Do I have unrealistic expectations of a DashCam?

rogerbid

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Hello Everyone,

I am looking for feedback from the members of this forum to tell me if I have unrealistic expectations of a webcam!

For many years I have used pretty basic 1 channel cameras and have always been able to download videos from the data card to a Windows PC and Laptop without a problem.

I recently got really carried away and bought a (relatively) high end and certainly high priced camera, an ESV E7 2 channel camera. It is hard wired into the car with front and rear cameras and Wi-Fi capability, and other functions I am yet to master. Having been quite satisfied with my previous ‘budget’ cameras I had high expectations of the new toy.

My experience to date has however been a great disappointment as I will try to explain:

Initially I was disappointed with the contents of the User Manual, which left much to be desired, and the lack of any real support through the manufacturer’s website. This not my main gripe though which is related to accessing the data stored on the SDHC card.

A downloadable file viewer (TAT Viewer 5G) is available on the ESV website and with this downloaded I was able to view the recordings on the card, so far so good. Using software embodied in the SDHC card it is possible to download the files from the card to a Windows PC/laptop, so far so good, but it then became apparent that when the copied files are viewed ONLY the front camera view is seen, without any of the associated data seen in the Viewer when accessed from the card.

My question here is - What do others see when viewing recordings downloaded from their dashcams?

In my ignorance, I believed that by buying a high spec device with front and rear cameras I would be able to retrieve vital data to use in the event of a prosecution or an insurance claim dispute. Enquiries made to my supplier and to another Australian distributor have convinced me that all I can expect is access to the whole range of data only directly from the SDHC card, and that once a file is downloaded to a computer and the card written over all the ‘additional’ data is lost.

I have almost reached the point of wanting to write off my bad purchase and buy another camera but I need to know what others are able to view once their files are downloaded. Is there any camera that will permit me to download the front and rear videos and all the associated data so that it can be passed on to Police or Insurance Companies? Maybe this simply is not possible? If this is in fact impossible, what is the use/value of a 2 channel camera? I might just as well settle for a GoPro and save a heap of cash!

I should mention that the camera uses an unusual file format (.TAT) which is not readable by Windows, (a full SD card shows as an empty card in Windows File Explorer), so other Windows based file viewers will not read the files off the card. I approached the developers of the popular Dashcam Viewer and they had not heard of this file format.

I hope someone can advise me if there is a camera that will allow me to download the full range of data or am I searching in vain?

Wishing all here a very successful and healthy 2020, best wishes,

Roger B
 

jokiin

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Just about every other camera you can easily download and view files etc, a lot of Korean manufacturers seem to have some weird ideas about how cameras should function, unusual choice you made, don't recall anyone else here ever buying one
 

kamkar1

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10 years, many dashcams
Hehe yeah i just had to google the thing.

Sounds like it is just a nightmare of bad decisions from the maker, first off using a weird file format as i have also seen many a CCTV camera do, which are just a nightmare to deal with and also meant a CCTV module i got for a experiment was a waste of money.
I am wondering if this strange format is a result of the camera merging the 2 cameras footage, again something i find really silly / stupid.

On the 2 channel systems i have worked with the footage from the 2 cameras end up in separate files, often named with time date like normal and then a A for the front camera and a B for the rear camera.
And you can then play these with a player that can match the 2 files or with any media player 1 file at the time, and of course the files are a standard file format.
This appear to be the norm for 2 channel cameras, so what you have are outside that it would seem to me.

Googling the TAT file format it seen to be related to GPS / location. https://www.file-extension.org/extensions/tat so to me that seem to be the location information file.
Are those the only files on the memory card ??? to me it don't seem to be related with video footage ( inside it ) and some dashcams do have GPS information on the side of the video files, but most as i see it seem to have the 2 merged together.
 
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rogerbid

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Just about every other camera you can easily download and view files etc, a lot of Korean manufacturers seem to have some weird ideas about how cameras should function, unusual choice you made, don't recall anyone else here ever buying one
Hi, and thank you for your reply. "unusual choice you made" - yes, you're right. I bought from a person whose judgement I trusted and he suggested this particular camera. When I read what appeared to be a pretty impressive list of features I had no reason to disagree and so went along with the suggestion. I foolishly did not search for mention of the camera on this forum! First big mistake.
 
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rogerbid

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Hehe yeah i just had to google the thing.

Sounds like it is just a nightmare of bad decisions from the maker, first off using a weird file format as i have also seen many a CCTV camera do, which are just a nightmare to deal with and also meant a CCTV module i got for a experiment was a waste of money.
I am wondering if this strange format is a result of the camera merging the 2 cameras footage, again something i find really silly / stupid.

On the 2 channel systems i have worked with the footage from the 2 cameras end up in separate files, often named with time date like normal and then a A for the front camera and a B for the rear camera.
And you can then play these with a player that can match the 2 files or with any media player 1 file at the time, and of course the files are a standard file format.
This appear to be the norm for 2 channel cameras, so what you have are outside that it would seem to me.

Googling the TAT file format it seen to be related to GPS / location. https://www.file-extension.org/extensions/tat so to me that seem to be the location information file.
Are those the only files on the memory card ??? to me it don't seem to be related with video footage ( inside it ) and some dashcams do have GPS information on the side of the video files, but most as i see it seem to have the 2 merged together.
Hello and thank you for the response.

It seems my expectations are not unreasonable after all, I will have to check the bank balance and start over

Thanks again
 

jokiin

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Hi, and thank you for your reply. "unusual choice you made" - yes, you're right. I bought from a person whose judgement I trusted and he suggested this particular camera. When I read what appeared to be a pretty impressive list of features I had no reason to disagree and so went along with the suggestion. I foolishly did not search for mention of the camera on this forum! First big mistake.
did you buy online, or locally in Australia?
 
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rogerbid

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I bought locally. My supplier is someone who I have dealt with before and whose recommendation was taken without question. If you check the specs of the ESV E7 online it appears to be a very high spec device.

As a pensioner I have to be careful to ensure my next purchase is not another costly mistake so if anyone can recommend an alternative that will permit me to download and view all data please add a response. I am coming to terms with my rash purchase! I will upload the specs later, for anyone who is interested
 

jokiin

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I bought locally. My supplier is someone who I have dealt with before and whose recommendation was taken without question. If you check the specs of the ESV E7 online it appears to be a very high spec device.
if it's someone you've dealt with before maybe see if you can get a refund, or exchange to a different model
 
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rogerbid

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I think a refund is not going to happen but I am sure we can come to an arrangement for a replacement, maybe at cost. My focus now is to ensure the next camera does what I want!
 
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rogerbid

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Yes I will do. I will wait until the holidays are over, he could be on a break for a week or two but will add further posts as and when I can. Thanks for all the replies
 

Dashcammad

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I would say have a look at Viofo for what appears to be the best value. I use a Blackvue and can only comment on that make of software which shows front and rear footage as picture in picture on the computer screen. There are a few 2ch models from Blackvue, the 750S 2ch would set you back around AU$660, it is nice but at the upper end of their range it is not cheap and I think Viofo are quite competitive. As mentioned by others, most cameras use a common video file format and it seems that Macs and PCs have the software to play them without the manufacturer's software, but you wouldn't have all the features. I would suggest setting your budget, look through this forum for cameras that would meet your needs or expectations and then check their price.
 
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rogerbid

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Hello and thanks for your reply. I agree with your suggestion to set a budget and then check this forum for possible alternatives.

I am on the point of going back to my supplier now that the Aussie summer break is coming to an end, and remain hopeful that we may come to some arrangement for a replacement camera.

I have no wish to sour our established good relationship but remain convinced that due to the apparent inability to copy full data files from the SD card to other media the camera supplied simply does not live up to expectations.

It might be a couple of weeks before I have anything more to report, but I will post again with an update in due course,

Thanks to all,

Roger
 
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