What car dash cam to buy?
September 4, 2012 7:39 PM   Subscribe

What dash cameras should I consider purchasing? There's a bunch of them out there, but I'm having little luck finding info about which are good and which aren't.

After a couple recent close calls while driving, I'm thinking it'd be nifty to get a dash camera. I don't have a pressing need for one, but I think it'd be interesting to have a recording of those times when someone cuts me off in a silly manner or something interesting happens up in front of me.

Unfortunately, I'm not having much luck finding decent reviews that differentiate one from another.

I'm mostly just interested in a basic couple-hour ring buffer, perhaps with some sort of something-interesting-just-happened-make-note-of-this button. I'd also like it to be very low profile, so it doesn't obscure my vision and isn't very noticeable.
posted by c0nsumer to Technology (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
From one of my favorite Dashcammers His videos state the following:

"Tools used: A sense of humor, a lot of patience, Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11, Arcsoft MediaImpression, Kodak ZX5 Playsport w/ wide angle and fisheye lenses, Legacy GT Sedan, a Bracketron GPS dashboard sticky-pad mount, Paint.NET,Irfanview, and a Ram Mount combo (suction cup, arm, and ball camera mount)."
posted by deezil at 7:48 PM on September 4, 2012

Best answer: I asked a question about dash cameras that might be helpful.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:50 PM on September 4, 2012

I have actually been thinking of developing one of these for quite some time because the cost of the components is low enough now to be able to sell them at retail for under $50, which seems to me to be a key psychological price point. There are some consumer cameras that are better than the Chinese ones (and of course many professional cameras that are much better) but they tend to be considerably more expensive and have features that are really not needed for the purpose of accident reconstruction.

Some questions about the Chinese ones are whether they are reliable long term and whether using a cigarette lighter plug for auto-on/off works for most makes and models of vehicles (it's my understanding that in some vehicles, cigarette lighter plug power is always on - any feedback about that from other people here would be appreciated).

Probably the biggest problem with the Chinese ones is marketing, support, and service. They are not branded, not marketed, and obviously don't have any support and service to speak of.

There's also the question of what kind of mounting consumers prefer. I believe the most common methods are dash top with a weighted base and windshield suction cup (which I understand is generally not legal). Interested to know what people think about that.
posted by Dansaman at 11:18 PM on September 4, 2012

I am also looking for one, for now I mount my Droid Global on the rear view mirror with a big rubber band; the kind they wrap fresh broccoli with; only problem is when a call comes in the video camera stops.
posted by jara1953 at 5:45 AM on September 5, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks very much, vegartanipla. I thought I'd searched sufficiently before posting, but clearly I didn't.

From what I'm seeing I'm not finding a ton of good info on different models yet. Maybe this is still a little ahead of the curve in the US.
posted by c0nsumer at 7:18 AM on September 5, 2012

"(which I understand is generally not legal)"

Why not?
posted by bz at 8:38 AM on September 5, 2012

Clarification about the "legal" question here:
posted by Dansaman at 11:08 AM on September 5, 2012

The original GoPro Hero comes with a nice adhesive mount for sticking to the dash. The other big advantages are HD 1080p, and it can charge the battery from your car's cigarette lighter receptacle while also recording.
posted by 2ghouls at 2:54 PM on September 5, 2012

I bought a Blackvue DR400G, and it's very good. Wide angle, GPS, G-force sensors, cyclical recording. It's a little cylinder that hides behind the mirror, has no screen and never needs to be interacted with. It announces when it's stopping and starting so you know it's on. It's easy to run and configure, too.

It wasn't the cheapest, but I've tried a couple of others and not been too impressed. I spend a fair amount of time out on the road so I like to have the camera in case something happens to me, or happens ahead of me which I am a witness to.
posted by tomble at 10:26 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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