Best Dual Dash Cam? (Newcomer)

DanielSparten

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Hello, I'm quite new to the Dash cam scene. Never had one in my life. Some of my extended family members and friends have some but I never wondered how they all work. So pardon my lack of knowledge on this hardware, but I've done quite a lot of video watching and researching on dash cams these past few days so hopefully my pointers would be enough to maybe get some recommendations across.

So with the increasing incidents on the road, I've decided that it's perhaps a great time to buy a dash cam. However, along with the increasing incidents on our roads, so does the selections of dash cams. There's quite a lot of them out there that I don't know what to choose really. So I need help on choosing that one dash cam that may suit all my needs. It doesn't have to be one recommended dash cam, can be multiple recommended dash cams. I have certain dash cams in my mind just from doing research like from Thinkware, Viofo, etc but I want to hear from some experts or from people who may had previous needs similar to mine and take your advice and recommendations to narrow my search and who knows maybe you guys might also recommended a dash cam that I didn't know of that could appeal more to my needs.

First, maybe a background on my driving schedule, what I drive and where I drive. I've been living in Winnipeg, MB, Canada since 2000. Our temps range from -35 to +35 degrees (Not in - car temperatures). In a nutshell, Winnipeg is quite a small city. We don't have many major freeways or anything like that, nor do I use major highways on a daily basis. Max speeds in the city is mostly 80 km/h. Large roads usually go out to 4 lanes at most. So I'm not really concerned about hit and runs while driving really. I drive a 2014 Honda Civic that belongs to my mom. On weekdays, I borrow her car to commute to my University Campus and along the way I drop her off at her workplace. Usually on Fridays and on weekends, my family goes out to get groceries and shopping. So the car spends most of its time in the parking lots because of this. However, I have a disabled brother that usually comes with us when it comes to these shopping days, so he generally stays in the car if he comes with us on our shopping sprees which is usually 100% of the time. And because my brother is in the car, another family member has to stay with him. Since my mom does all the shopping, it's usually me or my dad that stays behind in the car. In addition, my brother likes to listen to the radio so the car's accessories and electronics would be on for most of the time (This info will play in later). In the winter, we would keep the engine running to get the interior warm while waiting. When we're done using the car for the day, the car is parked inside our garage. It rarely ever gets parked on our residential street or driveway. As you can probably tell, the Honda Civic that I drive will mostly be spending a lot of time in parking lots.

I'm going to put no budget limit but that doesn't mean I will for sure spend half a grand or more for a dash cam. Obviously, I want to get the dash cam that suits my needs or a dash cam that at least try to. If it takes half a grand to get one then so be it, but if there's a much more affordable counterpart with similar specs that suit my needs, then obviously the much affordable one will likely take my pick.

Originally, I was going to have a list of requirements (quite a lot requirements actually), but it exceeded the character limit for a forum post, so I'm going a little bit short here. But some factors that should knock off a lot of recommendations. That is, it needs to have buffered recording parking modes, has to record audio and has to be a two channel Dash Cam set up. These are my top needs for buying a dash cam and should narrow the search greatly. I want to be able to have camera footage out the front and rear windshield of the vehicle, so I'm not interested in those taxi/uber based cameras that have the rear camera pointing in the car's cabin. The rest follow through. Reliability (Capacitor based), Video quality, can handle the temperatures in city I live in, good storage and management of the footages being recorded, good customization and accessibility to access the video footages to turning certain alerts and stamps on or off (On app or on a built in screen doesn't matter, but it just needs to be easy to use) all should be good. In terms of the looks of the camera itself, I prefer it to be in a dark color like black, dark gray or blue and nothing bigger than a rear view mirror. And main dash cam can have a screen or not.

I should maybe mention more details about my desired video quality and my confusion on video quality as well. Overall, I'm more concerned about clarity of reading licence plates night or day (Well that is what everyone basically wants in a dash cam right? :/ )....I'm not specify any resolution or such because I'm still very skeptical about some cameras like 4k and 2k, etc cameras and how sample footage are displayed on Youtube. Even though they're praised for their specs on paper, sometimes they don't perform well as I expected to. In some instances, 1080p cameras excel in some situations than compared to 2k cameras when it comes to sharpness. Then there's those cameras that have those Sony sensors that is known to have good low light performance, and yet reviewers point out that it doesn't perform good in low light to the other cameras they're comparing to which may not even have that popular known Sony sensor built in. This alone is the reason why I'm having trouble deciding which dash cam to get. In addition, I don't know if the YouTube footage I'm watching really represent, closely represent or represents way off the actual quality of the dash cam raw footage. I rather see the actual performance of the video quality rather than specs from the dash cam, but YouTube limits this kind of researching. Not to mention there's sketchy "dash cam reviewers" out there, like I've seen channels and videos where they recommended a 720p dash cam from amazon or similar as a top pick. So video quality is a big reason why I'm at a cross road and why I'm here on the forums. Hopefully, you guys might clear up some details on this. Anyways..

To top off, Cloud uploading, driving alerts like lane departure are not really in my interest.

That being said, there are some more questionable things that I'm still wondering about how dash cams work and just the related things about them when I was trying to research some online.

As I said above, we leave the car with accessories and electronics on a lot. My brother likes to listen to a lot of music and because we spend a lot of time inside the car while shopping, our Civic has been living essentially on Accessory mode a good amount of time. I'm wondering how Dash cams will be powered or behave in Accessory mode. Will it still be on normal recording/continuous recording or will it go into parking mode or none at all in this case? And how about battery consumption? Our car this past months have actually had trouble starting. We suspect that the battery is getting old as it reaches it's 5 years of age but also we think having the car on accessory mode almost all the time can be a cause. If I hardwire my dash cam to the car, will the battery life shorten greatly or is it such a small difference that its more worth just hardwiring it instead of hooking the dash cam to a battery park? Reminder that this is a Honda Civic, it's not packing a beefy battery like bigger cars/SUV/trucks have.

Also this Wifi thing on Dash cams? Like do Dash cam's provide wifi or is it just a way to connect your phone to the dash cam to only access the dash cam app and footage like Bluetooth does with audio devices and phones? Is wifi always on on these dash cams and do they affect the processing power greatly on the cameras?

Also, Is there other possible dash cams manufactures that are developing buffered recording features in the future? The only dash cam brands I know that have buffered recording are Thinkware and Blackvue and I think a lot of reviewers made this point across the community. But I've heard Viofo is in the works of getting their own buffered recording modes. Would the Viofo A129 Duo be recommended, despite it not officially having buffered recording capabilities?

I think that's it. I would appreciate if you guys can help a newbie here, that would be great :)
 

kamkar1

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10 years, many dashcams
With buffered parking mode, you got to have some form of trigger.
So that mean motion ( often very flawed and so generate a lot of false recordings or some times not enough,,,, but thats rare )
G- sensor, much better but can also be problematic, in most cases actually not sensitive enough, so for instance a keying event you might not catch at all.

This i think are why several are now offering always recording but in parking mode at a lesser bitrate that -
1: don't take up as much memory space -
2: a lower bitrate are not really a problem when parked as there are not as much detail to handle.

Wifi on dashcams can do a dew things.
1 : You can always do settings that way, even if the camera also have a LCD screen, i like this now as the little screen are not so good for my tired old eyes, my phone screen are much better / larger.
2 : You can use wifi to transfer footage from the camera too, in general it seem to be slow transfer speeds, but i don't really use this myself as i have been in this game for so long putting the memory card in a card reader on the PC are the norm for me.
3 : Some brands offer "smarts" via wifi, so you can upload to a cloud ( small free cloud or pay cloud ) in general it seem to me like this smart features often come at a expense of image quality.
Smart cameras are brands like blackvue and thinkware
You may be able to do automated offloading of recorded footage over wifi, this are a bit iffy and may require 3 party software.
Also ! you will need to park fairly close to your home wifi pointless or use a range extender closer to the car as a dashcam wifi are not strong and its inside a metal box with no external antenna, and also you don't really want to save all of your footage, in 99 % of cases the footage your cameras generate are just garbage footage, its only when something actually happen you need to save it for police / insurance or us other guys on youtube.

In regard to parking, then it will not work no matter the car you have if you are parked for 23 hours a day and only drive for like 1 hour, while a car to charge its battery hard it still take some driving to keep things topped up.
So you have a few options in this regard.
You can buy batteries especially made for dashcam parking mode, but they are not cheap, and still they too need to be recharged while driving, and they actually charge slower than a car battery, and don't have as many Ah on the battery.
Or you can put a #2 battery in your car, with a charge splitter like people in camping use to make sure your car drive battery don't get discharged by the TV or whatever in the camper.
Or put a larger battery in your car. In my own little Suzuki car the battery are only 45 Ah and fitting a larger battery will require quite a lot of alterations under the hood.
So in theory i can put a battery with 80 Ah in the car, but it will not be plug and play in my little car.

Personally i do my very best to not ever use wifi, but i am a bit silly and old fashioned on this matter compared to the rest of the world.
 

BlackboxMyCar

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Thinkware, BlackVue, IROAD, Viofo, BlackSys
Welcome to DCT, I enjoyed reading your post. Good answers above so I'll just go over a few things below:

The Thinkware FA200, BlackVue DR590W or Viofo A129 would be recommendations that fit your criteria. The A129 clearly has the best video quality, but its buffered parking mode is still "in development". Thinkware and BlackVue have had buffered parking mode by motion and impact detection for 5+ years now. Video quality for the FA200 is average and the DR590W is slightly above average.

With the vehicle ignition switched off, the dash cam will enter parking mode. This is true even if some ACC features are enabled, as you're only enabling them by manually turning them off (so hardwire to an ACC fuse that you won't turn on when the car is off).

Typically, and assuming grocery shopping takes less than an hour and the commute is more than 15 minutes to and fro, your vehicle's battery shouldn't be impacted while it's at the grocery store even while radio/AC/heater is on. However, it's a concern when you say that your vehicle has had problems starting on a few occasions lately. Thus, with the power consumption of the dash cam + radio/AC/heater, the vehicle's battery might not start up. In this case, you may want to get a dash cam battery pack as the batteries in Civics are already small and your battery sounds very worn. My assumption is that you'll get about less than 4 hours of parking mode when you're regularly parked. Alternatively, you could just get a new vehicle battery and unplug the dash cam while you guys are out grocery shopping.
 
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