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Budget action cam suggestions?

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Budget action cam suggestions?

Old 06-26-16, 05:10 AM
  #1  
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Budget action cam suggestions?

Looking for suggestions for a budget action cam. By budget I mean around the $50 mark, or less. I want it to be able to record for about 3-4 hours, and for it to have enough resolution to be able to extract a license plate from a passing vehicle. I plan on buying two: one to run in the front, the other the rear.

The only reason I'm interested in an action cam is to have video evidence of a driver behaving aggressively. I have no interest in spending $300x2 on a go pro.

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-16, 07:15 AM
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The
is what I use. It's small, light weight, costs about $60-70 (depending on version), and takes up to 1080p at 30 or 60fps. You can modify the cam with a wide angle lens, turn it upside down, use it as a car dashcam instead, take single photos with it, and many other modifications easily done through software. The only part it misses is your recording time. The best of them with larger batteries last about 2-1/2 hours. The base model gets around 90-mins.

To get your 3-4 hour requirement, you may want to find an action cam with easily-swappable batteries, then just carry a spare with you. when the first runs out, pop the new one in and continue. (The Mobius' batteries really aren't ready to be swapped out on the road. Better done while at a desktop with some very small screwdrivers and steady hands.) I did this with my first one, a Contour, which had incredibly easy battery swapping. I don't recommend them now, however, as the company does not do customer service very well (their mount failed, causing damage to my very pricey cam and I heard crickets back).

Last edited by mkadam68; 06-26-16 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 06-26-16, 07:41 AM
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Saw these somewhere else the other day: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X9Y2NFY...I2XB7SDIMWTZEM
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Old 06-26-16, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by blart View Post
Saw these somewhere else the other day: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X9Y2NFY...I2XB7SDIMWTZEM
Yep. I got one of those. Pretty amazing deal. Camera is excellent quality (1080p) and the amount of mounts you get with it is astronomical. The helmut mount works very well. The only down side is that the battery last about an hour, but they ship you with one extra battery you can charge up and swap out.

If your getting this for safety reasons, that makes sense.

I bought mine for recreation reasons and though the product is excellent, I find I don't use it as much as I thought I would. A couple of videos of the kids cycling and thats it.
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Old 06-27-16, 04:56 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions! I think I'll give one of those Lightdow cameras a shot.
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Old 06-27-16, 05:05 AM
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I can't promise you mine is a Lightdow, but it is very similar looking and works great.
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Old 06-27-16, 05:18 AM
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Can never be too cheap when it comes to perceived safety...
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Old 06-27-16, 11:29 AM
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I use this: Buy RunCam 2. Best feature is the weight and size. GoPro is a joke compared (at least my older gen model) in terms of size and bulk, especially with the required case to mount it. Shoots great video at good resolutions, and has a nice interface with a smartphone as well.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
I use this: Buy RunCam 2. Best feature is the weight and size. GoPro is a joke compared (at least my older gen model) in terms of size and bulk, especially with the required case to mount it. Shoots great video at good resolutions, and has a nice interface with a smartphone as well.
how/where do you mount it? it doesn't seem to have a gopro-like mount for the handlebar

Last edited by bleui; 06-28-16 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 06-27-16, 11:02 PM
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I'm glad this thread got started, I've been wanting to get a cheapie cam like this to do some action shots of my riding.
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Old 06-29-16, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bleui View Post
how/where do you mount it? it doesn't seem to have a gopro-like mount for the handlebar
I couldn't figure it out either. Looks like you can snap it into a half-shell that will hold either a go-pro style mount or a standard screw-in for tripods.

https://oscarliang.com/ctt/uploads/2...s-includes.jpg
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Old 06-29-16, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bleui View Post
how/where do you mount it? it doesn't seem to have a gopro-like mount for the handlebar
Well thanks to BF's "new and improved" format, I can't insert pictures, but there is a mounting case for the camera. It slides into the slots on the sides of the camera you can see in the photos of the cam. Scroll down on the page in the link I posted above and you'll see the mount. The big hole in the mount is for the mounting adapter. They don't show it, but it includes a GoPro style adapter for the mount. Then you can mount it to a K-edge or anything similar. Because it is so lightweight, compares to the GoPro, it is very stable. I use an aluminum K-edge style mount and it's rock solid.
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Old 06-29-16, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bakes1 View Post
Can never be too cheap when it comes to perceived safety...
Such a good point. Thanks for the useful post.
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Old 06-29-16, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by slimyfrog View Post
I couldn't figure it out either. Looks like you can snap it into a half-shell that will hold either a go-pro style mount or a standard screw-in for tripods.

https://oscarliang.com/ctt/uploads/2...s-includes.jpg
That's correct, that shows all the parts. The mount is very sturdy, even though it's a half-shell as you called it. Because of its light weight, it doesn't bounce around and there is virtually no way it will fall out. That link you posted also shows the GoPro adapter which snaps into the mount. Then it's just a matter of fixing it to a K-edge or something. Under the bar so it's out of the way and not as intrusive.
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Old 06-29-16, 08:54 AM
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https://www.amazon.com/Automotive-En...2&keywords=ion
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Old 06-29-16, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Such a good point. Thanks for the useful post.
Thanks Dan!
And may I say that your post was also quite useful.
I guess referencing to people not to cheap out when it concerns safety is more useful than even I believed.
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Old 06-29-16, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bakes1 View Post
Thanks Dan!
And may I say that your post was also quite useful.
I guess referencing to people not to cheap out when it concerns safety is more useful than even I believed.
My pleasure! You could explain to OP the advantages of spending more on an action camera, or explain why a cheaper camera would not adequately serve his stated purpose. This is also less about "perceived safety" and more about giving him the option of filing a police report in the event that a driver does something dangerous. A camera doesn't make anyone more safe, but it does open some avenues for legal recourse.
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Old 06-29-16, 10:13 AM
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I have this one. I've enjoyed it up this point, and it certainly works well for what I need it for.

WiFi SJ4000 Waterproof Sports Action Camera Travel Kit DV 1080p Full HD Cam Set | eBay
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Old 06-29-16, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bakes1 View Post
Thanks Dan!
And may I say that your post was also quite useful.
I guess referencing to people not to cheap out when it concerns safety is more useful than even I believed.
I don't want to get in the middle of this lively debate, but please explain why getting a cheap camera is somehow equivalent to disregarding safety? Frankly, that's kind of lame. My "cheap" camera has never once failed, or had some kind of problem recording video. You don't have to buy a $400 GoPro to be "safe".
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Old 06-29-16, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
I don't want to get in the middle of this lively debate
Come on in, the water is warm and the cameras are cheap and dangerous.
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Old 06-29-16, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Come on in, the water is warm and the cameras are cheap and dangerous.
Something tells me bakes1 doesn't have a chinese carbon build-up bike...
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Old 09-26-16, 08:28 AM
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Since this thread was referenced in a more recent thread, I'll kick in another suggestion...

The Ion Speed Pro. Usually around $100, as low as under $70 occasionally.

I've been using one for 10 weeks and have no serious complaints. Most rides are uneventful so I just delete the files. Otherwise I save 'em to a WD MyCloud, which I can access wirelessly throughout the house for viewing and/or editing later.

Overall image quality is comparable to early GoPros. It's not comparable to the latest GoPro, including the Session, but it's much more affordable and good enough for many purposes.

Pros:
  • It's waterproof as-is, no special housing needed. (Be sure the rear cap is secured after setting the controls, inserting a media card, etc.)
  • It's tough, with an aluminum shell.
  • It includes all mounts except for a helmet mount.
  • Because of the cylindrical shape you can fabricate a simple helmet mount from Velcro or elastic strips to snug the camera into the vents of many road helmets. No mount really needed -- the fisheye lens makes aiming non-critical.
  • The exterior lens is actually a protective filter, not part of the optical lens, and can be cleaned easily or replaced if damaged (as long as Ion maintains spare parts).
  • It runs for right at the 90 minutes claimed by Ion.
  • It can run for hours with an extended battery, until the media card is filled up. In good weather I use a Jackery USB battery. However this compromises the waterproofing, so if you need extended recording time and weather resistance, you'll need to homebrew a raincoat from plastic bags to shield the rear of the camera, battery and USB cord.
  • It records both HD or SHD high resolution videos and small thumbnails for quick sharing online or for viewing over low resolution devices or slow wireless connections. If a ride was uneventful I may save only the thumbnail video and delete the larger version.

Cons:
  • The fisheye type lens is optimized for action camera closeup action, not for documenting license plates. Don't count on recording critical detail from license plates at the periphery of the camera's angle of view. At best it's suitable for recording types of vehicles, enough to help identify offenders but not necessarily positive ID without other information.
  • Mediocre to poor nighttime performance. Lots of noise and mesh-type artifacts. It's good in brightly lit cities and parking lots at night, but otherwise it will only record types of vehicles, not license plates.
  • Dynamic range only fair at night, with inky shadows and blown out highlights.
  • My sample is picky about media card formatting. I have to reformat the card in the PC every few uses, using the long format option, to ensure reliable recording. Ion tech support suggested I try another media card (I'm using a verified SanDisk Class 10 32GB card). Otherwise it's liable to shut off unexpectedly every few seconds or minutes.
  • Using an external USB battery also experiences quirks. The camera may shut down unexpectedly after the USB battery is connected. If so, turn off the camera, then restart recording. This usually keeps it recording continuously. After interrupting recording, repeat this procedure: turn it off completely, then back on, rather than relying on pause/record.

Characteristics, neither pro nor con:
  • The Ion Speed Pro records in approximately 40 minute segments, with almost seamless transitions between segments for stitching together later in editing.
  • It features still photo modes: single shot, burst and interval. The interval mode may be interesting to users who want to record a still photo every few seconds for later assembly into a time lapse video.
  • Still modes offer various file size choices from 5 mp to 14 mp. I suspect the true resolution is 5 mp and the others are interpolated.
  • A switch on the rear offers a quick choice between two recording modes, HD and SHD, programmable via a utility program when hooked to a PC. Mine is set to 720/60p and 1080/30. I wish 1080/60 were available as the higher framerate improves the odds of recording fine detail between motion-blurred frames.

Last edited by canklecat; 09-26-16 at 08:29 AM. Reason: Formatting
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