What dashcam are you using?

gphin

2020 CX-9 Signature. 2019 BMW X3 plus 30+ others
I'm planning on installing a two or three camera dashcam and looking for recommendations. Most important must have includes a built in wide view interior camera as part of the main unit. Other primary factor is a good working dependable parking mode. Curious how these cameras can be mounted to be as discreet as possible but still provide an unobstructed interior view (from rear view mirror). Looking at Vantrue N4 and S2, Rove 3, and Viofo t130, plus a couple others. Appreciate any feedback/recommendations and pics where you installed your camera on the windshield.
 
Thinkware Q800PRO.
Been using Thinkware for the last 3 cars I had. When I got this, used it as an excuse to upgrade from my 750.
 
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Montreal
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2022 CX-5 GT
I have a Viofo A129 Pro Duo. Seemed to be a great option for the price. Haven't hardwired it yet though.
 

MadStyle

Member
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2022 Mazda CX5
Considering this for a more clean look.. Camera seems meh, but looks like it gets the job done.

Someone in the comment section said it worked for the CX-9 as well.
 
Thinkware Q800PRO.
Been using Thinkware for the last 3 cars I had. When I got this, used it as an excuse to upgrade from my 750.
Question - That camera has a barrel connector for power. Can it be powered off a USB port?
The Amazon page does not show the cables that come with it.
 
Thought this was eye opening…
It is no secret that only a few manufacturers make the sensors. It has always been like that. Its the processing after the data is collected, or the lens quality that can potentially make a difference. This is absolutely the same in IP security cameras. I think this guy took it a little too far, but basically I agree with his premise.

I am only interested in a compact, one channel dashcam, powered by capacitor, good night vision, and I can get to the imagery via an app. When I got my CX-5 I thought I would look into a new dashcam.. but there aren't that many available like that any more. It had been about 4 years since I went looking into dashcams. There are so many crazy features being crammed into the dashcams that I don't want. I want one that just runs quietly in the background. If something happens that I need to get to the video, I can.. I ended up recovering the dashcam from my old vehicle. hehee
 

gphin

2020 CX-9 Signature. 2019 BMW X3 plus 30+ others
Update to my original post. I ended up buying a Vantrue N2S. Easy to install and been getting to know all the settings over the past few days. So far, happy with camera....small, seems well constructed, and picture quality is excellent. Tried out parking mode (security was a big factor for me) for first time over the weekend and was somewhat apprehensive based on all the feedback about battery drain, power bank type, overheating, etc. Did not want to hotwire and have vehicle battery drain and wanted to avoid an expensive dashcam battery pack. Parked in golf course parking lot with lots of activity around. I simply connected cam to a 25k mah two year old phone power bank that cost about $25. Was in the parking lot for about 6 hours and had over 200 "events" recorded, both front and rear (need to adjust sensitivity). Temperatures were near 90 and everything worked flawlessly. And after 6 hours, my power bank still had over 70% left. So far so good, and under $200. Again, thanks for all feedback.
 
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Montreal
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2022 CX-5 GT
Thought this was eye opening…
I used to follow LTT up until a couple of months ago.
The no-name cameras that they reviewed are unusable both in terms of image quality and reliability. They might work to prove that I am not at fault, but not in case of a hit and run. Also I would definitely steer away from anything with a lithium battery (for safety purposes)
Rexing V1-4K might be the exception -- they downplayed it quite a bit but the image quality is not bad at all. Garmin seems to do much worse than the Rexing from the footage they showed.
BUT he makes an excellent point -- dashcams are bad in general and they are not getting better anytime soon.

As I said I use Viofo A129 Pro Duo. I got a Vantrue N4 for my mom's car and an N2 Pro for my dad's car. I like that they have cabin cameras as I assume it can be used as evidence to show you were wearing your seat belt/weren't looking at your phone etc.
 
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2016 CX-9 GT
BUT he makes an excellent point -- dashcams are bad in general and they are not getting better anytime soon.
I’ve tried many dashcams and been unhappy with all of them. This video solidified why. Using the same SOCs and sensors so there won’t be a huge difference in image quality. I’ve been reluctant to recommend any cameras based on my personal experience because I’ve had to settle for “good enough to prove I wasn’t at fault” and I don’t think that’s a resounding enough recommendation
 
As I said I use Viofo A129 Pro Duo. I got a Vantrue N4 for my mom's car and an N2 Pro for my dad's car. I like that they have cabin cameras as I assume it can be used as evidence to show you were wearing your seat belt/weren't looking at your phone etc.
Question - for the A129 Pro Duo, can you run it in one channel mode without the extra camera? I liked the A129 Pro 4k.. but they don't seem to sell it as a one channel.
 
I’ve tried many dashcams and been unhappy with all of them. This video solidified why. Using the same SOCs and sensors so there won’t be a huge difference in image quality. I’ve been reluctant to recommend any cameras based on my personal experience because I’ve had to settle for “good enough to prove I wasn’t at fault” and I don’t think that’s a resounding enough recommendation
Most are 1080p sensors upscaled to higher resolutions for sure.. My old 1080p DDPAI has come in handy on multiple occasions. We drove up on a vehicle that was dumping a dog on the road.. The video was sent to the Sheriff's office, and with the video, they busted the person responsible. (we kept the dog :) ) It was awesome and enough to make me want to always have one running.. Even if I never access it and essentially forget it's there.. hehee
 
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Montreal
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2022 CX-5 GT
I’ve tried many dashcams and been unhappy with all of them. This video solidified why. Using the same SOCs and sensors so there won’t be a huge difference in image quality. I’ve been reluctant to recommend any cameras based on my personal experience because I’ve had to settle for “good enough to prove I wasn’t at fault” and I don’t think that’s a resounding enough recommendation
Fully agreed. I researched for a month before deciding on the A129 Pro. It was definitely expensive but the image quality seemed to be slightly better than the competitors.

Question - for the A129 Pro Duo, can you run it in one channel mode without the extra camera? I liked the A129 Pro 4k.. but they don't seem to sell it as a one channel.
Yes! I used it like that for 4 months. It can do 4K 30fps or 2K 60fps with the front camera only.

Most are 1080p sensors upscaled to higher resolutions for sure..
@Toad Yup and there is an easy way to figure this out. Vantrue N4 has a 5MP sensor BUT claims to do 4K. 4K (well... UHD) is 3840x2160 pixels which is 8,294,400 pixels (~8MP). A 5MP sensor CANNOT capture 4K videos.
 
Fully agreed. I researched for a month before deciding on the A129 Pro. It was definitely expensive but the image quality seemed to be slightly better than the competitors.


Yes! I used it like that for 4 months. It can do 4K 30fps or 2K 60fps with the front camera only.


@Toad Yup and there is an easy way to figure this out. Vantrue N4 has a 5MP sensor BUT claims to do 4K. 4K (well... UHD) is 3840x2160 pixels which is 8,294,400 pixels (~8MP). A 5MP sensor CANNOT capture 4K videos.
The notion of that guy in youtube that these dashcam makers are going to make their own sensors is ridiculous. It's more baffling that he is surprised to find out they don't. Their are differences between the platforms even though they use the same sensors. I guess the point of the youtube video is that they will all be the same, so why not buy the cheapest. This is a bad assumption.

He does however lean towards getting a camera with a sensor that natively supports the kind of detail you are trying to get. Any 1080P camera is going to struggle to decipher a license plate at any kind of distance. If that level of clarity is important to you, you should find a camera with sensors that can at least collect that level of detail, and evaluate how well the platform processes the image afterward. Cameras with that level of sensor cost more, so you will have to pony up the extra.

This chart is useful to see some of the popular sensors and what they can do. I am not sure why one of them is highlighted. I guess it was a featured sensor in the document.

You can see the three levels of sensors. The middle is what you see so often.. The top 3 sensors in that chart are much more serious.
 

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Montreal
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2022 CX-5 GT
The notion of that guy in youtube that these dashcam makers are going to make their own sensors is ridiculous. It's more baffling that he is surprised to find out they don't. Their are differences between the platforms even though they use the same sensors. I guess the point of the youtube video is that they will all be the same, so why not buy the cheapest. This is a bad assumption.

He does however lean towards getting a camera with a sensor that natively supports the kind of detail you are trying to get. Any 1080P camera is going to struggle to decipher a license plate at any kind of distance. If that level of clarity is important to you, you should find a camera with sensors that can at least collect that level of detail, and evaluate how well the platform processes the image afterward. Cameras with that level of sensor cost more, so you will have to pony up the extra.

This chart is useful to see some of the popular sensors and what they can do. I am not sure why one of them is highlighted. I guess it was a featured sensor in the document.

You can see the three levels of sensors. The middle is what you see so often.. The top 3 sensors in that chart are much more serious.
Linus (the guy in the video) has a problem with software developers for some reason -- therefore he downplays how much you can get done with software processing. Well, he likes complaining in general. I would love to see an in-depth image quality difference between dashcams that use the same sensor. Also they seem to use one short daytime clip and another short nighttime clip for comparisons.
  • As you said, obviously dashcam manufacturers are not going to make their own sensors. Sure, a GoPro or a smartphone camera takes better videos than your dashcam -- but your dashcam will work under the sun when it's 50 degrees C in your car or when it's freezing. Your dashcam will also record for hours without having any problems.
  • What he gets right is the marketing gimmicks. A proper 1080p camera will allow you to decipher details, but just because a video file is 1080p doesn't mean that it was recorded in 1080p. My camera has three bitrate options for recording. They are all 4K according to my camera, but they aren't.
  • Engineering is the art of creating something that "barely works." Higher end dashcams work exactly as intended (you can read license plates, street signs etc.) while having extra functions like Wi-Fi, GPS etc.
  • He likes that one of the cameras use a miniHDMI port for the rear camera. That's one of the worst design decisions I have ever seen. miniHDMI is extremely fragile and has no place in car dashcams. Also try finding a 5 meter miniHDMI cable. You can technically connect a high end rear camera, but undoubtedly the dashcam processor is going to compress it to the point where you can't read any fine details.
  • In the chart, the only sensor that can actually do 4K is the IMX317, which is what I have on my A129.
What I would really like is 2K/4K recording at 60fps. Makes reading license plates way easier. North American license plates are also to blame. They are much smaller than European/rest-of-the-world license plates, making it harder to read them from a camera footage. On top of that, some states/provinces don't have front license plates.
 

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