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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After nearly getting creamed the last two times we were on the highway to go off roading I decided to buy a dash camera. In each of the last two trips up to the mountains somone came from a lane on the right and dove at my Xterra. If I hadn't jammed on the brakes at 65 mph they would have rammed me.



I did some research including looking over the TechMoan blog (a UK based blogger who spends 20-30 minutes per review doing mostly dash cameras). I wanted one without a rear screen and something small so I narrowed my choice down to the Lukas LS-7900 ACE ($240) and the Vicovation Vico-WF1 ($260). The Amazon reviews were much more favorable for the Lukas so I bought one.



It's a high resolution 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second recorder. It has a 135 degree lens which covers a broad angle of the front of the truck. I am debating a rear shooting one as well. It's got a built-in GPS so it records your position every few seconds (adjustable in the software). When using the Lukas viewer you can watch the razor sharp video while a Google Map shows where you are. I think this would be fun for some off-road adventures too! The GPS measures your G forces and records them.

The camera mounts with 3M double sided sticky tape. The camera can be removed from the mount and locked up or taken inside. There is an angle adjustment to counter the angle of your windshield. The camera accepts standard 37mm photo lens and comes with a UV filter. Optionally you can put a circular polarizer on to cut the glare.



In normal use it records short clips one after another and when the buffer if full it deletes the oldest and starts recording again. The recorder stops and starts automatically. In a second mode using the G force sensor it will automatically lock and the video before and after a jolt to your truck - as if got hit by a car. It also detects speed bumps and pot holes as well. You can also manually press the E button to signal an emergency and the clip will be locked and saved.

It records the video and audio too. That can be defeated in software or with the press of a button.

The camera has a third mode where it can blink an LED like a car alarm and watch for motion recording clips of movement. If you park on the street you're going to end up with a short video of every passing vehicle and cat.

There's a voice guide that assist you as like most people you'll end up mounting the camera behind the rearview mirror out-of-sight. There is a video jack you can use to adjust the lens up and down. I just shuttled the memory chip back-and-forth until I got everything adjusted.



Putting the memory card into a card reader attached to my Windows 7 computer I installed the software from the chip and was able to view the video clips. There's a setting menu where you can make all the adjustments on the camera's bitrate, frame rate ... and about fifty other adjustments.

Updating the firmware is also done with the chip in the computer.

http://smile.amazon.com/LUKAS-LK-79...&qid=1391212100&sr=8-1&keywords=lukas+lk-7900
 

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Very nice! Been wanting to get one for a while for the same reasons. Idiots and close calls...
 

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That one looks pretty good! I like how you also used the mirror wire cover for the camera power wires. Can you post a video from it?

TechMoan has great reviews, I considered several of them he has done before I bought another dash cam. I’ve had one since early 2012 that was ok but not really clear. Ended up getting a good deal on a DVR207GS, same body as the camera I had before but with different internals and with the addition of a G Sensor and HDMI out. I like that people just think it’s a radar detector so you don’t get the “why do you have a camera?” question all the time.

Screen shot from Wednesday morning on my way home from work after the snow that shutdown Atlanta. This was in 720p I have not tried the 1080p option yet. .



3 min driving clip, switch to 720p for best quality
http://youtu.be/9scftzY357A

On 720p the 5 min files are around 244mb a piece, on a 32gb card that works out to just over 11 hours before it records over an old file.





The power wire is a hardwire adapter for a Garmin Nuvi.


I almost got the Mini 0801 but I was not sure how secure it would be in the quick disconnect mount that also has the power and GPS contacts, didn’t want rattle noises in the recording. I like the G1W but could not locate an adhesive mount for it to replace the suction cup. DOD LS430W is very nice but a little pricey.

Looking at options for mounting the old camera out of the back window, so far I tried it on the bottom of the lobo rack but it bounced too much.
 

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Paul, thanks alot for posting this. The Lukas has been on my short list.
 

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and I have a DOD LS 400 in my cars with auto record save on impact for a up to a preimpact 5 minute segment. I have on auto looped 5 minute seg with a 30G card and love it. Its super clear day n night. you see cop videos at night, thats exactly what it looks like. And best of all theyre only $150 on Ebay. I hate driving without in car video anymore just for these reasons. and does offroad vids in cab well too
 

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Was sitting on two amazon pages the other day, one with the Lukas, the other with the BlackVue, ready to buy... Can't decide. Lukas supports much larger memory cards, but the BlackVue has WiFi to view the video and a video out connection.... hmmm.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Was sitting on two amazon pages the other day, one with the Lukas, the other with the BlackVue, ready to buy... Can't decide. Lukas supports much larger memory cards, but the BlackVue has WiFi to view the video and a video out connection.... hmmm.....
The size of the card isn't "that" important for an accident camera. If I get into an accident I'm almost sure I figure out that I was in one within an hour or so ... even the small 8 GB card will hold that much without recording over the accident. Mounting one up in your roof rack to record an awesome 8 hour rock crawl ... you're going to want the bigger card.

I almost went with the BlackVue but once you set the lens to the right angle I don't see the need to view the video. I eject the chip and view it on my computer monitor in the rather nice PC viewing program. There were also several bad reviews where people couldn't get the WiFi working ... but there are lots of good reports too so I kind of wrote those bad reviews off.

The Lukas does have a video out jack using a standard 1/8" mono plug to a standard RCA jack ... but it's not included. Again, setting the angle of the dangle is a one time event. I hit it within a couple of degrees the first shot, reviewed the video on the PC, and made an adjustment and locked it down with the included hex wrench.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
That one looks pretty good! I like how you also used the mirror wire cover for the camera power wires. Can you post a video from it?
I can but understand that YouTube or Photobucket is going to compress the living hell out of any video, re-encode it in a different format, and reduce the resolution. 11 Mb/sec videos are huge ... and I have only 300 Kb/sec upload. Meaning it will take close to two hours to upload a 3 minute file!

The video is every bit as sharp as the photo capture. Looking at the photos that's when I was still in the default 9 Mb/sec and now I'm at 11 Mb/sec maximum resolution.

One more concern I have (still) is how the camera is going to handle the +110 degree days we get here in the desert. This camera supposedly has some of the best high temperature performance and does have an audible high temperature warning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·


Here's the software.

The video is sized down but there is a full screen mode. The camera imprints the date, video resolution and bitrate, the license number (here my Xtrerra club's SCCX), the voltage of the battery, the speed, the record mode (always), a note that the microphone is off (it records the conversation in the vehicle), the distance traveled since recording started and finally the time of day.

The GPS data is selected by clicking on the information tab and you get a small, non-resizable map display of where you are. It's Google maps so you can choose between the map or satellite views. The GPS longitude, latitude, and number of satellites is displayed. HDOP is the horizontal dilution of precision with numbers lower than 1 are "ideal".

The VCR controls allow you to shuttle, zoom in and adjust the audio playback level.

On the bottom is the G force sensor showing the X,Y, and Z axis forces. On the time line in the screen capture you can see just forward of the current time (the white vertical line) the disturbance caused by crossing deep rain gutter.
 
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