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Helmet Cam Recommendations

Old 09-02-14, 11:14 AM
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Helmet Cam Recommendations

I have had enough. The more experienced I get with urban cycling the less I have to deal with. However, there are times that I have been blatantly harassed or almost hit by ignorant neanderthals that I can't avoid regardless of experience in control and release, follow laws, or learning how to keep calm while being harassed.

I am getting a helmet cam. I am documenting that guy with bumper sticker from a local fire department trying to hit me legally riding in a sharrowed lane, the hillbilly in a SUV throwing a glass bottle at me for waiting at a stop light, or that jackass who feels to get out of his big pickup after giving him the bird for passing to close. I want this documented.

However, cameras are all across the board in price. Go-Pros seem expensive and bulky. Searching Google for shopping there are helmet cams lower than 100 bucks but they are probably crap. I would like one to simply document a jackass that throws a bottle where I can document a plate number and his actions for use of legal issues if needed. I really don't want to be forced away from my family for 10 years beating a hillbilly's face in with my U-lock. I would rather play cool, film, document, and take action with that instead.

Are there any suggestions for me to use as documentation purposes only (I don't need Hi-def to post on youtube) but also isn't overly bulky? What price would I be looking to spend for this purpose only? Thanks.
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Old 09-02-14, 11:45 AM
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I've owned several keychain cams and other unnamed Chinese cams, plus a GoPro, Sony ActionCam, Contour Roam and an RD32II.

I've sold them all eventually. The RD32II isn't bad but the non-replaceable batteries are a pain in the butt.

This is what I use now:
Techmoan - Techmoan - SVC200 is the best ú100 action camera I've found (So*far).

If you want I have a mounting plate that I designed for it, PM me and I'll mail you one:

https://www.youmagine.com/designs/si...200-action-cam

However, when i bought it, you could easily find one for $130. It's up around $200 now. If I was going to spend that kind of money anyway, I'd probably go for the Sony again. The one I owned was the first generation and the picture quality wasn't that great. The video I'm seeing from them now is much better and probably a better bet.

The nice thing about the SVC200 is that it uses Nokia phone batteries which cost about $3 on eBay, and you can get two of them and a wall charger for < $10. I like just having a couple spares and just swapping them nightly.
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Old 09-02-14, 11:47 AM
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By the way, you absolutely need hi-def if you're planning on having readable license plates. Even with HD they're not always that readable. With standard def they're definitely not ever readable unless they stop and you get within about 20 feet of them.
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Old 09-02-14, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
By the way, you absolutely need hi-def if you're planning on having readable license plates. Even with HD they're not always that readable. With standard def they're definitely not ever readable unless they stop and you get within about 20 feet of them.
I was going to say that too. I have a GoPro Hero 2 - I got this for the very attractive price of free. It can be very hard to get plate number details, even with HD.

Here is an example I sent to local PD with a positive response (they contacted the driver and complimented my video quality):

I have used my video to call out commercial drivers many times too. You are right to get video and use it to

I would like to upgrade to the Hero 3 (or latest) in a few months. The Hero 2 is heavy and bulky. I have all the mounting set up for GoPro, so I'd like to stay with it.
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Old 09-02-14, 06:14 PM
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Techmoan - Techmoan is a very good place to start looking. Comprehensive, well-written reviews and gives you an idea of what to look out for.

In amongst the usual dross, I've picked up some excellent cameras, the Mobius, SJ1000, Mini 0801 and I now can add the TCL SVC200 to that prestigious list.

I'm pretty sure your budget covers all of the above, and the SVC200 might well be the best. I own the Mobius and the SJ1000 and they are pretty great, with noticeably different features. Have a quick glance through and see if you have any personal preferences.

I bought the SJ1000 first and although it's a bulky, high-profile bright yellow with a screen, I've chosen the screenless, low-profile black Mobius as my go-to bike camera. It's tiny and lightweight and works amazingly WHEN you do get the hang of aligning it correctly.

https://www.techmoan.com/blog/2013/7/8/the-mobius-camera-the-do-it-all-mount-anywhere-1080p-micro-c.html

The size also means as a helmet cam it's lighter and cheaper compared to some of the more feature-rich cameras out there. Personally it works for my needs.




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Old 09-02-14, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by keyven
Techmoan - Techmoan is a very good place to start looking. Comprehensive, well-written reviews and gives you an idea of what to look out for.

+1
Techmoan is *great*!
And you get to listen to that wonderful English accent!
Although he always makes me nervous when he takes those cameras out on the highway, driving on the wrong side of the road.
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Old 09-02-14, 06:57 PM
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I still want to get the GoPro Hero3. The others just don't cut it.

Also, Even if you can't afford the price of a GoPro. There is always the possibility of winning one. The others don't have that.
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Old 09-03-14, 07:05 AM
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@Hypno Toad, There is two lanes and the one was completely open! Why the hell couldn't that jackass just move into the left lane? Jesus. That quality is very good. You can almost make out the dealership lettering with that quality.

Thanks for the advice to everybody. Especially with quality in reading plates. I want this to be important. I am going to look into techmoan. These seem more cost effective than I actually thought.

After having a bottle thrown at me and a guy attempting to run into me in just one weekend for doing absolutely nothing wrong I want to document these assaults and report them. I know the cops wont charge them with attempting to cause physical harm to me, but maybe they will hand a littering violation out to the bottle thrower............................
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Old 09-03-14, 08:23 AM
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I've been known to read and shout out the rego numbers of idiot cars so that the microphone picks it up even if the image isn't clear.
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Old 09-03-14, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
I still want to get the GoPro Hero3. The others just don't cut it.
Be sure to get the black version ($400). I had a Hero3 White and honestly, it's not a very good camera. Almost all of the cheap Chinese cameras that I've owned are at least as good, and some are better. At the price point of the White ($200), the GoPro fails against many competitors in image quality, ease of use, features and mounting systems for cyclists. The GoPro White is the wrong choice for almost anyone. The Black is really a pretty good camera for image quality. IMO ease of use and mounting still sucks for all GoPros when it comes to cycling; for other sports it's not bad.

GoPro mainly is famous because it's got a better marketing department than any other manufacturer, not because it's particularly a good camera.
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Old 09-03-14, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK
I've been known to read and shout out the rego numbers of idiot cars so that the microphone picks it up even if the image isn't clear.
I do that as well, but it's nice if the resolution is good enough that a viewer will hear you say the reg number, look at the video and say "yeah, that looks about right" rather than (with standard def) "Well, maybe, but it looks like "Blurry blob, Blurry blob, Blurry blob, ....Blurry blob, Blurry blob, Blurry blob, Blurry blob" to me.
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Old 09-03-14, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Be sure to get the black version ($400). I had a Hero3 White and honestly, it's not a very good camera. Almost all of the cheap Chinese cameras that I've owned are at least as good, and some are better. At the price point of the White ($200), the GoPro fails against many competitors in image quality, ease of use, features and mounting systems for cyclists. The GoPro White is the wrong choice for almost anyone. The Black is really a pretty good camera for image quality. IMO ease of use and mounting still sucks for all GoPros when it comes to cycling; for other sports it's not bad.

GoPro mainly is famous because it's got a better marketing department than any other manufacturer, not because it's particularly a good camera.
What about the Silver ($300)? Seems to have a much better lens than the White.
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Old 09-03-14, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Be sure to get the black version ($400). I had a Hero3 White and honestly, it's not a very good camera. Almost all of the cheap Chinese cameras that I've owned are at least as good, and some are better. At the price point of the White ($200), the GoPro fails against many competitors in image quality, ease of use, features and mounting systems for cyclists. The GoPro White is the wrong choice for almost anyone. The Black is really a pretty good camera for image quality. IMO ease of use and mounting still sucks for all GoPros when it comes to cycling; for other sports it's not bad.

GoPro mainly is famous because it's got a better marketing department than any other manufacturer, not because it's particularly a good camera.
Since I am only going the 'Everything We Make Daily' competition route. I will get all of them.
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Old 09-03-14, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK
I've been known to read and shout out the rego numbers of idiot cars so that the microphone picks it up even if the image isn't clear.
I like that idea!

I recently had an idiot in an 18-wheeler buzz me;
The fool was driving with his tires partly in the bike lane.
Unfortunately, my camera didn't pick up the license plate due to shadows.
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Old 09-03-14, 02:11 PM
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Regarding size, I like that mine is obvious because I think it shows the drivers I have a camera and then they are more courteous. Kind of a catch 22.

Regarding good documentation, and it sounds like the OP has some frequent and serious a-holes to deal with, 2 cameras facing forward and back would be ideal, I think. There really should be a camera that does that with a single device, how hard could it be?

Regarding clarity of license plates in HD, there are different HD settings. I use the lower of two that my camera offers and it's very difficult to make out the plate in the video. I guess I should be using the higher quality setting (& higher frame rate)

I have grown to like mine very much, it's the Polaroid Extreme XS100. It is water proof so there is no need for an additional waterproof case like the gopro. It makes ".mov" files which I like for editing on my MAC. It creates 1 continuous file which at first I didn't like, but what I do is reach up and occasionally stop/start recording so I wind up with a series of clips. If there is an "event" such as getting buzzed or whatever, I restart it right after that. It makes finding the event that much easier. What would make finding the event even easier I think is to do a short clip of my hand or something, so that the hand image serves as a marker as I scroll through the clips. I just thought of that and haven't tried it.

Good luck with your research. I hope you find everyone leaves you alone with the camera on your head, even if it means hours of boring video! :-)
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Old 09-03-14, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ShooFlyPie
...... there are times that I have been blatantly harassed or almost hit by ignorant neanderthals that I can't avoid regardless of experience in control and release, follow laws, or learning how to keep calm while being harassed.

I am getting a helmet cam.......
Wow. I am not sure what all that verbiage meant. But I am guessing the crux is that: You think that buying a helmet cam with increase your span of control over other people?

I've never heard of that actually happening.... but I wish you the best of luck with your efforts.
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Old 09-03-14, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo
I like that idea!

I recently had an idiot in an 18-wheeler buzz me;
The fool was driving with his tires partly in the bike lane.
Unfortunately, my camera didn't pick up the license plate due to shadows.
If you got the company name, and a tractor or trailer number you don't need a licence plate. The state police are the best resource to report commercial vehicles to.
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Old 09-03-14, 03:47 PM
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I've been using the Contour ROAM 2
I've been fairly pleased with it. Battery life is not as good as I'd like but significantly better than the GoPro. I'm experimenting at the moment to try and figure out the best balance between battery life and video quality. I wish I spent the extra money and went with the Contour+2 which has a removable battery.

Do be prepared for people to stare at your camera helmet, look a way when you look at them and go right back to staring! So so awkward! I'd really wish they would just ask about it; which happens a lot too.

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Old 09-03-14, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by spivonious
What about the Silver ($300)? Seems to have a much better lens than the White.
I don't know. Since I found that either the SVC200 or the Sony ActionCam are both more than good enough for what I want, both around $200 or less, and both have FAR better mounting to helmets than any of the GoPros, I didn't think there was any reason in the world to get a GoPro again.

If you gave me $400 right now to buy a camera for the bike, I'd buy two Sonys and mount one pointing backward.
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Old 09-04-14, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter
Wow. I am not sure what all that verbiage meant. But I am guessing the crux is that: You think that buying a helmet cam with increase your span of control over other people?

I've never heard of that actually happening.... but I wish you the best of luck with your efforts.
I would like to record and document harassment on the road for forwarding to authorities if needed. Also, yes, when people are knowing they are on camera I am willing to bet harassment or assault is likely less to happen. I am not trying to control other people.

No reason to be so arrogant about it. But glad you got to feel better about yourself today.

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Old 09-04-14, 10:12 AM
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ContourRaom.

One large button boots the camera up AND starts recording at the same time. Takes about 1 second for recording to start. This way, if you are cycling in an area of concern, you can turn the camera on easily without even looking at it. Cycling through the park or MUP, one touch turns off recording AND camera to conserve the battery. The battery is built in and not removable but this allows them to use a much better, longer lasting battery.

When I get home, assuming nothing of interest happened, I just push a little button with a paper clip to format the card and plug into the charger. I used to use a helmet mount 100% of the time with the old Contour but now that the new ones are HD and super wide angle I just attach on my handlebars. Looks like flashlight not a camera. No one ever notices it.
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Old 09-04-14, 10:13 AM
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I have a Redleaf RD990. It's made by the same people who make the RD32II.

It does 30fps@1080i and 60fps@720p. It has WiFi and a (not-so-great) smartphone app. It came with two batteries and a full complement of mounts and doodads for $180.

I don't mount on my helmet, though, as I agree with you "go-pro" cameras are bulky and unwieldy. Works great on my handlebars.
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Old 09-04-14, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike
ContourRaom.

One large button boots the camera up AND starts recording at the same time. Takes about 1 second for recording to start. This way, if you are cycling in an area of concern, you can turn the camera on easily without even looking at it. Cycling through the park or MUP, one touch turns off recording AND camera to conserve the battery. The battery is built in and not removable but this allows them to use a much better, longer lasting battery.

When I get home, assuming nothing of interest happened, I just push a little button with a paper clip to format the card and plug into the charger. I used to use a helmet mount 100% of the time with the old Contour but now that the new ones are HD and super wide angle I just attach on my handlebars. Looks like flashlight not a camera. No one ever notices it.
I've been using the earlier Contour 720 mounted to the top of my helmet.
(The instant-on mode of the Roam would be nice.)
*Every* time anyone has commented on it, they always think it is a headlight.
Seems John Q Public can't imagine a camera w/o the ridiculous clunky Go-Pro shape.
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Old 09-04-14, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ShooFlyPie
I would like to record and document harassment on the road for forwarding to authorities if needed. Also, yes, when people are knowing they are on camera I am willing to bet harassment or assault is likely less to happen. I am not trying to control other people.

No reason to be so arrogant about it. But glad you got to feel better about yourself today.
Wow!!!! You do have issues with people and control don't you. Instead of "playing cop"... maybe you can find a force that will except you... then you can wear a badge and everything!

Believe it or not.... my experience is that wearing a ****** won't dramatically change the way people react to you. Try searching Youtube for cyclist cam videos... and see if you still think a camera forces people to behave politely (it doesn't). I am trying to be helpful to you... but helpful doesn't fit within paradigm of how YOU expect people to act.

I think... you might find cycling (and living) just a whole big bunch more fun.... if you stop trying to control people and start enjoying them.
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Old 09-04-14, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter

Believe it or not.... my experience is that wearing a ****** won't dramatically change the way people react to you. Try searching Youtube for cyclist cam videos... and see if you still think a camera forces people to behave politely (it doesn't). I am trying to be helpful to you... but helpful doesn't fit within paradigm of how YOU expect people to act.

I think... you might find cycling (and living) just a whole big bunch more fun.... if you stop trying to control people and start enjoying them.
Why limit the search to cycling videos, motorcyclist and driver vigilante videos are all cut from the same cloth. It seems that the greater the desire to control others, the greater the inability to practice self control.
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