The Thinkware F550 Dual Camera is a Korean dashboard camera which sells under the name Inavi FXD900 in Korea. Inavi Thinkware is one of the most popular dash cam brands in Korea and they recently focused outside of that country.
The front camera records at 1080p, 30fps with a bit rate of 10 Mbps. The rear camera records at 720p, 30fps at a bit rate of 6 Mbps. Video quality during the day is very good and night is good for the front camera in most conditions. Rear camera is average during the day and grainy at night. When the camera was released in 2013, the video quality was very respectable. However, as of 2015, a number of 1080p front and rear dual cameras are available making this camera less attractive.
The F550 front camera is based on the Texas Instruments TMS320DM8127 processor and Sony Exmor CMOS sensor. The rear camera can be purchased separately and is known as the BCH-300. Overall, the image appears a bit dark at night which is surprising given the Sony Exmor CMOS. It also can be grainy in some driving conditions, a common issue with Texas Instruments based processors.
Beyond image quality, the F550 has some nice features:
- Low profile design of main unit and small rear camera size allows discreet installation
- Built-in GPS, G-sensor and parking mode (buffers video and saves 10 seconds before and after the event on both cameras)
- Dual Save technology records to the MicroSD card as well as internal memory in the event of a crash
- Built in battery discharge prevention / low voltage shutoff (11.7V to 12.4V, changeable by 0.1V)
- Thermal sensor which triggers automatic shut down if the camera gets too hot
While the shape of the camera is discreet, the front camera is quite large at 105.2mm x 161.5 mm x 41mm. Also the lens surrounding is a silver / chrome color, which makes whole unit more visible from outside the vehicle. All black would be preferred. On the other hand, the rear camera is much smaller and very stealth.
One of the biggest negatives with the FX500 is that it takes about 70 seconds to “boot-up” from parking mode to driving mode recording. The following video shows the boot-up sequence.
We would like to thank our member niko who provided the review for this camera on our forum.
Thanks to niko for this size comparison photo.
When recording in 2 channel mode ( front + rear camera ) and later joining video clips, there is a very small gap or “jump” between for the front camera videos. This does not occur if only the front camera is recording. Thinkware is looking at correcting this problem.
Mounting the Camera
Thanks to our member niko for providing this teardown.
Day Video – Front
Night Video – Front
Should I Purchase?
While we like the form factor of this dual camera, the video quality, while decent is not great. The 70 second boot time is a huge negative as well. Considering the front camera sells for $300 and the rear camera is an additional $100, it is hard to recommend this camera. At that price range there are newer dual 1080p cameras available which should be a consideration.
Where to purchase for lowest price
This camera is primarily available on Amazon.
The latest English firmware and player can be downloaded from the Thinkware site.
You can download the manual here.
Published: January 12, 2015