Looking for minimalist dashcam with high quality video

FML100

New Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Florida
Country
United States
Features I want:
1. High quality video (closest one I can get to reading license plates at both day and night, and yes I am aware this is a current limitation for dashcams)
2. Dual channel (I don't know why anyone would get a single channel dashcam. You frequently need to see the back to make out the full story)

Features I don't want
1. Parking mode (I don't have an expensive car, I just need to protect myself on the road)
2. GPS (correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think dashcams would help with speeding accusations in court because these devices aren't officially recognized by the government or verified for accuracy by any agency)
3. Wifi (don't need it as I can pull up the video on my computer at home. By the way is it possible to have bluetooth without wifi? Because then you can just play the video on your phone over bluetooth rather than wifi.)

As you can see, I want something as cheap as possible without giving up video quality. Right now, it appears that Viofo A119 V3 and Viofo A129 Pro Duo fit the bill. However, they come with some bells and whistles like parking mode which I don't want.

A. Is there a dashcam with the same quality as the Viofos, but without parking mode and other stuff, in order to not pay for features I don't need?
B. Is the A119's front camera better than the A129's front camera? Or is it vice versa?
 

kamkar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
31,739
Reaction score
17,785
Country
Denmark
Dash Cam
10 years, many dashcams
Hi and welcome to the forum.

1. you can not get plate captures at night, unless A: you drive very slow past parked cars ( walking speed ) - B: you catch up to a car or get overtaken by a car that are at a slightly higher or lower speed than you are ( walking speed )
There is also the issue of the reflective plates.

2: yes today you really should go for a dual system, but the front camera are probably the one that will capture 98% of the footage you need or want to share.
I have been running multiple cameras for years now, and the rear and side cameras mainly feature as B roll in my youtube uploads.
BUT ! the front camera alone will always record what you do, in relation to lane markings or the side of the road and colors of intersections you pass thru, so that alone should safeguard against most claims against you.
You don't need to film out back and capture the guy ramming you from behind, cuz when he claim you changed lane in front of him, you have your front camera footage showing you being rock steady in your lane until "something" hit you.
BUT !! the rear camera are still nice to have, cuz yes there is a lot of WTF going on back there, which you might want to share for the fun / outraged aspect of it.

Many cameras today come with the ordinary 12 V lighter plug to 5 V PSU, the good thing is nowadays many put that PSU a little up the wire from the 12 V plug, so you can cut that off the 12 V lug and wire into a fuse, and that way have a hidden wire and free lighter plug on the dash,,, but no parking mode.
GPS. true and in most you can also disable it so the speed don't get watermarked on the footage, and in a pinch speed can always be calculated as the time in the video it take you to go from "A" to "B" as XX:X yards ( A - B you can go measure ) covered in XX seconds = so and so MPH,,,,, and that's based on solid math which no one should / would dispute in court.
WIFI is nice to do settings, if you like me have old tired eyes having a little problems with the little LCD screens on most dashcams, otherwise i think wifi are silly and i would never use it,,, i don't even do with my phone.
Besides it is also slow transfer speeds, with a good card reader on a fast USB port you get the full read speed of the memory card, which are magnitudes faster than what you would get over wifi.

You don't have to use parking mode, in most dashcams that also require a additional hard wire kit, just don't get that and don't turn it on in the menus.

As i recall the A 119 V3 are a 1440p resolution sensor with just about as good low light perforance as you can get, the front camera of the A129 duo pro are 4K, which are not optimal in low light, but also not garbage, its just the more pixesl on the same area sensor size mean that the pixels of course have to be made smaller to fit on there, and smaller pixels are less good at capturing light
 
Last edited:
OP
F

FML100

New Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Florida
Country
United States
Hi, thanks for the kind words.

but the front camera are probably the one that will capture 98% of the footage you need or want to share.

After thinking over it, you are right. I tried thinking up a scenario where the back camera would be needed and I failed. I guess I'm just being paranoid after my mom was recently hit and blamed for the accident. But after reconsideration, you are right in that the front camera would catch it.

speed can always be calculated as the time in the video it take you to go from "A" to "B" as XX:X yards ( A - B you can go measure ) covered in XX seconds = so and so MPH,,,,, and that's based on solid math which no one should / would dispute in court.

So you're saying the coordinates would be accepted in court, but not the cam's reading of the speed? But why would they accept the coordinates? Isn't it basically non-legit for the same reasons as the speed reading?

As i recall the A 119 V3 are a 1440p resolution sensor with just about as good low light perforance as you can get, the front camera of the A129 duo pro are 4K, which are not optimal in low light

So you're saying essentially that the A119 would perform better in the night, while the A129 would perform better in the day? By the way do you know if Viofo is releasing a new version of these cams in 2020?


Thanks for taking the time for the thorough response. Very much appreciated.
 

kamkar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
31,739
Reaction score
17,785
Country
Denmark
Dash Cam
10 years, many dashcams
Yeah, just cuz you don't get it on tape don't mean something dident happen, a front camera alone will always log what you do with your car, and if you do nothing wrong then surely you can not be blamed for whatever happen off camera.

No not coordinates, to me it also seem like only a few cameras support those, i don't like them even though i have earned money on the high seas and know what they are, all that stuff in the image just annoy me.
But i do use GPS speed stamped in my footage.
What i mean if your video have to driving, and you need your exact speed, all you have to do is identify 2 things in the video feed, time how long it take you in the video to go from "A" to "B", and then go measure the distance in between the 2 things.
This could be mile markers - signs - street lights ASO, just have to be fairly fixed things for a judge to accept it i recon.
Then you just apply simple undisputed math to the numbers and you have the exact speed.

Yes the 119 V3 would have a bit brighter "better" night footage, but in regard to fine detail like plate capture it will be fairly marginal it will be better, but of course the brighter footage are more easy on the eye to sit and watch, and as our eyes and brain work the way they do ( eyes not so good and brain eager to tell you you see everything clear as day ) then you will tell yourself that this is stunning and i can see so much, but then if you hit pause and go frame by frame, you will see that yes you can see more, but all of that have a high degree of motion blur.

Cuz to get good bright footage cameras drop the exposure time to very low numbers, like 1:30 second for 30 FPS footage, and really 1:30 second are a slow exposure timing if you want to capture movement or shoot from a moving platform.
A golden rule for capturing movement with a camera is a exposure timing of 1:500 second at least, and much faster than that if you are on the dragstrip and want a razor sharp picture of that top fule car as it fly past you.
And it is easy to get to those exposure times in the sunshine during daytime, or with a lot of artificial light around, photo and i assume video cameras today can go as fast as 1:30000 second exposure time

This is simply a limitation of the hardware ( image sensors ) used in dashcams today, you can get much better image sensors, but using those the price of a dashcam will be 10 X higher, and no dashcam maker will gamble they cam sell significant numbers of dashcams at those prices.
But using the same sensor it is not like one brand have a secret sauce and so are much better, they all have the same sensors and SOC to work with so the end result will also be much the same.

The A 129 duo pro are a fairly new camera on the market, and one of the better performing 4K cameras, other brands making them are blackvue and thinkware.
The main challenge it seem are heat generation while operating, so there have been some issues for all of the brands.

All the cameras in my car are only 1080 cameras, but if i got the chance to sample a 1440p camera or a 4K one i would jump at the chance, but as a retired Dane on a pension my shopping powers are low.
But thankfully some dashcam makers like for me to beat on their cameras, so i do get new stuff now and then :) but it is entirely up to them.
And it is very nice as it free money for other hobbies, right now i am throwing money at my computer.

I am not affiliated with viofo or blackvue or thinkware, i have never tried those brands.
 

Nigel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
15,100
Reaction score
7,820
Location
Wales
Country
United Kingdom
Dash Cam
Gitup F1+G3ꞈꞈꞈꞈꞈ Viofo A229ꞈꞈꞈꞈꞈ Blueskysea B4K
So you're saying essentially that the A119 would perform better in the night, while the A129 would perform better in the day?
The main difference between A129 (not Pro) and A119 is the resolution, the 1080 resolution of the A129 works fine in Europe but is a bit low for small USA plates so I would recommend the A119 V3, or if you don't mind paying the extra then the A129 Pro for the 4K resolution with rear camera.

Night and day, the A119 V3 and A129 are very similar, the A129 Pro can get a bit noisy at night but it doesn't lose much detail to the other two.

By the way do you know if Viofo is releasing a new version of these cams in 2020?
If you don't currently have a dash cam then don't wait, much better to have one and catch the accident than wait for an upgrade and miss the accident!
I don't think there is an imminent update to these cameras anyway except to the firmware.


Parking mode, wifi and GPS can be turned off, but GPS is useful to keep accurate time so I recommend having it on. Wifi may be good in an emergency since you can replay the video on your phone to show the police what happened, could avoid a lot of effort defending yourself later if the initial report is correct. Normally there is no reason to use the wifi.
 

joe384

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
548
Reaction score
274
Location
Essex
Country
United Kingdom
Dash Cam
2 x DR590W-2CH, Cellink B
Wifi is also useful for "live view" to align the camera otherwise you have use a small screen or keep reviewing footage and adjusting the camera
 

SawMaster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
9,472
Reaction score
8,306
Location
SC
Country
United States
Dash Cam
Numerous and ever-changing
When I got into this game many years ago there were only a few 2-channel cams and they all had issues: too costly, unreliable, poor video or something. Most of us just ran 2 cams instead. There's some really good 2-channel cams now but we're now up against a different issue: processor speed and ability limiting the performance level of the front cam when the rear cam is used. So maybe 2 cams is still the best way to go ;) The main drawback of using 2 cams is that accessing the rear cam to check the card may be a hassle, as may be getting power to it. That varies with every car so you have to decide if you are OK with that. Until the processor makers catch up and give us the possibility of unlimited full performance with 2 or more cams simultaneously, the absolute best performance will still be found by using separate cams :cool:

IMHO the Viiofo's @Nigel recommended are currently the tops for vid quality, but as with any cam you need to look into any issues others using the cam might be experiencing as that might influence your choice, and no cam is totally without issues no matter why makes it. There are some other good choices if you don't want one of those for whatever reason. For a seperate rear cam the B1W is hard to beat, offering solid reliability, decent vid quality, a slim profile, and decent low-light performance at a great price, especially if you catch it on sale. You can opt for something with better vid quality but I think it's enough for the job. My main rear cam has similar performance with the same sensor and I don't feel under-protected there at all.

Just my thoughts and TBH I'd be quite happy with some of the 2-channel cams you can get right now as I'm not seeing anything substantially better happening anytime soon.

Phil
 

DT MI

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2014
Messages
6,298
Reaction score
5,278
Location
Michigan
Country
United States
Dash Cam
More than my wife thinks I need.
So you're saying the coordinates would be accepted in court, but not the cam's reading of the speed? But why would they accept the coordinates? Isn't it basically non-legit for the same reasons as the speed reading?
What i mean if your video have to driving, and you need your exact speed, all you have to do is identify 2 things in the video feed, time how long it take you in the video to go from "A" to "B", and then go measure the distance in between the 2 things.
This could be mile markers - signs - street lights ASO, just have to be fairly fixed things for a judge to accept it i recon.
Then you just apply simple undisputed math to the numbers and you have the exact speed.
An example of what @kamkar1 is saying can be found here:

 
OP
F

FML100

New Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Florida
Country
United States
Wifi is also useful for "live view" to align the camera otherwise you have use a small screen or keep reviewing footage and adjusting the camera

The phone screen is not much bigger than the dashcam screen though. Or am I misunderstanding something?
 
OP
F

FML100

New Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Florida
Country
United States
Wifi may be good in an emergency since you can replay the video on your phone to show the police what happened, could avoid a lot of effort defending yourself later if the initial report is correct.

Do you know why we can't do the same thing over bluetooth?
 

kamkar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
31,739
Reaction score
17,785
Country
Denmark
Dash Cam
10 years, many dashcams
If you think if a old stupid phone sure, but a modern smart phone screen are many times biggger than a dashcam screen which are often only 1.5" diagonal where the norn mow for phones are around 6" diagonal.
You can get big screen dashcams but the largest ones are around 4", and in general those are not quality cameras, and sure as hell not among the stealthy ones.

Personally i would never share any footage on site, i want to get home look over what i have and then maybe share with insurance / police,
Even on a phone screen, details like a plate even if captured good will be had to see, so that's much better done on a PC / TV screen
 

Nigel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
15,100
Reaction score
7,820
Location
Wales
Country
United Kingdom
Dash Cam
Gitup F1+G3ꞈꞈꞈꞈꞈ Viofo A229ꞈꞈꞈꞈꞈ Blueskysea B4K
Do you know why we can't do the same thing over bluetooth?
Bluetooth is designed for things with small amounts of data, like keyboards and mice, and maybe downloading a photo from your phone. While the latest versions are much faster and transmit audio quite well although slightly delayed, it is still not really suitable for live video or quick downloads of high bitrate video files. Wifi is much more suitable and since it is built into the dashcam processors and the actual transmitter is the same as for Bluetooth, wifi is the sensible choice.

Some of the cameras, such as the Viofo A129, do have Bluetooth remote controls, using Bluetooth for what it was designed for.
 

IAmATeaf

Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2015
Messages
317
Reaction score
206
Country
United Kingdom
Dash Cam
Viofo A119v3
The phone screen is not much bigger than the dashcam screen though. Or am I misunderstanding something?

What sort of phones are you using? The other advantage of being able to use the phone is you don’t need to crane your neck when aligning. I had this issue when mounting my V3 but you only ever do this once.
 

SawMaster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
9,472
Reaction score
8,306
Location
SC
Country
United States
Dash Cam
Numerous and ever-changing
It's all about things working best when they are used for their designed purposes, even though they might work OK doing other things. Dashcam wifi is still kind of cheesy in operation compared to other wifi enabled devices :( It could be made to work better for us but that would not be easy or cheap to do, requiring a 'sea change' of the approach to building dashcams. We get SOC devices with dashcams, so we're limited to whatever those chip makers design into their functionality. This has always been the most limiting factor with dashcams, but no other approach seems to be economically feasible for mass marketing purposes so we're stuck with it, limitations and all :cry: Older phones were far less capable of 'filling in' as a dashcam, but they're still a compromise and not as good for the purpose even if dashcams could be better.

Even dashcams are a compromise, with one giving the best vid quality, another having the besat parking mode functionality, another having the best reliability in hot climates, and so on. The best you can do is decide what is most important to you then select your cam accordingly while knowing that it's other aspects might not be what you wanted :rolleyes: Multiple cams can be a work-around for that but then you have costs, complexity of installation, and perhaps powering issues to deal with. I always tell folks to start with your budget for a cam, then list what you want from most desired to least necessary, then see what you can find ;) More stringent requirements may lead to you needing to increase the budget limit since you can't gtet what you don't pay for :rolleyes: Still, there is always a cam that will serve each user's needs at least minimally and often more completely. And we're here to try to help you find that cam or at worst, to help you avoid getting a totally unsatisfactory cam :cool: Do realize that some aspects will be more the opinion of a person than any real difference between cams- we each have our likes and dislikes and our different perspectives on which aspect matters most.

As to the OP here I'd currently recommend the A129Duo. While it has it's issues with some features i feel it offers the best vid quality of any reliable 2-channel cam being offered today. The "Pro" version actually has better vids, but it is currently having some issues that have not been resolved to the degree that I would recommend it. In time I think it will be the better cam; it's that right now I don't think it's there :cautious: The OP can either wait for the needed improvements to happen, or go for something now- their decision to make. Just know that there will always be a better cam for your chosen purposes coming along sooner or later, so waiting for better can result in your not ever having a cam- an exercise in futility which can have expensive consequences should you need a dashcam and not have one :eek:

If you decide to wait on the "Pro" then at least get a cheap dashcam to fill in for now and give you some protection till you're satisfied that the "Pro" is ready- you can always use that cam in another car, gift it to family or friend, use it for a side cam, or sell it to recoup some of it's cost. Any cam is better than no cam but for now I think the "Duo" is what they need and as always YMMV!

Phil
 

Leonauto

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2013
Messages
590
Reaction score
760
Location
Smolensk
Country
Russian Federation
Dash Cam
B1W, B2W, B1M, Viofo A119 V3, A119 PRO, MT1
Features I don't want
...
3. Wifi (don't need it as I can pull up the video on my computer at home. By the way is it possible to have bluetooth without wifi? Because then you can just play the video on your phone over bluetooth rather than wifi.)
On the use of wifi technology in dashcam, @kamkar1, @Nigel, @joe384 and @SawMaster gave very good detailed explanations (y), but did not, it seems to me, say the main thing - for a beginner who was not familiar with dashcam's before, but who probably knows at a household level what WiFi is fi and this is primarily due to the Internet. But this is not so!

In relation to the vast majority of dashcam, WiFi technology does not work in the generally accepted sense, dashcam is just an access point /AP, a source of WiFi to connect to another device - a smartphone, etc. The functionality is exactly the same as Bluetooth, you do not need internet , routers and SIM cards are not needed for access, WiFi connection differs in this case from Bluetooth connection only by the technology used.

There is no reason to be “afraid” of using WiFi. Looking at the development of dashcam's recently, one can observe that more and more manufacturers are beginning to use WiFi in dashcam, because it is convenient (even for me, the old retrograde, which still uses a push-button telephone :p ). Especially since you can always turn off WiFi in dashcam.

About the fact that adding a WiFi module to the dashcam does not give a tangible increase in cost (especially if you still did not exclude the use of bluetooth), I will not even mention it. ;)

PS: after all, I forgot something, unlike the bluetooth for connecting with the dashcam, you will need to download the application from the dashcam manufacturer to your smartphone, designed specifically for this dashcam. But this is a slight difference from bluetooth compared to what features a WiFi connection provides.
 
Last edited:
Top