Complete Review BlackSys CF-100. 2Ch 1080p Sony Exmor CMOS + 720p, GPS, 24/7 Parking.


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May 1, 2013
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Dash Cam
Street Guardian UK / EU / EEA Distributor
Review of 2 channel BlackSys CF- 100 dashcamera. Sony Exmor CMOS 1080p + 720p. GPS logger.

CF-100 a.jpg

BlackSys CF-100 promotional video showing main features.

There is other, exactly the same model under BlackSys CF-200. It's exactly the same as CF-100, apart from "emergency button" design on the rear panel of the unit. Other than that they are exactly the same.

Small note: Blacksys CF-100 is the first Dual Channel dashcam with Sony Exmor CMOS sensor.


- High resolution video recording ( Front camera - 1080p/30Fps, Rear camera - 720P/30Fps. Video format is AVI H.264.

- Processor ( CPU ) Cortex A8 (800 MHz).

- Glass lens with large aperture F1.8, Front camera 2Mpix Sony Exmor CMOS Sensor and WDR technology provide good night vision recording. Rear camera uses 1Mpix CMOS sensor.

- Combined lens FOV angle is 250°, Front 130°, Rear 120°.

- Uses supercaps ( capacitors ) instead of batteries.

- Built in speaker and microphone ( Microphone can be turned On and OFF by hot-key )

- Video recording starts automatically when you start the engine with continuous and cycle recording.

- BlackSys CF-100 is equipped with: shock sensor, motion detection, image stabilizer, emergency button .

- 24/7 Smart Parking mode recording on "background" ( buffer ) RAM with video recording of 10 sec before and 20 sec after motion- or g-sensor force detected. Goes automatically into parking mode after 5, 10, 20, 30 min after car is parked.

- "Security LED" at the front, which can be switched off.

- GPS logger ( GPS antenna is optional ) allows to view the video with reference to the map (Google Map), displays the speed and route of the vehicle.

- Video output: to connect main unit to external display.

- BlackSys PC Viewer is simple and convenient to use, has ZOOM-IN function for closer details view. Viewing of the videos is possible for two channels simultaneously and for each channel separately.

- As an optional accessories you can buy DC Fuse Power cable, which will allow hardwire connection to the car fuse box instead of supplied cigarette lighter charger / adaptor for 24/7 parking mode recording.

NB! Blacksys CF-100 supports recording to 64Gb MicroSD card ( manufacturer still advertises 32Gb ), but I have tested 64Gb MicroSD card and it works perfectly. The only thing, you need to format 64Gb MicroSD from exFat to Fat32, but drawback is that you can not formatt 64Gb inside unit ( you can do formatting if needed on PC or laptop only ).

Video file properties ( 2Ch )

Total bit-rate: 18.6Mbps
Frame rate: 29.97 Fps


1 channel Mono
Bit-rate: 352.8 Kbps
Sampling rate: 22 Khz

Front Camera

Resolution: 1080p
Frame rate: 29.97 Fps
Bit-rate: 14 Mbps

Rear Camera

Resolution: 720p
Frame rate: 30.063 Fps
Bit-rate: 4.2 Mbps

Review Content
I am going to split my review into several posts due to max 10 pictures allowed per one post.

Main features and Specifications you will find from User Manual

Main Features A1.jpg

Main Features A2.jpg

Technical Specs.jpg

Package content

- box
- user manual ( English )
- Main unit ( Front camera )
- rear camera with pre-attached 3M double-sided tape
- rear camera video cable (6 metre)
- car cigarette lighter power cable, (3.3 metre)
- spare fuse for car cigarette lighter charger
- 3M double sided tape for front camera bracket / mount
- 5x power cable holder clips
- MicroSD memory card: 8, 16, or 32Gb MicroSD card

Optional accessories:

- GPS logger antenna ( 30cm )
- RCA Video cable to connect with external display ( 40cm )
- DC Fuse Power Cable / Battery discharge prevention device

CF-100 Box Content 1.jpg

CF-100 Box Content 2.jpg

CF-100 Box Content 3.jpg

Name of Components (1).jpg

Name of Components (2).jpg


I must point out location of cables sockets and microsd card is quite well thought trough. It is easy to access a memory card which is located on left side of the unit.

Rear camera socket is also on the left side. Power- and gps antenna / AV video cable ports are located on top part of the right side and their connectors ( plugs ) are all L-shape ( 90 degree ), which makes installation more convenient with minimum cables hanging down or aside. Well done here.

The only drawback is 2 in 1 AV / GPS antenna port. In case you using a GPS antenna, you can not use at the same time connection to external display. I guess this is a minor issue, but still I wanted to point out this.
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Size comparison with other dash cameras and fitting behind rearview mirror

Below I have marked "footprint" area of dashcams that are exposed to outside in case you are able to fit dashcam the way where main unit can be mounted behind rearview mirror and sun-shade stripe. It's all depend on your individual car rearview mirror arm length and sun-shade size- or availability of it. Each car is different. In my car it was not possible to install to maximum "stealth", because rearview mirror is too close to windshield and ceiling. In some other cars, where rearview mirror is much lower from ceiling and further from windshield, - it is possible for more stealth install.

Size Comparison with other dashcams.jpg

Installed in car

Blacksys CF-100 is easy to install even by "average Joe". The only obstacle you may find is how to hide cables ( power and rear camera cable ) behind the car decorative panels and trim. Other than that, from point of view of mounting and power up, set up, etc its quiet simple and easy to operate. I can say its so called "set and forget" dashcam.

Main unit ( front camera ) bracket / mount is attached permanently to car windshield using supplied 3M double sided tape. Bracket / mount has so called "ball-joint" design which allows to move dashcamera in all 3 ( X, Y, Z) directions.

In order to remove main unit from the car, you need to "unscrew" mount ball joint nut and pull out main unit from bracket ball joint holder. To do this on daily basis its not convenient, but still possible if you need to do so. However, every time you want to attach dashcamera, you need to align camera lens angle, which is again not so convenient.

If you need quick mount / dismount solution, you may find some tips from my other DIY projects:

DIY Magnetic bracket / mount for BlackSys CF-100

Project 1

Project 2

Project 3

Rear camera mounted to rear windshield by using a supplied 3M double sided tape and it can rotate inside-out 360 degree, so if needed, - can easily record action inside car.

GPS logger antenna also mounted to windshield with 3M double sided tape.

CF-100 Installed In Car (1).jpg

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CF-100 Installed In Car (3).jpg

CF-100 Installed In Car (4).jpg
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Disassembled / Inside look

Shell is held by two screws on top. To separate two shell apart I have used special mobile phone repair tools, but you can also use "credit card"-type plastic, one edge ( corner ) sharpened with sandpaper.

Inside you will find a lot of IC-s, microchips, RTC ( real time clock ) battery etc. Built quality and components soldering is truly up to very high standards, no complaints here.

CPU ( Processor ) has direct heat sink for more heat dissipation. This is first dashcamera model I had with direct CPU heat-sink.

Also you may see that instead of battery, CF-100 uses SuperCap ( Capacitors ), which have advantages over batteries, mainly more reliable to work in countries with extreme weather ( hot / cold ) and also allows to use it for 24/7 recording ( parking / motion detection recording ).

Also I want to point out, that this is first dashcam I ever saw ( disassembled ) which uses nut for M12 lens thread. All other dashcams I have disassembled in the past ( even high-end Korean, Taiwan made ) they did not had any lens nut, only glue. CF-100 has nut + glue on M12 lens thread. This shows again high standards and dedication to product quality.

Blacksys CF-100 Inside (1).jpg

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Blacksys CF-100 Inside (3).jpg

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Blacksys CF-100 Inside (10).jpg

Start Up and Power On / Off

If you are not using a direct DC fuse hardwiring, but standard supplied car cigarette lighter power cable, It takes about 15-20 seconds to boot-up, gps lock and starting recording.

If you going to use a hardwiring solution, then video recording is made 24/7 on background ( RAM ), so there is no boot-up time or any other delay, - recording and saving video file is immediate when you start a car engine.

For 24/7 parking mode you still can use supplied cigarette lighter charger, but your car cigarette lighter has to have constant power even if engine is turned off ( ACC OFF ). Most cars cigarette lighters have instant or delayed power off when ACC is off.

NB! If you plan to use CF-100 for 24/7 parking mode by using a constant power supply to cigarette lighter or hardwiring to fuse box- or battery, - then it is highly recommended to buy Battery Discharge Prevention device in order to not risk to drain your car battery. They are widely available on the internet for around 25-50 usd depending on the model.

Buttons functions test.

From PC Viewer / Player settings you can enable / disable Voice Command ( speaker On or OFF ). When only front camera is connected, - voice command prompt "car dvr is starting" when unit starts recording and "car dvr is ending" after unit turning off. If you have both cameras ( front and rear ) connected, then voice prompt will be "two channel recording is getting started". Also it will prompt "GPS is connected" command after GPS will be locked to satellites. And "voice recording is beginning, - stopping" when microphone is turned on- or off. So, it has basic, but convenient commands for easy operations.
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PC Viewer / Player Overview

You can play files on your PC / laptop using common video players or special Blacksys PC Viewer / Player

- For 1 Channel ( front camera ) playback you can use most common video players which support .AVI video file extension

- For 2 Channel ( front + rear camera ) playback you need to use video players that support so called "extraction" of front + rear camera video. Most popular is VLC Media player.

I have tested raw / original files playback on Android Smartphone using VLC and MX Player and they can play front camera only. You can not play rear camera video files on your smart phone, at least with present VLC and MX Player versions.

All settings can be done via PC Viewer ( see screenshots below )

Blacksys CF-100 PC Viewer (1).jpg

Blacksys CF-100 PC Viewer (2).jpg

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Blacksys CF-100 PC Viewer (6).jpg

PC Viewer.jpg


Latest firmware / PC Viewer / User Manual you can find HERE

Instruction on "how to upgrade firmware" is HERE

1. Download the “CF100Update.tar” file
2. Format SD card
3. Put the downloaded file “CF100Update.tar” into the root of SD card
4. Connect rear camera before updating the device (before connecting power)
5. Insert SD card to the front camera and connect the power
6. Upgrade will start automatically (※It takes up to 5 min)
7. 2 LED on -> Blinking -> LED off -> The voice guide “Upgrade will be started” -> Blinking -> The voice guidance “Rebooting now” -> The voice guidance “Two channel recording is getting started”
8. Upgrade complete

P.S. - I realised strange "issue" after following an upgrade instruction. After firmware upgrade the rear camera was not recording. So, I disconnected rear camera, started main unit ( front camera ) and left it recording for about few minutes, then disconnected a power source. Waited 10-15 sec. Connected rear camera to main unit, started again CF-100 and rear camera was recording. I am not sure if it was some glitch, or maybe it's the right way to so called "reset the brain of dashcam" after firmware update, but just in case I am sharing this trick in case you will be in same situation like me.
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Not in all cases you can read vital data like car number plates, - it's all depends on light conditions, car speed and other factors. This rule applies not only to particular dash camera, but to ALL other dash cameras as well.

Big factor at night regarding reading car numberplate is what type headlights bulbs are used in the car.
I wrote about that here: Reading License Plates at Night. HID / Xenon, standard bulbs

When watching a YouTube videos, please select 1080p from YouTube screen options at the bottom right corner.
P.S. - YouTube compresses files / data, so it does not show real video result.
You may also download RAW video files to watch real footage ( check below )

You may also find interesting to read two articles:

- How to "squeeze-out" more Night Vision from CMOS using Video Editing software

- "DIY" 15 & 20% Brightness added, BlackSys CF-100 vs Original FW, vs Panorama II v 1.08.05

Video files properties "MediaInfo" and "VLC File Properties"

Video Data properties.jpg

YouTube videos / Screenshots / RAW video files download links

When watching YouTube videos, please select 1080p from YouTube screen options at the bottom right corner.

NB! Youtube is not the best place to watch dascham videos due to compression, so I have added below link to Raw / Original video files download.

Also I am adding "tons" of screenshots where I have analyzed different driving conditions scenes in case you dont have time to watch all my youtube videos.

BlackSys CF-100 participated in this test was using firmware M1.2 which is the latest up to date ( 20 Sept 2014 )
NB! By the time you are reading this thread and watching videos used here, developer of dashcamera may have released a new improved firmware.
Please refer to developer / manufacturer website in order to see newer firmware release and it performance.

Let's start from some slightly funny and unusual capture I recorded lately:

CROW Fly. Slow Motion Video Analyse ( Blacksys CF-100, 2ch )

Other videos:

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All screenshots were reduced to fit forum maximum one file upload limit, so they are not presenting an actual best screenshot size. For original screenshots and videos, please download raw / original video files from link that follows after screenshots post ( below ).

Day and Evening CITY Videos

- Day Screenshots of bypassing cars ( Front and Rear ) analyse.

Scene 1.
Speed 45-50km/h

A (1).jpg
A (2).jpg

Scene 2.
Speed 45-50km/h

B (1).jpg B (2).jpg

Scene 3.
Speed 15-20km/h

C (1).jpg
C (2).jpg

Scene 4.
Speed 15-20km/h

D (1).jpg
D (2).jpg

Scene 5.
Speed 15-20km/h

E (1).jpg
E (2).jpg
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In some, so called extreme conditions ( especially near trees or with direct sun ) you may see PIXELATION, which makes video in some places blocky. It takes about 2-3 sec to adjust from "blocky" to normal video. Below you see two screenshots. Pay attention on left side "Roundabout" sign on first picture, - this screenshot has pixelation and few seconds later video is smoother ( second screenshot ).

Such scenario is quite "popular" on dashcams which are based on TI ( Texas Instrument ) and Cortex platform CPU ( Processors ). With other Cortex and TI CPU based dashcams there was a rumour / suggestion that pixelation is caused by low bit-rate processing, but seeing CF-100 to have 14Mbps front camera bit-rate and still producing pixelation in the extreme conditions, I may speculate about "nature" of those processors ( maybe I am wrong ), but at this stage I can not have other conclusions, especially when comparing to other dashcams with same bit-rate ( 12-15Mbps ) which are based on for example Novatek ( NT96650 ), or Ambarella A7 platform where there are very little or no pixelation at all. Only "escape from pixelation" I see in firmware polishing up ( maybe ? ). Hopefully we might see some improvements in near future.

Front Camera CF-100 PIXELATION (1).jpg

Front Camera CF-100 PIXELATION (2).jpg


Rear Camera CF-100 (1).jpg

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Pitch Dark Screenshots

Front CF-100 Pitch Dark (1).jpg

( REAR )
Rear CF-100 Pitch Dark.jpg

There are few other video screenshot posts from earlier firmware release I have shared HERE

Comparison Tests ( Side by Side )
Panorama (v1.12.03) vs Blacksys CF-100 (M 1.2 ). NIGHT.
Panorama (v1.12.03) vs Blacksys CF-100 (M 1.2 ). DAY.

RAW / ORIGINAL FILES you may download from HERE

Pro's and Con's


- no LCD display, you can not watch ( playback ) videos if needed instantly even if connected to external display. However if you have a smartphone, you may insert dashcamera microsd card into smartphone to view and copy files, this is an extra hassle, but still doable in case of emergency.

Also, not having a display its hard to aim camera. Its takes some test and try before you find right lens angle, unless you have a portable- or in-car built in display that you may connect to CF-100.

- most settings must be done on PC or laptop. Settings can not be adjusted from the unit.

- shiny lens surrounding ring may attract "unwanted" people "attention"

- front camera 3M double sided tape permanent mount is not practical for people who want to attach / detach dashcamera on daily basis.

- Recording- and GPS-lock LED-s ( facing inside car ) are always ON and can not be switched off even for 24/7 parking mode, which may attract unwanted "people" attention.

For myself I found solution to cover those LEDs with black electrical tape and leaving only 1-2mm LED exposed. Also you may try to cover LEDs with window tint film or to paint with partially clear dark grey nail polisher to make them look "dimmer".

- video pixelation under so called "extreme conditions", especially near the trees.

This is common issue on most high-end dashcameras which are based on Cortex or TI ( Texas Instrument ) CPU.

- rear camera "noise" at night and "average" video quality.

I guess you can not ask better for this price, but still I wanted to point out for people who might expecting some super video from rear camera. I would say it's just as normal as it can be for such solution of 720p 4Mbps.


- truly high quality built product from A to Z. No complaint to any of details quality, even internal ( PCB, components soldering etc) are made to high standards.

- first dashcam I ever had with direct to CPU heat sink for better heat dissipation and more stable performance.

- well thought trough cables connectors / plugs design ( L-shape / 90 degree ) for better installation

- Supercaps ( Capacitors ) instead of battery. Can work in extreme weather conditions. Also having supercaps allows 24/7 parking mode recording, which is one of the biggest advantages over battery based dashcams.

- good motion detection recording for 24/7 parking model.

- very good night video quality recording thanks to Sony Exmor CMOS sensor ( front camera ). There are no background noise at night, video is nice, clear and smooth.

Conclusions ( ... to buy or not ? )

I would divide my "judgement" into few questions / topics for buyers.

1. dashcamera used to record videos only when driving a car.

2. dashcamera used to record videos when driving car and for 24/7 parking mode video recording.

3. dashcamera used in countries with extreme weather conditions ( mainly in hot weather )

- budget approx. 200 usd

If you live in country with non-extreme weather conditions and you want a rear- and front camers to record videos only when you drive your car and not for 24 / 7 parking mode recordings, then you may find for same budget ( or less ) a good quality built two separate ( mainly made in China ) dashcameras, which will do a better job as a rear camera ( with rear camera video resolution 1080p instead of 720p from CF-100 ) and also with no- or little pixelation at day time in extreme conditions ( trees, direct sun, etc ).

If you care about your car safety when its parked ( shopping centre car park, downtown streets, or any other place where there is a danger of hit-and-run ) and you want to have reliable 24/7 parking video recording with good motion- and g-sensor detection video recording, then CF-100 is good choice for you, especially when your budget is limited.

We all learn hard way. Me personally had few years ago bad experience in car park, where I left my car and when returned, I discovered that somebody hit my car ( hit and run ). That cost me nearly 1K on repair works. Since then my personal main priority when choosing a dashcams is to have reliable 24/7 parking mode video recording.

From daytime video quality point of view, CF-100 can not be put into "best of the best" day time video recording category dashcams due to pixelation issue in extreme scenes ( trees, sun ) which is actually common to Cortex CPUs, but at the same time probably due to same CPU, it provides very nice, clear and smooth video at night. So there are two sides of the coin ( as they say ).

Also, rear camera being 720p maybe not exactly what many of you would like to have and of course 1080p would be much better at rear. For sure you may find these days 2ch 1080p + 1080p dashcams from Korea and Taiwan which are also based on SuperCaps ( Capacitors ) for 24/7 parking mode, but you have to pay much higher price for them.

CF-100 has some pros and cons which I pointed out in my review, but due to its high quality built, 24/7 parking mode and price, I may say it's a good choice if your 2ch dashcam budget is limited. At least at the moment ( September 2014 ) I dont know any other capacitor based high quality built 2ch dashcam system ( 1080p Sony Exmor + 720p ) that could provide 24/7 parking recording for 200 usd.

Thank you for reading my review.

P.S. - sorry for grammar and maybe non-correct technical- or other words and sentences build up. English is not my native language, but I hope you understood everything well. If not, - feel free to ask questions or correct me. Thanks.
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Another great review and Break Down by @niko (way to go)

Interesting, yeah the 720 rear camera and no screen (with no alternative wifi view) would be the biggest turn off, but it still has value/potential for select customers. (Sony Sensor is nice)
in this day and age, full HD in front and rear on these things. form factor and design does not flow well. rear camera images look like the images i get out the 8000L. #passonthis

Per usual, super awesome review @niko . Bravo mate!!!!
Awesome work as ever mate - I can't find the post now but these are on offer (ends today) at Newegg for $139 without GPS!
Awesome work as ever mate - I can't find the post now but these are on offer (ends today) at Newegg for $139 without GPS!

Yeah, I saw this price range ( 139 usd ) few times for the past year, but as I remember it was per 1 channel ( front camera ) only, not including a rear camera. The lowest 2 ch ( front + rear ) I ever saw was 179 usd ( no gps ). But of course if you or somebody will see a good deal for 1 or 2ch set, - its always good to share here for others to get a good buy deal.
in this day and age, full HD in front and rear on these things. form factor and design does not flow well. rear camera images look like the images i get out the 8000L. #passonthis

Per usual, super awesome review @niko . Bravo mate!!!!

Design is kinda unusual, and rear camera is same as most other Korean, Taiwan 1080p + 720p solutions, agree here on this point. It took me some time to get to used to CF-100 in my car, but after some time you just forget "it's there". Most important - it will do it's job per price you pay for it. No glitches, no freeze-up, - total piece of mind for me. So I guess I can close my eyes on strange design form factor and other "Con's" vs reliability and price. My personal desire would be having discrete mount 2ch FullHD remote lens solution, but I am sure it will cost at least double of what CF-100 cost.
If I read correctly, it takes 15 - 20 seconds to boot up from an off state?