Car cameras (also known as video recorders and DVR cameras) are extremely popular in our country. Is it worth buying such a device, what should be taken into account when choosing, what are the prices, useful functions? What are the best? Check out reviews, samples and tests.
Table of contents
Is it worth buying a DVR
What to consider when choosing a recorder
Car Camera Appearance
Which DVR to choose:
up to PLN 200
up to PLN 400
up to PLN 600
up to PLN 1000
above PLN 1000
Best quality at night
The fashion for video recorders came to us from the east. It was initiated by the Russians, who have a large number of accidents. The real plague on their streets is the huge number of attempts to extort compensation. For this reason, many drivers have decided to buy a kind of security box, which is the camera inside the vehicle. And those have already seen and recorded a lot – from car accidents, through strange and funny situations, to even falling meteorites or plane accidents. Unusual videos recorded by car cameras are watched by millions of Internet users every day. Dedicated channels have also appeared in Poland, where compilations of recordings from all over the country are very popular.
Video recorders are therefore an investment in our security. More and more people are doing just that. Until now, this has happened after the fact, when such a device would come in handy in an emergency. Their prices vary greatly, as does the functionality. There are many types of such devices available in the market. From recorders built into the rearview mirror, through those with reversing cameras, with built-in GPS, lane assistant, mini camera, and even the ability to run navigation and games. Which brands of car cameras are most often bought by Poles? Among the most popular manufacturers are Navitel, Xiaomi, Mio, Media-Tech, Prestigio, Xblitz, Genius, BlackVue, DOD, Orllo, Novatek.
That is why more and more people search the web for additional information about DVR cameras, their functionality, or sample recordings during the day and at night.
Devices with a very large price range are available on the market. The cheapest of them cost PLN 40, and the most expensive costs nearly PLN 2,000. With such a large price spread, we ask ourselves the question of what to choose?
Dvr cameras come in different shapes and designs. There are roller-like devices, rear-view mirror covers, which at first glance are hard to distinguish from a normal mirror. There are also mini cameras and other fancy shapes and colors. Video recorders are usually made of plastic – hard or rubberized, which is much more pleasant to the touch. There are also devices made of metal.
While appearance is a matter of taste, there are several aspects to consider. The camera with fancy colors and shapes will be very conspicuous – also for thieves, for whom it can become a tasty morsel. The rear-view mirror with a touch screen can be a terrible choice if you like to enter the settings often – it will quickly be full of fingerprints.
You should definitely take into account the quality of the recordings (minimum Full HD). Today, almost all DVR cameras record in this resolution. This does not mean, however, that the quality of recordings will be the same in models from different companies, or even from the same manufacturer. This is largely due to the sensor, optics and the quality of the materials used. That’s why it’s worth reviewing sample recordings that can be seen on popular video sites like YouTube.
High-end cameras use Ambarella or Sony Xmor CMOS optical systems, which ensure that, for example, license plates of other cars will also be legible on films recorded at night.
When the quality of the recordings suits us, we should consider whether the equipment we want to buy has a large viewing angle. At a minimum, it should be over 120 degrees, although around 150 degrees would be the best choice. This will make the camera lens register everything that is happening in front of our car, gently hooking the sides of the car. The viewing angle of the device is an important factor. Wider lenses will record everything that is happening in front and to the sides of our car. The wider the lens, the smaller the image magnification will be. Some DVRs allow you to use the zoom function. This is most often digital zoom, which allows you to reduce the angle of view and brings closer what is happening in front of us. Digital zoom will always degrade image quality.
I have tested over 50 car camera models so far. I found a manufacturing defect in some of them. In one of them the objective lens detached, making the whole image out of focus. Another model had a problem with the memory card slot, another damaged matrix. When choosing a store, it is worth paying attention to whether and how it fulfills the warranty for a given device. Sometimes it is worth buying the equipment in a well-known Polish store than ordering the same device a bit cheaper, e.g. in China, and more and more people order video recorders directly from Chinese manufacturers. You should think carefully before buying a device without any brand because you do not know how long it will work and if it will work at all. In the case of a problem with the camera, we are practically left with the problem alone. European law forces sellers to offer a 2-year warranty on the goods sold.
It is worth looking through many offers and choosing branded equipment that provides us with service in Poland, which will allow us to repair the device or replace the defective model. On Allegro you will find many cameras that do not have any brand (so-called No name), we try to avoid such models because in the future we will have a problem with the service, Polish instructions or any help
What features of car recorders are most useful? On the packaging of car cameras in stores there are many icons with listed functions. One of the most useful features is WDR (Wide Dynamic Range). Thanks to this, the camera records the image in a large tonal range. What does it mean? Going into the sun, darker elements will be more visible. The same will also be true of extreme contrasts. The same is true of the exposure range. In weaker and cheaper DVR cameras at night you may simply not be able to see anything.
Another important feature is the built-in small battery for the recorder. The devices use a constant current coming from the cigarette lighter socket. They turn on when you turn the key and turn off when you remove it. Meanwhile, in the event of an accident, they can simply be cut off from the power supply. Then the battery will come in handy, which will allow you to continue recording for a few minutes. This may, for example, register the perpetrator fleeing the scene of the accident.
Other useful features include autoloop option. Thanks to it, the camera will record all the time until the memory card is full. Then it will delete the oldest unprotected file and continue recording in its place.
In turn, the motion sensor and parking mode will start recording the device when it detects the movement or impact of our car. However, the camera must have power for these modes to work.
An interesting function is the GPS module, which additionally displays our speed on the recording, or in the case of some devices also informs about approaching places where speed cameras are often found.
Many manufacturers offer IR diodes that are supposed to enable recording in complete darkness. However, these illuminate a small area in front of the car, and in cheaper cameras only … the hood of the car.
When deciding to buy a video recorder, we will find a good device in every price range. It is not true that the more expensive a dash cam is, the better it is. I tested various equipment and often those for PLN 300, the quality of recordings and workmanship beat dvr cameras for nearly PLN 2,000. However, you should beware of devices without any brand (so-called no name), or suspiciously cheap. Cheap equipment made of low-quality materials may not cope with the extreme temperatures that prevail in the car. During the summer heat, the temperature inside the car reaches up to 60 degrees above zero. In turn, in winter, apart from frost, we can come across high humidity. It may happen that equipment bought for years will stop working after half a year, and the quality of the recording will be so poor that we will not see anything on it.
When investing in a car camera, it is worth betting on good optics. Glass lenses and clear lenses will work. The best models have lenses with a brightness of F / 1.8. It is also worth paying attention to the manufacturer of the matrix. The top ones are Sony or Ambarella. It is worth remembering that the police may consider the video recorder recording as evidence in the case, if the quality of the recording is good enough.