Car DVR as a surveillance camera: is it possible to use?

A car DVR is a special device that is used by vehicle owners to record all events that take place on the road, as well as inside the car, on the file carrier. And surveillance cameras allow the user to control, visually check the situation at the protected facility at any time convenient for him. In some cases, owners of personal plots, as well as private houses or summer cottages, use ordinary car DVRs as a video surveillance system. This is due to the fact that they are much cheaper than ordinary, standard CCTV cameras. However, when using such a device as a full-fledged video surveillance system, it is necessary to take into account its technical parameters, functionality.

using, action, camera

Can the DVR be used as a surveillance camera

To create a simple, low-cost video surveillance system, you can use an ordinary car recorder. However, due to the low quality of the picture, such a device will not allow a detailed examination of small objects or the faces of people recorded in the video. It should be noted that an inexpensive car recorder together with motion sensors will cost much less than a simple color video camera.

The advantage of such devices is that several video cameras can be connected to them simultaneously, without the use of additional, expensive hardware and equipment. The downside, when using recorders in the form of a video surveillance system, is that a special adapter (network) is required to power them. It is necessary to connect motion sensors to such devices. However, the main, significant disadvantage of these devices is that they are designed to work in a warm, protected from precipitation room and, unlike surveillance cameras, they cannot be installed outdoors.

Differences between a car DVR and a surveillance camera

The main, fundamental difference between a standard video camera used in video surveillance systems and an auto-recorder is that it is capable of monitoring a protected area without subsequent, permanent fixation, video recording, as well as audio materials on digital media. The video recorder during operation without fail records all the footage on the media.

In addition, camcorders and car recorders have several other fundamental differences. The recorder digitizes the footage and records it cyclically on digital media (assumes full use of the available digital memory). Previously recorded videos are deleted, and new material is recorded in their place.

Camcorders are capable of recording images until the memory on digital media is completely exhausted. After that, when there is no free space on the digital medium for fixing new data, the recording stops. In addition, the picture quality of video cameras is much better compared to car recorders. Thanks to their use, you can see small details of various objects in the video footage, as well as people’s faces.

However, it should be noted that such a device as a video recorder is capable of simultaneously functioning with several video cameras at once. To pair CCTV cameras with other video cameras, you will need to use additional equipment.

Algorithm of actions when using the DVR as a surveillance camera

When using a car recorder in the form of a video surveillance system in a personal plot or in a private house, it is necessary to take into account its technical characteristics and functionality. To use this device instead of a video camera, you need to additionally equip it:

  • Power adapter. In a car, such a device is powered by a cigarette lighter. To connect this device to the home power supply (220 V), you need a special adapter.
  • Motion sensors. The device is turned on at the moment when the movement of objects in its line of sight is recorded. This will save free memory on the digital media used when recording video materials.
  • Sensors capable of detecting infrared radiation emanating from a person. Thanks to this, the device will react to the presence of a person in his field of vision.

As digital storage media, during the operation of video recorders, SD memory cards are used. As a rule, most users use cards with a capacity of 32 or 64 GB.

For quadcopter

Using an action camera in combination with a quadcopter allows you to solve the problem of shooting video, and if you have a Wi-Fi module, also broadcast it to your smartphone. Many fans of self-assembly of drones prefer to buy additional equipment. In addition, some drones are not initially equipped with cameras, they must be purchased separately.

Most models of action cameras, which are equipped with a mount to a drone, are equipped with other adapters. for helmets, handlebars (the mount is sold with a waterproof box included). This is convenient if the owner’s interests are not limited to aerial photography. The Wi-Fi module is considered a must-have addition. even with a signal reception range of up to 50 m, you can control turning the device on and off from a smartphone.

Some models have live streaming mode. suitable for FPV control.

With night mode

Action cameras with a night shooting function allow you to keep recording video even after daylight hours. The degree of dimming can be from twilight to complete darkness: the level of sensitivity varies depending on the model. Ambient light is often used when night mode is turned on. In addition, there are cameras that use infrared or ultraviolet radiation. Choosing the right solution depends on your budget and preference.


Finding the right accessories for action cameras is a process that the operator simply cannot avoid. Among the necessary components, the first is the aqua box. a waterproof case for diving and extreme operating conditions. In addition, for everyday use, a silicone case may come in handy, which protects the lens from damage, scratches, and shocks. A replaceable battery is worth taking care of too.

Other useful accessories include:

  • spider tripod;
  • head mount;
  • suction clip (for working in the video recorder mode);
  • handlebar clamp;
  • a set of adhesive pads;
  • swivel wrist strap.

Depending on the method of shooting, the set of necessary accessories may be supplemented. For example, static work requires a tripod and an external microphone. To create selfies or video reports, use a monopod tripod with a button or an external remote control.

A camera float and lens filters can help make shooting on the water more spectacular.

For panoramic shooting

Action cameras with a 360-degree field of view create a “sense of presence” in the process of shooting. At the same time, the operator remains behind the frame, which allows ensuring the absence of interference in the lens. There are 2 of them in models for panoramic shooting, each with a wide-angle lens. The 360-degree view is in demand when creating video in the air, in the mountains, on the waves. where it is most important. Video content shot with panoramic action cameras is aimed at viewing with glasses or virtual reality helmets.

Where are applied?

The use of action cameras is quite varied. They are used for filming, especially where action takes place with a lot of dynamic scenes. Some directors just get by with one action camera. The smallest models often replace the DVR in the car. In addition, they are used on other types of equipment. from ATVs to bicycles.

In diving, when diving to a depth of no more than 60 m, action cameras help to cope with photography or create videos. This technique is especially often used in places with a large number of fish and marine animals. When adding a monopod on land, the camera easily adapts for sequential shooting.

This is handy when traveling or when vlogging.

The main field of application of the action camera is still in extreme sports. Here it is used in skydiving, motorcycle trials, freestyle, and when performing tricks. Even the most rapid events are reliably captured.

Besides, there are some rather unusual ways of using action cameras. For example, they are used as a video baby monitor with picture tracking via a mobile phone if there is a Wi-Fi module. When hunting or during search operations, this device is attached to the dog’s collar.

Species overview

There are many types of action cameras that can be suitable for the hobbyist of shooting on the move. Depending on preferences and specific wishes, this can be a model with optical image stabilization or with a large battery, wide-angle or sports. If size matters, a mini camera is the best choice.

For sound recording, it is better to choose a model with an external microphone, for use as a video recorder. with zoom, GPS and Wi-Fi.

Comparing different types of action cameras helps to understand exactly how each of the options works. Despite the general functions, they still have quite obvious differences that deserve a separate description.

How to choose the right one?

Choosing an action camera can be a serious problem if you don’t get it as serious as possible. Reviews of many models are contradictory, so it is better to rely not only on the opinion of fans of a particular brand, but also to consider specific parameters and characteristics. The most important parameters can be highlighted.

  • Hull protection. For extreme sports, this factor is fundamental. If you have to shoot in the “stone jungle” of a big city, it is better to give preference to an all-metal body made of aluminum alloys or a combination of polyurethane with other materials. Models in an impact-resistant plastic shell have to be additionally protected with covers, especially if they are to be removed in the cold.
  • Frame rate. It significantly affects the quality of video recording. The higher this indicator, the smoother and smoother the dynamic picture on the screen will turn out. But the same factor affects the rate of battery consumption. sometimes it is worth sacrificing too high rates or immediately purchasing a replaceable battery.
  • The presence of the display. It is absolutely necessary for vlogging or filming, as it allows you to quickly review the footage, more accurately choose the angle. In this case, a device with a liquid crystal color display will be the best choice. But the screen is optional, moreover, it noticeably increases the weight and dimensions of the device. The smallest action cameras support configuration and data output directly to a smartphone.
  • The duration of the battery life. It may come as an unpleasant surprise for a novice operator that the lithium-ion battery is completely discharged after only 2 hours of operation. If you plan to shoot longer videos, you should pay attention to the possibility of purchasing an additional battery along with the camera.
  • Memory size. The built-in can store up to 32GB of video. enough for 3 hours of continuous shooting. But far more important is the support of external media. With it, it will be much easier to expand the capabilities of technology. It is this factor that you should pay attention to when choosing.
  • Useful options. The GPS sensor is useful for fixing the geo-position of the shooting, the G-sensor is simply irreplaceable for automatically starting recording when you start moving. Other useful options include an HDMI connector for outputting video to a large TV screen via cable, the presence of a control panel.
  • Appointment. For cycling, snowboarding, skiing or mountaineering, action cameras in the form of glasses with first-person shooting are more suitable. For other extreme sports, you can choose from the standard series. Options with a panoramic view are suitable for shooting video for broadcast and viewing on devices with the creation of virtual reality.
  • Resolution. Overpaying for 4K isn’t always advisable. For most videos, 1920 × 1080 is sufficient.

Honor says that newbies simply don’t need many of the functions of action cameras. If the goal is not necessarily to create video content of the level of film festivals, you can abandon the screen, which makes the structure heavier and increases its dimensions. A recording speed of 60 frames per minute will also be sufficient.

What you shouldn’t save on is the capacity of the battery and the strength of the case.

Turn an action camera into a security camera


Classic action cameras are versatile and compact. Their distinctive characteristics include:

  • ease of attachment;
  • a variety of components;
  • image stabilization;
  • viewing angle 120-170 degrees;
  • shockproof housing.

Models of the basic type are convenient for shooting small clips, tricks, they can be mounted on sports equipment. The angle of view may not be wide enough for serious shooting.

Charging the Action Camera SJ4000 with a micro USB cable

Connect one end of the MicroUSB cable to the camera slot, as shown in the figure, and connect the other end of the cable to a 5V, 1A power supply, or connect to a computer instead of a power supply.

Installing and Removing a Memory Card

Insert the microSD card as shown in the picture above. To eject the memory card, simply push it in.

Note. To avoid losing data, remove and insert the memory card with the camera turned off.

SJ4000 Action Camera Settings Menu. Screen 2 of 7

Advice. Press the “Mode” button to take a quick photo while recording video.

VOLUME (volume). Adjusting the volume of the recorded sound.

TIME STAMP (time in the image). Enabling time display over image.

TV OUT (TV-out). Turn on or off the ability to view the screen on a TV.

TV MODE Selecting PALL or NTSC Mode

OSD MODE. Enabling the display of information and icons on the screen (active functions, current mode, recording, elapsed time, number of remaining photos, battery status)

SJ4000 Action Camera Settings Menu. Screen 1 of 7

Use the Up and Down buttons to navigate the menu.

Use the shutter button to select a menu item.

To exit the menu item, press the “Power / Mode” button once

RESOLUTION. Switching to a higher resolution will make the image clearer and the file sizes more voluminous.

Note. The more FPS (frames per second), the smoother your video will be.

LOOP RECORDING If the memory is full, the new recording will overwrite the old one.

FOV (Field of View). With this setting you can adjust the viewing angle.

WDR. special technology that smoothes the image by adjusting the light and dark areas

MOTION SENSOR Motion detection recording.

AUDIO (audio). Enable or disable audio recording along with video.

SJ4000 Action Camera Mode Switch

Immediately after turning on the camera, you can switch between modes using the “Power / Mode” button located on the front side of the camera.

Note. When the mode is already selected, you can press the “Power / Mode” button once to return to the video mode.

Turning the SJ4000 Action Camera on and off

Press the Power / Mode button to turn on the camera. Then you will hear a beep, the indicator will light up and the SJCAM logo will appear on the screen.

Video mode will be enabled by default.

To turn off the SJ4000 camera, press and hold the Power / Mode button.

Manual Action Camera SJ4000 in Russian

Consider setting up the SJ4000 Action Camera

The external description of Action Camera SJ4000 is shown in the following image

The following image shows the supplied accessories.

Disadvantages of registrars

These devices also have their own disadvantages.

  • For the most part, they plug in through the cigarette lighter. This is fraught with additional wires in the interior of the car, which spoil the appearance and get in the way.
  • When purchasing a recorder, a memory card is required. Since the internal memory of the device is small (and often absent at all), its full operation is impossible without a flash card.
  • The video recorder can only shoot fully in the car. Many people, noticing the external resemblance of a gadget to an action camera, ask themselves the question: “can the recorder be used as an action camera?” The answer to this question is surely no.

Recorders require constant power supply, they are much worse at shooting video in motion and are not designed for extreme loads.

Features of Action Camera

Action camera is a device designed for high quality video recording in extreme conditions. But can an action camera be used as a DVR? It is worth figuring out what types of video cameras exist and whether they are suitable for this role.


  • They turn on automatically when the car engine is started, retaining all the previous settings. The built-in battery allows them to record for some time in a jammed car. Some models of recording devices can be turned on when driving near the car, which allows you to record the moment of the offense even in the absence of the driver.
  • The DVR has a shock sensor. That is, in the event of an accident, it disables cyclic recording. This guarantees the safety of the video with the accident on the media.
  • Each device comes with a convenient mount on the windshield of the car.
  • Many of the devices have additional features such as a motion sensor, GPS, radar detector, map and even a rear view camera.
  • Simple DVRs are much cheaper than Action Cameras. Although, it is worth noting that such devices have a very mediocre recording quality and a meager set of additional features.

Pros and cons of the DVR

A video recorder is a special video recording device for use in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. Since the recorders are designed specifically for cars, they have advantages over the classic Action Camera.

Advantages of a car camera

An action camera as a video recorder in a car has its advantages, due to which its popularity among car owners is growing:

  • The ability to record videos in excellent quality. Action Cameras support the Full HD format, which allows you to see all the small details when magnified.
  • Large viewing angle. This quality is a huge plus when fixing the road situation, especially for large vehicles.
  • Compactness. Often, such cameras are lighter and lighter than similar DVRs.
  • Strength. In case of a serious accident, the video recorder may be damaged and it will be impossible to restore it, moreover, the recorded video can be lost. Action Camera has a rugged housing that will allow it to survive in any situation.
  • Waterproof and dirt resistant. Of course, when used in a city, these qualities may seem like a dubious advantage. But on work machines used in humid or dusty conditions, the Action Camera looks much better than a regular recorder.

Disadvantages and differences between the camera and the DVR

However, it should be borne in mind that Action Camera is not designed for cars. Most gadgets lack the usual functions of classic DVRs. This leads to the disadvantages of the device when using it in a car:

  • Not every action camera can be charged from a car cigarette lighter. To use such a device in a car, you must first charge it at home. In addition, the charge will not last for a long time and the camera will turn off at the most inopportune moment.
  • If the camera is not connected to the cigarette lighter, then it does not automatically turn on when the engine is started. This means that before each trip, you need to manually turn on the gadget and set the necessary settings.
  • A good device is expensive enough to attract the attention of car thieves. Therefore, it is better to take it with you or to seriously approach the issue of burglar alarms on a car.
  • Another difference between an action camera and a DVR is that it is very vulnerable to direct sunlight. When heating up, malfunctions may appear, and it will constantly heat up in the passenger compartment in the summer.

Action Cameras with DVR mode

Cameras with a DVR mode have already begun to appear on the market. These are devices that combine the advantages of both gadgets. If you choose a video camera for a car, then you should move away from the classic ones and opt for this type of recorder.

List of the best models with recorder mode:

  • SJCAM SJ4000 (medium);
  • SONY FDR-X3000 (medium);
  • GoPro Hero 7 BLACK EDITION (Medium)

Can I use a GoPro action camera as a dash cam?

There are a number of viable alternatives to using dashboard cameras, and the GoPro is one of the best options out there. However, there are a number of reasons to avoid using your GoPro as a recorder. Not the least of these is the fact that this action camera is quite expensive to simply fit into a car. And the main advantage of using GoPro as a DVR. this is, of course, the highest video quality. This camera is perhaps ideal when it comes to recognizing the smallest details on the video, such as license plates. But a number of functions of even the simplest recorder are still inaccessible to this camera.

How to use your GoPro as a dash cam?

Unlike most basic digital cameras, your GoPro comes with the most important feature a dash cam should have, and without this feature it would be impossible to use an action camera as a recorder. This significant feature is loop overwrite, which allows the camera to automatically replace old video files with new ones when there is no free space in memory.

Therefore, the main function that you will need to configure if you are going to use your GoPro as a recorder. this enable loop recording.

You won’t need a waterproof GoPro case, but the design of the case will allow you to power on the camera while you are using it. You will also need a 12 volt USB adapter or 12 volt charger to plug your GoPro into your cigarette lighter socket.

If you do not have a special mount for this action camera, you will have to fork out for its purchase. Unless, of course, you are against drilling a hole in the camera body. Fortunately, these mounts are relatively inexpensive, so there’s really no reason to destroy your waterproof camera body.

Once you’ve enabled loop overwrite and tucked your GoPro into the case, you can mount it to your dashboard or windshield. The main drawback, of course. this is what you have to turn it on and off every time at the beginning and end of the trip, respectively.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your GoPro as a DVR?

The main reason not to use your GoPro as a recorder. it is that it is quite an expensive camera and often not worth repurposing. Minimum.

If you plan to continue using it for other purposes. it’s fine. But keep in mind that you will have to make sure every time if you took an action camera with you after using it for its intended purpose.

But this is not a problem if you have another GoPro and plan to use the first only in a car. However, there are still a few good reasons to think twice before using your GoPro as a dash cam. For example, and this is especially important if this is some kind of GoPro Hero4, are you really not afraid to leave such an expensive thing in the car right under the open sky, where everyone can see it??

You should also think about whether your GoPro can withstand the temperature inside your car on a hot summer day.

While the GoPro can in practice replace a conventional dashboard camera, the latest devices have some useful features that you simply won’t be able to find in a GoPro. For example, if you can integrate a recorder into the electrical system of your car, and it will turn on and automatically start recording every time you start your car, making it impossible to forget to turn it on.

Many DVRs also come with a GPS function and a motion sensor. With the built-in GPS, the recorder can record video indicating coordinates before and during an accident.

TOP 15 Best Action Cameras 2021

Action cameras have long ceased to be something unusual. Allowing to take pictures of outdoor activities and capture the brightest moments of the life of a modern person, these cameras have become very much in demand. As a bonus, such devices are lightweight, compact, waterproof and versatile reliable mounts for installation anywhere. We offer a rating of 2021 action cameras that are suitable for panoramic shooting and will have the maximum viewing angle.

A real find. The model offers 5K shooting. At the same time, you can choose between classic and 360-degree shooting. Built-in stabilization, according to users, does an excellent job and immerses the video in action from the first seconds. Horizon leveling and Max HyperSmooth technology are offered in addition to gorgeous stabilization.

Unlike analogs, where all the efforts of the developers are thrown on the image quality, the model boasts good sound, which was achieved using six onboard microphones with support for directional sound control. The manufacturer offered 13 programs in different languages ​​to introduce the possibility of voice control of the device. Finally, a 1600 mAh battery provides excellent autonomy.

  • 360 ° shooting
  • Video recording 5.6K
  • Matrix 16.6 MP
  • MicroSD memory cards
  • Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth
  • Electronic stabilizer
  • Up to 1.45 hours of battery life
  • Weight 154 g
  • Good autonomy provided by a 1600 mAh battery
  • Six microphones to ensure good sound
  • Shooting in 5K resolution
  • Voice control with 13 programs
  • Excellent stabilization
  • Not intended for use in cold weather

This model is an inexpensive but high quality solution. It has 4K support, moisture protection, 6-axis gyroscope, and online streaming support. So, if necessary, the video can be immediately sent to a video hosting or social network by connecting to a smartphone via Wi-Fi. The device received a pretty good battery with a capacity of 1200 mAh. one charge is enough for 140 minutes in 1080p mode.

At the heart of the action camera is a 14-megapixel OmniVision sensor. Considering that the device is not positioned as a professional one, its capabilities are quite enough for amateur photography. Gyro stabilization is provided for smooth footage.

  • UHD 4K video recording
  • Matrix 12 MP
  • MicroSD memory cards
  • Wi-Fi, GPS
  • Optical stabilizer
  • Up to 2.2 hours of battery life
  • There is a protection of the case against moisture ingress
  • Installed quality lens from OmniVision
  • Supports Wi-Fi
  • Good autonomy thanks to 1200 mAh battery
  • Lean equipment

For such a price, the model lacks optical stabilization and autofocus on video, but the device still got into this rating. And that’s why. The stabilization, despite being digital, does a pretty good job of dealing with vibrations, and the autofocus can be easily adjusted manually. The model is enclosed in a case, protected from moisture and dust.

Of the features, it is worth noting the presence of slow motion, eye autofocus and burst photography. The built-in battery provides an hour of continuous operation. At the same time, the device can be used in the temperature range from 0 to 40 degrees. By the way, the model can be equipped with a special handle for more convenient holding of the camera. If desired, it can be used as a tripod, but it should be borne in mind that it does not have a battery or stabilizer.

Comparison and differences

The DVR recording starts automatically as soon as the engine starts. This means that the driver configures it once during installation and may no longer have to worry about it. The recorder will turn off as soon as the engine stalls. These properties are not inherent in the camera. It will have to be adjusted every time before leaving. During stops, you will also have to turn off the gadget manually. This brings some inconvenience.

The differences in the functionality of the devices are clearly visible while parking in the parking lot. Most of the DVRs are manufactured with installed motion sensors. That is, it will automatically turn on when someone approaches the car. The action camera will not turn on by itself. There is no benefit from it while the car is parked.

The question of the amount of memory of devices is relevant for drivers. In action cameras, after the memory card is full, the gadget simply turns off and the recording stops. But recently, cameras have begun to be released that have the loop recording function enabled. As soon as the memory runs out, the device starts writing in a second circle, automatically deleting the previous record. This is not entirely convenient, since sometimes it is necessary to view a particular situation that has arisen on the road. On car DVRs, the circular recording function is provided in almost all models. In addition, it is possible to save frames that were recorded in emergency situations. For example, during hard braking, or, conversely, a rapid increase in speed.

Cameras are excellent for extreme climatic situations. They are not afraid of rains and winds. But, if the car with the device is left in the sun, then severe overheating can lead to poor performance of the camera. The recorder is able to withstand high temperatures. Its technical characteristics will not change in any way even after a long stay in the baked sun.

How are they similar?

In terms of recording quality, the devices have almost the same parameters. The camera captures about 120 frames in 1 second. The resolution is 1920 × 1080. The image is clear, high quality. The video recorder is quite a bit inferior in picture quality and has a significantly smaller viewing angle. If you want more information to get on the memory card, then it is better to use a camera.

Fixing devices on the windshield in a car is similar. A special suction cup is used. This method was borrowed by the designers of action cameras from DVRs. Motorists often use double-sided tape.

The package of both devices includes a minimum set of standard components:

  • Directly the device itself.
  • USB type adapter.
  • Standard mount.

On average, the price of a dash cam is about 100. As for the action camera, the budget options cost a little more, and if you take the new items, you will have to pay an average of 600.

Can you use an ACTION CAM as a WEBCAM? Dbpower N5S vs C920

Many models, in addition to the standard ones, are also equipped with additional functions:

  • Wi-Fi.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Video stabilization function.

In addition, the recorders can be upgraded with a GPS navigator and a radar detector.

Action camera

The new action camera gadget is an indispensable device for recording events in an extraordinary situation. It is difficult to name an alternative device that can record a bungee jump or diving. The action camera is able to withstand adverse weather conditions, sometimes even without additional protection. Even with strong gusts of wind, it delivers high quality sound.

The disadvantages of the camera include the short duration of the battery charge. Enough for a maximum of a couple of hours. In addition, the high price of the gadget makes you refuse to buy a gadget.

Recorders of different sizes are produced. Not always the minimized option is a guarantee of quality. On the contrary, the larger the matrix, the better the recording is.

Another advantage of DVRs is the reliability of its attachment to the windshield.


Motorcyclists and cyclists will be able to appreciate all the advantages of an action camera. On these types of transport, you can shoot a lot of interesting things and even tricks. It can be easily attached to the steering wheel of a vehicle or to the driver’s helmet. At the same time, you do not need to worry about her condition during rain or strong wind. The DVR in such conditions is inconvenient to use.

DVRs are preferred by motorists.

What is better to use a DVR or an action camera?

The new action camera gadget has begun to rapidly gain popularity among consumers. Many began to think about using it instead of a DVR on the windshield of a car. She does an excellent job with this task. It remains to figure out what is the difference between a camera and a DVR.

After examining all the characteristics of gadgets, it is difficult to say which is better to choose. Both devices have their pros and cons. In this case, everything depends on the preferences of the consumer. It is necessary to evaluate all the pros and cons, determine the tasks that the device can perform. The financial side also plays a significant role. In addition, some manufacturers began to offer gadget hybrids that combine the properties of an action camera and a DVR.

Action camera vs car recorder.

Comparing DVR and Action Camera is like comparing work week versus weekend. Some people love what they do and can’t wait to see the end of these two weekends. Someone goes to work as if to hard labor, and only during these two days they feel like a man. Recently, many have been using Action Cameras as car DVRs. We will try to objectively assess all the pros and cons of this use.

It is human nature to optimize his environment. And if you can successfully use Action Camera as a recorder (especially since the manufacturer carefully put a set of mounts for a car), then why not?

Let’s analyze in what situations the use of certain devices is more justified.

Action Camera or DVR

But first, let’s decide which camera characteristics are most important for a DVR:

  • Automatic loop recording. (The recorder must start recording at the start of the movement and constantly record all events that occur).
  • The ability to block from erasing an arbitrary section of the record. (The moment of the road traffic accident switches the driver’s attention to other tasks, and the cyclic recording can have time to overwrite the area where the participants in the accident were visible at the time of its commission).
  • The ability to continue working for a while when the external power is turned off. (In the event of an accident, protective devices in the car can de-energize the on-board power supply, but if you simply remove the power from the DVR, then the file that was recorded at that moment will be damaged. Namely, it is the most important. That is, the DVR must have its own battery, even a small one capacity. In this case, the file will be closed correctly and protected from erasure).
  • The physical size of the matrix and the resolution of the video file. (Everything is simple here. The larger the physical dimensions of the matrix, the more light-sensitive it is, and the better the shooting will be in low light, at night, in dark areas. And the higher the video resolution, the clearer and from a greater distance you can recognize complex details, such like car number, face of a possible witness, street clock, etc.)
  • The ability to quickly remove the DVR. (In our reality, in most cases, you have to monitor your property on your own, otherwise unauthorized visitors to the car’s interior may leave you without a registrar, if you do not remove it yourself. But on the other hand, in guarded parking lots, a video recorder in a car can be extremely useful).

Comparison of Action Camera and DVR operation for video recording of vehicle movement.

Next, we highlight those characteristics that are desirable and can greatly help in some situations, but are not required for a car DVR:

  • Availability of built-in or external GPS-module. (Such a module adds to the video sequence the current time synchronized with the satellite. As well as the current speed and direction of movement. This data can be the main argument proving your innocence. Since the speed, direction and time of movement are fixed, and it is very difficult to dispute).
  • The presence of an acceleration sensor or gyroscope. (In the most common case, you can configure the blocking from erasing the file to the signal from the acceleration sensor. That is, in the event of an accident, the video recorder itself will protect the file and the driver does not have to think about its safety. Everything will happen in automatic mode. built-in gyroscope. But in the second case, the manufacturer can use the data from the gyroscope to stabilize the image).
  • The presence of a sensitive microphone. (In case of controversial moments on the video, warning signals will be heard, and in the case of disputes with law enforcement officers, the arguments of both).
  • Image stabilizer (Recently, electronic circuits are often used, since they are cheaper. But the essence does not change from this. When the car is moving, a rigidly attached camera undergoes strong vibrations, which makes the image jerky and it is difficult to recognize small details. the same use of image stabilization. multiple jumps are smoothed due to the excessive resolution of the matrix. As a result, the recorded image becomes smooth and various small details are perfectly distinguished on it).
  • GSM. module. (If a sensor that protects a video file is triggered, the file itself can be automatically uploaded to any cloud server. Then the physical destruction of the recorder, which may be committed by the persons involved in the incident, will not interfere with the provision of data from the video recorder to the courts).
  • Motion Detector. (This function is useful when the car has to be left unattended for a while. The dashcam activates recording after motion is detected in its field of view. Either from an acceleration sensor or a gyroscope when someone tries to open the vehicle).
  • Possibility of connecting an additional video camera. (As a rule, it is used to view the situation behind the car. It can be useful if you are hooked by a group that makes money on car racks. Then their illegal actions, which are performed simultaneously from several sides, will at least be recorded).
  • The presence of a swivel bracket. (You can turn the DVR towards the inspector, in case of a dispute).

Some DVRs have additional options such as connecting to the car’s ODB2 connector. At the same time, firstly, the need to use an external power source is removed, and secondly, the values ​​of the current speed, the inclusion of turning, parking, stop lights and other information that can turn out to be an additional argument in your correctness are added to the video. It is also possible to control some video capture parameters that can correct the not very successful operation of the automation.

We decided on the main and additional functions. Now let’s take two Action Cameras and two DVRs for consideration.

Take Action Cameras with a recorder function, for example:

  • SJCAM SJ4000 Plus as a relatively fresh representative of a well-proven line. Based on a bundle of Novatek 96660 processor and OmniVision OV4689 sensor.
  • EKEN H2 Ultra HD 4K as a cheaper, but local favorite. Based on a combination of Sunplus 6630M processor and OmniVision OV2710 sensor.