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Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

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2015/12/25 Dashcam Testing: AUSDOM HD A261 vs Wheel Witness HD Pro vs Spy Tec K1S vs Vico Marcus 5
π 2015-12-25 00:00 in Cars
While I originally tested the 4 best dashcams I could find on amazon, I have since then tested more cameras. Here is the list:

  • Wheel Witness HD Pro ($125) and Vico-MF2 ($130)
  • AUSDOM HD A261 ($130)
  • Vico Opia2 ($280)
  • Vico MF3 ($240)
  • Vico Marcus 5 ($360)
  • Spy Tec K1S ($240)
  • See also the Toguard HD 5" Full HD 1080p Android GPS navigation Touch Screen Car Dash Cam Dual lens WiFi
  • And the better Toguard HD 7" Full HD 1080p Android GPS navigation Touch Screen Car Dash Cam Dual lens WiFi
  • trying 3 cameras inside the car (Wheel Witness, Marcus 5, Spy Tec K1s)
    trying 3 cameras inside the car (Wheel Witness, Marcus 5, Spy Tec K1s)

    K1S screen right to the dashboard, K1s cam is very small by the mirror, Marcus 5 is big on the windshield
    K1S screen right to the dashboard, K1s cam is very small by the mirror, Marcus 5 is big on the windshield

    Introduction

    I had been meaning to get dashcams for my cars, and finally got around to it. I had however no idea that there were _so_ many dashcams on the market, so I spent way too long going through all the dashcams I could find on amazon, and wrote this list.

    Here's how I made my selection:

  • At least 1080p with WDR (wide range, like HDR for pictures)
  • Looked into the smaller list of dual cam dashcams
  • I ignored anything under $100 because I assumed it would be poor
  • Dual Cam Wifi HD Dashcams

    I also looked at dual camera Wifi dashcams, but didn't find anything too satisfying.
  • I tried 3 Lukas Lk-7950 WD FHD & FHD Wi-Fi: first one never arrived, 2nd one had non working Wifi and 3rd one never turned on. The 4th one had an android app that didn't work with my phone, so ultimately I was not able to use it anyway.
  • The Blackvue DR750LW-2CH looks good, but it's not cheap and I'm not sure I'd use a Wifi camera if I can see the screen where I put it (I was thinking about locating it behind me).
  • The BlackVue Wi-Fi 2 Channel DR650GW-2CH is also an option, but it costs more than the Lukas and is said to have a lesser video quality (the rear camera is 720p only)
  • The BlackVue DR750 includes a screen, costs more than $400, and the reviews don't make it a total winner either
  • Better than 1080p single camera dashcams

    Wheel Witness HD Pro ($125) and Vico-MF2 ($130)

    Wheel Witness Amazon and Vico-MF2 Amazon
  • 2560*1080P & 2304*1296P 170 degree (much wider than most cams out there)
  • WDR at 1080p (higher res don't have WDR)
  • Parking Monitor with motion sensor (doesn't really work well)
  • The review below was originally written for the Wheel Witness HD Pro, but after having gotten a Vico-MF2 for review and testing, I found it to be nearly identical, which means that both dashcams are the best 1296P cameras I've tested. The Vico-MF2 costs just a $5 more as of 2016/09/06, but from what I've seen comes with slightly updated firmware and an experimental anti collision system and Vicovation has been providing good US based support when I contacted them, so it's worth the few dollars extra.

    I like this camera because it's super wide angle, very high resolution, nice real screen, but it's a bit big if you want a concealed install. I had to mount it upside down on my passenger seat in my install and like most dashcams it cannot flip the recording, so that's why the text is upside down on the screenshots. Of all the cams I tried, it was best at getting license plates, even from inside my car, and its WDR did a great work with dual lighting (inside the car and outside). _Update_: the more expensive Vico Opia2 ($280) and Vico MF3 ($240) actually beat the Wheel Witness and Vico MF2 now.
    It was the only camera I originally that would get some license plates at night, despite being inside the car (the newer ones like Opia2 with WDR should do good on those conditions too):






    I'm certain that plate would have been good if it had been in the windshield
    I'm certain that plate would have been good if it had been in the windshield

    Unsurprisingly, on the windshield, it did even better:





    AUSDOM HD A261 ($130)

    Amazon
  • 1080p or 2560*1080 if you turn off WDR
  • GPS built in
  • Compact/Small screen
  • Lots of features for a small size and price
  • Parking Monitor with motion sensor (doesn't really work well)
  • It's a nice little camera, but it only gets the plates sometimes compared to Wheel Witness, Vico-MF2, Vico Marcus 5, and of course Vico-Opia2 and Vico-MF3 which all do better in the same conditions:



    Night shot
    Night shot


    this is questionable
    this is questionable

    usable
    usable

    barely usable
    barely usable

    1440p or better single camera dashcams

    Vico Opia2 ($280)

    Amazon and my amazon review. I got one to review from Vicodirect who answered all my questions and was a lot more clued about the product than the average reseller, assuming the reseller even answers at all.

    Here are the features:

  • 2560 x 1440 WDR (best in class, no other cam I have does WDR at more than 1920x1080)
  • GPS costs extra
  • Very wide view where even the sides of the shot are usable
  • Compact/Small screen
  • Parking Monitor with motion sensor that actually works
  • Best video I've gotten from quite a small camera
  • no built in battery, it uses a super capacitor, which means no parking mode is possible without special power wiring
  • Metadata is not saved as subtitles in the video like other cams, but a separate metadata file requiring a special player (doesn't really matter if you're not going to buy a GPS)
  • Filenames don't contain the date or time the video clip was taken
  • This camera looks like the Ausdom from the outside, but it has a much more capable processor and it's the first camrea I have where you don't have to chose between high resolution, or WDR. WDR really helps with exposure by taking multiple shots and merging them into a multi exposure frame, like HDR on your camera or phone. With often challenging lighting conditions when you drive and pictures where half the screen could be in the shade while the other half could be in the sun, WDR is a lifesaver.

    I also need to mention that this is the first dashcam I've tried where the parking mode is actually reliable. It probably records video only when there is movement when the car is parked, and yet that feature does not trigger to make lots of 10 second videos when you're driving (like many oher dashcams). Great job there!

    In the license plate test, this camera beats all the other ones hands down. I've even been able to get license plates that are on the absolute side of the picture where the view is often distorded. Impressive...






    For night, quality goes down, but with a little luck, you can still get some plates:



    Youtube video during the day and night:

    Vico MF3 ($240)

    Amazon and my amazon review. I got one to review from Vicodirect who answered all my questions and was a lot more clued about the product than the average reseller, assuming the reseller even answers at all.

    Here are the features:

  • 2560 x 1440 WDR (best in class, no other cam I have does WDR at more than 1920x1080)
  • GPS costs extra
  • CPL/ND filter was included and easy to snap on
  • Very wide view where even the sides of the shot are usable
  • Bigger than Opia2, but nicer resulting interface in my opinion
  • It's $40 cheaper than Opia2, but sadly the parking function needs to be manually turned on and off. If you don't turn it off while driving, it keeps cutting your video into 10 second clips).
  • no built in battery, it uses a super capacitor, which means no parking mode is possible without special power wiring
  • Metadata not saved as subtitles in the video, which is convenient (better than Opia2)
  • Filenames contain the date and time the video clip was taken, which is good (and better than Opia2)
  • This is the wider body of the Vico Opia2, $40 cheaper, but without a useful parking function (Opia2 has a great parking function). If you don't care about parking monitoring (or don't have a power when the car is turned off solution), then this is the best dashcam I've tried so far. It has the same spectacular ultra HD resolution as the Opia2 with WDR and comes with an ND (neutral density) filter.
    The screen is easy to read even if it takes more space than the Opia2 (by design) and the control buttons are similarly simple to use. As a bonus this dashcam is actually smart enough to stop recording and go into settings when I push the settings button while others stupidly tell me to stop recording first.
    Apart from the parking function, while this is not the cheapest dashcam you'll find, it's one of the top ones in picture resolution and quality you'll be able to find.
    Sadly night screenshots don't look so good, so don't be too hopeful on getting license plates at night unless you're lucky:





    So if you compare it with the Opia2, it's a bigger nicer screen and interface, it does almost as good (but not as good) during the day, and worse during the night to a point that getting any license plate is going to be very unlikely due to the high amount of noise in low light conditions.

    Youtube video during the day and night:

    1080p dual camera dashcams

    Vico Marcus 5 ($360)

    Amazon Review
  • 1080p front and rear, 140 degrees
  • WDR works well
  • Good video quality (better than Spytec K1S, but almost as good, or as good as Wheel Witness HD Pro)
  • Sadly, despite the price, GPS costs extra (not included)
  • Inexplicably, no built in battery, it uses a super capacitor, which means no parking mode is possible without special power wiring
  • Rear camera video cannot be flipped upside down (it can for SpyTec K1S)
  • Metadata is not saved as subtitles in the video like other cams, but a separate metadata file requiring a special player
  • Filenames don't contain the date or even which of the 2 cameras the video was taken on (SpyTec K1S does this right)




  • sometimes, it doesn't do as well
    sometimes, it doesn't do as well

    I was close to this car, but this plate is barely usable
    I was close to this car, but this plate is barely usable

    The inside shots went well and did a good job of getting dual lighting inside and outside the car. Text is upside down since I had to flip the video in software due the camera's inability to do it itself:


    Let's look at night shots now, those are poor like many cameras and you'll be lucky if you get a single license plate out of it:


    ugh
    ugh


    While the picture quality is pretty good, the layout and features are quite poor compared to the Spy Tec K1S, and it costs 50% more while not even offering included GPS or even a built in battery...

    Spy Tec K1S ($240)

    Amazon Review
  • Dual 1080p cam 140 degrees like the Vico Marcus 5
  • Both cameras are detached from the screen, allowing for more concealed installs
  • Both cameras can be flipped upside down (very handy for matching how you attached the camera)
  • GPS included and can be positioned away from the main screen for better reception
  • WDR
  • Backup battery and parking mode (which Vico Marcus 5 can't do)
  • Files are nicely saved as CAM1_date_time and CAM2_date_time with metadata included as subtitles. Nicely done.
  • Unfortunately it may not do well with higher temperatures as some reviewers have said. No problems for me so far, but it's winter right now.
  • So I'd like to say that you're done, this is the dual cam to get. I mean it packs a _lot_ of features, it's modular, and very reasonably priced. Sadly the pciture quality is a bit short of the Vico. This makes it a difficult choice because the features really are awesome. If you must get as many license plates as possible, sadly this is not the camera for you. The Vico Marcus 5 will do a better job.




    sigh...
    sigh...


    this one is almost readable
    this one is almost readable

    WDR from inside the car showing light contrasts, are ok but not great, while night pictures are poor (but not worse than Vico Marcus 5 that was also quite poor):



    don't expect any plates out of this
    don't expect any plates out of this

    Now, there is a problem, the K1S overheats and crashes. That's bad. I ended up making a custom dual fan setup attached to the air vents, and powered off the USB input:



    Conclusion

    2015/12:
    If you only care about a single camera, both the Vico MF2/Wheel Witness HD Pro and AUSDOM HD A261 are good choices (the former are a bit bigger and has slightly better video quality).
    For dual cams, it gets more complicated. There are not that many options that worth anything and neither the Vico Marcus 5 nor the Spy Tec K1s are the full package. The former lacks in features and is 50% more expensive while the latter has hardware that can be unreliable for some, and the video quality is poor for 1080 as you won't get many plates out of it.

    2016/09:
    If you are ok with a single dashcam and you care about ultimate video resolution, the Vico MF3 and even better Vico Opia2 are the best dashcams I've tested so far. Yes, they cost more, but they offer the best resolution by far, and the Opia2 finally has an easy to use workable parking mode, what I've been looking for for a while now.

    If you want ultimate dual camera setup, here is what I recommend: - Spy Tec K1S to have one cam in the front bumper (it's not really weather proof but worked well enough in California climates for me), to act as front parking camera, and the other cam you can install on your rear bumper. The other option is to have the front camera attached on your passenger seat and look at the dashboard/steering wheel, and get some outside view. - If money is no object, then get a Vico Opia2 as high resolution windshield camera with parking mode

    This page show my install of Spy Tek K1S with a front camera in the bumper on my Tesla Model S.

    If you want to go the cheap and lower resolution mode, then consider the Toguard HD 7" Full HD 1080p Android GPS navigation Touch Screen Car Dash Cam Dual lens WiFi where resolution is definitely not as good, but you get a dual dasham with GPS for cheaper than all other options, and it's also integrated in your rear view mirror for the same price.

    As a reminder, here is a big list of dashcams available on amazon: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lectIQT_67Fa7Q0lvepFhrUmW1_oWHYGiU-JulG_Dys/edit?usp=sharing


    More pages: July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 July 2016 June 2016 April 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 November 2014 September 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 February 2014 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 September 2011 July 2011 June 2011 April 2011 March 2011 October 2010 August 2010 July 2010 April 2010 February 2010 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 November 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 June 2007 April 2007 December 2006 November 2006 May 2006 January 2006 July 2005 May 2005 April 2005 January 2005 December 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 February 2004 October 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000

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