What to keep in mind when choosing a dashcam?

Plenty of drivers these days can’t imagine their life without a dashcam mounted behind their car’s windshield. Recording the view in front of the car means, above all, having peace of mind in the event of a collision – the dashcam footage often allows to conclusively prove the other driver’s guilt and might serve as evidence for the police or the insurance company.

In many cases, capturing the incident on tape is enough for the offender to stop making it difficult and admit their guilt.

What is a dashcam and what are its uses?

A dashcam is a measuring device intended for measuring speed and continuous Video recording. Dashcams are installed inside cars and they allow to record the route of the vehicle. The Video is recorded on an SD card, and the dashcam route can be overlaid on a digital map. Dashcam footage can serve as evidence for the police or the insurance company.

A dashcam is more than just the ability to record unusual or funny occurrences transpiring on the road. It might prove incredibly useful in many unorthodox situations.

  • During recreational recording of the car’s route. That way the road we take gets recorded in the device’s memory.
  • During an accident. The recording might help prove ourselves innocent, as well as constitute an evidence in court (although it has to be certified as authentic by an expert witness). On top of that, it might also be useful when trying to get the insurance company to indemnify.
  • When being unfairly pulled over. Sometimes it happens that a driver gets an undeserved ticket. In such situation, it’s a good idea to use dashcam footage as an evidence in one’s defense.
  • Improving driving style and safety. A Video recording might turn out to be an incredibly helpful material that makes it possible to eliminate frequent mistakes made on the road as well as reckless driving, which puts the lives of other motorists at risk.

What to keep in mind when choosing a dashcam?

Once we choose a particular dashcam type, we need to pay attention to several key parameters. It might seem that the most important aspect is the resolution. Well, yes and no. The higher the native resolution, the better – in theory – the Video quality. In practice, however, it is a little different.

A lot depends on the encoding, lens and bitrate used. In practice, a better dashcam with 720p resolution will offer better quality than a cheaper one with 1080p. Of course it doesn’t mean we should ignore Cameras with Full HD or better. The best solution is to check the recorded Videos in reviews or on YouTube.

Another very important thing is the lens used in a dashcam. Not all manufacturers boast their parameters but, once again, reviews and YouTube are here to help us. When it comes to lenses, there are two important parameters – angle of view and aperture. As for the first parameter, we should look for Cameras that record Video with an angle of view of at least 120 degrees.

That way the Video will clearly show everything going on in front of the car. Better models might even offer a 180-degree view. When it comes to aperture, the higher it is, the better. It will especially come in handy with evening and night time recordings. This parameter is defined with the letter f, like f/2.0 or f/1.8 for example.

The lower the number, the higher the lens aperture.
Other parameters to a large degree depend on personal preferences. It’s a good idea to buy a model with a GPS module. That way not only will we capture a Video with the exact route, but we can also get info on our speed. Another pretty useful thing is a G-Sensor, which detects G-force. That way – in the event of an accident – it can automatically save the recorded file.

A G-Sensor may also record data on accelerating and stopping. In extreme cases, this might be very valuable data.

The devil is in the detail

Nobody is interested in watching movies and TV shows in quality poorer than HD, so a dashcam footage has to be of adequate resolution as well. Especially since it might turn out that a good capture of the license plate of a car that hit us might help us get indemnification from the offender’s insurance.

It’s not worth it looking for dashcms that offer less than the popular full hd, although it might be a good idea to consider the 4K resolution, which has a bright future – this technology is bound to be supported more than the regular 1980×1020 in the future.

Even when I was a kid, I damaged my toys just to fix them later. I run a family business with my father - automotive repair shop. I specialize in diagnostics and repair of delivery trucks. DIY is my middle name. My wife often repeats that thanks to me she never spent money on a plumber or electrician. The classic Ford Mustang is my dream car. Someday I will buy one. Maybe when my children go to college.