Simple dash cam for race/street car ?

Iroczman15

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Hi everyone. My first post here, but I did so some reading on the forums first. Sorry for the large amount of typing, but I figured I would put it all out there initially.

I am looking for a relatively affordable single forward-facing dash cam that I can put into my race/street car. I do currently have a GoPro Hero4 Silver that I have used for years, but I don't always want to have that running when I am just driving around anymore. Mostly because I kinda also want to use the GoPro camera to film different/creative angles of the car while I am racing or driving, so having an independent permanent forward facing dash-cam might be better. Budget is of concern here, and the most I would feel comfortable spending would be $200-250. I definitely do NOT need one with built in GPS. The dash-cam would be something I would simply wire up to the car's 12volt power source. I would NOT want to plug it into a cigarette lighter or have to plug it into anything; so permanently hard wired is a must have. I have a master on-off battery kill switch that I turn off the car's power anytime it is parked, so I am not worried about battery-drain when the car is not in use. I also do not need the motion-activated feature where if the car is bumped when parked/off. If the car is out of my garage, I am with it or nearby and I do not park it in dangerous situations.

I would basically turn on the camera to record if I knew I was going out and driving in a heavy traffic area, or on a fun exciting scenic drive. I would also certainly use it for drag racing, autocross, and any other racing events. *** However, mostly just the fear of a random deer running into the road or a distracted/bad driver crashing into me certainly weighs on my mind as I am driving around New Jersey and over the years there have been some close-calls. Having a dash camera would help me in any such unfortunate incident and the footage wouldn't lie. Some types of cameras can even pre-record 15-30 seconds before being actually activated, so something with a feature that would be a worthy investment. At work we use the "watchguard" camera system and that is recording al the time, but is setup to save 30 seconds prior to an incident/activation/triggered recording.
I don't think I would want a camera with a LCD display screen on the back, because there won't be a need for me to playback video footage right away when I could just simply save it to a computer and play it later. I plan to hide the camera behind the windshield's rear-view mirror out of my eyesight (and keep it there always), so I wouldn't be able to view the display screen anyways. If I needed to have a separate DVR recording unit wired to the camera, I have ample space under the dashboard to mount this. I also would NOT be interested in a camera with an additional lens that faces rearward.


Therefore, small lens, black, compact overall size, good memory storage, a way to hard wire it to the battery(fuse panel) and a pre-record feature are of high importance.

Of NO importance is a GPS feature, speech-activation, wi-fi connection to a phone, a rear facing camera, lane-detection type features, parking monitoring nor a viewable display screen.


Anyone have any thoughts or advice?
 
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SawMaster

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Welcome to DCT @Iroczman15 :) What kind of video quality are you after? Many/ most 1080P cams capture enough detail for driving protection to show you've done no wrong, but if you want more and clearer details the list of candidates gets shorter quickly.

Phil
 
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Iroczman15

Iroczman15

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cool, thanks! good to know! Actually, I am certainly ok with not having the most top-notch video quality/resolution.
Basically....I am not in search of the most crystal clear videos, just more for "capturing moments in time". Whether that be on the racetrack and trying to analyze my racing lines or shift points, but also traffic and surprise incidents during normal street driving. I would like the video to be 'decent" but not "outstanding".
As mentioned, not having to charge or change out batteries, is a must Something I can hardwire and let the recording "loop" or whatever the technical term for it is.. where it is constantly recording and writing-over itself unless I want to save an event. No need for GPS, and all the other stuff I mentioned above in post #1
 

SawMaster

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Well then most cams will serve your purposes as long as they are reliable. Most newer cam designs use supercaps in lieu of a LiPo battery to ensure the cam shuts down correctly, and a hardwire kit (HWK) will work with almost all of them too so the cam starts and stops with your car key switching on and off. The supercaps help ensure a long cam life. One last question regards cam performance- how much driving at night? The sensors vary in how well they do then.

So now it's down to form-factor. Most folks can slip a 'wedge' cam behind the car mirror, and especially if there's a "frit" (those black dots at the top of windshields) it can hide quite well there. There are tubular shaped cams with less height, 'box' cams, and a few other shapes. Any preferences?

Phil
 

Nigel

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Of NO importance is a GPS feature, speech-activation, wi-fi connection to a phone, a rear facing camera, lane-detection type features, parking monitoring nor a viewable display screen.
GPS is good to have because it keeps the time correct, which isn't hugely important, but it is nice to have. Wifi can be useful, if someone does hit you then you can show the police officer what happened on your phone and avoid having to fight any tickets they would otherwise give. If you don't have wifi then you want a screen for setup, it can be turned off the rest of the time.

The Viofo A119 V3 is a reasonable match for your specification, also consider the Viofo A129 Pro (not the dual version), since it will do 60fps at reasonably high bitrate which may be good for your racing, similar image quality to your GoPro but with better exposure, and it also includes good wifi.

If you really want to go for basic specification, maybe consider the Blueskysea B2K, although even that still has a basic screen and basic wifi. No 60fps on that though and the bitrates are a bit low for racing.

All those have a matching hardwire kit available, and should also run from any decent USB supply, although the matching HK3 kit is definitely recommended for the Viofo A129 Pro since it is a little thirsty/fussy on power. They are also all easy to hide behind the mirror, they are not as big as they appear in the product images!
 

Wiz33

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I would suggest getting something that will do 60 fps in HD for a smoother video presentation. but do know that you may not get the same level of electronic stabilization you're used to getting from a newer action cam unit unless you get one of the top units like Blackvue and Thinkware so look up some sample footage of whatever unit you're considering.
 
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jokiin

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I would suggest getting something that will do 60 fps in HD for a smoother video presentation. but do know that you may not get the same level of electronic stabilization you're used to getting from a newer GoPro unit unless you get one of the top units like Blackvue and Thinkware so look up some sample footage of whatever unit you're considering.
There's no image stabilisation, it's not necessary either when the camera is mounted correctly
 

Wiz33

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There's no image stabilisation, it's not necessary either when the camera is mounted correctly
You did read that he's also doing racing. Most Dashcam have some simple EIS already otherwise you video will all be a jumble just from the unevenness of even well paved roads.
 

Wiz33

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Racing is irrelevant, dashcams don't use EIS, there has been one or two models which did have it but the results weren't great

Have you been on track and see the amount of shakes and bumps. Guess not. Why do you think that most car driving reviews are done with action cams and not dash cams.
 

jokiin

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Solidly mounted camera it's not needed, we have plenty of people using cameras on track days etc, if you use a suction mounted camera it can be an issue, EIS won't fix a poor mount though anyway
 

Wiz33

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Solidly mounted camera it's not needed, we have plenty of people using cameras on track days etc, if you use a suction mounted camera it can be an issue, EIS won't fix a poor mount though anyway

Perfect example of how bad a dashcam will look without EIS


Then here's a GoPro with EIS

 
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Wiz33

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EIS is not a fix all, if the mount design is inadequate it's not going to solve that

No. Having a solid mount is a given but there are advantage to having EIS on the newer actions cams as they do give you smoother footage and they are also the only way you're going to get 4K@60 video now.
 

Nigel

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but if no EIS is needed what does it matter since it looks to be a good quality 1080@60 clip
That was very shaky video, just watch the driver!

Watched one of your videos and YT's first recommendation was the following:

I find that EIS can improve some offroad video where the action is fairly slow, but it does not solve the vibration issues on track racing, you are much better off with a really good mount, which is one reason for choosing the wedge shaped cameras such as Viofo since they have the most vibration resistant mounts available and definitely do not need or want EIS.
 

SawMaster

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The suspension in my workvan is rather stiff, and coupled with the crappy roads around here gives as harsh a ride as most of the racing and off-road cars I've been in do- in fact it's worse than most of those for smaller movement. None of my many dashcams has EIS and they don't need it as long as they're mounted solidly. I do get vibration problems with the less solidly mounted ones.

The usual "GoPro" shaped action cams and mounts are a good example of what not to do with cams mounted in a car; too much mass acting on a too-long lever which itself is often not very solidly mounted. The end result is flex and vibration. The better dashcams mount closely to the windshield with their mass as close to the glass as is practical, and the end result is less movement and vibration. It's simple physics going on here, as well as action cams having generally settled on their first form-factor to allow better interchangeability of mounts and parts and adaptability to other uses. Compare the best GoPro to a Mobius action cam on a short mount and you'll see a vast difference in vibration. If you're running a standard-shaped action cam in a car you need all the help you can get, but if you're using a good dashcam design EIS does nothing because it isn't needed.

Phil
 
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