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Need Bike Video Cam Recommendations

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Old 01-22-12, 05:59 AM
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chefisaac
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Need Bike Video Cam Recommendations

My wife and I moved out here from Seattle and had many friends who rode their bike back to and from work in Seattle. One of the people we know was a good friend of ours. We got a call the other day the he got hit while riding to work and passed away a few hours later. The person that his him did not stop and just drove off.

My wife learned about this first and was freaked out since I was riding my bike home from work on Friday.

Long story short, she asked me to get a video camera for my commuter bike. I know nothing about this. Any recommendations, suggestions, advice, draw backs, etc?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 01-22-12, 08:47 AM
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Go-Pro HD. Battery life is about two hours and you can get about the same on a 32gb card.

Presuming this is "witness" type deal, you would want one facing fore and aft.

Video quality is excellent and the mounts are clean.
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Old 01-22-12, 01:59 PM
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Contour and GoPro seem to be the more popular brands,
there are others of course including HD cams the size of a
car remote. I tried a GoPro 960 and a ContourRoam, I think
the GoPro has better clarity. One thing you'll have to remember
is that most cameras probably won't catch license plates at
night:

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Old 01-22-12, 02:13 PM
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An 808 HD cam from eBay would probably be the cheapest acceptable-quality bike-mountable camera you can get, at about $40. It doesn't catch as much detail as the ContourHD (which I also have), but at 1/4 the price it's pretty darn good.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:58 PM
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Does the 808 have sound. Price is a big consideration for me and I've casually looked at the 808 and another very small DVR I've seen in a local store. I'm assuming the very small ones do not have sound.
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Old 01-22-12, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
Does the 808 have sound. Price is a big consideration for me and I've casually looked at the 808 and another very small DVR I've seen in a local store. I'm assuming the very small ones do not have sound.
Both the old 808 and the newer Jumbo 808 have audio recording.

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Old 01-22-12, 11:15 PM
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The above mentioned Contour and GoPro cameras are absolutely fantastic, and have been used by professionals in the TV industry since they first came out (Discovery Channel swears by them!). But they are quite pricey for average cyclists, and when you need two units (front/back views) then it becomes an expensive purchase.

Except for the 808 mentioned above (which I have never used, so I have no opinion on the matter), I would suggest a less expensive alternative like the MD80 "compatible/fake" cameras found on eBay for around $10-15 each, and have reasonable quality recording (720x480) lasting roughly around 1 hour and quickly recharging via USB.

They have a descent quality recording and audio, come with at least two or three different mounting options and are dirt cheap, so even if you decide to go for better quality cameras later on, you wouldn't have spent a fortune on these... plus they're so cheap (aka expendable) you could try mounting them in different locations on your bike such as the front fork near the hub, or even on a pedal using a tie-wrap! This for budding directors out there! lol

Link for MD80 cameras on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...All-Categories

Link for MD80 camera samples on Youtube:


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Old 01-23-12, 09:24 AM
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I'm a big fan of my Contour HD, and even the low-res old VholdR 20/Twenty that I still use. While the precision control of all the recording aspects is lacking in comparison to the GoPro, the lower profile of the camera itself is fantastic.
When I see someone with a GoPro helmet mount, I'm reminded of the old SNL sketch of Al Franken as the one-man mobile uplink reporter.

I wouldn't get a Contour Roam, though. Another forum member pointed out that they do not have a removable battery on that model, so there's no swapping out a dead one for a fully charged one if you're out for a full day of shooting.
Snag a Contour HD 1080p online instead, and pick up some BL-5C batteries (3.7V 1020mAh) for about $6.00 each. They're Nokia phone batteries; you don't need to spend the $25.00 that Contour charges for their name branded ones.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:36 AM
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I like my Contour HD (picked up on sale). I've had problems syncing the built-in clock (lame attempt at combining Garmin 500 data with video), othwerwise it works quite well. Have not tested it's weather-resistance (Roam might be better for that), I can say the optional waterproof housing is excellent (son borrowed it for use while snorkeling on vacation).

I have mine mounted on handlebars (I didn't like the on-helmet options and my aimable headlight is more valuable use of the space). Field of view is a little limited. I did capture the "after" part of a buzz-by incident with it; I think the license plate and car description was well-enough captured using frame-by-frame. Would not work so well at night/poor lighting, and the low mounting made it impossible to say anything about the driver.
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Old 01-23-12, 11:01 AM
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Go pro 960 helmet mount. I bought it at best buy. Works great I've had it for a couple months.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:36 PM
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I'm wondering how ya'll mount an MD80 or the 808HD.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Laguna Bum View Post
I'm wondering how ya'll mount an MD80 or the 808HD.
See attached image - it's velcroed on.

808HD quality is leaps and bounds above that of an MD80, well worth the extra $30 - compare the MD80 footage above with something like this (It's more apparent when viewed in HD in a large size):

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_3180.jpg (86.3 KB, 42 views)
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Old 01-23-12, 03:21 PM
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I've been pretty pleased with my ContourROAM. I ride 2hr30min or so per day and I've never had a problem with battery. 1hr10min to work and 1hr20min home. You can check out the quality here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/weshigh

I used to have an 808 #11, but the battery would run out on me and then corrupt the videos. I bricked it trying to flash the firmware.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by weshigh View Post
I used to have an 808 #11, but the battery would run out on me and then corrupt the videos. I bricked it trying to flash the firmware.
I typically used an external USB battery pack with it, and used it in excess of 3.5 hours at a time without issue.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:58 PM
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I got two Contour HDs after the price dropped to ~140, haven't been using them religiously as I should though. 2 seems to be a bit of a pain to keep going...

If I had to choose between front and rear facing camera only, which should I use? Seems like majority of collisions would originate from the rear so that seems like the logical choice, unless there's things that go against that logic.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by muu View Post
Seems like majority of collisions would originate from the rear so that seems like the logical choice, unless there's things that go against that logic.
Studies I have seen say that rear collisions are pretty rare, but may also result in the worst injury. If someone hits you from the rear, they basically hit something right in front of them. Right hooks seem to be the most common issue on the roads from what I can tell.
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Old 01-23-12, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
Does the 808 have sound. Price is a big consideration for me and I've casually looked at the 808 and another very small DVR I've seen in a local store. I'm assuming the very small ones do not have sound.
I have the 808 #11 Jumbo mounted on my bars. It does have sound, but at speed it is mostly wind noise. Battery lasts about 2 hours and all video is saved when it runs down. Video quality is darn good for the price. Most of the footage is darn boring, mostly me passing other cyclists and cars running stop signs. Occasionally I catch a spastic squirrel or a texting pedestrian who steps out in front of me.

-G
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Old 01-24-12, 11:07 PM
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GoPro and Contour have the most mounts and other accessories (like extended battery, LCD backs). The newest Contour can stream to your Smart Phone, and the new GoPro HERO2 will be able to stream to your smart phone (with an attached transmitter, also there is a remote) . I have a GoPro and love it. I mount it on my helmet and have caught some cars doing some crazy things. The time-lapse feature is great too.

Here are some of the things I have done with my GoPro HD Hero
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Old 01-25-12, 08:53 AM
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I have a Contour which I got for both fun and for the same safety reasons you mention. Personally I found it a bit underwhelming, but at least I got it on sale (about $100). I think the included mounting system is crappy, software sucks, the included microSD card is only 2Gb, and they gouge you for other mounts. It's not waterproof and the audio quality from the built-in mic is horrible. The only good things are the size, weight, and the cool laser sight guides.

Currently I have it mounted on the left side of my helmet facing forwards. I've also run it on top of my helmet. I have considered getting a second to put on the right side facing backwards but I think that may be overkill.
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Old 01-25-12, 12:39 PM
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anyone run two cams? one on the front and one in the back?
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Old 01-29-12, 04:38 AM
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Man running front and back cameras would cost a pretty penny. Especially if you went with the GoPro's lowest model which IIRC is $199 each.

I've always wondered about camera in 'witness' situations and if a suspect decided to take the camera(s) or erase the data before cops/EMS/ambulance while you're unconcious or immobilized at the moment then the evidence is gone.

What I'm getting at is, is there some controls that the avg Joe off the street can't just easily erase the data in such a situation? Like if a special combination of buttons needed to be pushed before deletion is allowed that the owner would know.
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Old 01-29-12, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
Both the old 808 and the newer Jumbo 808 have audio recording.

ROTFL... love the reviwer. Is that ThunderF00t doing video camera reviews or what? Love the humor. Nice review.
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Old 01-29-12, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma View Post
Man running front and back cameras would cost a pretty penny. Especially if you went with the GoPro's lowest model which IIRC is $199 each.

I've always wondered about camera in 'witness' situations and if a suspect decided to take the camera(s) or erase the data before cops/EMS/ambulance while you're unconcious or immobilized at the moment then the evidence is gone.

What I'm getting at is, is there some controls that the avg Joe off the street can't just easily erase the data in such a situation? Like if a special combination of buttons needed to be pushed before deletion is allowed that the owner would know.
808HD solves both problems - cost is low at $40-50/camera, and the average Joe won't be able to tell what the keyfob-shaped object is (much less be interested in wiping it).
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Old 01-30-12, 09:31 PM
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Since the camera doesn't stop anyone from running you over, I'm not clear that it is really a safety measure. However, I'm still strangely desirous of having this gadget. It just sounds fun.
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Old 01-31-12, 07:30 AM
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Jyl: we have A LOT (and I mean a lot) of hit and runs so if someone hits me, at least I have some video of it (granting I have a cam in front and back etc etc etc). Or I get killed, it would give some "peace" to my loved ones and give some evidence. Or if I get assulted, etc.

At the end of the day it just gives you another tool in your tool box.
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