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Anyone uses the cheap cameras bought on ebay?

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Anyone uses the cheap cameras bought on ebay?

Old 10-07-18, 08:13 PM
  #1  
vol
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Anyone uses the cheap cameras bought on ebay?

There are action cameras on eBay in the $20-40s or so. They are no doubt not as reliable as name brands, but I wonder if the main problem is image quality? Do they break easily? waste of money and not worth a try? (I thought of getting a GoPro since it's the major brand, but for their 3-digit prices, I still see a lot of negative 1-star reviews, so I wonder if a $40 camera is better for the bucks and the loss wouldn't be too devastating should anything go wrong)
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Old 10-08-18, 05:30 AM
  #2  
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IMHO, the GoPro is not worth the money, not because they aren't good cameras, but because the novelty will wear off really fast. About 5 years ago I bought a camera on ebay for about $80 that came with all of the attachments you'd ever want, and was 1080p capable, that I wanted to use on a trip to Hawaii. I used it on that trip, have about 10 minutes of video, and never used it again. I don't even remember where I put it anymore. Other than yourself, who is going to be looking at the footage? YouTube? Fuggedaboudit. There is a video of me riding down Mt. Haleakala after I tried to ascend on YouTube. I don't think I got more than 10 hits. As far as quality, the camera was fine. The underwater housing really worked. The helmet mount worked, The video was crisp and clear. Longevity I can't tell you.

I remember there being a website that rated all of the cheap cameras available and they would publish their favorites. I don't remember the name, but look for that and maybe they'll steer you to a good one. Don't spend a lot of money though.
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Old 10-08-18, 10:17 AM
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I agree with the post above.

The camera's value is in testimony after an accident. Recording your ride for fun isn't...fun. You'll never watch the video of your 2 hour ride along a trail. Though you might pull out a 5 second clip of the deer that runs out in front of you. But how often does stuff like that happen? Once a decade?
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Old 10-08-18, 11:10 AM
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I got an Akaso Brave 4 for it's 4K capability; and wasn't too expensive. But when I tried to edit my videos/pics;
my slow computer couldn't handle the bytes. Ended up using 1080p. Might still benefit from it's 4K/ultra Hd
capability when it's time to buy a new TV.
On vacation using cam in question:
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Old 10-08-18, 12:57 PM
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Comments well taken. Maybe just buy the cheap ones and treat them as disposables...
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Old 10-10-18, 04:32 AM
  #6  
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Two things.

Firstly, the quality of the cheap action cameras vary and you typically can't put a blanket statement on all of them. Maybe some are gems, maybe some have good quality but have terrible build quality, maybe some feel solid but the recorded footage sucks, and maybe some are just plain bad. You'd have to look for reviews to see just what's good or bad.

Secondly, making good video requires effort. As others have said, no one wants to watch an entire 2-hour ride, that's just boring. You need to do actual video editing like in 1nterceptor's example, and that's work. So it's not for everyone, but for you, that'll depend a lot on your interest and how much you enjoy doing that kind of stuff.

While not exactly cheap, ebay-quality, but the Yi action camera line is often considered as a cheaper but good (arguably "better") alternative to GoPros so maybe it's worth checking that out if you're keen.

Last edited by atwl77; 10-10-18 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 10-10-18, 07:37 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Two things.

Firstly, the quality of the cheap action cameras vary and you typically can't put a blanket statement on all of them. Maybe some are gems, maybe some have good quality but have terrible build quality, maybe some feel solid but the recorded footage sucks, and maybe some are just plain bad. You'd have to look for reviews to see just what's good or bad.
This.

I have used 3 cheap cameras in my car as dash cams.

All 3 are off brand cheap hobbled together with old parts junk.

1 of them broke in a day and was returned.

1 of them is alright. It works, but it's a back up and has flaws.

1 of them has been working every day for 4 years like a charm with great video quality and is totally reliable. But it's not perfect. The date and time stamp won't stay set. So there's that trade off.

All 3 were under $40.

It's a crap shoot. But you CAN get a good one. Don't trust the reviews for them on Amazon. Almost all of the cheap cameras are filled with phony reviews. One of the key things to look for is photos in the review of the product still in the box or on a table or otherwise not being used. If you see those, it's a 99.9% chance it's a bought and paid for review. And if there is 1 paid fake review, it's a fair bet most of the others are too.
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Old 10-12-18, 11:19 PM
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Ion video cameras and the rebadged Polaroid brand action cams are good for the money. They're unique looking, cylindrical and weather resistant. I got an Ion Speed Pro for around $50 on Amazon a couple of years ago. Good for the money. Still gets 80 minutes per charge after regular use on most rides.

By now that same camera might be available through other brand names. Some cameras and electronics are resold under more than one brand.
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Old 10-12-18, 11:48 PM
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Also have an Akaso I bought on Amazon about 1.5 years ago. No 4k. I got some extra batteries and can go pretty much whole day if I keep replacing them.
Took short movies with it and also elapsed pics while riding - happy with it and not worried of losing it since was very budget compared with high end ones.
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Old 10-13-18, 02:32 AM
  #10  
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A Gopro is a prosumer camera, so if you want to record your ride for security then it would be overkill. Almost any decent sub $100 camera will do. On the other hand, gopros do offer more basic versions, and if you find a used gopro, then so much the better.
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Old 10-13-18, 03:58 PM
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I bought a Yi maybe three years ago and have used it extensively on both road and mountain bikes. I think it was $60 or $80....in that neighborhood. It's something like 1.5mm different in dimension from a GoPro Hero series, so you have to use their cases (all mounts are cross-compatible), but the cases are dirt cheap. The waterproof case has held up great for multiple trips to Florida beaches and Universal Studios. And while it's good for a safety tool, it actually makes some darn good videos when I use iMovie.
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Old 10-13-18, 06:16 PM
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BTW, if you're just looking for a daylight use action camera there are lots of good choices. The Ion cameras I mentioned are fine for that. For most folks riding single track, public park trails, etc., 90 minutes recording time is good.

But if you need a traffic documentation camera the choices are very limited. Low end action cams like the Ions have poor dynamic range and high ISO noise. At night they'll record basic shapes of vehicles, but not much more. And battery life is too short for some commutes and longer fitness rides. My occasional commutes are an hour or longer. Most of my road bike fitness rides are 2 hours or longer.

The main challenge is recording American license plates in all conditions. American license plates are among the least readable in the world. Add to that the high contrast of black or dark lettering on white reflective backgrounds and few action cams are suitable for reliably recording license plate details at night.

Some dash cams have very good dynamic range and low noise at high ISOs. But they aren't ready for use as bicycle cams as-is. You'll need a power supply, weatherproof housing and protection for the power supply and attachments.
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Old 10-14-18, 08:48 AM
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I bought an Activeon CX Gold to use as a helmet cam on my motorcycle. Mainly to be used like a dash cam in case I get into an accident and cannot speak for myself. I got it for around $40 from Target about two years ago. I've been thinking about mounting it to the bicycle for the same purpose on my commute. Anyway I think the picture quality is quite acceptable.

Here is a rather boring video of one of my weekend rides on the motorcycle. Just to give you an idea of the video quality.

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Old 10-14-18, 08:13 PM
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I have one from Aliexpress. Works pretty well.
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Old 10-16-18, 09:49 AM
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I also have an Akaso, it is a 4k, been using it for years with no problems, I think it is 2 hours of recording per battery, was $70 and came with over a dozen attachments I don't use, lol. My cities drivers don't see cars, so I have some amusing videos of me scaring the heck out of people cause I put truck air horns on my bicycles, they only require a small drill 12v lithium to run.
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Old 10-16-18, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Kahsyrbag View Post
I also have an Akaso, it is a 4k, been using it for years with no problems, I think it is 2 hours of recording per battery,
Two hours in 4k mode?
was $70 and came with over a dozen attachments I don't use, lol. My cities drivers don't see cars, so I have some amusing videos of me scaring the heck out of people cause I put truck air horns on my bicycles, they only require a small drill 12v lithium to run.
You'd think somebody would have make this convenient (and streamline) by now. Those baby sounding electric whistles are fine for pedestrian paths, but don't instill much respect on the road. If that's your choice, you may as well buy a whistle you blow and save the cash.
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Old 10-16-18, 02:45 PM
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Almost every bike horn uses a loudspeaker, the only air horn I have seen, you recharge the air in it with a bike pump, and the sound level is 115 decibels, it is called the airzound if you are interested.
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Old 10-18-18, 02:54 PM
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I bought a new-in-box Polaroid XS100 off ebay and wouldn't recommend getting one. Mine turns off randomly, supports only 32GB microSDHC which means constantly remembering to delete old files, has no firmware updates because it's essentially an abandoned product, has only a janky Windows app to configure settings, uses mini-USB to charge, and is heavy so not good for mounting on a helmet, but has no image stabilization so videos are very shaky when bar mounted. I bought it when I first started commuting and needed over 90 minutes of battery life, ruling out most GoPro-like devices without charging off a secondary battery, but now that I am much faster on my commutes, wish I'd gone that route for the many accessory options (e.g., extended battery cases).
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