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Which Helmet Safety Camera?

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Which Helmet Safety Camera?

Old 05-16-17, 12:19 PM
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RogerB
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Which Helmet Safety Camera?

I'm looking for a safety or "black box" camera to take on my rides but I'm having trouble finding what I want. I'd like it to have looped recording and decent battery life, and I'd like it to mount to my helmet.


I looked at Rideye but it got pummeled in reviews by actual consumers. The Cycliq Fly 12 looks promising, but it seems kind of heavy for helmet mounting, and has the light which I don't necessarily need.


Everything else is of the GoPro variety, where you have to empty the disc all the time. Amazon is full of fake-brand knockoffs that sound too good to be true.


What are you using as your helmet-mounted "dash-cam?" Recommendations?


Thanks.
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Old 05-16-17, 02:19 PM
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I have Rideye's, attached front (to handlebars, not helmet) and back. They're not perfect, but approaching two years after purchase, i.e. approaching 5,000 miles of use, they're still going. I'm satisfied with them.
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Old 05-16-17, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RogerB View Post


Everything else is of the GoPro variety, where you have to empty the disc all the time.



Not sure what you mean by this but GoPro's do have loop recording. Personally I don't recommend using loop recording but that's up to you.


I suggest you buy a used GoPro Hero 3. They are excellent image quality and batteries are cheap.


I use a Hero 3 White and I get 3 hours per battery. Carry 1 or 2 extra batteries and i'm certain you cant ride long enough to use up your batteries.


If you want something new and cheap, you can get a Polaroid Cube for under $100 right now and their image quality is excellent, even in night time low light. Biggest downside is they don't have removable battery so you stuck with 1 hour and 10 minutes per charge. Upside is they are very very light.
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Old 05-16-17, 04:42 PM
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I use a Contour Roam on my helmet. Battery life is about 4 hours. There is a button on the camera to reformat (blank) the card. It takes ten seconds. I do it every couple of rides if nothing of interest has happened. At the 720 video size and low res it works out to about 3Gb an hour. With a 32 Gig card that's 10 hours of video before you'd have to press the format button to blank the card. Even longer if you use a bigger card. I think it may handle 64Gb.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I use a Contour Roam on my helmet. Battery life is about 4 hours. There is a button on the camera to reformat (blank) the card. It takes ten seconds. I do it every couple of rides if nothing of interest has happened. At the 720 video size and low res it works out to about 3Gb an hour. With a 32 Gig card that's 10 hours of video before you'd have to press the format button to blank the card. Even longer if you use a bigger card. I think it may handle 64Gb.
does this make a series of clips or one long clip pr ride. my Polaroid makes 1 continuous clip unless I stop/start time again. which I do. would rather have a camera makes a series of 3-10 minute clips. makes handling/reviewing easier after the ride
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Old 05-17-17, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
does this make a series of clips or one long clip pr ride. my Polaroid makes 1 continuous clip unless I stop/start time again. which I do. would rather have a camera makes a series of 3-10 minute clips. makes handling/reviewing easier after the ride
A new clip is created every time the camera enters record mode. On the other hand each clip is time and date stamped so assuming the cameras clock is correct it is possible to pinpoint the exact time of any occurrence in the clip.
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Old 05-17-17, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCat View Post
Not sure what you mean by this but GoPro's do have loop recording.


To clarify, "adventure" cameras have a different use case than "black box" cameras, so their feature set is geared to the "adventure" user, who would not be expected to record anything they wanted to have overwritten automatically. In my initial research, all of the cameras I found, including GoPros, did not clearly state they had looped recording available, and when I asked a retailer, the answer I got was "none of the cameras we offer do that."
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Old 05-17-17, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCat View Post
Personally I don't recommend using loop recording...


Can you elaborate please?
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Old 05-17-17, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by RogerB View Post
Can you elaborate please?

The short answer is because you might end up recording over something you want or need.


The long is answer VERY long and complex.


Every person has different needs and different circumstances so I suggest researching the issue and basing your decision on your own needs.


With modern large capacity memory cards and the ability to record in reduced resolution, I see no reason why you should use loop mode and risk recording over something.


Remember that loop recording was the mainstay when VHS and similar tapes were used and they had like 35 minutes to 1 hour of recording time.


Today you can easily get 14 - 20 hours out of a single memory card.
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Old 05-18-17, 12:45 PM
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Thanks, KingCat.


So, thinking long enough about it, I can envision a scenario where I'm incapacitated and the camera keeps rolling, eventually looping over the incident evidence I need to keep.


"Black Box" cameras have a feature to guard against this. That is, they detect the incident and mark the relevant clip for non-deletion. I'm guessing other cameras don't do this.


Everything's a trade. This feature comes (today) at the cost of money and weight.


Then again, clearing the card is not the big hassle I thought it might be.


Thanks all. Good info and more to think about.
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Old 05-18-17, 01:37 PM
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I've owned probably 10+ cameras at this point.

I gave up on loop recording in favor of battery life, for a front camera, and settled on the Contour Roam3. It has a single button to format the card, which I decided is good enough, and a 3 hour battery life, which I was willing to compromise to get.

On the back I use a Fly6.
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Old 05-18-17, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RogerB View Post
So, thinking long enough about it, I can envision a scenario where I'm incapacitated and the camera keeps rolling, eventually looping over the incident evidence I need to keep.
Not generally a problem, because it's super cheap to throw a 32GB card in there, and almost no camera (other than the Fly6) has enough battery life to record long enough to overwrite the beginning of your ride on a 32G card.

On the Fly6, it has a crash mode - if the angle of the camera exceeds I think 30 degrees, it assumes you've been in a crash and enters crash mode. In this mode it locks the record on, records for one more hour, then shuts off. With a big card, this is still not enough to overwrite the last hour at least, and it'll get most any interaction with the other parties, bystanders, police, etc.

When I say "locked" you can still force it to turn off, it just disables the auto-off feature, which shuts the camera off if it hasn't detected any movement for 5 minutes.
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Old 05-18-17, 01:54 PM
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Old 05-18-17, 08:11 PM
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The Contour Roam sounds like a good buy.

I've used an Ion Speed Pro for almost a year. It has no significant shortcomings considering the price (well under $100, usually closer to $60) and self-contained weatherproofing (it doesn't need a weatherproof housing, as long as the rear cap is in place).

But the Ion Speed Pro battery runs only about 90 minutes. Beyond that I need to hook up an external USB battery, which compromises the weatherproofing -- I need to detach the sealed rear cap to access the USB port, which exposes the control panel and media card slot to weather.

Unfortunately most of these are action cameras, not ideal for traffic documentation. Action cams have ultra-wide angle lenses, nearly fisheye -- around 150-180 degree diagonal FOV. Great for ultra close action and non-critical aiming. But fine details like license plates tend to be obscured. Ideally a forward facing bike/helmet camera would have a diagonal FOV of around 90 degrees.
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Old 05-18-17, 09:25 PM
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How about this scenario.....you are riding your bike on 5 hour ride......30 mins into the ride you pass by and film something that at the time you had no idea of the significance. Later on you realize you might have filmed something relevant 5 hours earlier. If you do loop recording you most likely recorded over it. If you use a GoPro with a 64gb memory card then you can go back and find it easily.
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Old 05-19-17, 12:04 PM
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I have the GoPro Hero4 Silver. I use a Chest Mount Strap from GoPro. I don't mount it to my helmet. Because the head is constantly in some sort of motion. Like was previously mentioned, regarding loop recording, I don't do that either.
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Old 05-19-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCat View Post
5 hours earlier. If you do loop recording you most likely recorded over it. If you use a GoPro with a 64gb memory card then you can go back and find it easily.
Why would loop recording have recorded over something when non-loop was still recording? 64GB is 64GB. If you put a 64GB card into a camera doing loop recording, it won't overwrite until the other camera would have just stopped for being full.

It's not like 64G cards are expensive these days. heck my default card these days is a 128GB MicroSD.
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Old 05-19-17, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCat View Post
How about this scenario.....you are riding your bike on 5 hour ride......30 mins into the ride you pass by and film something that at the time you had no idea of the significance. Later on you realize you might have filmed something relevant 5 hours earlier. If you do loop recording you most likely recorded over it. If you use a GoPro with a 64gb memory card then you can go back and find it easily.

I guess no system is perfect.


Can't envision what would have happened 5 hours ago that's relevant to the incident investigation in which I'm using the video evidence, but it sounds like there might be some personal experience informing your answer.
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Old 05-23-17, 12:30 PM
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First off, thanks for all of the inputs. I've been rethinking my earlier "requirements" and it seems at this point that it's really down to battery life. So, helmet mounting and looped recording not all that important.


Many action cameras are around 2 hrs, except for the Roam, which claims 3.5, and users in this thread report 3 or 4. The Cycliq Fly12 claims 2 to 10 hours, depending on what mode it's in.


The regular GoPros (not the Session) have removable batteries. I don't really want to stop to swap batteries, but I've also seen what look like aftermarket large capacity batteries or portable power packs. What are the pros and cons of these?
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Old 05-23-17, 10:14 PM
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This external battery pack for the GoPro appears to be weatherproof, which would resolve one concern I have with using an external USB battery on my Ion Speed Pro. My rig exposes the camera to weather, so it can't be used in rain unless I homebrew some sort of raincoat from a plastic bag. There are no readymade weatherproof housings for most action cams other than the GoPro.
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Old 05-24-17, 10:28 AM
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Don't forget to upload non-incidences on youtube with vigorous narration and over-explanations. Also don't forget to yell "I got you on video, I got you one video" to everyone you come into contact with.
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Old 05-24-17, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Don't forget to upload non-incidences on youtube with vigorous narration and over-explanations. Also don't forget to yell "I got you on video, I got you one video" to everyone you come into contact with.
Thanks, I'll get right on that.
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Old 05-24-17, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Don't forget to upload non-incidences on youtube with vigorous narration and over-explanations. Also don't forget to yell "I got you on video, I got you one video" to everyone you come into contact with.
And be sure to over-generalize about people's motives and make fun of people just trying to give themselves some peace of mind. Everyone who does things different than you is wrong, you know.
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Old 05-26-17, 07:42 AM
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I use a GoPro, mounted on my helmet. I commute only a few miles so about once a week I clear the memory (easy) and charge it up (easy). I'm using the GoPro for deterrent as much as evidence.

When driving I've been especially cautious around bikers with GoPros on their helmets so figure that's a good plan when I'm the one on the bicycle.
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Old 06-11-17, 03:22 AM
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I call copyright violation on the use of that song, but keep it up, made the vid a pleasure to watch
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