Blueskysea B1W Dashcam Unboxing and Review

The Blueskysea B1w dashcam is based on a Sony sensor at a budget price. While the camera firmware needs some tweaking since it’s on a first firmware revision, this camera has a lot going for it for the price: 1080p at 30 FPS in h.264, a Sony sensor, and a compact form factor. It is also based on a capacitor which usually means higher reliability in hot and cold weather.

Note: The video samples are based on an older firmware version and may not represent how the video currently looks.

Full review coming soon.

 


Ele Rexso Explorer Dual Screen Action Cam

Purchase Link from Gearbest

Skip to video samples: 2:14

The Ele Rexso Explorer Dual is a interpolated 4K action cam based on the Novatek NT96660 processor and an unknown image sensor (likely the Omnivision OV4689, since some spec sheets say “IMX179” but the IMX179 has not been combined with the NT96660 before. This is just a guess, however, so please don’t take it as truth). Externally the camera is near identical to the Firefly 7S, but the video results are quite different. I love this wine-red color it comes in too.

The camera shows promising early results for a Novatek camera. It doesn’t suffer from the blue white balance that many cheaper NT96660 cams do. Additionally, it has real 1080p60 and stabilization. Although the stabilization isn’t as strong as some competitors, it does beat out the SooCoo C30. My copy of the camera processes video slightly soft so I am going to check if it needs to be refocused before doing the final review, or if it’s just the way the camera processes video.

Stay tuned for the full review.

 


SJCam SJ360+ Review


Hardware and Unboxing

Video Samples

The SJCam SJ360+ has a decent design with a form factor that doesn’t require a mobile phone – but that’s about all it has going for it. Unfortunately SJCam chose internal hardware that is only capable of low quality 360 videos, and the result is an output that looks similar to a early 2000s cellphone. In anything but the best light, aggressive noise reduction kicks in and removes any detail. Still photos suffer similarly.

Overall the SJ360+ feels  rushed to market and unfinished. I highly recommend a minimum of 4K for 360-degree video, with 8K being the ideal. I have not tested it yet but video samples from other reviewers make the Mijia 3.5K Panorama Camera seem like a promising budget choice.


Budget 4K Showdown – SJCam SJ7 Star vs Firefly 8s vs ThiEYE T5e vs Xiaomi Mijia 4K

Budget 4K Camera Showdown

All of these cameras are so close and the differences in how they process video are so minimal, that what you should look for while watching is which camera processes exposure more appealingly to you, which camera has the most appealing audio to you and which cameras user interface will work best for you. No matter which you buy you’ll end up with a camera that has decent video quality.

Click here to learn how to update the Mijia to English menus.

Camera links

Firefly 8sAmazon.com || Gearbest International

SJCam SJ7 StarAmazon.com || Canada Amazon || Gearbest International

Thieye T5eAmazon.com || Amazon UK || Gearbest International 

Xiaomi Mijia 4K Gearbest International


MGCool Explorer 1S Review

The Explorer 1S is your standard run-of-the-mill Novatek action cam without many improvements done to the default firmware. The video quality is decent in most situations but the gyro doesn’t seem to work. The cam has the potential to live up to other cameras that are a bit more expensive but that would require firmware updates on MGCool’s part (which I don’t currently expect).

Links to buy:

MGCool 1S:
USA: http://dreki.tech/1s-amazon
International: http://dreki.tech/1s-gearbest

SooCoo C30:
USA: http://dreki.tech/c30-amazon
International: http://dreki.tech/c30-gearbest

ThiEYE T5e (real 4K):
USA: http://dreki.tech/t5e-amazon
International: http://dreki.tech/t5e-gearbest


ThiEYE T5e Review


Summary: Despite a few little issues with the stabilization and a slight size difference with other action cams, the T5e is an excellent value, from a pure image quality perspective.


Continue Reading


Lightdow LD-4K First Look and Initial Impressions

This is yet another fake 4K camera based on the Novatek NT96660 processor and a Sony sensor. It does 1440p @ 30 FPS or a weird almost unusable 2880×2160 @ 24 FPS. Despite my critical comments in the video this cam does have some good things about it: I noted that this camera has a wider dynamic range than a few other Sony/NT96660 cams I’ve tested before meaning that bright and dark areas retain details better instead of getting too dark or too bright, but in many cases the video is almost hazy/greyish and colourless especially in direct light. Also the gyro and 60fps modes don’t exactly work. I’m going to play around with some firmware and see if I can find something better and/or hack together something workable then get back to you with a full review.

But is it worth $30? Yes, because at this price it is practically disposable. It’s remarkable that this hardware can be priced so low from a domestic seller. But at its regular price of $50, my advice is to spend a little bit more on something better such as the SooCoo C30.

LD-4K on Amazon.com
SooCoo C30 on Amazon.com


Viofo A119S Review

The Viofo A119S is a low profile dash camera based on the A119 form factor however there are two main differences: the camera uses an updated lens with a narrorwer field of view, and it contains a Sony imaging sensor that is capable of a max resolution of 1080p at 60 FPS.
Continue Reading


Meike MK320 Review

The Meike MK-320 is a compact hot-shoe flash featuring TTL functions and tilt/spin capability. It runs off of two AA batteries. This flash is also known as the Neewer NW320.

When I first mounted the flash on my camera I thought it was broken because the TTL function was not exposing correctly, however I realized that the camera didn’t initially recognize the flash so I had to pull it off and put it back on. Once I did that the camera recognized it fine. When you first put it on at any shoot though, you’ll need to pay attention to make sure the camera is properly recognizing it as it seems 1 in 6 times the camera didn’t see that a flash was mounted so the flash was just firing at an incorrect brightness.

Comparing this flash to the built in one on my D750, they’re about the same power, but where the benefit of this is in its diffusion and ability to bounce the flash off of the ceiling or walls. Because the flash face is larger, the light is smoother, and there’s less harsh reflections on skin. Included in the case is an additional diffuser that helps even more. I’m also fond of the LEDs that it includes for video mode, however, they don’t really illuminate all that much to be useful beyond a few feet. Exposure with TTL is good, perhaps a little bit on the bright side at times. Manual mode is easy to adjust functions and slave mode works fine.

Build quality seems reasonable at this pricepoint. All the buttons have a nice click to them and the plastic feels solid. With the 2 AA batteries inserted (you’ll need to provide your own), the flash has a decent weight to it. Not as much as a big flash mind you, but this is the type of device for someone who wants something more compact, so that’s a win.

This flash is small, so it is not a master of heat dissipation while repeating flash. Don’t fire too many in succession otherwise it will pause to cool down.

Overall it would make a better addition to a micro 4/3rds camera or a point and shoot than a standard full size DSLR. I wouldn’t personally use it in professional situations, but for the type of person who wants something to mess around with it’s cheap, compact and works decently once the camera recognizes it. My honest recommendation though: if you want to spend less and don’t mind a full size flash grab the Neewer VK750 II. It has more power, better TTL accuracy and a built-in zoom function (USA Link | Canada Link).


Viofo A118C2 vs A119

This is a comparison of the Viofo A118C2 and the Viofo A119. These are two wedge shaped cameras and both mount to the windshield with a flat sticky plate.

A118C2 on Amazon | A118C2 Canada | A119 on Amazon | A119 Canada

Design & Build Quality

There’s only a few differences between their body so I’m going to go over the main ones quickly. There is a slight difference is side. The A118 is a little bit thinner and taller whereas the A119 is wider and flatter. On the A118 the USB port is located on the rear of the camera, instead of the side, meaning that if you are not using the A119 with the GPS mount you will need a 90-degree cable adapter to make the camera more streamlined. The GPS mount on the A118 is added by way of cable whereas with the A119 it is actually built into the plate that sticks to the car. The lens on the A118 only goes up/down while on the A119 it also goes side to side, and finally, the buttons on the A119 are more logically laid out, in my opinion.

Video Quality

Now video quality is one of the most important things. So let’s start with daylight video. And, well, if you haven’t already noticed a difference you’d have to be blind. Apart from the difference in video resolution, there is a noticable difference in the way the cameras process colour. The A118 is duller and everything is greyish, whereas the A119 is bright and lively. The A118 seems to favor its exposure towards illuminating the darker parts of its surroundings whereas the A119 has a more balanced exposure and quite frankly the difference is huge. This is the normal angle I have my cameras mounted at, so that you can see just a little bit of the cars interior, and it doesn’t work all that well for the A118C. I imagine this camera would struggle with dark coloured hoods being in the video. The A119, though, wow, god damn does it look good. The added resolution makes the video a bit sharper although it doesn’t really increase license plate readability due to the lenses wider angle. You can see that the A118C2 really struggled due to its angle once we go into an underground parking lot.

At night, video is more or less the same. The A118C2 has a little bit better colour but the A119 is just a little bit brighter. For practical purposes there’s hardly a difference. When trying to read license plates I get more or less the same results: both cameras tend to expose for the surroundings whereas license plates are white and reflective so it is near impossible to read them on either. In some situations, where I am stopped behind other drivers, both cameras rendered readable license plates but these situations are rare. At night the cameras are more for documenting actual driving than keeping a tab on who drives by.

Audio Quality

Audio on these cameras is significantly different. The A118C2 is just garbage compared to the A119. The A118 picks up a lot of road noise and makes everything muffled like the camera is underwater.

Conclusion

Overall, in my opinion, it is worth the extra money for the A119 until Viofo releases a firmware update to improve the exposure rendering of the A118C2 and even then the performance can only be improved so much. The video on the A119 is sharper and it has 1080p60, as well as 1440p.