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Thread: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

  1. #1
    Senior Member testrider's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Los Angeles, CA

    Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    I read all about the GoPro and Contour but I don't need anything fancy as I'm only looking for something cheap that I can mount on my bike ̣(or helmet) for safety. Not for my own or anybody's viewing pleasure.

    Any recommendation for something inexpensive, small and with enough resolution to be able to read license plates from the video it captured. It doesn't need to be waterproof. I just want something that I can turn on before a ride and turn if off when I get home. Oh. at least a couple of hours of recording is fine. I can always restart it and overwrite it every couple of hours.

    Thank you for any inputs.

  2. #2
    Back to riding again jdgretz's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Beautiful Downtown Canoga Park - A great place to live, work, and shop

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    I think the Flip has a screw in port on the bottom that would allow you to use RAM Mounts to attach it to your bike. Helmet? Not so much - maybe Velcro? They can be had for around $100 in the 2-hour record mode. I don't think they can be recharged/powered while shooting, so at the end of the two hours you probably need to recharge the batteries as well as formatting the memory card.

    The Veho is small enough to keep in place with Velcro and runs around $65 as does the Sphere Mini Digital Camcorder.

    I've never used any of these so I have no personal recommendation, but I know the Flip has a good reputation for quality and ease of use - it's just no longer in production and is pretty much an orphan when it comes to factory support.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2011
    hills of CA

    2cents Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    contour GPS. gives speed and location.
    go-pro. most versatile.
    and about six or seven others.
    even a smaller reg video cam corder. (cost here) tank mounts, other mounts are custom.
    sorry i do not know the name of all that is out there but have seen a number of threads dealing with this and there are a number of "action" cams out there but the best is the go-pro,(NO computer needed to set up) easiest is the contour roam (need there program and the web to set up) ..also the cheepest..(not as in cost efficient it is a disposable unit. batt goes bad it is dumped into the trash).
    some are cheep units and some are just smaller standard video cams, even a way to use your smart phone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member B650E's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Stockton Area, CA

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    Another one to consider is the Drift Innovation HD170. I just bought one of these a couple of months ago and I really like it. It comes with helmet mount, handlebar mount as well as a "body mount" ( velcro strap long enough to go around a head without a helmet ). It's HD, reasonabe in cost ($229 on Amazon), replaceable battery (rechargeable by USB), SD Card storage (up to 32G), weatherproof and best of all, it comes with a wireless remote.

    From my experience, the battery lasts bewteen 1 1/2 and 2 hours on continuous recording. With the wireless remote, it could last a lot longer by just leaving the camera on and then start/stop recording when needed. The wireless remote comes with a wrist strap and I keep it on my left wrist ( outside my glove ). The buttons are BIG ( just two, start/stop) and easy to hit with gloves on.

    If you had a second battery and SD Card, you could stop and replace both and be on your way in just a few seconds.

    When I commute, I keep it on my helmet and ready, just in case I need to capture events as they "really" happened.

    I also use it for ride recording.

    As for service, my first unit stopped charging after about 1 1/2 months. They replaced it with a new one, no questions asked.
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  5. #5
    Cooligan CRASH's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Santa Cruz Mountains

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    Most Point and Shoot digi cameras have a movie mode. You can pick up a Nikon Coolpix used for $70 on eBay and use that. Not sure how long they shoot for, SD card will have a lot to do with that.
    - CRASH -
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  6. #6
    howling at the moon coyotebros2's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Danville / Clio

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    I bet you could find an old Gen 1 goPro (that is not HD) pretty cheap.

    Do you need HD?

  7. #7
    Kinda new round here dave_p's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Seattle, WA

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    The Iphone actually has a great video camera. Most likely better than buying a cheap video camera. I am thinking of buying the iphone mount from motodracing. They seem to have the best mount on the market.

  8. #8
    Junior Member SF_Hooligan's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    San Francisco, CA

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    Keep an eye on Amazon. I've seen previous gens of both GoPro and Contour cams for under $100 in recent months.

    Other options, some already mentioned:
    -Any compact camera on a RAM screw/tripod mount.
    -iPhone (also works as a GPS with one of the better apps with downloadable maps)
    -Watch Craigslist for used GoPro/Contour/etc
    -Enter the GoPro drawing every day.

  9. #9
    Kinda new round here
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Re: Recommendation for a cheap video camera for riding

    I was just browsing for relevant posts for my research and I happened to stumble upon yours. Thanks for the useful information!

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