GitUp F1 (A129 lens) & Mobius Maxi & Viofo A129

TonyM

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For the past few weeks I have been driving with a modified GitUp F1 alongside a Mobius Maxi, to look at some similarities and differences between them.
I have previously compared the standard GitUp F1 vs the Mobius Maxi, where the relatively slow F2.8 lens on the F1 created much higher motion blur than in the Maxi.

Do these high-resolution action cameras offer any benefits over a good-quality 2MP dashcam? And what are the drawbacks?

GitUp F1 (3840x2610@30fps)
I have replaced the original 170deg wide-angle F2.8 lens with the F1.6 lens from an A129, which gives a field of view around 140deg on the F1. I did this to experiment with a faster lens more suitable for dashcam use. I understand that @gitup are developing their own fast lens for the F1.
I am also using MOD#1.5+Sharp modified firmware developed by @Falsificator which enhances the image quality and increases the bitrate to 100Mbps to produce detailed and fluent video even in complex scenes.

Mobius Maxi (2704x1524@30fps)
This camera is not modified in any way. It has an F1.5 lens with approx. 130deg field of view. It is running the latest FW V2.11 and is recording at 60.1Mbps.

Viofo A129 (1920x1080@30fps)
This camera has an F1.6 lens with approx. 130deg field of view. It has an IMX291 sensor which is more light-sensitive than the sensors used in the F1 and Maxi, and is widely regarded as one of the best 2MP dashcam sensors currently available.
I am using MOD-4Uj modified firmware developed by @BCHobbyist which improves IQ by enhancing sharpness and edge-detection, and increasing the bitrate to 24.6Mbps.

Video Notes
I have compiled F1 and Maxi comparison videos at 1080p so you can compare brightness, dynamic range and colour. Unfortunately, YouTube cannot convey the level of detail present in the original videos, so I have included unedited source frames from the original video files, plus comparative frames from the A129 for reference.

High resolution video issues
It has been discussed in these forums that high-bitrate high-resolution video files may present some difficulties when forwarding them to insurance companies, solicitors, the police and other legal professionals who may be viewing your dashcam video on relatively old PC hardware. In recognition of this, I plan to re-test these cameras at a later date with all of them set to 1080p60 video format.
 
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TonyM

TonyM

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First off I'm going to look at static scenes both day & night to get a feel for the respective video detail, noise and dynamic range without any subject movement.

Daytime - 100% Crops
F1


Maxi


A129
Day_A129.JPG

Night - 100% Crops
F1


Maxi


A129
Night_A129.JPG

The F1 shows off its 4K resolution with far greater resolved detail than the Maxi. The F1 also has the best colour reproduction both day and night.

Full Frames:










 
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TonyM

TonyM

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Daytime - Urban
Driving around town at low speed, both the F1 and Maxi deliver good results. The F1 seems to handle contrast from the low winter sun slightly better, retaining some colour in the sky and in the highlights on the brick wall top-right. The Maxi lifts the shadow areas with a brighter video overall. The A129 dynamic range appears more limited than the other two, resulting in under- and over-exposed areas. The finer detail of the F1 video looks the most realistic of the three. I do not have a CPL fitted to any of the cameras.


Full Frames
F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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Daytime - Countryside
Driving at higher speed along a tree-lined road with strong shadows presents a much greater challenge for any dashcam. In this instance the F1 has captured a remarkable level of detail in the trees, grass and cars. Likewise the Maxi has recorded a lot of detail, but the colour has a green bias that is missing the warm reds from the low sunshine. The A129 struggles to maintain detail with more noticeable compression artefacts.


Full Frames
F1


Maxi


 
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SawMaster

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Great Job Tony (y) It's obvious that the modified firmware is doing what was intended very well, and I hope the Maxi gets into that class soon. Of all the cams out there right now I like the F1 best, but partly because I don't like a 'wedge' form factor. These images show well what a dashcam can be- amazing :cool:

Phil
 

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Gitup F1, A129, B1W, B2W
In this instance the F1 has captured a remarkable level of detail in the trees, grass and cars.
Yep, in that last set of images you could recognise the driver in the F1 image, if you knew him. In the other two it takes a couple of seconds to realise that you can see the driver at all, no chance of recognition

I think maybe the high contrast of the A129 relative to the others is partly due to the modified firmware, not necessarily wrong since that might be the best for recording plates while the F1 as an action camera should be aiming for movie quality rather than plate reading, but I'm not convinced that these images are representative of the standard A129.

What is the biggest memory card size supported by the F1? At nearly 50 Gigabytes per hour there is no point using a small one!
 
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TonyM

TonyM

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I think maybe the high contrast of the A129 relative to the others is partly due to the modified firmware, not necessarily wrong since that might be the best for recording plates while the F1 as an action camera should be aiming for movie quality rather than plate reading, but I'm not convinced that these images are representative of the standard A129.
When I do the 1080p60 comparison between all three cameras I will change the A129 FW to the latest V1.50 official version.
 
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TonyM

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Of all the cams out there right now I like the F1 best, but partly because I don't like a 'wedge' form factor. These images show well what a dashcam can be- amazing :cool:

Phil
The F1 certainly does a good job in daylight. As the light fades, the other two start to show their strengths....
 

Nigel

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When I do the 1080p60 comparison between all three cameras I will change the A129 FW to the latest V1.50 official version.
Thanks, will be interesting to see the difference, probably still a bit more contrast from the A129 since it's using an older sensor, but I don't remember there being that much difference when I compared the standard F1 against prototype A129.
 
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TonyM

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Thanks, will be interesting to see the difference, probably still a bit more contrast from the A129 since it's using an older sensor, but I don't remember there being that much difference when I compared the standard F1 against prototype A129.
The modified F1 FW has less contrast than the official FW, which will account for some of that difference.
 
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TonyM

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In the daytime driving through the trees example, the A129 and the Maxi are able to show a sharp image when the oncoming car is rather close, whereas on the F1 the car becomes blurred. That is partly due to using a non-standard lens on the F1, and also due to the F1 being more susceptible to blur than the others.

F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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Dusk
Moving on to driving later in the day as the light begins to fade, all three cameras have done rather well to keep a sharp image with moving traffic in such conditions. Again the F1 has the best colour accuracy of the dark blue car, which appears almost black in the A129.


Full Frames
F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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Night 1
Driving at night without any ambient light some differences between each camera's approach to video exposure become apparent.

The F1 video is evidently the darkest, however it has very little noise and maintains a decent exposure time to keep motion blur to a reasonable level. Shadow areas to fall into black, but highlights are preserved, including reflective objects such as number plates and street signs that all too often become blown out.

The Maxi and A129 videos have similar brightness, but they achieve this in different ways. The A129 has a very light-sensitive IMX291 sensor which allows the A129 to capture almost brighter-than-reality video without excessive noise. The Maxi by contrast does not have a super-sensitive sensor - instead Mobius have chosen to increase the gain (ISO) which results in more noise.


Full Frames
F1


Maxi


A129


F1


Maxi


A129


Taking a closer look (100% crop) at that last sequence of frames, we can use the high-frequency LED light trail to compare relative exposure times between the cameras:
= 16 cycles
= 10 cycles
= 15 cycles

So, whilst the A129 has the most sensitive sensor, the Maxi is using shorter exposure times. The F1 has similar exposure times to the A129, but results in the darker image due to the difference in sensitivity. I have assumed here that the F1.5 / F1.6 lenses are about the same aperture.

The F1 with the F.6 lens is performing much better at night than with the original F2.8 lens. This bodes well for the fast lens that GitUp are hopefully bringing to the F1 sometime soon.
 
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TonyM

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Night 2
Driving up to and around a junction, the F1 captures the main action but peripheral objects are rather dark. The Maxi has the most noise, but delivers plenty of visual information.


F1


Maxi


A129



Stopped close behind another vehicle, the metering on the Maxi exposes for the highlights and darkens the image to about the same level as the F1.

F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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Night 3
A final comparison of night driving alongside other cars with low relative speed difference.


F1


Maxi


A129



F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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At the start of this comparison I acknowledged that high-resolution high-bitrate video files may be problematic, both for day-to-day file handling and reduced storage capacity on microSD cards, and also for potential playback issues if the videos are viewed by others (police, lawyers etc.)

Therefore I decided to run all three cameras at 1080p to see what differences there are between them. Initially I chose 60fps, however neither the F1 or the Maxi employ frame-doubling in low light so the night videos were extremely dark. Thus I adopted 1080p30 for all three cameras, at the highest bitrate available.

GitUp F1 - ~ 30Mbps to 72Mbps (varied significantly depending on scene brightness and detail)
Maxi - 24Mbps (almost constant)
A129 - 24Mbps (constant)

No changes to the firmware versions on the cameras.

Parked
Similar to the full-resolution comparison, the F1 delivers the most aesthetically pleasing results with fine detail and accurate colour. The A129 and Maxi both have higher sharpening, but overall they are still fairly good.

F1


Maxi


A129



Day - Overcast
The F1 delivers finer detail in the trees and hedgerow, but the Maxi and A129 have captured the oncoming car a bit better.

F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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Day - Bright (1080p30)
In brighter conditions, the F1 running the highest bitrate preserves the most detail and accurate colour. The A129 loses detail through video compression and has muted colours. The Maxi sits in-between the two.

F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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Night (1080p30)
At night, on approach to a well-lit junction, the F1 video is the darkest. The A129 is brighter with limited noise. The Maxi has similar brightness but more noise.

F1


Maxi


A129


Away from the junction and street lights, the A129 shows the outline of an overbridge where the F1 and Maxi record almost darkness, with the F1 video being particularly dark.

F1


Maxi


A129
 
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TonyM

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The F1 does a good job of translating the high resolution 4k source data into fine quality 1080p30 video with a level of detail higher than the other cameras. The price to pay for this is a rather high bitrate.

The Mobius Maxi uses h264 encoding for its 1080p30 video, rather than the less efficient mjpg encoding for its 2.7k video. The result is a 24Mbps bitrate similar to the A129. The Maxi has bold colours and low motion blur, but loses out on fine detail and colour accuracy.

For my own purposes I will use the A129 as my primary dashcam for dual channel 1080p30 video. The GitUp F1 modified with the A129 lens will be my secondary camera that I will be using at full 4K resolution. The Mobius Maxi will be used with a 6-22mm varifocal lens to provide telephoto close-up video.
 

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