What we should really get from a Dashcam Manufacturer...

BradE

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After owning several Dashcams, and looking at multiple reviews of new Dashcams over the years, I'm still disappointed with the offerings out there. A lot of Manufacturers don't even seem offer all of the features people really NEED in a Dashcam, particularly ALL of these being in the ONE unit.

What I would really like to see in a Dashcam (and all together) is:

  1. A dedicated H265 encoder built in.
  2. 1080P.
  3. NO Fish-Eye effect (ie: curved corners on the recorded Videos) Pay attention Blackvue... the DR900S 4K unit in particular! 160 degrees Field Of View (FOV) would be a sweet spot for me.
  4. Super Capacitors - NO Batteries (I live in Australia, which gets VERY hot summers and inside car temperatures DO get hotter than 80 degrees Celcius in some places in a very short time!).
  5. A reliable Bluetooth transmitting Rear Camera (my car key Fob WON'T work when using a Rear Camera Cable run around inside my car - top, bottom, or even hanging! Believe me, I've tried everything. I currently use a VIOFO A129 Duo *, for those who are curious.)
  6. A good microphone that can record sounds outside the car (to a limited extent) with the windows down.
  7. Able to have an optional CPL Filter attached (this helps reduce glare from the Sun and car headlights to some degree at night).

8. (OPTIONAL) A realistic "Parking Mode". That is, Buffered recording (5 to 15 seconds before an event happens), that starts automatically, can record audio as well while this is going on, and have the ability to record at 30 frames per second when recording the event to your SD-Card if something happens. I currently just let my Dashcam keep recording as normal when I leave my car, although it would be nice to save a little bit of power and storage space by having a proper "Parking Mode" feature that you don't have to remember to turn on and off each time...


Now, I've deliberately specified 1080P instead of 4K for a couple of reasons:
a) 1080P encoded at H265 with a dedicated chip in real-time will produce a sharper picture to be written to your SD-Card because there are less pixels in the video to process. There would be more "artifacts" in a 4K Video than in a 1080P Video because there are more pixels to process on-the-fly - and also while in a moving vehicle, which as we all know, makes things hard to read in the playback of a Video.
b) H265 compression also means less space is taken up on your SD-Card.
c) A dedicated chip for the H265 encoding makes a LOT of difference. Anyone who has ever used a Logitech C920 HD Webcam will know what I mean - these things have a dedicated encoding chip (although it encodes at H264, not H265!) so your CPU doesn't have to compress the video on-the-fly when you are using "Skype" with someone. (The difference is like Night and Day - see it for yourself if you don't believe me!)
d) Encoding and recording the Video at 1080P will also consume less power than doing the same for 4K Video (Important for those who want to use a Battery supply for their Dashcams).

And, let's face it - even with 4K Video Dashcams available out there now, you STILL can't make out much at night time (License Plates, etc) when the vehicle is moving!


Please tell me if something like what I've described above already exists.

* = Even my current VIOFO A129 has a "Fish-Eye" lens, which I've discovered after buying it (which I hate).

Thank You :)
 

sludgeguts

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In part, I agree. I have always said that a dashcam should concentrate on doing what it is supposed to do. The more crap you build in, the more crap you get out.
A camera should record video and audio, it should do these the best they can. I don't mind a little loss of quality on audio as long as the video is good.
I've changed jobs over the years that I have been a serious user (10 hours per day, 5 days a week down to about 5 hours per day) so I see far less stupidity on the roads and, thankfully, am involved in far fewer prangs/near misses. In fact, in the last 3 years, 1 low speed impact (sub 10mph), 1 complaint from an idiot pulling out and 1 complaint of verbal abuse whilst I was stationary (fortunately, engine, & therefore cam, was running. With so few reasons for viewing footage, I really don't see the need for wireless data transfer. In fact, I almost look forward to pulling the camera as it gives me an excuse to plug it into my PC to update firmware & format the card.
What would be nice is the ability to record superb footage at near zero lux - but I can dream. I would also like to see a decent black box with remote cams viewing front & rear & even sides - we almost have this in a couple of cams but I gather there's still the odd teething problem, tech still seems in its infancy, even my high end PC struggles with playing 1080p clips whilst trying to save another.
 

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1: Thats fine, but a lot of people are still on a computer or a phone that would struggle with H.265, personally i wouldn't mind.
2: 1080p At least.
3: you will be hard pressed to not have fish eye if you also want a wide field of view, there are options to remove this in hardware or post production, but both mean you will loose resolution ( FOV ) as its done by cropping in
4: Capacitors, the way to go no matter where you live.
5: Thats not going to happen anytime soon, maybe in a couple of years with IOT being used more, you still need to supply that rear camera with power.
6: I have argued for stereo microphones, one channel to record inside cabin, another one to record outside cabin, maybe placed in grading vents in front of windscreen, maybe only active when not moving.
7: Many brands now supply CPL as a part of the package and not a additional buy, that's the way to go.
8: Parking mode must be buffered if you use some form of trigger ( G sensor or motion ) many now seem to move towards time lapse recording while parked, i like this but would like to see camera go into regular recording + sound upon a event trigger.
 

TonyM

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Now, I've deliberately specified 1080P instead of 4K for a couple of reasons:
a) 1080P encoded at H265 with a dedicated chip in real-time will produce a sharper picture to be written to your SD-Card because there are less pixels in the video to process. There would be more "artifacts" in a 4K Video than in a 1080P Video because there are more pixels to process on-the-fly - and also while in a moving vehicle, which as we all know, makes things hard to read in the playback of a Video.
Good quality 4K video is going to be sharper than 1080p. You just need a fast enough processor and card.
 

Michael_K

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What I would really like to see in a Dashcam (and all together) is:


  1. NO Fish-Eye effect (ie: curved corners on the recorded Videos) Pay attention Blackvue... the DR900S 4K unit in particular! 160 degrees Field Of View (FOV) would be a sweet spot for me.
I have a Thinkware FA200, which has a 140° FOV -- and it has some fisheye.
I'm sure that the only way to have a good FOV without fisheye is to use a w-i-d-e format (as I posted).





  1. A reliable Bluetooth transmitting Rear Camera (my car key Fob WON'T work when using a Rear Camera Cable run around inside my car - top, bottom, or even hanging! Believe me, I've tried everything. I currently use a VIOFO A129 Duo *, for those who are curious.)
Does Bluetooth have the bandwidth to transmit FHD at a decent bitrate & fps?

8. (OPTIONAL) A realistic "Parking Mode". That is, Buffered recording (5 to 15 seconds before an event happens), that starts automatically, can record audio as well while this is going on, and have the ability to record at 30 frames per second when recording the event to your SD-Card if something happens. I currently just let my Dashcam keep recording as normal when I leave my car, although it would be nice to save a little bit of power and storage space by having a proper "Parking Mode" feature that you don't have to remember to turn on and off each time...
Yes -- a hybrid parking mode! :love:
So, record at, say, 1 fps; then, when something is detected, record the buffered event. Sweet.
Does any unit have that?

Now, I've deliberately specified 1080P instead of 4K for a couple of reasons:
I just figure that 4K isn't really any better than FHD (for this purpose). From what I've seen and read here, I don't think that 4K offers anything. Iow, FHD is good enough. And (like you said), night video is lower quality than FHD.
 
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kamkar1

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I think 4K do not look better than 1080 on my 1080 monitor.
 

TonyM

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Good quality 4K video is going to be sharper than 1080p. You just need a fast enough processor and card.
And presumably a 4K monitor too, no?
Hmm. I suppose I could have said good quality 4K video will be more detailed than 1080 video, which will give an impression of more sharpness.
 

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  1. Pretty useless if the manufacturers will still use CBR.
  2. 4k is the way if you want wide angle and be able to record decent details in the distance.
  3. Without digital compansation it's impossible (if the dashcam doesn't have more than one sensor) Wider angle, more fisheye effect (starts from about 90°).
  4. Sure, no doubt about it.
  5. WHY bluetooth? That's technology specificaly designed for low-power, low-bitrate, low-distance connections... (impossible now and even in the near future for 1080p/30fps and more).
  6. If you want sound of the outside, you need contact microphone on the windshield or something external.
  7. Is there now even a dashcam which doesn't have this option?
Now, I've deliberately specified 1080P instead of 4K for a couple of reasons:
What a vague arguments?
a) 4k with a pixel size big enough to capture decent night footage will be better than 1080p everytime. And also appropriately set the bandwidth. (and HDR will help)
b) You need VBR in the first place to be enabled, otherwise there isn't such gain of a storage-space.
c) Why do you keep talking about dedicated h265 chip? Do you think the video is encoded after you download it from the dashcam? If the dascam doesn't have at least part of the chip an ASIC core for h265, ARM doesn't have a power to encode it in realtime...
d)...

The sad thing is, Blackvue already could have one of the best dashcam because of Hi3559CV100 which has a lot of power and features but they screwed up by using Omnivion's OV08A10 instead of SONY IMX334 or at least IMX226, not to mention they forgot to use a heatsink. I wonder if they just re-use the board again in the future model... (as in DR750S and DR900S, just swapped camera sensors and wifi module)

And presumably a 4K monitor too, no?
Why? Do you need a 4k monitor to be able to zoom-in 4k footage?
 
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Dashmellow

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Why? Do you need a 4k monitor to be able to zoom-in 4k footage?

Sure, you can zoom in but you'll likely experience some dithering if you don't scale your zooming to match the native pixel resolution of your current monitor. Ideally, one would want a 4K monitor if you are going to invest in a 4K camera.

As for the decision of whether or not to use a 4K dash cam in the first place is that many entities that you may need to submit your original dash cam footage to such as insurance companies, many police departments, courts, prosecutors offices and attorneys will not have the capability to adequately view 4K footage optimally. They won't know from "zooming in". Your 4K video could end up looking horrible on their screens. If you really want your case to get proper attention from the authorities you are much better off submitting footage that is as easy as possible for ANYONE within the chain of custody to view and pass on to their colleagues and so for now that means the highest possible quality 1080p resolution. Until such time as 4K becomes as ubiquitous as 1080p is now I don't feel 4K makes sense to use for dash cams unless it is a second camera. Most everyone here on DCT who I see pounding the table for all kinds of bells and whistles and super high resolutions have never been in the situation of actually having to go through the process of submitting dash cam video to any authorities in a civil or criminal matter.
 
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TonyM

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I'm happy using high bitrate 4K, but only as a second camera. My primary camera is 1080p30.

I only have 1080 screens for watching video, but I know I can zoom in on 4K detail if I need it.
 

Nath

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Even on the 4k monitor, licence plate is still just a small square so you'll be forced to zoom anyway (if you don't plan to view the footage on a 65"). And 1080p is exactly 1/4 of the 4k, so the scaling will be comparable.

I don't know how about in the US but if the police department/insurance company will say they are not able to play the footage it doesn't mean the evidence doesn't exist and therefore will be ignored... And it's still better to downscale the footage for those obsolete workplaces than to had nice native 1080p without licence number.
 
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BradE

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Great feedback, everyone!

Nath, you're right... Bluetooth is for transmitting AUDIO only. Okay, then something that could transmit a good video signal to the front Dashcam recorder without having to run wires around the car. Technology exists for this (see Reverse Cameras out there), but I don't know of anything that incorporates all of these "should-have's" to a single Dashcam.

Also everyone, it's the QUALITY of the Video that counts. Currently the bitrate used, as well as the method of encoding, and then lastly how good the compression is makes the end result look (when played back) is, to me, "Stone Age".

I have seen what a difference the right dedicated hardware encoding chip can make to a video, on-the-fly. Looking at 1080p videos online and comparing them to 4K Videos (from Dashcams) still shows artifacts on both. What Dashcam Manufacturers need to do is REDUCE the artifacts. I'm just saying it's easier for them to do this on a 1080P Video than a 4K because more processing power would be required to keep up.

Does anyone agree?
 

TonyM

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It's the QUALITY of the Video that counts. Currently the bitrate used, as well as the method of encoding, and then lastly how good the compression is makes the end result look (when played back) is, to me, "Stone Age".
Your 900S is not the best example for 4K video since BlackVue use such a low bitrate.

What do you think of this 4K video frame, recorded whilst driving at 50mph on a tree-lined road? The h264 video bitrate is 100Mbps, peaking close to 150Mbps.
 
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kamkar1

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1: Thats fine, but a lot of people are still on a computer or a phone that would struggle with H.265, personally i wouldn't mind.
This really isn't a reason to not offer H265. It's not one couldn't set it to record in 264. Irregardless, H265 is here and more and more systems support it. I'm sitting here watching video on a firestick that was encoded in H265. It's available on all iPhone since the 7 and God knows what android phones support it. I know my S9 does. Even my 3 year old Windows 10 laptop can play H265 encoded videos, without a problem.

I don't own 4K TV but it seems all the new movies are available in 4K... Maybe they should stop offering 4K TVs since those of us without 4K TVs can't watch it in 4K?
 

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The first thing I was taught when studying photography many many years ago (in the days of film) was, photography (and to this end to a lesser degree digital) capturing an image is all one big compromise.

my thinking is once we achieve scale of production, so the price that’s stopping some of what you’d like being put in to the mass markets of DVR’s

some laws of physics won’t change but manufacturers will find ways round them.

I’ve mentioned it some time back,

my wish list for a DVR, in todays DVR market there is just no reason to have anything much bigger than a GoPro in size, as a DVR, there certainly is no reason why a DVR should look/have the form factor of anything like a (35mm) film camera that was designed in 1913

the lenses on these DVR can be as small as those on a smart phone (5 to 10mm diameter) , maybe a tad larger if a greater angle of view is needed, but if they have to be 20mm or larger in diameter then I’d expect the lens to be at least ƒ1.2,

my ideal setup would be to have a central processing unit somewhere in the car that the lenses connect to, and a lens unit with a much smaller footprint than we have today, so you could have one forward facing on the front windscreen one rear facing on the back screen with a diameter of a cigarette and as nowadays a lot of cars have their side indicators on the wing mirrors there could be one on each wing mirror sidewards facing, so you have a four (or even more if you wish) channel DVR.

as all the workings is in the CPU the lens unit can be really small

as 99.999% of all recorded clips will be overwritten (unless you’re doing a road trip production) no need to be saving recordings at 30 - 60 fps, maybe a 3 to 5 fps saved is a good starting point

the full captured (30 - 60fps recording) will have a 30 second buffering, if nothing tigers the DVR then only 3 to 5 fps will be saved, but if something does trigger the DVR then the full 30 seconds buffered recording is saved and the DVR goes in to full 30 - 60fps recording till intervention to put it back to normal (3 to 5 fps saving) recording

better quality images, smaller size DVR’s and better reliability will in time come, you only have to look at mobile phones,

my first Panasonic mobile phone was near on the size of a house brick took 8 hours to fully charge, had 8 hours standby and had 30 minutes talk time (allegedly as a 3-4 minute mobile call cost nearly as much as a gallon of petrol so never tried it out) if the phone had been on standby for say 4 hours and someone phoned you, you’d maybe get 5 minutes use out of it before the battery was dead.

most of the technology is out there just need to get it in to the mass market to get the price down, but I do think it will happen sooner than we think,

a few years ago I saw an add from one of the TV manufacturers, I can’t remember the exact wording but it went something like this

they said they knew the moment you went out and bought a new TV, someone would come out with an even better TV, bigger, with more featured, and cheaper than the one you bought yesterday, but if this progression didn’t happen then you’d still be watching B/W TV’s with 3 channels and no remote control

if you’ve narrowed down what’s near enough, get it now, as there will always be something new coming just around the corner, if you wait you’ll be waiting forever

this isn’t aimed at anyone but just thought I’d air my opinion

all in my humble opinion and I have been know to be wrong before :)
 

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7. Able to have an optional CPL Filter attached (this helps reduce glare from the Sun and car headlights to some degree at night).
CPL Filters are used to eliminate windscreen reflections, not glare.
 

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...What do you think of this 4K video frame, recorded whilst driving at 50mph on a tree-lined road? The h264 video bitrate is 100Mbps, peaking close to 150Mbps...
Converting it to 1080, and then trying to extract as much information as possible from both versions; it is very hard to find any detail in the 4K version that is not also in the 1080 version, the only real difference is in the smoothness of the lines which are a lot more pixelated in the 1080 version. On the car, the 1080 version didn't seem to loose any detail, but on the sign some of the characters are loosing their readability. It is clear which is the 4K version, but it also seems that the 4K codec has thrown away the fine details and is trying to record a nice image rather than a detailed image:
 
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BradE

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  1. Pretty useless if the manufacturers will still use CBR.
  2. 4k is the way if you want wide angle and be able to record decent details in the distance.
4K just takes up a lot more space, leaving less room (and therefore available time before it "loops") for recording.
  1. Without digital compansation it's impossible (if the dashcam doesn't have more than one sensor) Wider angle, more fisheye effect (starts from about 90°).
I've had Dashcams with 7 Lenses (instead of 5 or 6) that seem to have made a difference, and have given me around 160 degrees of view without a noticeable Fish-Eye effect...
  1. Sure, no doubt about it.
  2. WHY bluetooth? That's technology specificaly designed for low-power, low-bitrate, low-distance connections... (impossible now and even in the near future for 1080p/30fps and more).
Yes, I agree that I'm wrong there. Bluetooth is only for AUDIO over short distances. Okay, they should have something to reliable transmit a good Video signal to the Front Dashcam recorder then.
  1. If you want sound of the outside, you need contact microphone on the windshield or something external.
No, I simply meant that the microphone should be good enough to record a conversation with a Police Officer if they pull you over (and you have your windows down)... I had a Dashcam before that had a horrible microphone that you could only barely hear any sound in the Video playback when you turned your volume up to the max!
  1. Is there now even a dashcam which doesn't have this option?
Yes. There are a LOT that are around and used in Australia! The VIOFO brand, for example, require these to purchased as an option - they do not come standard with the unit.

Now, I've deliberately specified 1080P instead of 4K for a couple of reasons:
What a vague arguments?
a) 4k with a pixel size big enough to capture decent night footage will be better than 1080p everytime. And also appropriately set the bandwidth. (and HDR will help)
b) You need VBR in the first place to be enabled, otherwise there isn't such gain of a storage-space.
c) Why do you keep talking about dedicated h265 chip? (A good low-powered one can really make a difference!) Do you think the video is encoded after you download it from the dashcam? (No, of course not.) If the dascam doesn't have at least part of the chip an ASIC core for h265, ARM doesn't have a power to encode it in realtime...
d)...

What do you think of this 4K video frame, recorded whilst driving at 50mph on a tree-lined road? The h264 video bitrate is 100Mbps, peaking close to 150Mbps.
Aside from the Fish-Eye lens, it looks okay but is far too big as a usable file size to hand over to Law Enforcement or Insurance if they require it - especially if it involves them looking at several minutes of footage just to see what they need.

I believe the same quality could be achieved with a 1080P recording, with around a quarter of the bitrate, as long as the H265 Encoder could do a good job and keep up with moving objects in the Video. Your Video would only allow for only a few hours of recording before your SD-Card was full, at best. Even a 256GB one... and even less if you use 2 Cameras (one front and one rear).

So, you see - having a bigger sized picture (in 4K) is not necessarily going to be better if the same quality can be achieved at 1080P (and be saved in a much smaller file size, thus saving valuable storage space on a SD-Card.

Just my humble opinion.

Here in Australia, 2 years ago I tried to show my insurance company some video footage of someone damaging my car. Their response was: "We don't have the ability to play back video footage on our computers here." I very nearly uploaded the footage to YouTube, and was going to give a commentary along with it of which insurance company they were, and how prehistoric they were that they had NOTHING to play video to show who was in the right and who was in the wrong!

What speed were you doing when this was taken, and what capacity storage card did you use, and how many cameras were recording on the one card?
 
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