Quest for the ideal camera continues..
The old Mini0801 was almost perfect:
- Switched on & off with the ignition so I didn't forget to start it
- 10 minute files with no overlaps or gaps so easy editing
- Looked discrete & nothing like a GoPro so less likely to be pinched
Its issue, for my use case, was sitting outside in the elements on the roll bar rather than inside a car as it was designed for. It lasted 18months or so, then finally gave up the ghost - will not power on. I think it got upset at too much cold, wet and overnight condensation.
SJCAM 5000 Wifi
Tried to hit the sweet spot with functionality vs price by getting the 5000 rather than 4000 or 5000 plus. Online footage was easily demonstrating the improvement in the 5000 over 4000 but not convincingly better on the plus. The M10 looked interesting - but positioning of its power cables would have made external power difficult with the waterproof case.
Ticks the boxes above on functionality including being genuinely waterproof, including no overlaps on files for easy editing later. It also seems robust with ignition off/on auto start stop - i.e. does the right thing even if there are small glitches in the power (starting the engine for example).
Ran the gauntlet of the fake traders: made sure it was explicitly SJCAM as the model and picked a colour - partly to match the car ( :) ) partly because I suspect the fakes which might look similar are only going to be in black/silver...
(For reference mine came from Amazon fulfilment via a trader called 3C4U arrived quickly and is the genuine article - currently you are on a pretty sure bet if it says SJCAM on the camera on the 5000 models)
One more niggle - there is a case with waterproof power cable available separately - but probably overkill for my needs, I'm never going to submerge it - instead a little careful drilling, Dremaling and filing on the case means I can leave it plugged in and hopefully still good in rain.
Afterthought - need to monitor this, since if it did get very wet potentially the case will fill up with rainwater with no where to get out. A smear of grease around the connector should do the trick.
Issue to resolve - I'm getting some microphone noise when recording while USB powered - might need some suppression on the car's power cable if its audible when the engine is running. Turns out its a new lighter to 5v adaptor I was trying which had integral on off switches, if I revert to my older/simpler one the noise is gone.
Compatible with GoPro mounts so plenty of options for viewpoint: re-using the basic clamp around the roll-bar, then above for the traditional view across bonnet/front wheels (but in the way of the roof) or below at drivers eye line for a more immersive feeling. Easy to unclip the base to shift it around...
...and today - rain - so while the camera would should be happy, I'm not going for a wet drive for the sake of it - testing will have to wait.
Why not a GoPro?
While their mounting options are great and can be re-used for this camera, as far as I can tell GroPro models don't have an automatic 'record on power feed' mode which makes control more complex requiring remote control via a phone etc & importantly me to remember to turn it on/off. That combined with the price (3x the SJCAM) is a deal breaker for me.