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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm to the point where I need to upgrade my hardware and losing or having a $200+ action cam stolen or even break isn't in my disposable budget. The fact that I need multiple action cams for different view perspectives adds to the need for something DECENT quality but disposable. If I ever become a YT superstar or even hit something like 20K subscribers, I may be able to justify multiple Go Pro cameras.

There are TONS of Go Pro-like action cams and it's really hard to go through all plethora of reviews and even find reviewers who cater to the SxS/UTV/Off Road community so here's my attempt. My other motivation is that NOTHING advertises the awesome capability of our Wolverines better than video. The more owners that can get into sharing videos of their Wolverines, the more unpaid salesman we'll have. Also by using an action cam with a decent mount, we get away from the never ending plague of vertical video.

You're going to spend ~$100 for a decent camera and I want to start a database of suitable cameras and others to stay away from. Video quality is only half of the equation. Audio quality is really poor on many of these cameras and I want to filter these bad apples out.

In my brief research Akasa is out for audio quality for anything below the model 8. Thunder God's Brave 6 model confirms this as his audio sounds like he's riding in a toilet bowl.
Run far far away from Cooau as they're garbage and try to bribe owners for good reviews (including yours truly)

So my first real hope in the inexpensive action cam category starts with Surfola, which I'm impressed with and I'll let you decide if the model SF530 is right for you based on my experience. Audio is excellent and video quality is decent. There could be improvements such as a native water proof housing and built-in mounting boss, but that's it.





I will follow up with my mounting solution once I get some more time with it. If you guys have a budget action cam that you can vouch for being good or bad and have video evidence to support it, I'll add it to the list.
 

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2021 Yamaha RMAX 2 XT-R 1000
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I have two APEMAN action cams, several years old and working good, also the mini dash cam. Don't see them on Amazon anymore, not sure why. One of them even had a lifetime guarantee on it I believe for a small extra fee.

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2021 Red-neck Edition RMAX2 XT-R
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I've been using an SJ4000 action cam for years and I am very happy with them. I don't record audio too much in my X2 and Gtizzlys before that but when I needed to get another one this month, I could only find one budget priced cam that has a dashcam mode. The others you have to press a button to record and to stop recording, the SJ auto records and stops with power on and power off from the card plugged in. I have these models in each vehicle we own as well, much better than dashcams in longevity and work very well.
 

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I've been using an SJ4000 action cam for years and I am very happy with them. I don't record audio too much in my X2 and Gtizzlys before that but when I needed to get another one this month, I could only find one budget priced cam that has a dashcam mode. The others you have to press a button to record and to stop recording, the SJ auto records and stops with power on and power off from the card plugged in. I have these models in each vehicle we own as well, much better than dashcams in longevity and work very well.
Good point, the Apeman cameras I use have car cam mode, and I use hardwire kit the on a switch to turn them on and off, which starts and stops recording automatically.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My old RunCamHD had dashcam mode. I actually prefer the included remote with Surfola, which many action cams have. Dashcam mode can eat up a lot of storage and I hate unplugging/replugging the power connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anytime you get a new camera setup you have to chase down the noise gremlins.


I'm also using one of these mounts but you have to put silicon hose\foam over the clamp lever or it will be a source of noise

Tire Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire Vehicle


Little better close up without the outside light

Hood Automotive tire Vehicle Cloud Automotive fuel system


Available here in a set of 2:

 

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Anyone use an old cell phone mounted somehow??
 

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Man, with the correct settings and advanced hyper smooth algorithm, the extra $250 is totally worth not spending hours in post production cleaning up footage. But I understand wanting multiple cameras that are less of a financial risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Man, with the correct settings and advanced hyper smooth algorithm, the extra $250 is totally worth not spending hours in post production cleaning up footage. But I understand wanting multiple cameras that are less of a financial risk.
I've spent years working on my camera mounts so that vibration and stray noise is kept to a minimum. Having a hard coated windshield adds to the complication as it vibrates as well. There is a cheapie camera out there in the $150 range that has good stabilization, it's just a matter of finding it and documenting it. So far, the Surfola 530's EIS is good enough to present footage. One thing I don't like about EIS is while it takes away those small annoying vibrations, it also takes away from the reality of the footage when you're going fast over terrain and the video has a floaty feeling.

Anyone use an old cell phone mounted somehow??
That may work for GPS but not video. You could use a new phone to do it as new phone cameras blow away even some modern Go Pro cameras.
 

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I've spent years working on my camera mounts so that vibration and stray noise is kept to a minimum. Having a hard coated windshield adds to the complication as it vibrates as well. There is a cheapie camera out there in the $150 range that has good stabilization, it's just a matter of finding it and documenting it. So far, the Surfola 530's EIS is good enough to present footage. One thing I don't like about EIS is while it takes away those small annoying vibrations, it also takes away from the reality of the footage when you're going fast over terrain and the video has a floaty feeling.



That may work for GPS but not video. You could use a new phone to do it as new phone cameras blow away even some modern Go Pro cameras.
Yeah, with an old phone its not the end of the world if messed up by dust etc is what I was thinking. It would be for my main phone especially if it fell off and broke. Anyway just thinking about it as it was brought up. I am sure many others also have older phones not used on their networks which could be repurposed for that and/or trail tracking navigation as well.
 
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Yeah, with an old phone its not the end of the world if messed up by dust etc is what I was thinking. It would be for my main phone especially if it fell off and broke. Anyway just thinking about it as it was brought up. I am sure many others also have older phones not used on their networks which could be repurposed for that and/or trail tracking navigation as well.
I now use Sonim phones. My brother drove over it with is truck, it has fallen off my bumper at 60 mph, I can take pictures under water, and the battery last about 2 weeks. It is bulky and heavy but they claim you can shoot it with a .22 and it will still work. Sonim XP8.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's the first video with the Surfola SF 530. I had to use a 1K low pass filter on the audio to get rid of the camera buttons clicking, which I've since fixed, but not before taking this video.


4K is miserable at speed but OK for slow stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I've learned more about the Surfol SF530. It uses the Allwinner V316 processor


Apparently the current firmware doesn't take advantage of all this camera can do such as H.265 encoding:


Hacking forum sub thread for the Allwinner V316
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So my latest in-cab footage to Taylor Park was done with the Surfola SF530. You think the quality is good enough?

 
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