FineVu CR-500HD

The FineVu CR-500HD  dash cam is a compact Korean built dash cam with excellent picture quality during the day and good picture quality at night.  The CR-500HD utilizes the Sony Exmor CMOS sensor which is becoming a popular sensor in some of the more expensive dash cams such as the Flex Media Eagle HD dash cam from Taiwan and the Lukas Smart LK-7300G from Korea.  Note that the original batch had Sony Exmor R written around the lens as pictured above.  This apparently was a mistake and the camera was really using just a Sony Exmor CMOS lens.  New cameras have corrected this misprint. The CR-500HD is based on the Texas Instruments TMS320DM368 Digital Media System-on-Chip.  While the video quality is very good, it is not exceptionally better than other high quality dash cams available today. The CR-500HD looks nearly identical to the CR-300HD, with the exception of the outer part of the lens which is silver (CR-300HD is black).  Like the CR-300HD, the CR-500HD does not come with a built in GPS module but an external one can be purchased separately.  This dash camera also has a G-sensor and parking mode. For parking mode, this camera has a built-in low voltage cut-off.  Unfortunately the low voltage cut-off is set at 11.6v, which means your battery will likely be dead if it hits that voltage.  If you are using parking mode, you may want to consider a Battery Discharge Prevention Device. It is easy to install a circular polarizing lens (CPL) on this dash cam which helps reduce reflections when shooting in sunny weather.  If you do opt for a CPL, it is recommended to remove it for night recording otherwise the video will be dark.  The CPL is sold separately as well.

Comparison with CR-300HD

Since this camera is a “step up” from the CR-300HD, a comparison against this camera is justified.  The main differences between the two cameras are as follows:

Features

FineVu CR-300HD

FineVu CR-500HD

Matrix 5MP CMOS matrix 2Mp Sony Exmor matrix
Storage Media MicroSD Class 6 minimum MicroSD Class 10
Overheats Gets warm to the touch but doesn’t overheat 5-8 degrees lower than the CR-300HD
Resolution 3 options 4 options
Viewing Angle 129 degrees 135 degrees

From a video quality perspective, the CR-500HD and CR-300HD perform very similar during the day.  At night, the CR-500HD has a brighter picture than the CR-300HD.

Night video of the CR-500HD

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgK_78Y0w_w compared with

Night video of the CR-300HD

Details with Low Light

Even though the CR-500HD appears to have better night performance than the CR-300HD, the camera struggles with details such as license plate numbers in very low light conditions. CR-500HD – overall night scene is brighter but details are difficult to read CR-300HD – overall night scene is darker but details are easier to read The photos above are in very low light conditions.  In better lit streets, the CR-500HD can capture details as well as the CR-300HD

Known problems

This camera was released in late 2012.  Early reliability reports have generally been positive.  One owner has complained about a flicker in the video and another owner has complained about the camera hanging / freezing when it has been switched off for an hour or more.  These appear to be one-off issues but we will highlight if more problems materialize.

Pixelation and Macroblocks

There have been 2 recent reports of pixelation and macroblocks when driving in areas with a lot of trees.  This camera has a bitrate of upto 10,000 kbps which should be high enough to prevent pixelation.  Here is the sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttpcnL5_J6Q We are not sure if this is widespread problem or isolated incidents due to defective cameras / batch of cameras.  If you are experiencing this problem, please post in our FineVu forum.

Mounting the Camera

Standard Mount External GPS Unit

Disassembling the Dash Cam

FineVu CR-500HD Internal 1 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 2 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 3 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 4 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 5 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 6 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 7 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 8 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 9 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 10 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 11 FineVu CR-500HD Internal 12

PC Application

The latest English PC Application is v3.1.8.

Android App

There is a an Android App available for configuring the DVR FineVu CR-500HD at Google Play.  A pro version of this configuration app is also available.

Sample Videos

Comparison Videos Day Comparison Video – Itronics ITB-100HD (bottom right) vs BlackVue DR400G-HD (bottom left) vs FineVU CR-500HD (top left) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GB7q7P7mZw Night Comparison Video – Itronics ITB-100HD (top right) vs BlackVue DR400G-HD (bottom left) vs FineVU CR-500HD (top left) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEz7bkfb9qc Night Comparison Video - BlackVue DR500GW-HD (top) vs FineVu Pro (bottom left) vs FineVU CR-500HD (bottom right) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP6dGcqAiBc Day Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhnwPuqW7pQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhGIqRunivQ Night Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI8rxm4ZSsI

Should I purchase?

Many people were hoping that the Sony Exmor based cameras would be significantly better than the existing cameras on the market.  The video quality is arguably the best available in 2012.  However, it is not heads and shoulders above other high quality cameras and some of the newer cameras do perform better.  The poor ability to capture details at night (in very low light conditions) is disappointing as well.  Also the reported pixelation problem might be an isolated incident, but we will keep our eyes open for more evidence on this.  This camera is has become more difficult to find now and often retails for over $300.  At that price, the camera is not worth the money.  See our complete comparison on the dash cam comparison page.

Where to purchase for lowest price

The current price ranges from $250 to $300 Amazon and Amazon.co.uk have it for sale themeltingstore on eBay has it for sale Note that we typically don’t recommend purchasing the CPL filter since you will need to put it on and remove it depending on lighting conditions. It is quite a hassle and the FineVu CR-500HD performs ok in bright light as it is. We also do not recommend purchasing the FineVu Perfect Power device due to having only 1 voltage cut-off setting. For more information on battery protectors, please visit our Battery Discharge Prevention page.

Firmware

WARNING!  MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Firmware Update Instructions

  1. Download the latest firmware.
  2. Remove the Micro SD card from the dash cam and place it in the micro SD adapter. Insert into a memory card reader on a PC.
  3. It is recommended that you back up all important files on the Micro SD card.
  4. Format the memory card prior to the firmware upgrade
  5. Unzip the downloaded firmware and copy it to the root directory of the memory card.
  6. When you insert the micro SD card into the black box and turn the power on, 4 LEDs will flash and the upgrade will start.
  7. The upgrade takes approximately 3 minutes. When the upgrade is complete, the firmware file will automatically be deleted.

Latest Firmware

The latest firmware file can be found on the FineVu site in the Downloads section.  The latest version is v1.00.015.

Previous Firmware

User Manual

You can download the manual here.

Specifications

FineVu CR-500HD
Price$300
Read Review
ManufacturerFine Digital
CountryKorea
Specifications
ProcessorTexas Instruments TMS320DM368
CMOSSony Exmor
Channels1
Screen
GPSOptional
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock FilesAuto
Video
Max Resolution1080p 30fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)10
Video FormatAVI
CompressionH.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle135˚
Recording
SD Card TypeMicroSD
Max Size (Spec)32GB
Max Size (User)32GB
Other
Size (mm)39 x 64 x 50
MountAdhesive
Power Supply12V
Operating Temp-10˚C to 60˚C
Battery200mAh
Release DateSep 2012
AppsAndroid, PC
Unique FeaturesBuffers video in parking mode (saves 5 seconds before impact / motion detection and 35 seconds after)
Rating
AdvantagesGood video quality
Reliable
Buffers in parking mode
DisadvantagesExpensive
Not the most discreet
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordIn 2012 arguably the camera with the best video quality. High price tag makes this unattractive.

Updated: May 21, 2013