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Camera for Safety ~$150 Budget

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Camera for Safety ~$150 Budget

Old 03-21-12, 05:58 AM
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Camera for Safety ~$150 Budget

I would like to have a helmet cam at least for safety with plans for a rear facing camera as soon as possible when the budget allows.

The GoPro and Contour Camera appear to be of a higher video quality than I need and are slightly outside of my price range. I have about $150.00 budgeted. I am not looking for top quality in video image in a camera but reliabity. I am a commuter with 1.5 hour commute so battery longevity and recording capacity is an issue. I would like to find a camera with an on-the-fly swappable battery to extend the range. USB recharging is also nice since I could recharge at the office. The camera will need to be waterproof so that a rain shower will not ruin the camera.

What cameras are you all using and what are your likes and dislikes? What video cameras do you recommend for my budget range?

Thanks in advance
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Old 03-21-12, 07:09 AM
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I see a contour in amazon for 170. I use a contour 1080p for skiing, its an awesome camera, very durable. Fixed helmet mount is a bit suspect, I broke one this winter, but they replaced it right away.
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Old 03-21-12, 07:32 AM
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I have the basic Contour 720p that I bought used. Came with 2 batteries, a 2 and 8gb card, wall and car charger and some mounts. The Contour website has a forum where tips and tricks can be discussed.

Battery lasts about 1.5 hours but I am unsure how much the previous owner used the battery. So I typically need to carry a spare battery for a ride on the weekend.

I have it mounted on top of my helmet, this allows me to point the camera. I found that the video was way too shakey when mounted on a handlebar and the camera would shut-off when you hit a only a moderate bump.

However, after 3-4 hours you start to notice the camera on top of your helmet. True it is only 140 grams or so, but I do notice it after a while. If mounted on the side you'd need a counter weight on the other side.

I purchased a 16 gb card soon after I got the camera, so that I can do a 3 hour ride without changing memory card.

Contour is quite rugged no problems with operation for the most part, other than the shutting down after a jolt. It can handle some rain. I wouldn't push it past a drizzle for too long though.

The camera can only be adjusted using the software. There is no adjustments on the camera for light, exposure, etc. About the ONLY thing you can do is switch it back and forth from SD to HD.

I was going to say that a camera won't offer more safety, but I am kinda rethinking that. It can act as a deterrent to those who might intentionally try to harm you, if they see it, or you point it out to them. For those motorists who are oblivious when driving, the video record may allow you to support your case should you get into an accident.

I would suggest that the camera be purchased because you are somewhat of a videophile and want to capture video of things you might see on your rides. Rather than for "safety" reasons you'll be lugging this thing around for something that will probably not happen.
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Old 03-21-12, 07:45 AM
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I can see where having a camera can be valuable after the fact, but in what way do you feel it improves safety? For safety I go for conspicuous colors and lights.
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Old 03-21-12, 08:35 AM
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I was assaulted by a motorist and then threatened to be arrested because there were no "eye-witnesses". Since it was my word against his (a retired State patrolman) and I was wearing lyrca (immediate bias against me). A camera would have served as an objective eyewitness.

I was hit by a dog and sent to the emergency room and found out yesterday that the AC joint separation is 90% certain to require surgery to repair. I don't remember 30 minutes from that night and I would love to have had video for the possible upcoming court case.

Who knows what will happen next? I pray that my cycling dues are paid for a few years to come.
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Old 03-21-12, 08:41 AM
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You might want to take a look at the "keychain" cameras available on ebay - the HD (720P) ones go for about $40, then you need a MicroSDHC memory card and if you get the #16 version you can use an external battery as you record. I have a 32Gb chip and an external battery setup that records for up to 10 hours, have the camera velcroed to a plastic mpunt above my helmet visor and keep the battery in a pocket. For water resistance you can put one of these cameras in a Tic Tac box - I haven't bothered since I live in a desert - I did get caught in a shower on my way home once and it didn't harm the camera - just lucky maybe. See www.chucklohr.com for more details.
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Old 03-21-12, 08:49 AM
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I like the Kodak Playsports. Zx3 you would be hitting the end of the battery around 90 minutes but has a swappable battery; Zx5 has a bigger but non-removable battery.

Camcorder info reviews:

Kodak Zx5(you would have to get or make a mount with this one)
Kodak Zx3(you would have to get or make a mount with this one)
GoPro Hero HD2
Contour+
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Old 03-21-12, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by johnin
You might want to take a look at the "keychain" cameras available on ebay - the HD (720P) ones go for about $40, then you need a MicroSDHC memory card and if you get the #16 version you can use an external battery as you record. I have a 32Gb chip and an external battery setup that records for up to 10 hours, have the camera velcroed to a plastic mpunt above my helmet visor and keep the battery in a pocket. For water resistance you can put one of these cameras in a Tic Tac box - I haven't bothered since I live in a desert - I did get caught in a shower on my way home once and it didn't harm the camera - just lucky maybe. See www.chucklohr.com for more details.
I have an H264 808#11 jumbo that I bought on ebay for less than $50. Video quality is darn good for the price. Battery lasts about 2 hours but is not swappable. You could run an external battery through a USB port. It uses a micro SD card and will continue to record until full.

Plenty of info on the web about it.

Good luck

-g
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Old 03-21-12, 03:47 PM
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Does anyone have any experience with this camera?

https://www.tachyoninc.com/xchd_2011.php

Looks like it is $90 bucks at Amazon, waterproof, uses AA batteries, and 32GB SD card.
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Old 03-21-12, 04:13 PM
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I just bought a #16 (high definition) #808 camera, and a battery pack to extend the recording time. It's got a lot of features for a $38 camera. The only real downside is that it's not waterproof. The upside is, several hours of recording time on a pair of AA cells, 720p 30fpm recording, loop recording, a fair amount of configuration options, and it's super tiny (though with the batteries, much less so).

I'm going to be doing my first test on Friday (no riding today or tomorrow due to other errands).
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Old 03-22-12, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DaHaMac
The GoPro and Contour Camera appear to be of a higher video quality than I need and are slightly outside of my price range. I have about $150.00 budgeted. I am not looking for top quality in video image in a camera but reliabity. I am a commuter with 1.5 hour commute so battery longevity and recording capacity is an issue. I would like to find a camera with an on-the-fly swappable battery to extend the range. USB recharging is also nice since I could recharge at the office. The camera will need to be waterproof so that a rain shower will not ruin the camera.
Higher quality isn't a bad thing -- sometimes it's the little details that are important.

Waterproof cameras are relatively rare -- the GoPro is the clear winner there. Having the waterproof back on does limit the sound it picks up, but if people are yelling it'll probably still pick that up. It also fits all your other criteria where most things do not.

Accessories (mounts, batteries, etc.) for the GoPro are cheaper than the Contour as well.

It may be $200 new, but considering that that comes with everything you need, including mounts ... it's hard to beat that. And considering that the GoProHD 2 came out recently, lots of people are selling their original GoProHD's on craigslist and the like -- I'll bet you could find one for $150 if you watched carefully. (I picked up a second one a few months ago for $125.)

You could go for a GoPro 960p for even less, though I don't know if it takes the same mounts or batteries as the GoProHD. I'd personally suggest the HD.

It was on woot recently for $135. Considering that there's a woot-off right now, it could show up today if it didn't sell out back in December.

Last edited by dougmc; 03-22-12 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 03-22-12, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc
It was on woot recently for $135. Considering that there's a woot-off right now, it could show up today if it didn't sell out back in December.
It sold out. I checked in at around 4PM and they were already sold out. No surprise at that price. It was even the helmet version IIRC. If they hadn't sold out I'd have bought one.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DaHaMac
I would like to have a helmet cam at least for safety with plans for a rear facing camera as soon as possible when the budget allows.

The GoPro and Contour Camera appear to be of a higher video quality than I need and are slightly outside of my price range. I have about $150.00 budgeted. I am not looking for top quality in video image in a camera but reliabity. I am a commuter with 1.5 hour commute so battery longevity and recording capacity is an issue. I would like to find a camera with an on-the-fly swappable battery to extend the range. USB recharging is also nice since I could recharge at the office. The camera will need to be waterproof so that a rain shower will not ruin the camera.

What cameras are you all using and what are your likes and dislikes? What video cameras do you recommend for my budget range?

Thanks in advance
You can get a Gopro HD960 for around $150:
https://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CIEBEIIIMAA

A lot of cyclist are using them, they're pretty robust.
1 and a half hour shouldn't be a problem for the battery,
as the temps go down and the battery gets older; battery
life may suffer. The battery can be swapped but the fit is
very tight. If I recall correctly, you can recharge thru a USB
port. The 960 is waterproof:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hheUc-zlfiM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9-Kv...eature=channel
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Old 03-26-12, 11:59 AM
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Here's a little video I shot from an 808 #16. With a AA cell battery extension, < $50. Not waterproof as shipped.

https://johnridley.livejournal.com/604987.html
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Old 03-26-12, 11:11 PM
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ACT 20 120 degree model off ebay for me, it was $ 72 delivered from China and another $ 25 or so for a 16 GB mini sd card that fits in it. Under $ 100, there are better for more and there are cheaper and comparable for less but may have shorter battery life or whatever else. I get around 2.5 hours of video with the 16 GB card per battery life and calculations of card storage capacity. Files are the older format, but 720p courtroom quality per internet research. I looked into the 32 GB card for it, but that based upon calculations and the battery is spent, takes a few hours to recharge, so I figured the 16 GB lasts as long as the camera battery does was more than adequate. I could always hook it up long enough to transfer the video, while clearing the card and recharging it for the next session. I like it, but it's a sunlight day use only camera, no night vision enhancement.
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Old 03-27-12, 02:19 PM
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I saw this at costco: https://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...rodid=11750012
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Old 03-27-12, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi
I like the remote, the waterproof case and also the laser pointer that confirms it is recording.

The laser pointer would be twice as useful if it also indicated the center of the video frame (that may be the case).
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Old 03-27-12, 06:59 PM
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The 808 #16 can be set to loop recording, so you never need to clear the memory card (though you do need to stop it, or at least pull the power, after an incident - my 8G card will start overwriting data after about 2.5 hours). Mine is set to start a new file every 5 minutes, though that's configurable too.

It is nice to just leave the thing on the helmet and give it a fresh pair of rechargable AAs once a week, and just turn it on and off at the beginning and end of a ride.

I'm going to get another one for rear-facing. < $90 for front and rear facing is nice.
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Old 03-28-12, 05:46 PM
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189.00 and you get a free extended battery, I have this camera and it takes great video. Multi-mount capabilities from the helmet to the bars or the bike frame. Remote control is A++ Good luck on whatever you choose.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...on_Camera.html
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