battery.
  • Small and inconspicuous. I don't buy into these as a deterrent, more like an attractant. All LED lights can be turned off.
  • No need LCD screen on the camera
  • Removable - sometimes I don't want to leave it in the car. 
  • Sound recording can be disabled
  • Uninstallable without leaving any traces - if I want to transfer it to another car or sell the car or send it back for servicing (just like changing rims and tyres back to stock before servicing)
  • Time and date stamp
  • Does not interfere with car's wireless lock/engine start/rain sensors
  • Able to format memory cards

Unrealistic requirements: probably not possible, but would be nice to have:
  • Also works as an action/sports camera, like a GoPro. By this I mean water and shock resistant, has its own battery etc. Actually a GoPro would work as a dashcam, just that it can only record for 3 hours on its own battery. And it's much much more attractive to thieves than a dashcam.
  • Encrypted files. Otherwise anyone who steals your camera will know where you live and where you've been

Blackvue DR530W-2CH Lite
I'm not sure if there are separate Lite and not Lite models, sometimes they use either term. I suspect the 530 Lite refers to a lite version of the 550. This is currently my preferred model, mainly because it has Wi-Fi for instant review and configuration on your smartphone, front and rear camera, no GPS and is pretty small and cheap.

Thinkware FXD900 / F550
I'm not sure what the model numbers mean, I think FXD900 is the main unit and F550 is the optional rear camera because I saw the rear camera coming in a standalone box. I'll probably end up getting this because of the following reasons (roughly decreasing importance):
  1. I've found a convenient, authorised distributor that can install this
  2. Unit itself has built-in power management and can be wired directly to the car battery. It will stop drawing power when battery voltage drops to a user-selectable level. All Blackvue's products require a separate Power Magic Pro.
  3. More heat resistant (for recording when parked under the sun)
  4. DR530W's recording framerate drops when accessing Wi-Fi
  5. DR530W is said to affect car's wireless entry and rain sensor
  6. DR530W's iPhone app is lousy, which is the main reason I chose the DR530W in the first place.
  7. FXD900's front camera is 1080
  8. FXD900 has internal memory and supercapacitor backup power

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