Comparison - Blackvue DR400G-HD, Itronics ITB-100HD, FineVu CR500HD

Discussion in 'Dash Cameras & Car Recording Devices' started by Wannago, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    Found this clip over on carcamcentral. This settles it for me, definitely going with the FineVu once they release the english firmware. The Itronics is pretty close to it in night performance, but the Blackvue lags considerably behind...this is the first gen, and from what I've seen, the Season II is even worse at night.

    [video=youtube;BBafjChTp8I]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBafjChTp8I[/video]
     
  2. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    Contrast on the FineVu looks good, as does dynamic range. 1080p/30fps is nice like the BV which the ITB doesn't do. The FV looks like it flares the worst but has the least halo'ing. The FV has the widest field of view, followed by the ITB, then the BV.

    The voltage info on the screen looks trivial, as is what I'm assuming to be X/Y/Z axis measurements of impact/bumpiness... I forget what the word is. :)

    I'm really curious about daylight performance and how it handles shooting into/away from the sun.

    finevu-cr-500hd-full-hd-car-black-box-camera-16gb.

    FineVu_CR-500HD-1.

    There's a bunch of bright writing everywhere. A few strips of black gaffer tape should cover that right up.

    Memory card slot is away from the power cable which is nice... unlike the BV whose power cable makes it a PITA to get to the card. Looks like there is a cover for the card slot which looks like it would get annoying to access if you run it to the right side of your RVM.

    26944628.

    It looks really shiny and reflective. Non-reflective matte black, like you'll see on RD's, is what you actually want. Looks like a Sony handycam product.

    The price on eBay looks to be $300-400 whereas the BV and ITB run closer to $200.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_from=R40&_nkw=cr-500hd&_sop=15

    Like the BV, it takes the annoyingly small and easy to drop/lose MicroSD cards. I much prefer the larger SD cards of the ITB.

    It looks like it might need an external GPS (!?) in order to get speed? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong because that sounds dumb... Not only is there an added cost to get the GPS (keep in mind the camera is already 1.5-2x the price of its competitors), you have extra cables and components running in your car. In the ITB and the BV, the GPS is integrated within the camera housing itself.

    1.

    Like the ITB and unlike the BV, you can format the card in-camera.

    2.

    It comes with a big, shiny, reflective, visible chrome front. Not quite as visible as the BV, but less stealthy as the fully black ITB.

    It supports Class 10 MicroUSB cards. Good.

    So without actually using the device or seeing daytime videos, and seeing how different the BV and ITB are in the daytime, I'm not convinced quite yet that it's an all-around better camera or provides a better user experience than either the ITB or the BV.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  3. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    I agree with many of your points. While I don't personally mind the shiny black finish, I would use tape / vinyl to cover-up the writing as well as the chrome ring around the front. As you mentioned, it looks like a Sony product (I personally wish Sony would make a dashcam) which I am ok with, and on that note, don't forget that the FineVu uses a quality Sony Exmor R CMOS as opposed to an unknown type in the others.

    The extra on-screen data, I agree is unnecessary, and appears cannot be turned off. At least this is placed at the bottom of the frame and doesn't block any of the footage. A slight annoyance at best.

    It does require an external GPS module and a separate wire/plug for that, which I don't necessarily like. However, I'll just shroud them both together and run them inside the headliner. I'll then place the GPS antenna out of sight behind the A-pillar trim panel.

    I've seen normal daytime footage, which also looks very good. As far as shooting into direct sunlight, I haven't been able to find any samples yet. As this is an improvement over the 300 model, which is pretty highly reviewed and many reviewers feel is (was) one of if not THE best dashcam available, here is a sample of shooting into the sun in winter from the CR-300:

    [video=youtube;1VOs6vTmKZo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VOs6vTmKZo[/video]

    The 300 performs pretty good in this situation, and I would expect the 500 to handle it equally well, if not better (nothing can be worse than my Blackvue). Note that in this video, the camera is also aimed quite high, covering a lot of the sky. I had to aim my Blackview down slightly so that it reduced the amount of sky it would see to try to minimize washout.

    I don't mind the micro SD memory cards. I have several around anyway, and have yet to lose one - this is not a factor for me in deciding on a camera. I have my 32gig Patriot at the ready.

    Do note that the price you quoted includes the external GPS module. Agree, some may find the GPS add-on dumb, while others who may not want the GPS function might find it ideal, as it allows for a more compact unit by not including the GPS components into the camera body. This also isolates any extra heat that the GPS would generate from the camera itself, AND...if you ever experience a GPS problem / failure, allows for it to be repaired or replaced without losing the functionality of the camera. Pros AND cons....totally up to the individual.

    I have no issues with the price at all. The camera AND GPS module can be had for just over 300 bucks. Even at 400 bucks, this still isn't an expensive purchase. I'll gladly spend that knowing I am going to be getting a quality product that will last, rather than spend less and take a gamble on an unknown. I spent over 200 bucks on my Blackvue, which is already on its last legs (9 months later). Lesson learned there!

    As far as access, the camera can tilt AND swivel on its mount, making access easier (at least the 300 can, and this mount looks exactly the same). This swivel function also provides an option to aim the camera to the side, useful, for example, if you want to monitor the side of you car for door dings in a parking lot, or if you get pulled over and want to record your exchange with the LEO and capture his friendly, smiling face. I am a "careful" parker to try to avoid dings, and when faced with limited options, I try to park at the very end of a row so that if I am exposed to potential door dings, at least it is only on one side. This swivel feature would be a benefit for me, and one that the other cameras don't provide.

    Perhaps it's not ideal for everyone, and every camera has its pros and cons. From what I've seen and read, this cam fits my needs nicely, and FineVu has a very good reputation in this market, which adds a little bit of peace of mind.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  4. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    That daylight footage from the 300 driving into the sun looks pretty spectacular.

    It does a great job handling flare and exposure of both the sky and the ground. Much better than how either the BV or the ITB would handle it.

    It handles exposure changes better as well when the camera turns towards or away from the sun.

    hmm...
     
  5. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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  6. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    If so, that'll be pretty handy! It looks like it's a custom mount, not the traditional screw on mount for the filter threads on the camera.

    It'll make your colors look better, skies bluer, clouds stand out more, kill off many of the reflections, and will let you see through car windows more easily.

    There's tradeoffs like you'll see banding across the sky when shooting with such a wide angle lens, you'll have more flare shooting into the sun because you're adding another glass element which leads to more reflections, your image quality will be reduced to some degree, and you'll see funky changes in the sky as your car turns and changes direction.

    Depending on where you drive, what direction you drive, and what time of the day you're driving, it could really help make things look better.
     
  7. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    Well, I just pulled the trigger on the 500. Got the camera, GPS, and the CPL filter for $365 ($358 Cdn). Happy with that price and hope it lives up to my expectations. I have a $245 dollar warranty cheque coming from Square Trade for my defective Blackvue, so this is about a 100 dollar upgrade. Here is the ebay ad:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/FINEVU-CR50...er-/261099583011?ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:CA:3160

    The software / firmware is still in english, but they say they provide an english manual, so hopefully its no big deal to get set up.

    My Caddy gets parked for the winter, so I'll probably mount it in the wife's Jeep.

    As for the polarizer, here's a separate post from the same seller for it separately. Looks like it pushes on and then you can rotate it as required.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/FINEVU-CPL-...tal_Video_Recorders_Cards&hash=item3cc4df5775
     
  8. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    Very cool. I'm eager to see how things look with this camera.

    When you get it set up, I've got a few quick questions while you test that polarizer...

    How much more flare you get when shooting into the sun with in on versus with it off?

    Here's a quick sample image I found on Google Images of a wide angle shot taken with a polarizer. (I have no idea what camera took this image.)

    34temc6.

    Note the uneven banding across the sky. It'll be darkest 90 degrees way from the sun. Do you see this to be an issue as you drive and change directions?

    Also if you look at this picture, you'll see vignetting... the darkening in the corners because the filter actually cuts into the edges of the image. Does this filter do that?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    Will do....got a group email last week from the seller that advised that he was waiting for the CPL filters from his supplier, but that the cameras were shipped and he would ship the polarizers separately once he received them. The camera should be arriving next week,and hopefully the polarizer won't be too far behind. I'll try to remember to do an unboxing review etc. once I receive it, as well as some real world testing.
     
  10. Coderedpl

    Coderedpl PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    Looks like http://www.facebook.com/Blackboxmycar will be selling them too at some point.

    Going to be keeping an eye on this to see if the finevue would be the one to get vs the other 2 talked about here
     
  11. nhdriver

    nhdriver PSL +15 Advanced User

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    Wow...I'm honestly excited about the FineVu.

    I wonder about the filter also, I'm going to assume the uneven band is caused by the wide angle lens and the filter itself isn't designed to handle the wide angle. And for the price hopefully it doesn't do that but if anything probably need to mod the front ring to attach wide angle compatible circular polarizer which isn't all that expensive either; if anything much cheaper than the $40 price.
     
  12. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    I received my CR-500 earlier this week. We have some snow and ice on the roads right now, so my Caddy is currently parked in the garage and will likely remain there for the remainder of the season. I was going to mount it in the wife's Jeep, but we just bought her a new BMW X1 that we will take delivery of next week, so I will be mounting it in that (behind a nice new windshield as opposed to the cracked and pitted one in her Jeep).

    First impressions are that the camera appears to be well-built and it is a really nice looking camera. It does have a very high gloss finish, which I personally like. I don't think the sheen will necesarily make it any more noticeable once mounted, but I will probably use black electrical tape to cover some of the high contrast lettering and perhaps the chrome lens surround.

    The mount seems to be pretty nice, its not too big and allows the camera to be adjusted both up and down (tilt) as well as rotated a complete 360*. The camera is easily removed from the mount by a simple release tab.

    I bought from eBay seller apple-ct. He emailed and advised that he was waiting for the filters and would ship separately, and I was updated a couple days later that it was on its way. The unit did not come with the GPS module, which was clearly shown as listed in his eBay ad. He initially said that the GPS was not part of the package, but once I pointed out how the GPS was included in the pictures in the seller's description etc., and how this could affect my feedback rating etc., he had no problem providing the GPS module and it is now on its way.

    I was emailed a pdf of an english version of the CR-300 camera user manual, as apparently all the functions etc. are the same. I have not yet gone through it in much detail, but it seems it will be sufficient in setting up and opeeating the camera.

    I popped the provided memory card in yesterday and tried it out on the morning drive to work yesterday. The wife was driving, so I just hand-held the camera from the passenger's seat. Not knowing anything about the initial setup, I just powered it up and waited to see what happened.

    It came to life right away with a couple beeps and and brief announcement in Korean, and it appeared to perhaps do a quick format of the card, but then a couple red icons turned to blue and it started recording without any firmware flashing or configuring required.

    The test footage was pretty decent, I felt. I was just holding the camera shooting out a hazy, beat up windshield so I wont bother posting that, as it is isn't representative of the camera's output quality. It IS definitely better than my Blackvue that has developed the foggy lens issue.

    You dont have to remove the memory card from the camera, as the camera itself connects to the computer via USB cable. I simply plugged it in, it powered up, and Windoze installed the drivers. The folders on the camera were clearly identified, and it saves the main files, g-meter saved files, and photos in separate folders.

    There is a config application on the camera that I ran which IS in Korean. The english version of the user manual explains what the different options are, so it should be no big deal to properly configure the camera to your liking. I didn't get into making any changes yet. Default setting is full HD.

    The camera does have a nicely illuminated control panel, but I wonder if it might be a bit distracting if driving on a very dark highway at night. My camera will not be directly visible to me in the driver's seat, as it will be behind the rear view mirror, so this wont be an issue for me.

    So far, based on the above first impressions, I think this is a very nice camera. It is pricier than the BV and Itronics, but I wasn't too concerned about price if I end up with a quality camera.

    Obviously, the real test will be the video output, and I wont be able to get into that until next week when I can get it mounted. As well, I wont be able to see how the polarizer works or the GPS until they arrive in the mail. I'll try to do the tests of the polarizer as requested. Apparently it is a CPL so I think it should be able to be rotated to allow for adjustment. I'll create and new thread once I have enough for a proper review.



    Sent from my SGH-I717R using Tapatalk 2
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  13. Capstick

    Capstick Premium Member Intermediate User Premium Member

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    The polarized filter is held on by six little magnets. You will be able to turn it any way you like. My set up was not delivered with an english manual, like the seller stated in his ad.
     
  14. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    Here's a quick vid of the CR-500 driving into the sun in on a very bright winter day. It does a good job with the exposure under pretty difficult lighting conditions. Oh, the microphone is vastly improved over the Blackvue's. As you can hear, I have the stereo volume up moderately loud, and it sounds just fine. It also does a great job picking up in-cab conversations etc. No mic-mod needed.

    [video=youtube;yVcbp7wTTtk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVcbp7wTTtk[/video]
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  15. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    The quality of both the video and the audio look excellent. Exposure control, dynamic range, and so on. Shooting into the sun and with white snow everywhere would typically make a camera darken things up. The fact that it's shooting hot to keep the highlights white and the scene properly exposed, and that it's doing it without flare, is very impressive.

    I'd like to run only one camera as I don't need a rear camera so I may sell both the ITB and BV and get one of these. Price I'm not too concerned about either. Mainly quality.

    Wrapping it in black gaffer tape to cover up the shiny body might be something I'll do.

    Does it use the same power cable as the BV? It'd be nice to use the same hardwire cable.

    How easy is it to insert/remove the memory card? I don't want to remove the camera from the car as once I get it oriented, I want to make sure it stays in place. I also want to make sure the mount to the windshield stays nice and strong.

    It looks like there is a little wobble in the camera as you drive. How do you have it mounted?

    ---------- Post added at 07:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:18 PM ----------

    Okay cool, just ordered one. :) $334.50 shipped with the GPS.

    Anyone want an ITB or Blackvue? I'm gonna be listing both up here shortly...
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  16. OZONE

    OZONE The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries. Advanced User

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    Considering buying one as well. Looks like a nice camera. Maybe when my financial situation improves. I would see this camera being used from the inside of the car looking out. Kind of like the drivers point of view.
     
  17. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    Good catch on the "wobble". This is "temporarily" (for the winter) mounted in the Wife's X1, and I thought it would mount nicely way up high near the top of the windshield above/behind the RVM. However, her car has a fairly hefty pod behind the mirror for the rainsense wipers etc. and the CR-500 has a very wide angle lens which caused the pod to block part of its FOV. So, I basically hung it from the bottom of the pod with the 3M double sided tape. As such, the plastic pod combined with the mount allow it to move a little bit more than normal when on rough roads.

    In my Caddy, I'll mount it directly to the glass up behind the RVM which will be more solid than this setup.

    I don't think the power cable will be compatible. With the GPS, there will be 2 plugs into the camera...one will be the power and the other will be the GPS. They "Y" into a single cable that goes to the GPS module. The power plug from the lighter then connects to the GPS module. The GPS module (if its the FG100) also has a battery saver function....when your car bettery drops below a certain votage (I can't remember exactly what it is) it cuts the power to the camera.

    Here's a blurry picture of how it is mounted. As for the memory card, as you can see, it is on the side, behind a rubber plug-type cover. Removing it is simialr to the Blackvue (it is such a little card). The entire camera removes easily and connects via a basic USB cable. I find it easier to jsut take the camera in. The camera also pivots on its mount, making access to the card slot easier too if you prefer to pop the card out.

    I'll put up some vid with the CPL filter. The filter really impedes the FOV around the edges, and I don't think I'll use it much...the camera does pretty food on its own. I need to experiment with it a bit more, they don't tell you how to position it and there is a small white dot on it, but I'm not sure where that dot should be positioned when you put it on. It is magenetic, and goes on/off nice and easy. From what I have seen so far, no banding etc. (could be the way I have it mounted though too)


    CR-500 Mount.
     
  18. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    Thank you again. I gotcha regarding the mount and thanks for the detail on the cabling. I take it the BV cable isn't the same one that plugs into the GPS module either?

    How does the camera disconnect from the mount? Is it easily remountable in the same position it was in previously?

    Also, how does the camera handle a full memory card? Does it stop recording like a GoPro or does it loop and start overwriting earlier video like the Blackvue?
     
  19. Wannago

    Wannago PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    I can't comment on the BV cable, as I no longer have that to compare to. It might be the same.

    Once the camera is positioned, there is a thubscrew that secures it into position. To take it down, it is a simple release and the camera detaches, leaving the mount fixed in the exact same position. When you return to the car, the camera just clips back into the mount and is aimed exactly as it was before.

    I haven't filled the card yet and have replaced the 16gig card with my Patriot 32gig class 10. The camera is set to record in 3 min clips, and overwrites the oldest files when it gets full. Regular clips are overwritten, but "events" are not overwritten and are saved in a separate folder on the memory card. Each 3 minute clip is about 220 megs. Set your shock-sensitivity to low, otherwise every rough section of road will trigger an event. The time setting is nice, as all you do is pick your time zone, and the camera syncs to your PC time. I had a ew issues with my Blackvue reporting the correct time.

    My eBayer sent me a CR-300 manual, in english, which works "ok" as the 300 and the 500 are pretty similar, however the setup application is a bit different for the 2 cameras. I did a lot of translating, both from Korean and Russian, to figure out the 500's settings application. I created a jpeg that I use as reference anytime I change anything:

    CR-500HD_Settings.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  20. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Premium Member

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    Awesome translation! I'm excited to hear about the mount and overwriting.

    The g-sensor thing I did the same thing. I've never really found that to be useful. Manually marking times in my phone by leaving notes with timestamps is my preferred technique for marking locations for later.

    I don't actually see anything in the settings to disable the watermarks at the bottom like voltage and all. Is there an option to customize all that?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012