CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Computers, GPS, 'Smart' 'Phones

'Bike cameras' what to buy (or not) and how to use

(14 posts)
  • Started 7 years ago by chdot
  • Latest reply from threefromleith

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  1. chdot
    Admin

    Following on from the "I wish I had a camera" - or not(?) thread (http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=15459)

    What to buy?

    I bought a Muvi a couple of years ago, used it for recording some rides. Simple and robust - clones available on eBay for about a fiver!

    Now the 'aspiration' seems to be for 'GoPro'/type - not cheap or small.

    There is also the 'what to do with the footage' and workflow/process suggestions.

    kaputnik -

    "I have a camera that I rarely use, after a few months of regular use I tired of the constant charging, downloading footage etc. routine."

    wingpig

    "I went through the phase of trying to edit and upload anything even remotely unsafe or unlawful, but quickly ran out of inclination and time.

    ...

    I'm currently happy just using it to complain about taxis and buses, where there's some slim chance of something beneficial-to-other-road-users happening due to official complaints processes."

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. wingpig
    Member

    I tried a Muvi (3?) a few years ago, but sent it back as the micro-lens was too crap to discern number plates. I bought a slightly bigger Muvi (5?), but sent it back as the record button rattled mightily and it would have required some sort of bodged-together housing to enable it to withstand rain. Instead I bought a Contour Roam, as it was waterproof right out of the box. I later bought a Garmin Virb, as it was on sale and had the option of recording five-minute chunks (for easier extraction/upload of pertinent things and the ability to last for weeks without running out of SD card) and because the Roam was getting very twitchy about switching on/switching off/speaking to my laptop. The Virb's timelapse function is better - it compiles the stills into an .MP4, whereas the Roam gives you a bunch of JPGs to link together yourself. The Roam was quicker to startup, whereas the Virb takes about ten seconds from cold. The Roam required modification of a text file to change its mode (fine prior to Android v4's restriction on access to files on the SD card), whereas the Virb has a screen and menu.

    If something relevant happens, I switch off the Virb then restart it, which results in the current file and five preceding minute-long files being retained. Every few days I plug in the camera, run a VBA utility to rename the files with a timestamp, additionally label the files of some interest, delete the rest and archive the relevant ones on my laptop and NAS, for eventual possible edit/upload.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. chdot
    Admin

    @w

    Thanks!

    Useful details.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. stiltskin
    Member

    I've got a Fly6 which is useful as it acts as my second rear light (probably not meaty enough for it to be my only light) camera works ok, but the battery life is not as good as it was having used it for over a year. I have kickstarted a Fly 12 which should cover the front as well, although I would rather use a helmet cam. I do have a contour roam, which is also pretty good as a helmet cam. However as I also have a helmet light I thought it looked a bit OTT and so it doesn't really get used.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. SRD
    Moderator

    "a bit OTT"

    yup. that's me with my helmet light and contour roam 2.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. Snowy
    Member

    I bought a Virb too. Just the basic one without GPS.

    If you also have a Garmin bike computer then you can integrate the video and the computer log, and get stuff like a map with a moving dot on it beside the video which is quite nice.

    I use mine slightly differently - I just leave it recording with no looping. I've got a 64Gb card in it so I can go for weeks without having to upload.

    On the resolution I'm using, it chops the video into roughly 23 minute long files, so similarly I know if something has just happened that I want to review, I only ever need to upload the last couple of files.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. twq
    Member

    I have a contour roam 2. It doesn't stick out quite as much as a go-pro, but not as low profile as some I've seen.
    It's easy to use, and returns a decent picture in daylight. Almost completely useless in the dark.
    Battery is good, and it's easy to charge etc. Waterproofing has not failed, even in yesterday's torrential rain.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    "yesterday's torrential rain"

    Where??

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. City centre had a downpour in the afternoon yesterday, really really heavy. Heard it was the same in Leith....

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. acsimpson
    Member

    I have a go pro which produces good quality pictures and videos although benefits from some post capture software stabilisation. The original mounts are plastic and don't hold the camera very steady. Although I have a nice metal after market mount I haven't been able to find a quick release one so I only occasionally use the camera and then normally to record infrastructure rather than drivers.

    Just like lights I don't attach it to a helmet as it seems to negate the benefits of wearing a helmet and possibly leaves you at greater risk than no helmet.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. Started out with a wee Muvi, which actually did the job pretty well, and I'm considering a clone as a little rear view camera. Then had a Contour Roam, but it just all of a sudden stopped working after about 10 months. Then got a bigger Muvi, which benefited from a screen on the back, but a teeny shower of rain killed it.

    I've got a Sony now, the name of which I can't remember, but which can record up to 1080p, if not using the image stabilisation, which means I usually have it on 720p, which is fine for numberplates. With stabilisation (which is excellent by the way) you have 120 degree field of view, which is plenty wide. Without you can have 170 degrees, which is stonking.

    Also has GPS (though I've got it turned off, I may activate for some videos of the 20mph park zones), and wi-fi (though that seems to have stopped working after 6 months or so of being fine - pity, could use my phone or iPad as a screen, which made rockpooling fun). Only waterproof with a case, but it's not too bulky.

    Can't recommend RAM mounts enough. Just brilliant, so secure. Bung a rubber ball to the camera using the tripod mount, another rubber ball on the bike (a variety of options for handlebar mounts, but I bought one that you can stick a screw through, and on the commuter it sits on the headset, replaced the centre bolt, on the cross bike it uses one of the empty canti brake bosses), and you have a clamp that tightens up on both (I suspect I'm going to have to get a picture of the setup).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. condor2378
    Member

    I use a Mobius on my helmet (I'm only helmeted on the road bike) with an SJ4000 on the rear of said road bike, then transfer the SJ4000 to a front mount only for my commuter. Both are on looped recording and split it into 5 minute segments. I've used them to complain about bad driving to both police and liveried vehicles companies, most prominently City Sprint who came within a midgies appendage of splatting me due to incredibly bad driving. Both cameras can be bought for around £50. Techmoan's youtube channel is very good for reviewing cameras.

    I like the back up incase something were to happen, as I have no confidence in the Police to actually do anything or care what happens to a cyclist without "evidence".

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. amir
    Member

    I have no idea about how folk use their videos (since I am too sensible to have one of those new-fangled devices ;) ), but I wondered if they use special software. In context of some of my work, I have seen this software being used in another context completely but it may be useful in some way here.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. I ran a little Chinese Muvi clone for about 8 months before the battery stopped holding a charge. Two years later, after one too many heart-stopping close passes by HGVs, I bought a Contour Roam 2, which I've been running for the last two years. Fabulous until the light's low or it's dark - which is a shame. It's really just there as insurance so that if anything does happen and I'm assaulted, injured or worse, there's evidence available.

    Currently mulling over a new camera as the spring in the microSD card slot is now knackered, making it almost impossible to get the card out without faffing about with tweezers for 5 minutes. It also means that it sometimes doesn't stay fully in the slot and doesn't quite touch the contacts so the camera doesn't think the card's inserted or reports it as faulty.

    Ideally a cam which has good low-light / dark performance this time, without breaking the bank!

    Posted 7 years ago #

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