A Car Dash Camera Is A Wise Investment
While you can simply attach a camera to virtually anything now, it’s really smart to put one in your car.
There is no shortage of stupidity out on the open road. It’s really smart to keep a virtual record of everything you can. Whether you want to record accidents or road rage, a dash camera is a wise investment.
If someone swerved and you got cut off, if you saw a really rare car, or you saw a meteor shower, you will have it all on camera. No matter what happens to you while you’re driving in your car, you’ll have it on camera. That’s kind of reassuring.
These cameras have garnered a lot of attention and popularity around the world, and now police departments in the U.S. are instituting new policies of non-involvement for certain kinds of accidents.
Dash camera footage is going to become more essential in the coming years.
Video evidence is preferred compared to spoken testimony in court, and if a traffic accident is ever contested, you will have the crash on tape.
If a picture is equal to 1,000 words, then a video means even more.
What Makes a Good Dash Camera ?
Dash cams are great accessories. They offer numerous advantages. You can use them for added security or for recording your own road video. They are easy to install and more affordable than ever before.
If you have always wanted to add a dash camera to your vehicle but had no idea where to start your search, then find out what makes a good dash cam.
Overview of the Top 12 Dash Cam Features
There are quite a few features to pay attention to. This can make it a challenge to find the best dash cam. In order to help you make an informed decision, you should compare a variety of different cameras while examining the following features:
1. Quality of the lens
2. Lens angle
3. Temperature limits
4. Battery life
5. Size of memory cards
6. GPS logging
7. Recording modes
8. Loop recording
9. Auto-lock for video files
10. Multiple file formats
11. LCD viewfinder or display
12. Single or dual camera
These 12 features should be the focus of your research when shopping for dash cams. Below, we will cover each of these in detail, so that you will learn what makes a good dash cam.
Quality of the Lens
The very first feature to consider is the quality of the lens. Most 2016 dash cams will be listed as “HD cameras”. But, there are different levels of high-definition. While several manufacturers are starting to release HD cameras with resolutions higher than 1080p, full HD is typically considered 1080p. This is a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
A step down from 1080p is 720p – with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. When purchasing a dual camera, it is fairly common for the front camera to be 1080p while the rear camera is 720p. Pay attention to the resolution if you want a clear shot.
If they do not provide the resolution or if the camera is not HD, then look for another option.
The lens angle determines how wide of a shot you can get with your dash camera. The wider the angle, the wider the view. This is useful for being able to capture more of your surroundings.
If your primary reason for purchasing a dash cam is for added security, you will want a camera with lenses that are at least 120-degrees wide. Though, you can also find wider options. The KDLINKS X1 dash cam features a super wide 165-degree angle lens.
While comparing cameras, try to find the temperature limits. The temperature limits refer to the minimum and maximum temperatures for safe operation. The average range is between -20 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but this can vary between dashboard cameras.
There are a couple of exceptions. The REXING S300 and KDLINKS X1 dash cams have both been tested operate at temperatures of -40 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit for at least six hours. Remember that the inside of your vehicle can easily exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit while parked in the sun on a warm day.
Battery Versus Capacitor
Some of the latest dashboard cameras are powered via a super capacitor – as opposed to a standard lithium-ion battery. Supercapacitors charge much quicker than regular rechargeable batteries.
In fact, a typical rechargeable battery may take several hours to charge while a super capacitor may only take a few minutes. Along with charging quickly, super capacitors have a longer service life. They can last through hundreds of thousands of charges – compared to less than one thousand for a lithium-ion battery.
If possible, you should opt for a dash cam with a supercapacitor. Though, they also tend to cost more than other cameras. You will need to balance the importance of this feature when you compare cameras.
Size of Memory Cards
The majority of 2016 dash cams use MicroSD cards for storing video. Though, there are some models that still use full-sized SD cards. In addition to the type of card, the maximum storage capacity recognized by the device may vary.
Some dash cameras are capable of accepting memory cards up to 128GB in size. Others may be limited to 32GB. Make sure you check this feature when reviewing dash cams. The more storage space you have the more video you can record.
Another beneficial feature is GPS logging. With this option, your camera unit can automatically imprint your GPS location while recording video. In the event of an accident, theft, or vandalism, you will have evidence of the exact location where the issue occurred.
As you begin exploring the features of various dash cams, you will notice several different recording modes. If you are going to be driving at night, you will want to find a dash cam that features a quality night vision mode.
You may also find special recording modes for recording video in different lighting conditions. As an example, the ITRUE X3 dash cam features 6-layer glass lenses which help deliver superior night vision recording.
Loop recording is becoming a standard feature. With loop recording, your camera will continue recording video, even if your memory card is full. How does this work? All of your videos are stored as small video files and contain a time stamp.
Once your memory card is full, the camera will begin recording over the oldest files on your card.
Auto-Lock for Video Files
Auto-lock is incredibly useful. This feature will automatically lock your latest video files so that they will not be deleted.
The auto-lock feature, also sometimes referred to as an emergency lock button, is typically triggered as the result of motion detection or a g-sensor. The motion detector or the g-sensor will notice any sudden impacts or movement and then prevent the deletion of your video files.
Multiple File Formats
This next feature is not quite as crucial as the others. Though, it does deserve your attention. You may have the option to record in different file formats.
Typically, a dash camera will record MP4 or AVI files. Others may record RAW data, which can eat up your memory card storage. If you are interested in video editing, then you may want to pay attention to the file formats.
Otherwise, this will not be a major feature.
LCD Viewfinder or Display
The majority of cameras have an LCD viewfinder. Though, they are not always included. If you want to be able to see what you are recording as you record, then a larger LCD display can be beneficial.
Single or Dual Camera
There is one more major feature to consider. You need to decide between a single or dual camera. With a dual camera, you get two cameras – one to point forward and want to place in your rear window.
How Do You Choose the Best Dash Camera ?
Now that you know what makes a good dash camera, you can make an informed decision before making a purchase. There are dozens of quality options available. Take your time and compare as many different cameras as possible.
Keep these features in mind as you begin comparing dash cams. You may find it beneficial to make a list of the features that are most important to you. Along with the 12 features discussed, you should factor your budget into your decision.
Start bookmarking or make a list of potential cameras. Perform your own side by side comparison, using the information mentioned above as your guidelines. Purchasing a dash camera is a great way to give yourself some peace of mind.
Dash cams can automatically record the events leading up to an accident. They can capture vandals or thieves in the act. Dash cams are also wonderful for recording your own personal road videos while on vacation. Browse the rest of this site to find in-depth reviews of the latest and greatest dash cams for 2016. Find out which cameras are able to meet the expectations of the features listed.