Car Dash Cams – Some thoughts

I know a lot of people are considering dash cams now by the number of emails I receive asking about mine and where they can get one.

I did not research the one I got and it is not one I would recommend because of some reasons, I will describe.

I rarely buy anything without researching it, but I did in this case. The camera I bought was bought by a friend of mine for another gringo that changed his mind and never came to pick it up. I thought a dash cam was a good idea and said I would take it without doing my research.

Most of the dash cams are made by small companies in China. The instructions they come with are generally poor. Most will work with Windows based PCs. Some will not work with Apple PCs. I have yet to see one that specified what PCs they will and won’t work with.

Because of this, I recommend that people, with only Apple PCs, be sure before buying if they can transfer the files to their PC and use the video.

Some have proprietary recording software and may only be played back on the device. All that I have seen use a mini SD memory chip to record on.

The cam I bought was only able to have the date and time set by recording the current date and time on the SD memory chip and loading it into the camera. Horrible design! My video quality is fair, but certainly not great.

You can spend from $30 to hundreds of dollars on a cam. The differences may be worth the money to you and they may not. Most people are buying them for insurance purposes and if one is ever used, what ever you paid for it will be worth the money.

GPS is on the more expensive models. It will record your trip and it can be displayed on a Google map. Those with GPS will probably record the speed you were driving and G-force of an impact.

Some are now coming out with dual cameras. I am going to include a video review of one of these cameras. By watching this video, you will learn several things about cams in general and questions to ask.

Here is another Dash Cam review site. They rate the camera in the video as having poor night vision. I would still like to have one. I refuse to drive at night in Panama and it should not be a problem.

13 thoughts on “Car Dash Cams – Some thoughts

  1. wow that sounds like video cam is essential for driving in panama as these local cops go after the expats? Drivers not follow the traffic laws will certainly make the night driving very dangerous! I wonder what is the accident rates in countries like Panama or no one records are kept? I recall riding a taxi in DR and it felt outright dangerous… fortunately cuz of the traffic congestion the speeds are low.

  2. Morning Don, I have 2 dash cameras ordered on ebay and payed for with Paypal. The cameras are in the $30.00/$35.00 range including shipping from China. On the reliability/quality scale I would give them a overall rating of 8.5, as with anything Chinese you are taking a crap shoot, but my experience has been positive to the extent I have ordered 2 more “just in case”.

  3. There are now model available that replace your real view mirror all together and have lenses both in the front and rear of the car with the image displayed in the view finder of the mirror eliminating the need to have a separate external piece of camera equipment.

  4. Do not know the model, mine have all come in a “plain brown envelop”, like I said before. It is a crap shoot when ordering from China

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