Best action cam to use as a dash cam for scenery

RandyX

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#1
Hi. I'm looking for a good action camera to attach to the inside of my windshield so I can record video of scenic travel. I've tried several dash cams, but the barrel distortion is horrible on all of them, despite some claims that certain models have no distortion. I know dash cams are supposed to have a wide FOV to capture vehicles in adjoining lanes, but that's irrelevant to me. I travel on narrow country roads where I'm often the only moving vehicle for miles in any direction. I hate barrel distortion. I want a perfect rectilinear image. My cell phone camera gives me that, but it only works when I hold it in my hand. And I'd rather keep both hands on the wheel. I've tried several good-quality mounts for the phone, but they all generate enough vibration to render the video useless. I'm thinking that an action camera may be the best solution.

I've only seen a few action cameras on the market that offer a narrow FOV (less than 120 degrees). I'd like to know if any of you have used an action camera in this way, and if you have any make/model recommendations. It may be a tall order, but here is what I would like to find:

-Action cam with narrow FOV, no distortion
-Good image stabilization
-LCD screen
-Can attach to a windshield suction mount
-Microphone to capture music/conversation in car
-Lens that will accept a CPL filter to reduce dashboard reflection

I'd appreciate any suggestions or experiences you'd like to share. Thanks very much!
 
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dash riposki

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#2
The Mobius does OK.

All of these videos have the original audio replaced, but the inboard audio is 'ok', not great. You'll hear conversation, etc.


Not sure about a CPL, but there may be one, or some way to fit one.





 
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RandyX

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#3
Thanks very much for the reply, Dash! You reminded me that I forgot to add LCD screen as a feature I need, and I have made the correction above. Sorry about that.
 

kamkar1

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#4
I have just done some trips around my area here, using the sjcam SJ6 Legend, i used the 1080/60 setting and narrow FOV but IMO that's still a bit wider than i would like for a journey logging camera.
But ideal you would wish to not have A-pillars in footage, and also the dashbord below one could do without in the footage, but just aiming camera up are not the solution for that.
The original footage looked fine but after speeding it up and uploading to youtube then there was some blocking going on much worse then the original footage, but youtube have a tendency to amplify what ever little imperfections in footage with their compression.

But you can get a feeling for the FOV and so on looking at the footage.


hanstj are the residential journey logger expert, but he use a regular camcorder for his cool videos.
Here is his channel.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5FwjKp5zm2hmujKckyO_sg
 
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RandyX

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#5
Thank you for the reply, Kamkar1! Yes, that is not too bad, but I would like to keep looking for something with a narrower FOV, if it exists. One other thing I'd like to ask you...I've never owned an action cam, but it looks like most of them have the mounting threads on the bottom, unlike dash cams which hang under their mounts above. Is it possible to attach an action cam to a windshield suction mount and still have the camera sit right-side up? Or do you just hang the camera upside down and flip the recorded video over later in your editing software? I'd love to see a photo of the rig you are using. Thanks very much!


I have just done some trips around my area here, using the sjcam SJ6 Legend, i used the 1080/60 setting and narrow FOV but IMO that's still a bit wider than i would like for a journey logging camera.
But ideal you would wish to not have A-pillars in footage, and also the dashbord below one could do without in the footage, but just aiming camera up are not the solution for that.
The original footage looked fine but after speeding it up and uploading to youtube then there was some blocking going on much worse then the original footage, but youtube have a tendency to amplify what ever little imperfections in footage with their compression.

But you can get a feeling for the FOV and so on looking at the footage.


hanstj are the residential journey logger expert, but he use a regular camcorder for his cool videos.
Here is his channel.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5FwjKp5zm2hmujKckyO_sg
 

kamkar1

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#6
Yeah most have the regular 1/4 inch thread on the bottom just like regular cameras, but most of these also come with a huge box of brackets / underwater housing and what not, at least the sjcam ones do.
This mean the camera are upside down on the windscreen, but there is a option in the menu to flip the footage the right way up.

In this picture of my dashbord you can just see the SJ6 legend to the left of my mirror, then it was on a mount glued on windscreen with dual-sided tape, but that's now gone to make room for new cameras and the SJ6 Legend i have been using on a suction cup mount that in my car also work on the dotted area in front of the mirror.


As i recall one of the git cameras ( git 1 or git 2 ) also come in a version with a narrow angle lens.

But all cameras dash or action you can always replace the wide angle lens with another lens, but this demand a little DIY skills so its not as easy as changing lens on a Dslr camera, some taking apart are needed.
There are plenty of videos on how to do this on youtube.
I know git also sell lenses for their cameras, i think those come with the mount and already focused so just need to unscrew the old mount / lens and put in the new one.

http://www.gitup.com/12-gitup-action-camera

http://sjcamhd.com/

One of the guys testing SJ7 Star had his camera melt in the windscreen, i think he was recording 4K then, they do get hot while recording 4K but i never had mine do a thermal shut down, and i have only heard of that one camera melting.

Both gitup and sjcams have their own sub forums on these forum for you to explore, might also be a few other to consider, but action cameras are also pretty new to me so cant tell for sure.
 
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RandyX

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#7
Excellent! Thanks so much for the picture and all of this helpful information. I will look into the Git series tomorrow. Have a great weekend!


Yeah most have the regular 1/4 inch thread on the bottom just like regular cameras, but most of these also come with a huge box of brackets / underwater housing and what not, at least the sjcam ones do.
This mean the camera are upside down on the windscreen, but there is a option in the menu to flip the footage the right way up.

In this picture of my dashbord you can just see the SJ6 legend to the left of my mirror, then it was on a mount glued on windscreen with dual-sided tape, but that's now gone to make room for new cameras and the SJ6 Legend i have been using on a suction cup mount that in my car also work on the dotted area in front of the mirror.

As i recall one of the git cameras ( git 1 or git 2 ) also come in a version with a narrow angle lens.

But all cameras dash or action you can always replace the wide angle lens with another lens, but this demand a little DIY skills so its not as easy as changing lens on a Dslr camera, some taking apart are needed.
There are plenty of videos on how to do this on youtube.
I know git also sell lenses for their cameras, i think those come with the mount and already focused so just need to unscrew the old mount / lens and put in the new one.

http://www.gitup.com/12-gitup-action-camera

http://sjcamhd.com/

One of the guys testing SJ7 Star had his camera melt in the windscreen, i think he was recording 4K then, they do get hot while recording 4K but i never had mine do a thermal shut down, and i have only heard of that one camera melting.

Both gitup and sjcams have their own sub forums on these forum for you to explore, might also be a few other to consider, but action cameras are also pretty new to me so cant tell for sure.
 

kamkar1

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I will try to make the best of the miserable Danish "summer" so far it aint been that great so match my gloomy mood that have pestered me for some time now.
 

Nigel

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#9
Excellent! Thanks so much for the picture and all of this helpful information. I will look into the Git series tomorrow. Have a great weekend!
I don't recommend the SJ6 as a dashcam, it will work nicely at this time of year but in the winter it will give very blurry video as it's sensor is not sensitive enough for dashcam use. I've used the Git2 that has the same sensor as a dashcam and it is not good in winter although it can look great in summer sunshine.

The Gitup Git1 makes a very nice dashcam, it uses the same sensor as a lot of current dashcams, including some of the best. However it is only 1080 resolution 30 fps and no stabiliser - as an action camera it is outdated, it is good if that is the specification you need, but most people want a stabiliser and 60fps these days.

Some of the latest 4K action cameras are using more sensitive sensors, still not good for winter and night time use, and quite poor at night compared to the very latest dashcams like the A119s and mini 0906, but maybe acceptable. Maybe the SJ7 if they sort the overheating issue, the Gitup G3 which doesn't have a heat problem and also has the advantage of a reverse view, I think that is about it except for the expensive ones like Garmin.

If you are not looking for GoPro shape then there is the Mobius 1 and the upcoming Gitup F1 looks like it may work as a dashcam.

Here is some video from the Gitup G3 with reverse view, at sunset back at the beginning of March:

And a framegrab from G3 video, trying to read a 70mph number plate at 7PM under dark cloudy skies: :D
 
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#10
Hi. I'm looking for a good action camera to attach to the inside of my windshield so I can record video of scenic travel. I've tried several dash cams, but the barrel distortion is horrible on all of them, despite some claims that certain models have no distortion. I know dash cams are supposed to have a wide FOV to capture vehicles in adjoining lanes, but that's irrelevant to me.

-Action cam with narrow FOV, no distortion
-Good image stabilization
-LCD screen
-Can attach to a windshield suction mount
-Microphone to capture music/conversation in car
-Lens that will accept a CPL filter to reduce dashboard reflection

I'd appreciate any suggestions or experiences you'd like to share. Thanks very much!
Take a look at Sony´s actioncams, like the HDR-AS300. When you use the optical image stabilization it gives you a more narrow field of view and the stabilization is excellent, absolute top class. There is no image screen on the camera but it is sold with a "Live-view remote" that has a small screen. The remote gives less battery drain then when using a phone as a screen. HDR-AS300 also accepts an external microphone.
An earlier model (HDR-AS50) is among the seven cameras I reviewed last year, you can see the video at
 

SawMaster

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#11
@Nigel - that 'frame grab' deserves a high-q print and an expensive frame :D Absolutely lovely ;)

Phil
 

Nigel

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@Nigel - that 'frame grab' deserves a high-q print and an expensive frame :D Absolutely lovely ;)

Phil
Good idea, it is only 1080 resolution but I have an old faded 8" ink jet print that is framed, about 20 years old, that could do with replacing, may have been from a 2MP digital camera! This would take it's place nicely.

The video it came from: (Quality reduced by YouTube)
 
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RandyX

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Take a look at Sony´s actioncams, like the HDR-AS300. When you use the optical image stabilization it gives you a more narrow field of view and the stabilization is excellent, absolute top class. There is no image screen on the camera but it is sold with a "Live-view remote" that has a small screen. The remote gives less battery drain then when using a phone as a screen. HDR-AS300 also accepts an external microphone.
An earlier model (HDR-AS50) is among the seven cameras I reviewed last year, you can see the video at
Thanks! That Sony sure looks nice. I'll certainly consider it.
 
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RandyX

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I don't recommend the SJ6 as a dashcam, it will work nicely at this time of year but in the winter it will give very blurry video as it's sensor is not sensitive enough for dashcam use. I've used the Git2 that has the same sensor as a dashcam and it is not good in winter although it can look great in summer sunshine.

The Gitup Git1 makes a very nice dashcam, it uses the same sensor as a lot of current dashcams, including some of the best. However it is only 1080 resolution 30 fps and no stabiliser - as an action camera it is outdated, it is good if that is the specification you need, but most people want a stabiliser and 60fps these days.

Some of the latest 4K action cameras are using more sensitive sensors, still not good for winter and night time use, and quite poor at night compared to the very latest dashcams like the A119s and mini 0906, but maybe acceptable. Maybe the SJ7 if they sort the overheating issue, the Gitup G3 which doesn't have a heat problem and also has the advantage of a reverse view, I think that is about it except for the expensive ones like Garmin.

If you are not looking for GoPro shape then there is the Mobius 1 and the upcoming Gitup F1 looks like it may work as a dashcam.

Here is some video from the Gitup G3 with reverse view, at sunset back at the beginning of March:

And a framegrab from G3 video, trying to read a 70mph number plate at 7PM under dark cloudy skies: :D
Thank you for all the info, Nigel! Love that train grab.
 

jackalopephoto

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The GoPro 5 has a setting that gets rid of distortion and makes the image square, with a relatively narrow view angle. And for scenery I suggest timelapse with the 0.5 second interval. With timelapse set to record straight to video (not jpegs) you can fit a very long drive on an SD card. And there is no need for 30fps to record scenery.

Also you don't need a stabilizer if your camera is securely mounted to the car. And no action camera has a real stabilizer. They have software stabilizers which simply warp the image to try to reduce the appearance of shaking.

Another good thing about the GoPro 5 is there are polarizers available to remove windshield reflection
 
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mmedia

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#18
I have a Xiaomi Yi 4K and I always use my action cam as dashcam, I think is not necessary to have two differente cameras for that.