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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #1
There doesn't seem to be a very recent thread on this, and I've been trying to choose a dashcam.

I went through a couple of the cheap GoPro knockoffs already, the Crosstour CT7000 and CT9000. They were utter garbage, and I realized I don't really want an "action" cam anyway. What I really need is something more like the Innovv C5 system.

But I'm not married to Innovv, or the C5 in particular. It's just one of the most thoroughly-reviewed systems I've run across.

If I had to pick one factor that's "most important," I'd choose image quality. I need to be able to read license plates, for example. Clear, sharp 1080P video could do the job. Which is what the cheap GoPro knockoffs failed in, utterly. Seriously, that was some poor-quality video. Their "2.7k" was not as sharp as some 720p video.

A confounding factor is that it's maybe not possible to fully assess image quality in a YouTube video. YT put their own compression on the video, so you aren't seeing exactly what you would from the source.

Sometimes forums will even automagically scale down a 1920x1080 screengrab (sigh!).

Some folks at Goldwingdocs did a most thorough Innovv C5 review late last year. Those responsible for the review were nice enough to let me download the actual videos used in the review (!).

I'm on the fence about the video quality. It doesn't look great when paused. I can make out license plates, but only if they're sorta close.

It's leaps and bounds above the garbage that came out of the GoPro knockoffs, though. Just like with digital SLRs & cell phone cameras, megapixels alone aren't the whole story.
 

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I saw one at AIMEXPO last year that looked promising. The brand was SYKIK. No personal experience but the video looked good. As I recall, they were reasonably priced. The website is www.sykik.com.


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I just ordered the "Sykik Rider RW1, Fully Water Resistant System with 4.5" Monitor" and got a free GPS Tracker for RW1 included. Thanks for the tip Eddie!
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #4
I looked at Sykik's offerings, but they're not for me. I don't consider 720p resolution sufficient.

They do have a 1080p model, but it's significantly more expensive than the Innovv C5 (if you get the WiFi + Bluetooth options, to make it comparable), probably due to the Sykik's built-in display. I don't need a display built into the system.

Innovv's K2 system is supposed to become available in July. Guess we'll see.
 

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DesertBike -- I'm curious if the full resolution C5 videos captured sufficient resolution to read license plates other than dead center and very close. In the downsampled versions on their site the only time I can make out LPs is centered and very close. Can't make out LPs across a small intersection, or in an adjacent lane just a few feet forward, etc.

All of the reasonably priced, wide-angle dashcams I've seen suffer from the same two primary problems: poor off-center image quality, and insufficient optical resolution* (and / or) depth of field beyond a few yards. 1080p (or even 720p) is useless if the optical resolution of the lens is insufficient.

That said, I still think there's value in a dashcam even without the ability to read license plates from a variety of wide angles and distances. Establishing lane position, the overall surrounding environment, road conditions, other drivers' actions and vehicle movement, etc. is still important.

For now, I use a Mobius mounted on the front, and plan on adding one to the rear. Don't need wifi, or bluetooth, or anything -- just need the ability to start and stop recording on power-up/-down, loop recording, Good Enough resolution (until a reasonably priced, very HQ option becomes available), and ability to remove the media card.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
If you visit the Innovv C5 discussion thread over at Goldwing Docs forum, you can download some C5 video and see for yourself.

Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review ? Product Reviews ? goldwingdocs.com

In general, license plates need to be within what looks to me like 25 feet-ish, before they're clearly readable. The good news is that this doesn't change much across the field of view.

You bring up good points. Optics are always a compromise of some sort. Widen the angle, lose clarity, especially when considering necessarily compact lens size. Start with only so many pixels (1920x1080 is about 2 MP) and then smear them over a widened field of view, and it's not too surprising details become less distinct.

I'm looking at the Mobius Maxi also. While nominally an "action" cam, it seems suited to dashcam duty. It has the essentials:

true loop recording,

recording start at power on (and, presumably, stop after power off?),

crash detection,

motion detection.

Takes up to a 128 GB SD card. At $80 (minus SD card, but I have one), I may jump on it. I do not have to have WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity or a companion phone app.

There are 2 flavors of the Maxi, one with a 135° FOV lens, the other 150° FOV. One tends to assume that the smaller FOV would mean increased image quality. It's not quite that simple, though, according to this discussion at the dashcamtalk.com forums:

https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/mobius-maxi-f1-5-2-7k.34356/page-13#post-411942

The Mobius Maxi also offers a higher-res video mode (2.7k @ 30 FPS), but jury's out on video quality and I won't be surprised if it's not worth much. Assuming though that the camera uses a real 4 MP sensor instead of upsampling, the 2.7k mode could be great.
 

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Thanks, DB, for your additional thoughts and the links. Looking forward to delving into the new Mobius options and the linked threads in greater detail.
 

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Is there any solution out there that has two cameras? One to be mounted facing forward, the other to be mounted facing rearwards?

Of course you can simply get two systems but I'd like to have both video streams to be time-stamped and linked together.

I found out the rear-facing camera is pretty important. I was once doing a small video-project which required me to videotape a bunch of trucks from the front, so I had my GoPro mounted on the top case. I found significantly fewer cars tailgating me when I let the GoPro record, with that red LED flashing. In fact, I'm even contemplating mounting that (old, broken) GoPro permanently on my top case with some sort of power supply to make the LED blink permanently.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Is there any solution out there that has two cameras? One to be mounted facing forward, the other to be mounted facing rearwards?

Of course you can simply get two systems but I'd like to have both video streams to be time-stamped and linked together.

I found out the rear-facing camera is pretty important. I was once doing a small video-project which required me to videotape a bunch of trucks from the front, so I had my GoPro mounted on the top case. I found significantly fewer cars tailgating me when I let the GoPro record, with that red LED flashing. In fact, I'm even contemplating mounting that (old, broken) GoPro permanently on my top case with some sort of power supply to make the LED blink permanently.
Yep, Sykik has several systems with dual 1080p cameras (XR 3.0, ZR1) as well as dual 720p (FR1, RW1, CR1).

I do not know how video clarity compares between the Innovv C5 and any of the Sykik 1080p options. That would be a useful comparison. I would need raw Sykik video files to really tell. Watching videos on their website doesn't tell all that much, given that YouTube puts their own compression on the video even when it shows "HD" playback.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #10
I just ordered the "Sykik Rider RW1, Fully Water Resistant System with 4.5" Monitor" and got a free GPS Tracker for RW1 included. Thanks for the tip Eddie!
Have you received and installed your system by now? Any feedback?
 

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Have you received and installed your system by now? Any feedback?
Mostly. I installed the front camera and the PVR not long after it arrived then had to leave town for a week. When I got back I rode the bike for a bit then I noticed the handlebar mount for the PVR had broken. The stock mount is poorly engineered, I'm not sure why a company wouldn't invest a few cents more for something more robust.

Anyway, I contacted the company and he sent a better replacement bar mount right away for free. I thought that was great service!

I haven't mounted the rear camera and I also haven't pulled the card and checked the video on a computer yet. I have to leave town again in a couple of days so wont mount the rear camera and check video quality until sometime after I get back.

I do a bit of an update after I complete the project.
 

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I just purchased the HaloCam M1 system from Amazon, but I have yet to mount it. While doing research, though, I did come across some great advice regarding image quality. Be sure that you get a SD card that has a high enough write speed to keep up with whatever system you have. For dual camera systems, I've read that you should get at least a card that is rated U3 (symbol looks like a 3 inside a U-shaped bucket), which means it has a minimum sequential write speed of 30MB/s. That is sufficient for 1080p and 4K video at 60/120fps. Obviously, the higher minimum write speed, the better. If you get a card that cannot keep up with the camera, the quality will suffer regardless of how good the camera itself is.

I bought a 128GB Samsung card that is U3 but has a claimed minimum write speed of 90MB/s. I'm hoping that this allows the system to record high-quality video.
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #13
That's true, you are gonna have a bad time if you cheap out on the SD card.

I'm not sure exactly what happens if the card cannot keep up with the camera's output. Better not to find out!

I also think it's worthwhile to shell out for one of the "High Endurance" type cards. They're not cheap - circa $60 for a Samsung 128 GB High Endurance ("Pro" line) - but I think it's worth it. Supposedly if a non-High Endurance card dies when used in a dashcam, the company will tell you to pound sand on a warranty claim. And I really don't want to have no footage of someone hitting me, because I cheaped out on the SD card & it died suddenly.
 
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