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Review of the 808 #16 V2 Action Video Camera

July 26, 2013
Updated August 4, 2013

Like many of you, I have seen a lot videos on You Tube showing Point Of View (POV) videos of model railroading. They look really nice but I had never seen how it was done or what kind of cameras were used. I only knew that one person had a camera that was a bit wider than the HO car it was riding on. You could tell because an out take showed it hitting a wall. These types of videos really give you a much different perspective on a layout and I really wanted to make some of my layout and the clubs.
My search took me to EBay as I figured that was the easiest way to find all the different types of small video cameras out there. The search of action cameras, as I expected, revealed a large number and types of cameras. None had the perfect type of mounting for a POV model railroad but I really did not expect to find that anyway. The requirements for the camera I wanted as, small enough and light enough to fit on an HO car or locomotive without affecting the locomotives performance too much, had to be an HD camera, had to have a mount adaptable to work on a locomotive or car and if I could find it, a wide angle lens. I also did not want to pay a lot for it, under $100 was my goal. This was a lofty goal for sure.
Finding several types I thought would work, I wanted to see if there were any user reviews so that lead me to You Tube. Good call on my part. The cameras I was looking at did not get the best of reviews for general use and for what I wanted they most likely would not be a good fit. I found one person who had a sizeable number of video camera reviews on You Tube, Techmoan. His reviews were lengthy but extremely well done and gave you a lot of good information. All of the his reviews told me they would not work for what I wanted. The way the camera performed was not good enough for model railroading POV videos. I replied to one of his reviews and asked him what kind of camera would he suggest for what I was looking for. His quick response was the 808 #16 spy camera (it looks like a car key/alarm fob). He said this is a very good, small light weight camera used widely by aircraft and car RC (remote control) guys and offered two web sites to gather info. One item he mentioned is he was not sure how well it would focus at close range. I checked them out and his own review and was sold. To avoid making this review too long, I will recommend you check out his review, click here. Now this review is not exactly the same as the V2 but close enough to show you how it works. The most noticeable difference between the reviewed camera and this one is the new lens. The V2 lens sticks out some but gives you 720P 120° view, are real plus. Note, you can ONLY get this camera through EBay.


The 808 #16 V2 as I purchased it.

Here is how I set up my video run.

A close up of the camera. I only used Scotch tape to hold it to the flat car.

Now, not having a micro SD available, I ordered my camera, from Techmoan's recommended seller, with an 8GB class 4 micro SD card. Class 4 is what they recommend as they say you do not get any better results from the higher class cards. With the micro SD card my cost was less than $60. You get all you see in the picture above on the left which I got from EBay. The key chain I did not need or use and the two cables on the right I later learned can be can be used to view what you are shooting as you are recording, again nothing I would use but the RC guys might. I received my camera two weeks before the ETA I got from the buyer. It came standard USPS from China. If you get the micro SD card, you get it installed in the camera. Took me a minute to realize that. When you make your purchase, you are sent an E-mail with the PDF instructions.
As advertised the camera was very easy to use. Using a flat car, I took my first video of my 4' X 10' layout. You can see my You Tube video by clicking here. Please note when you watch, I did no editing except for the comments. I was extremely pleased with the camera and video. The wide angle lens works well. The sound quality was decent. The microphone is in the front next to the lens. It was a bit tough to hear the locomotive pushing the flat car but you can easily hear passing locomotives and my dog barking. For this type of lens you can see some fish eye at the edges but for a lens with a 120° view, the issue is minor. I got a close in shot and the focus seemed OK. Shooting the video from a flat car had an added bonus. It gives you a perspective so you can inspect track work or to maybe figure out why cars derail. You can see the difference by clicking here, as I did a short video from the top of a hopper.

Follow up.
I wrote this, the person looking it over commented it would have been nice if the camera followed the tracks on a curve instead of looking straight. I kind of thought this too. So I created one. It is a simple design as you can see in the pictures below. I used some square rod styrene I had to make the base for the one truck. Used two pieces of .040 sheet styrene for the bed of the car. A Kadee pocket coupler was added, only one as it will normally be in front of the locomotive or the last car. I tightened the truck screw so it would not swivel but left the coupler box loose so it would swivel. This in fact did keep the camera following the track instead of looking away. This flat surface makes it so you can use tape instead of the Velcro to hold the camera. I did a test at full throttle, no tape, and the camera never moved. The rubber case keeps it from sliding. Another benefit was you would hear the locomotive better and you do.


A side view of my camera car.

The bottom view. Yes the coupler pocket is not screwed down tight.

The top view.

All set up and ready to video. It worked great on my layout.

Overall results.

Pros

1. Small and compact.
2. Easy to use.
3. Low cost even with an micro SD card.
4. Has a wide angle lens.

Cons

1. Just like all electronics, a better one
was just released with more features.
2. Some fish eye at the edges of the video.
3. No indication video is recording

.

I would give this video camera an 8 out of 10.

I only have minor complaints with this camera. It takes some pretty good video and my locomotives had no problem with it. The light weight and ease of use are nice. I did not really care for the fact there was no recording LED to let you know you are recording. You really have to watch for the 3 LED flashes to verify it is recording.  Can be a bummer if the battery is low. Well I if had read the manual, I would have realize you can change this setting. You need to go into the config file and change this to be a flashing LED when recording. Also this is not a smart camera. Unlike a regular digital camera it does not remember what the last file name was. So when you delete videos from the micro SD card, the camera starts over at the lowest available number so if you save your videos to your hard drive, you must rename them. Now for my lone real con comment. Techmoan just did a review of a new version of this camera and this one the includes fixes to all of his drawbacks on the #16. (He reported the company saw his review and acted on it.) It has a 1080P wide angle lens, a better case, better mounting abilities, flashing record LED and costs less than $70, no micro SD card included but free shipping. You can check out the video here. If I had known, I would have waited gotten this one.

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