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Car Cameras

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Car cameras, commonly known as dash cams, capture the footage of what happens in front of the car (and sometimes behind it) and can provide indisputable evidence for the police or insurance company in case of an accident. Dash cams are notable for their wide angle shots and recording loop.

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Key parameters when choosing a dash cam

Video resolution

Resolution tells you how many horizontal and vertical pixels there are in the image. Generally, the higher the resolution, the more detailed the picture, which makes for better video quality.

  • HD - 1280 × 720 pixels (720p), the license plate may be unreadable if a vehicle is further away.
  • Full HD - 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p), currently considered the standard resolution. The image contains enough detail to clearly identify people and license plates.

Some cameras also offer higher resolution. The resulting picture is even more detailed, but the video also takes up more space in camera memory (deleting intervals are shorter).

Framerate

Indicates the number of images a camera captures per one second (fps). 30 frames per second ensures smooth video recordings. The best cameras also offer 60 fps framerate, which makes video look more natural and you can even play it in 2x slow-motion without choppiness and stuttering. Higher framerates are usually available at lower resolutions.

Lens angle

The higher the angle, the more space in front of the vehicle the camera covers. A wide-angle lens gives you a better perspective, but at angles greater than 150° you get a fisheye effect, which reduces image quality and the level of detail. For dash cams, the most common wide-angle lenses have an angle of 120-170°.

Dash cams are often equipped with a display on the rear side, which lets you angle the camera just right and view the recorded video. It also makes the camera easier to control, especially if the display has touch controls.

Saving your recordings

Some cameras have 16, 32 or 64 GB built-in storage and can hold hours of video recordings without any extra memory cards. The vast majority of cameras also have a microSD memory card slot, which allows you to expand the storage and store more video recordings.

Capacity720p (5 Mb/s)1080p (10 Mb/s)
16 GB7.3 h3.6 h
32 GB14.6 h7.3 h
64 GB29.1 h14.6 h
128 GB58.3 h29.1 h

The figures are indicative only. Maximum recording time is affected by the transfer rate and used video codec—the final figures may be quite different depending on the particular camera model.

Connectivity

  • HDMI - direct video output to TV, transfers high-resolution image and audio.
  • USB - used when connecting to a computer; the camera announces itself as a removable drive, so you can download videos from it.
  • WiFi - linking the camera with a smartphone app lets you change the camera settings, view the current recording, or view recorded videos.

Batteries and battery life

Generally, dash cams have a small built-in battery that can power it for several dozens of minutes, sometimes even a few hours. This is particularly important when the vehicle is parked and the camera isn’t powered from the cigarette lighter socket.

Useful dash cam features

  • Rear camera - records what is happening behind the vehicle; can help you park if the image is projected on the camera screen.
  • GPS - records the route and speed to later display it on the map. Records automatically if the car starts moving.
  • G-sensor - automatically saves the footage and prevents it from being rewritten if the car hits something.
  • Parking mode - watches over your car for several hours without the need for extra power; starts recording in case of even a minor collision.
  • Manual record lock - prevents selected moments from being deleted from the camera's memory.
  • Replaceable filters – polarizing filter eliminates dashboard glare; UV filter increases saturation and vibrancy.
  • Microphone - allows the camera to capture audio.
  • Radar detector – reports detected radars.
  • Date and time stamp - helps with archiving.
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