Do you really need a dash camera?
The short answer is no, you don’t need a dash cam. Let me ask you this then, do you need car insurance or health insurance or even ambulance cover? Just like insurance, what good is a dash camera if you’re never going use it?
A dash camera is similar to health insurance or ambulance cover, you dislike forking out the cash for it, but you never really know how much its worth until it saves you. It is never a necessity, but; it’s important to consider the worst-case scenario to see the true benefit a dash cam could have.
Back up your side of the story…
In a world where distractions, ie. mobile phones, continue to cause accidents, dash cameras are an essential device to ensure that your side of the story is backed-up. Your dash camera is your impartial and silent witness. Footage from your dash cam can serve as vital evidence in a police or insurance investigation and could save you from paying the price for an accident that you did not cause.
It’s astounding to see the number of people that continue to drive around without a dash camera, leaving them at the mercy of ‘he-said-she-said’ arguments and, of course, the insurance company.
A dash camera is similar to an insurance policy (but paid once). You may not use it but it will save you a great deal of financial pain and stress if you do need it.
How do dash cams work & can you use a Gopro as a dash cam?
Dash cameras work differently to a regular video recorder. Yes, you can attach your Gopro to the windshield of your car; however, the memory card would soon fill. Unlike Gopro cameras; dash cameras are designed to save memory space by recording the road every 1-3 minutes. There are also a few obvious benefits that dash cameras have over your average recorder:
Cycle or Loop Recording
– In order to save memory space, dash cams (or in-car DVRs) overwrite old recordings once the memory card is filled. This significantly reduces the hassle of changing the memory card so often.
– This feature allows the footage of the camera to lock and store footage upon impact. This allows you to save footage within the camera in the event of a car accident.
Dash cameras are designed to ensure that you are recording the right footage at the right time. It is important to note that installing an everyday recorder (such as a Gopro) will not be 100% reliable in the event of an incident.
What dash cam do you need?
Warning: Not all dash cameras are the same!
Before you go out and buy yourself a brand-new dash cam you need to know what you’re looking for first. We’ve created a buying guide for you to arm you with the necessary knowledge to purchase a dash camera that is going to best suit your needs.
How much should you spend on a dash camera?
It’s important to consider the amount that you are willing to pay for a dash camera.
For a less expensive dash camera you will pay between $50-$150, for a mid-range between $150-$300 and for a high end camera, you’ll be looking at $300-$600.
If you are working within a tight budget, we suggest not purchasing a dash camera for less than $50. While a lower price may be tempting, cheaper cameras have poor quality parts. Amongst the dash camera community, it is common for a poor-quality camera to incur a weak battery & prone to leaking.
What dash cams do we recommend at each price point? Find out here
How is the device powered?
Dash Cameras connect to the power outlet within your car. Basic dash cameras connect to the power outlet within your front console. These devices do not operate when the car is turned off. If you are looking into purchasing a dash camera with parking mode, this type of camera is connected to your car battery through hardwiring and will remain on even while the car ignition is off.
How long does the battery last between charges?
As mentioned earlier, unless the dash camera is connected to a constant power source, it will last for up for 3 minutes before the battery is flat. You cannot simply charge the battery and have the dash camera running for hours. The low battery lifespan is not associated with a poor-quality product as it occurs in dash cameras from $50-$500.
Do I need a single or a dual-lens camera?
Single-lens dash cameras (Front Facing)
This type of dash camera, also known as a 1 channel dash cam, records only the road ahead of you. Overall, this is the most popular kind of dash camera due to its simple installation and ease of use. Single-lens dash cameras, are generally mounted (by suction cup or adhesive strip) on the front windshield and are positioned so that the lens faces outwards looking out on the road.
Dual-lens dash cameras (Front & Rear Facing)
In contrast to our single-lens dash cameras, you may have guessed that this dash cam records both the front AND rear angles of the car. The installation of this type of camera is a little more complex than our simple single lens variation. The installation requires an additional front and read connection cord that both connect into the power socket within the front console of the car. Once this installation is complete, both cameras power up once the car ignition is switched on.
Interior Facing Dash Cams
If you’re an uber or taxi driver, listen up because this ones for you. This dual-dash camera records the road ahead while the second lens records what is happening inside the vehicle. It is all too often that both Uber and Taxi drivers are subject to abuse from passengers. An interior facing dash camera will capture anti-social behaviour which may act as a deterrent for abusive passengers.
Video Recording Quality
We recommend purchasing a dash camera with nothing less than 1080p recording quality. Anything less, will reduce the quality of the image captured, meaning that vital details of an incident may not be captured clearly and, in turn, compromise any footage passed onto authorities.
Here at DashCam Hero, we do not sell dash cams that have anything less than 1080p video recording capability as we cannot ensure the quality of the footage.
What is the WDR?
Have you ever taken a photo where you are looking to capture something dark on a sunny day? It’s next to impossible, isn’t it? The purpose of WDR is to even out the brightness of the overall image and therefore reducing the level of brightness in areas filled with sun glare and brighten the darkest areas of the image.
Larger Lens (or super lens)
– The larger the lens the better the image quality. If you are looking to capture details such as number plates, it is beneficial to have a larger lens as well as a higher FPS rate camera.
Frames per Second (FPS) –
If you are to compare a camera that captures 60FPS, to a camera that only captures 30FPS, you will capture better quality images of fast moving objects on the road by reducing motion blur.
Mega Bits per Second (MBPS)
– Have you ever watched a home family video from the early 90’s and noticed that the images look incredibly distorted? Well that’s because cameras back then had a lower MBPS rate meaning that the clarity of the images is incredibly poor. It’s no shock that the same rule can be applied for dash cameras. When searching for the right dash camera for you, we recommend that you search for a camera with a higher rate of MBPS for the highest quality possible.
High Definition Range (HDR) – Perfectly matched with the night mode functionality on your dash camera, high definition range reduces the glare from street lights and headlights/tail lights of traffic in low light settings.
Purchasing a dash camera with a display screen all comes down to your personal preference as a driver. A display screen will allow you to see exactly what you are recording live.
Many dash camera models offer the option to connect the live recording feed via an app on your phone through Wi-Fi connection. These apps will allow you to watch back over any footage through the app. Your dash camera will also allow you to review footage on your computer/laptop by connecting the camera via the output portal.
If you are looking for a dash camera with a display screen you will want to look for an LCD display to ensure the highest quality imagery for reviewing any incidents that you may encounter while on the road.
Does my Dash Camera Need a Memory Card?
Yes, you must have a memory card for your dash camera. This will be absolutely essential to capture your recordings while on the road. Your dash camera will not record without a memory card.
What size GB Memory Card does my Dash Camera Take?
As mentioned earlier, not all dash cameras are the same. While a vast majority of dash cameras take a 32GB memory card, some may take more and some may take less. You can find this information in your user manual that will arrive with your dash camera.
The greater the memory card size, the more recording time you will get out of it.
Expected Recording time based on Memory Card Size:
8GB – 2-3 hours
16GB – 4-6 hours
32GB – 6-12 hours
64GB – 10-20 hours
128GB – 20-40 hours
Memory cards can be incredibly costly to purchase, so we recommend looking for a dash camera that has a loop or cycle recording functionality.
Super Night mode recording
When purchasing a dash camera, it’s important to consider the quality of the imagery at night time. Super night mode brightens your recorded imagery by up to 10x it’s regular shade to enhance darker images. This feature acts to refine the image clarity with in a low light setting.
All quality dash cameras will offer the file locking, also known as g-sensor, technology. If you encounter a high impact event while on the road such as; an accident, breaking heavily or any kind of major jolt, the footage taken during that time will be locked and stored. This feature is particularly essential in collecting information about the impact itself. The file locking feature saves important footage that can be used as evidence in the event of an accident.
This footage cannot be automatically overridden, meaning that you will have to manually remove the footage by wiping the memory card through your computer.
Many lower quality dash cameras will have little temperature resistance. This means that you must remove the camera if your car is parked in the sun.
Cameras that can remain operational for temperatures from 70 degrees and above have higher quality components and have a longer life span.
Have you ever been the victim of verbal road rage? Dash cameras with audio recording will pick up footage as well as sounds. Capturing conversations or sounds from an incident or road rage, can serve as a deterrent for angry drivers, who tend to hold back once they’re aware that their actions and words are being filmed.
What is parking mode & motion detection on a dash cam?
One of the most sought-after features is parking surveillance mode. Enabling parking mode will allow your dash camera to remain recording even while the car has been turned off. If you commonly park your car in a busy car park, the parking mode with capture any hit and run incidents by other drivers.
How does parking mode & motion detection work?
Most reputable dash cameras will have the motion detection feature which will start to record once movement is detected. Through the G-Sensor technology, any impact will be recorded and stored as a file within the dash camera.
This featured is essential in deterring or catching vandals as well as common carpark crash-and-dash incidents.
It is important to note that parking most requires a constant stream of power to work, even while the car is off. This means, the dash cam must be connected directly to the battery of your car to remain activated. We recommend consulting a trained auto electrician to hardwire the dash camera to your car.
The GPS tracking functionality, allows drivers to pin point their location and speed at the time of an incident. This type of GPS does not serve as a navigator, in that it will not tell you how to get from point A to point B.
This GPS feature will provide you with evidence to support your case in the event of an incident as a result of speed or erratic driving. Providing these details within a report to the police may only serve to support your argument, however, cannot entirely approve/disprove a case.
Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS)
These features act as warning systems to you while on the road. This feature includes fatigue notifications, collision & lane departure warnings utilising your GSP tracking functionality.
These features are relatively new to dash cameras; however, are incredibly useful for those drivers that tend to travel long distances on a regular basis.
What is a lane departure warning?
Simply put, lane departure warning is a notification that you are swerving into another lane. Many dash cameras will warn you if someone is within your blind spot or is not a safe distance to change lanes. This is a recommended feature for those who travel long distances and may be fatigued.
Dash cameras are a fantastic way to keep you, your possessions and, most importantly, the ones you love safe. Let your dash cam give you the peace of mind that you deserve while on the road.