Inexpensive ($30?) dash cam USB battery powered microSD up to 64GB

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ahmed E. Souaiaia, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. I saw a guy disconnecting his dash cam off his rear-view mirror
    as he parked on the street and I asked him what it was (I had
    thought it was a really tiny GPS).

    He showed it to me, and it was this really small dashcam that
    he said he got for 30 bucks on the net, which had a 64GB microSD
    card slot and a mini-USB charger port on the side.

    It had a small screen of about an inch long, and a few
    buttons. It was really small, about the size of a golf ball,
    and the mount was a slot that clipped onto the mirror.

    My question is WHERE can I find such an inexpensive dashcam?

    Googling, I can't seem to locate a similarly small model.
    I can only see the more expensive bigger models like these
    http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-dash-cam/
    Or these:
    http://users.tpg.com.au/agnet/cam1.html
    Or these:
    http://www.tested.com/tech/456565-best-dash-cam-your-car-costs-60/

    The one I saw was really small.
     
    Ahmed E. Souaiaia, Apr 24, 2014
    #1
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  2. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Pat Wilson Guest

    Ahmed E. Souaiaia wrote, on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:33:50 -0500:
    I suggest a cheap dash camera with some of the following specs:

    1. SDXC-compatible if possible, so as to hold a 64GB SD card
    2. micro or mini USB 2.0 charging & for video download
    3. 640x480, 848x480, or 1280x720
    4. 2 min, 5 min, 15 min, or continuous loop (with short gaps in between)
    6. Motion activated and/or autostart
    7. GPS & time stamp (black or white lettering)
    8. Audio recording with mute
    9. Tiny screen (to align) that can be turned off (to save battery)
    10. Runs at least 1/2 hour on battery
    11. Good night vision (very hard to test before buying!)
    12. AVI container compressed with the H.264 codec
    13. Discreet size and shape with no blinking lights when being used
    14. Wide angle lens with wide dynamic range
    15. Upgradable firmware
    16. Ability to be hard wired so as to be a parking cam
    17. Mil spec environmental conditions for heat/cold
    18. Shock sensor to disable looping after a crash
    19. Lock button to prevent overwriting after a critical event
    20. Cheap, maybe $30 or $40 at the most
     
    Pat Wilson, Apr 24, 2014
    #2
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  3. BTW, it's about 50MB/minute, so, plan accordingly.
     
    Jessie Williams, Apr 24, 2014
    #3
  4. Per Ahmed E. Souaiaia:
    Check out some of TechMoan's reviews on YouTube.
    He has a couple of favorites among cheap cams and some of them are way
    small.

    I have one of these http://tinyurl.com/jwlho7a and it's been pretty
    good.

    Probably could have gotten one for $30-40 from AliExpress, but I've read
    that the problem with cameras like that which have such a good name is
    that the market is full of knockoffs and ripoffs crafted to look/sound
    like the real deal but nowhere near as good - so I went with a known
    supplier.
     
    (PeteCresswell), Apr 24, 2014
    #4
  5. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Brent Guest


    There are many many many models out there. Some ship direct from sellers
    in China. Odds of finding it without a model/mfg are pretty low.

    Can try going through ebay sellers, but even then it might not be found.
     
    Brent, Apr 24, 2014
    #5
  6. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Tony Cooper Guest

    Just out of curiosity...why?

    What you're capturing is the road in front of you, right? What
    happens there that you want to record and view later?

    People ask my why I'm taking a photograph of this or that, and I don't
    have to have a good answer beyond "because I want to", but I am
    curious if that's your answer or there's something I'm missing.
     
    Tony Cooper, Apr 24, 2014
    #6
  7. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Guest Guest

    there are many reasons for dashcams, including documenting what really
    happened in a collision. that can backfire if you did something wrong,
    but on the other hand, it can also mean winning. some dashcams have
    motion sensors and can trigger if someone tries to steal or vandalize
    your car. another use is for road trips, which are generally played
    back at super-speed.
    why does it even matter?
     
    Guest, Apr 24, 2014
    #7
  8. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Tony Cooper Guest

    I'm not interested in why you think one is worth having. I'm not
    interested in whether or not you think it matters. I don't need to
    justify to you why it matters.

    I'm curious about what Ahmed and Pete think and what has motivated
    them.

    You are quite welcome to jump into any thread in the newsgroup, but
    your "why does it even matter?" comment indicates that your primary
    interest is just to stir things up.
     
    Tony Cooper, Apr 24, 2014
    #8
  9. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    PeterN Guest

    On 4/23/2014 11:43 PM, Tony Cooper wrote:

    <snip>

    Hard to think of a better reason, unless you're doing it to eat, etc.
     
    PeterN, Apr 24, 2014
    #9
  10. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    PeterN Guest

    Nah! nospam would never do that.
     
    PeterN, Apr 24, 2014
    #10
  11. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Guest Guest

    those are not my reasons. i don't even have a dashcam.

    again, this is not about me. it has nothing to do with me. i'm telling
    you why people get dashcams.

    those are the main reasons. there are others too, but the only reason
    that actually matters is that someone wants a dashcam.

    whether you think it's a good idea or not makes no difference
    whatsoever.
    wrong. all i did was answer your question.

    you are as usual arguing just to argue.
     
    Guest, Apr 24, 2014
    #11
  12. Per Tony Cooper:

    Several reasons, drinking too much coffee probably being one of them.

    But it's even worse: the cam I mentioned is facing backwards. There's
    another, more expensive cam, behind the rear view mirror facing
    forwards... and I'm still trying to figure out how to have 360-degree
    coverage without a rat's nest of wires and devices.

    My rationalizations were:

    - The technology is there, it's reasonably priced, and being
    a computer application developer I get off on stuff like this.

    I got semi-addicted setting up a surf cam for a windsurfing
    shop so people could see what's going on on the bay and not
    call the owner every five minutes on windy days.


    - I had been seeing more and more bizarre driving behavior and
    it seemed like it would be entertaining to capture it.

    Dunno exactly what I'd do with the captures... maybe start
    yet another YouTube channels devoted to such stuff.

    The precipitating incident was when some guy in a red sports car
    passed me on the right - running the shoulder - at what seemed
    like a very high rate of speed - as in the vicinity
    of 100 mph - and disappeared from sight slaloming through
    traffic. About 10 minutes later, I came upon an accident
    scene: red sports car upside-down on the median barrier,
    guy strapped to a spinal board being loaded into an
    ambulance. Same car? Dashcam might have enabled
    comparison of license plate numbers....

    Of course, I haven't seen much of anything since installing
    the cams.


    - In some countries, people actually engineer traffic "accidents"
    so they can extort money from the target of the crash.

    My understanding is that's what is behind the wide use of dash
    cams in Russia.


    - After a crash, it *might* be good to have some footage.

    Probably depends on who was at fault.

    Of course I fully expect that, after an accident, I will find
    that the critical camera's SD card had become corrupted weeks
    ago and is useless..... -)


    - OTOH, I can see the dash cams in the same light as my little
    2KW generator: largely useless, but nice to have on those rare
    occasions when the power goes out.
    Dashcams record to an SD card and automagically rotate the clips
    so the SD card is pretty much full and the clips on it are the
    latest going back as far as the capacity of the SD card will
    allow. The exception is certain cameras (as in my front-facing
    cam) where a clip can be designated as a "Keeper" and kept
    in a special folder from which it will never be deleted.

    On this cam, I just bump the cam with my finger when I see
    something entertaining. This creates a g-force event that
    tells the cam to keep that clip in the special folder.

    Usually there is a button on the cam for that purpose,
    but bumping it is easier and more intuitive.
     
    (PeteCresswell), Apr 24, 2014
    #12
  13. Per (PeteCresswell):
    Some cams allow reviewing of clips via the cam, but my
    take is that, for practical purposes, you need to pull
    the SD card and plug it into a laptop or tablet to
    get any meaningful functionality.

    If something has just happened and you want to show
    somebody - like a cop - the clip of the event, lots
    of luck. I've never put a timer on it, but popping
    out the SD card, inserting into another device, firing
    up the other device, and then bringing up the clip has
    got to take at least five minutes..... maybe more depending
    on how shaken up one is. And that's assuming that
    you even *have* said other device.

    To me it's more like "Get home, swap out the card, sit
    down at one's PC and then spend a half-hour or so isolating
    the critical footage, transcoding it to a smaller file, and
    then burning said file to media of choice or uploading
    it to YouTube or Vimeo.
     
    (PeteCresswell), Apr 24, 2014
    #13
  14. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Tony Cooper Guest

    Fair enough. I don't think you need to have a reason other than the
    fact that you want one of these things, but I was curious about your
    thinking. You've expressed it well.
     
    Tony Cooper, Apr 24, 2014
    #14
  15. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Brent Guest

    Raging cops and insurance disputes. My reason for running a camera is
    the former.
     
    Brent, Apr 24, 2014
    #15
  16. (PeteCresswell), Apr 25, 2014
    #16
  17. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Whisky-dave Guest

    I want one and I haven't even got a car. But for me I see them as inexpensive webcams.
     
    Whisky-dave, Apr 25, 2014
    #17
  18. Ahmed E. Souaiaia

    Hactar Guest

    Flared-cone (truncated hyperboloid?)-shaped mirror and some processing
    software ought to do it.
     
    Hactar, Apr 27, 2014
    #18
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