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Choosing a car dashboard camera

Dashboard cameras became very popular in Eastern Europe & Asia way in advance of the UK. Slowly we in the UK are now catching on to the idea and dash cam cameras are becoming increasingly popular at an exponential rate. They are even being recognised by insurance companies and you will find that some insurance companies give price reductions for dashboard camera users.The reason for this is easy to see once you have used one. With wide angle viewing, high definition recording, auto saving of footage when a collision is recognised by the camera and more it becomes a lot more straight forward to prove who was in the wrong when an accident occurs and exactly what occurred prior to a collision.

Click to view our car dashboard camera range.

Winscreen mounted dash cam

HD quality?

So if you've decided that you want a dash cam then the next step is to choose which one. The model of camera you choose ultimately depends on the functionality you want. However the first function, in our opinion, is going to be quality of footage. The main benefit of this is to ensure that number plates are recognisable in footage making identification definitive. If you can't identify the cars, the footage becomes useless! Many dash cams promise so much but ultimately the footage is poor, quality, grainy and writing is illegible.

HD quality allows number plates to be easily read

Night time driving

The next option, depending on your driving habits, could well be the ability and quality of night time / low light level filming. In British winter time most of us are driving in low level light in the morning or evening so you're going to want to ensure that this footage is viewable, crisp and clear. Some models of dash cam come with infra-red night vision, others use differing technologies such as taking several images and combining these images to create one very crisp, clear & bright image. Ultimately the proof is in the quality of the footage, rather than going for one specific technology.

Night time quality of car camera images

Memory

Most cameras do not rely on integrated memory but rather require you to slot in a memory card. If so don’t forget that this cost needs to be included when you're comparing different models. The benefit of not relying on integrated memory is that its easy and cheap for you to upgrade the recording capacity of your camera. Usually an 8GB SD memory card would give you around an hours recording. This should be more than enough. Once an accident occurs you can ensure that the memory card is removed or the specific recording saved (either automatically by the camera or by you on to PC). A 32GB card would give you most of the days driving all recorded.

Running out of memory

Most, if not all, car dashboard cameras function by recording a small time period of footage. That, for example, 5 minute footage is saved to a file on the camera or its memory card and the camera starts the next file with the next 5 minutes of footage. Once the cameras memory becomes full the cameras should cycle round, delete the oldest footage and replace it with a new file. In this way there is always the newest footage saved in case of an accident and the camera never runs out of memory & stops recording, when you expected different!

Map together with video on PC

Other options...

Once you get past image quality, which is the be all and end all for one of these units, other functions really depend on what you want and think you may use. Some car cams feature GPS tracking so that you can show via Google maps or similar where you were when an accident occurred. Some include G force detectors to show what G force there was and what speed you were doing when an accident occurred, plus these G force sensors can detect deceleration data too so its possible to see how hard you had to brake. Some even detect when a large G force event occurred and automatically save this footage as potential crash data that should not be over written.

3wisemonkeys stocks a range of car dashboard cameras...click the following text to view them: Car dash cam

Do get in touch and let the 3wisemonkeys know if you need any more information or tips!

The 3wisemonkeys team

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