Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Welcome to our big car camera test 2021. Here we present all the car cameras we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information for you. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best car camera for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a car camera.




Summary

  • Car cameras allow you to record traffic and protect yourself against possible damage. Basically, car cameras are differentiated according to their features and functions.
  • Car cameras are usually equipped with various extras, such as a GPS or loop function, a G-sensor, a motion sensor and a display.
  • From a legal perspective, the use of a car camera is permitted, but the publication of the recordings is prohibited. Whether the recordings serve to preserve evidence is at the discretion of the respective court.

The Best Car Camera: Our Picks

Car cameras: buying and evaluation criteria

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate car cameras. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Video quality

The most important criterion for a car camera is the video quality. Unfortunately, you often cannot test the video quality before buying. However, the resolution, the processor used and the camera lens already reveal some important information about the later video quality. In most cases, the higher the resolution, the better.

Always remember how much money the camera can save you if you can prove your innocence with it just once.

We can give you the following tips on how to get a first impression of the car camera before you buy it.

  1. Look at the recorded videos of night driving. With many car cameras you can see very little at night. Since you are not only on the road during the day, you should also consider a night vision function when buying a camera to ensure better visibility at night. This works by using an infrared LED light.
  2. Also, look at consumer footage rather than manufacturer footage. With consumers, you can be sure of quality and accuracy.
  3. The resolution of a camera indicates how many individual pixels make up the image. The greater the number of pixels, the more detailed the image. It is very important for you to pay attention to the largest possible number of pixels, as this has a very strong effect on the video quality.

WLAN and/or Bluetooth allow you to transfer the digitally recorded videos to another device. This makes data transfer easier and you can quickly access your recordings on other devices.

Shooting angle

The next important criterion is the shooting angle. The shooting angle determines how much of the image can be captured.

The larger the shooting angle, the more of the surroundings can be recorded.

It is therefore advisable to purchase a car camera with a recording angle of at least 120 degrees.

Storage capacity

The storage capacity is responsible for how much data can be stored on the dashcam. Usually, a memory card must be purchased as an option.

You should make sure that a memory card of at least 32GB can be inserted into the car camera.

If the capacity is too small, constantly deleting recordings can be time-consuming for you, so it is better to save your time by purchasing the largest possible memory card for your car camera.

Make sure the memory card is compatible with your dashcam.

Heat resistance

Heat resistance is also a very important criterion, as the car camera has to withstand high temperatures in the car behind the windscreen, especially in summer.

Many manufacturers face a big challenge here, because lithium-polymer batteries cannot withstand these temperatures for long.

So pay attention to the product information sheet, which should include information on heat resistance.

Wide Dynamic Range

WDR technology is controlled by image sensors that can adapt to different lighting conditions. For you, it offers the advantage of being able to shoot in low light conditions.

You won't find many products that use this technology yet. The car cameras that include this technology are also much more expensive. So consider whether you need Wide Dynamic Range at all for your purposes.

WLAN, Bluetooth and USB

In times of digitalisation, the internet capability of a device is a very important point. WLAN and/or Bluetooth enable you to transfer digitally recorded videos to another device. It makes data transfer easier and you can quickly access your recordings on other devices.

Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth allows you to transfer the digitally recorded videos to another device. It facilitates the data transfer and you can access your recordings very quickly on other devices.

The USB port is often used to charge the battery. You can use a suitable USB cable to charge your camera at a power outlet.

You can also connect your camera directly to your laptop or TV with a USB cable to view your recordings.

Built-in microphone

The built-in microphone in a camera is used to record sound during video recording. This is where the sound quality is crucial.

This criterion is relatively new for car cameras, as previously little value was placed on sound recording.

Nevertheless, there are currently few dashcams that do not contain an integrated microphone. However, there are serious differences in the sound quality, which is why you should also pay attention to this when buying.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a car camera

What is a car camera?

A car camera is, as the word implies, a camera for the car that records and stores what is happening on the road. A commonly used synonymous term is the so-called dashcam, which literally means "dashboard camera".

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Car cameras are a useful gadget for any driver. In the event of an accident, the footage recorded by the camera helps as evidence of how the accident happened. (Image source: astro12 / 123rf)

Car cameras can serve not only as evidence in the event of an accident, but also as a means of self-monitoring for drivers: The recordings can be used to analyse one's own driving behaviour.

Are car cameras allowed in Germany?

The use of dashcams in Germany is still very controversial. Whether you can use a car camera as evidence in court in the event of a dispute depends on the judge in charge. Consequently, there is still no legal basis for the use of a car cam.

Did you know that there are about 2.6 million car accidents in Germany every year?

Almost 400,000 people are injured, 80% of them slightly and 20% seriously. A car camera can be very helpful in clarifying the causes. In this way, similar accidents can be prevented in the future

It is important for you to observe the data protection laws, as the car camera should not be used to record other people and then publish your videos on the Internet or pass them on to third parties.

This would violate personal rights and you could be fined.

However, you can use the recordings for your private use and, depending on the judge, claim them in court.

What benefits does a car camera have for you?

Basically, there are three different benefits: As evidence, to analyse your driving behaviour and to generally observe the driving behaviour of road users.

In the following sections, we will go into the three points in more detail and show you the benefits of a car camera for you.

As evidence

In the event of an accident, the recordings can be used as evidence to document and clarify the course of the accident.

Normally it will be difficult for you to prove your innocence in a legal dispute without witnesses. With the recording you have the right evidence in your hand. The admissibility will be decided by the judges as described above.

In cases of attempted insurance fraud, the recording of a car camera can also serve as evidence. Since insurance fraud is becoming more and more common, it can be very useful for you to protect yourself against it by making a purchase.

In the case of vandalism/burglary, especially at night, there are usually no witnesses and therefore you have to pay for the damage yourself. Here, too, a car camera with motion sensors can help to identify the perpetrators and act as evidence.

Analysis of your driving behaviour

Normally you look at your driving from a subjective angle and therefore cannot properly evaluate your driving style. The recordings will help you to analyse your driving behaviour and give an objective assessment.

Intended use Explanation
As evidence In the event of an accident, the recordings can be used as evidence to document and clarify the course of the accident. Normally, it will be difficult for you to prove your innocence in a legal dispute without witnesses. With the recording you have the right evidence in your hand. The admissibility will be decided by the judges.
Insurance cases In cases of attempted insurance fraud, the recording of a car camera can also serve as evidence. Since insurance fraud is becoming more and more common, it can be very useful for you to protect yourself by making a purchase.
Security In case of vandalism/burglary, especially at night, there are usually no witnesses and therefore you have to pay for the damage yourself. Here, too, a car camera with motion sensors can help to identify the perpetrators and act as evidence
Analysis of driving behaviour Normally, you look at your driving from a subjective angle and therefore cannot evaluate your driving style correctly. The recordings will help you to analyse your driving behaviour and give an objective assessment
General view of the traffic When do you ever have the chance to look back at the driving behaviour of other road users? The dashcam offers you this opportunity and leaves one or two viewers of the recordings with amusement or shaking their heads.

When do you ever have the chance to look back at the driving behaviour of other road users?

The dashcam offers you this opportunity and leaves one or two viewers of the recordings with amusement or shaking their heads.

What types of car cameras are there?

Basically, car cameras cannot be distinguished according to their types, but according to their characteristics.

These specific features each bring individual advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the purpose of your car camera, the listed features are suitable for you.

In the following section, we would like to help you find out which car camera is best suited for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to all the above-mentioned features of a car camera and show you what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

Car camera with GPS

The GPS function not only offers you the possibility to record your route, but it also provides you with interesting data such as speed or the exact location.

GPS (Global Positioning System) is used to determine your position, for which you need at least four satellites or transmitters. Simply explained, the satellites constantly send their position and current time to the GPS receiver, in this case to the car camera. The more signals are sent, the more precisely the position of the receiver can be determined.

Advantages
  • easy to use
  • automatic positioning
  • exact positioning
  • recording of your route
  • speed measurement
Disadvantages
  • signal interference (e.g. in tunnels)
  • high battery consumption

The GPS function is relatively easy to use and starts tracking automatically when switched on. Depending on the location, this can take a few minutes. Nevertheless, signal interference can occur, for example, when driving through a tunnel.

If route recording is important to you, you won't want to miss the GPS function on your car camera.

Car camera with loop function

With loop recording, the oldest video recordings are overwritten with new recordings as soon as the memory of your car camera is full. This gives you the opportunity to record your recordings in a loop, as the car camera only has a limited memory capacity.

Advantages
  • automatic overwriting
  • no manual deletion necessary
  • time-saving
Disadvantages
  • loss of older recordings

With car cameras that do not have a loop function, you would have to delete recordings manually, which can be very time-consuming and also annoying for you.

Therefore, the loop function offers you the advantage that no current video material is lost. In addition, good car camcorders usually warn you with an acoustic signal before the recordings are overwritten.

Car camera with G-sensors

A G-sensor is the so-called acceleration sensor.

If there is an accident or emergency braking, the resulting forces are sensed by the G-sensor and the recording is automatically saved.

This is particularly helpful in the case of rear-end collisions, as the stored data can be used to clarify the course of the accident or the traffic situation in general.

Advantages
  • Write protection in case of accidents
  • automatic triggering
  • useful in clarifying an accident
Disadvantages
  • high sensitivity
  • unintentional triggering if mounted incorrectly

Both the sensitivity of the G-sensors and incorrect installation can lead to unintentional triggering of the write protection.

However, with many car cameras it is possible to switch the G-sensors on or off manually.

Car camera with motion sensors

A car camera with motion sensors starts recording when motion is detected. This is especially helpful for you if you are not present in the car. Who hasn't experienced it when returning to the car from shopping and discovering a dent or scrape?

With a car camera with motion sensors, you have clear evidence in your hand and can have the number plate or the perpetrator identified.

Advantages
  • automatic motion detection
  • helpful in case of vandalism
  • independent of car power
  • record your route
Disadvantages
  • high battery consumption

Of course, this function consumes a lot of battery power because it has to access the built-in battery during this time.

However, if this function is important to you, you should make sure that your car camera has a longer recording time due to the built-in battery.

The motion sensor is often referred to as the parking sensor. When you park your car, the car camera takes short pictures of movements around the car.

Car camera with display

The advantage of a display is that you can access the moving images at any time and thus get an overview of the traffic situation. You can also view your recordings on the display and do not have to call them up on the computer.

Many people find a display distracting, as moving images can distract from the traffic. In addition, a larger display also results in a disturbed field of vision.

Advantages
  • See moving images
  • Good overview
  • Call up recordings on the display
Disadvantages
  • Disturbs the field of vision
  • Glare when driving at night

If a display is important to you, make sure that it can be switched on and off manually. A bright display can be dazzling, especially when driving at night, and this function can be very useful.

Car camera with additional rear camera

A car camera with an additional rear camera is also called a dual car camera. This allows you to record not only the area in front of your car, but also the area of your rear-view mirror.

The special advantage is that you get a comprehensive overview of the traffic. Unlike other car cameras, this one can also record what is happening behind you.

Unfortunately, accidents often happen when one road user hits another. In this scenario, you have evidence in your hand and can prove how the accident happened.

Advantages
  • comprehensive overview
  • useful in rear-end collisions
Disadvantages
  • usually more bulky (e.g. in tunnels)
  • more cost-intensive

The dual car camera is usually bulkier and can therefore impair a driver's field of vision. Of course, this assessment is subjective and may be perceived differently from driver to driver.

This is where images from a car cam can provide insight into the extent to which they might affect you.

How much does a car camera cost?

The price of a car camera varies depending on the features included. You should set yourself a fixed limit and determine the functions that are most important to you.

You can get a good car camera for as little as 40 euros, but of course you should also look at the criteria here.

What is the best place to mount/install the car camera?

Probably the best place to mount a car camera is behind the rear-view mirror. This way, it hardly or not at all disturbs the driver's field of vision and the entire road can be captured in the recording.

However, this is not always possible, as some car models do not have enough space to mount a camera.

In such a case, it is advisable to move the camera slightly to the right towards the passenger seat.

You should also consider the windscreen wiper when installing the camera. Since not all of the windscreen is covered by the windscreen wiper, you should take care not to install the dashcam in a place where the windscreen wiper does not wipe.

Otherwise, the recorded videos of the camera can become unusable in bad weather conditions.

Installation depends somewhat on the car in question. However, one thing always applies in any case: a car camera should be

always be installed as inconspicuously as possible in the car. The driver's field of vision should never be obstructed.

What alternatives are there to a car camera?

The car camera is by no means without alternative. Since the smartphone has become our constant companion, there is also the option of using an app.

The apps use the smartphone's camera and offer many features similar to the car camera, such as GPS. Google Maps is very often used to record routes.

The big advantage of using an app is that they are cheaper than buying a car camera. In addition, a smartphone is easier to transport and only requires a mount for the car.

The big disadvantage is the camera resolution and thus also the video quality of the recordings. Especially when driving at night, the recordings are hardly usable.

So if you value high-quality recordings, you will not be able to avoid buying a specific camera.

In addition to apps, there is also the alternative of action camcorders, which is particularly popular with extreme athletes. We will discuss this camera in more detail in the next question.

What is the advantage of a car camera over an action camcorder?

You may be wondering why it is necessary to buy a special car camera when you can simply mount a normal action cam.

However, this is where the problem lies. Mounting an action camcorder is very difficult, whereas a dashcam is much easier to mount.

You need a special mount for the car, which is usually already included in the purchase of a car camera. Also, there is not a suitable car mount for every action cam.

So if you need a camera for the car, you should also buy a car camera for this purpose.

How long has a car camera been around?

The exact time cannot be quantified. However, the dashcam footage of the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia in 2013 helped to raise the profile of the device.

Did you know that many car cameras not only capture footage, but also "stamp" it live with date/time, speed and GPS data?

This is particularly helpful in the event of an accident. The data can be easily read off and can be useful in clearing up the accident.

There have been black boxes in cars for a long time, which function similarly to the black box in an aeroplane. It records data on speed or geo-position, for example.

Where does the car camera trend come from?

The car camera trend is coming very strongly from Russia. This is largely due to the fact that in Russia the recordings can be used as evidence in court. Accordingly, many people in Russia use car cameras to protect themselves in the event of accidents.

In Russia, a lot of recordings are uploaded to YouTube and distributed. So you can already watch a lot of recordings on the internet and get an impression yourself.

Image source: 123rf / Chutima Sonma

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