Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review


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Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:22 pm



If you're looking for the video portion of this review and don't want to see the pictures and read about the camera, you can skip right to the video here: GoldwingDocs Innovv C5 Camera Review

People LOVE putting cameras on their motorcycles. They want to record their experiences, in order to be able to share them with their friends.

There are many cameras - helmet cameras, chest cameras, cameras that mount to handlebars, the list goes on. My preferred type of camera is the type that is permanently mounted to the bike, powered by the bike, so that it is not dependent on batteries.

Two years ago, I was offered a new BulletHD Biker Pro camera for review. This was the first remote camera/DVR unit designed specifically for motorcycles, with a weatherproof camera. My review of the BulletHD Biker Pro became one of the most popular and most often-viewed reviews on the site!

The Biker Pro was not without its faults. It was extremely sensitive to power fluctuations. My HID headlights drove it crazy, and caused it to lock up constantly. I built a power filter from a toroid choke and some electrolytic capacitors, which helped, but didn't solve this problem. The time and date were constantly resetting, especially if you didn't ride the bike for more than a few days. The picture quality was outstanding, but the HDMI cable used to connect the camera to the DVR was thick and stiff, and the connector at the camera end wasn't as weatherproof as it should have been. It took several firmware revisions before it was reliable enough that it wouldn't lock up. Similarly, the smartphone app used to control it was buggy, and never really got to what I'd call a bug-free state.

Recently I was contacted by the good people at OCD Tronic - to let me know that they had a new Innovv C5 ready to review for me. I was eager to try out the new camera...but wary. I needn't have worried.

The C5 is a much updated version of the wired motorcycle camera, with excellent picture quality and its design has implemented many suggestions from motorcycle riders everywhere. It records in 1920x1080 full HD at 30 frames per second, progressive (NOT interlaced!), for very high quality video. The video file contains H264 MPEG4 AVC in a TS file. Audio is captured at 97 kbps at a sample rate of 32Khz mono, using MPEG AC (MP4A) encoding.

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What arrived from OCD Tronic was a box full of goodies. The camera, and some other power control units, that I will get to in a moment.

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The box looks to be high quality packaging. They definitely didn't cheap out here!

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A bit of marketing on the back side never hurt...

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Some Chinese-style English has a few inaccuracies. The camera cable actually comes in three different lengths, not just 3 meters. Also, the camera is IP68 rated, while the DVR is IP65. The DVR would survive a rainstorm, the camera you could take diving with you.

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Like the Biker Pro, the C5 is configured and can be controlled by a smartphone. QR codes leading to the app for both iPhone and Android are printed on the side of the box. Unlike the Biker Pro, which could be configured manually by editing a text file on the SD card, the C5 MUST be configured using the smartphone app. If you don't have a smartphone, you'll have to use the default settings of the camera.

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The DVR comes in two colors, and as I mentioned, the cable is available in three different lengths.

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Opening the box, you're presented with the meat of the system: The small black DVR, and the camera.

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Unpacking the box, there is a ton of stuff inside. The instructions look a bit daunting at first, but I ended up barely looking at them in the end. Good thing, because they are...brief. Except for the reference table, they really weren't of a whole lot of help.

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The camera itself is larger in diameter than the Biker Pro camera, and the cable is permanently attached. It comes with a protective plastic film over the lens, which I would recommend you leave in place until the camera is fully installed, to avoid damaging the lens. The camera has a 120 degree field of view, which gives you some edge distortion, but picks up everything around you.

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The DVR has what looks like three buttons. Looking REALLY closely, I discovered that the small oval one in the middle is a power button, and the small oval one on the end has a WiFi symbol on it. The larger button (or whatever it is) looks to be perhaps a light? It never did anything while I was testing - it might be a control button used to save videos in emergencies - i.e. to save a video permanently when an accident has occurred, to ensure it is not overwritten. The documentation makes no mention of it.

A nice feature of the DVR is that it includes an internal battery, that is charged whenever the unit is being supplied with power. This allows the unit to do two things:

- Turn off gracefully when the bike is shut down, writing out the video file without corruption
- Wake up when the bike is turned off and parked, and record video when the bike is disturbed

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The camera attaches to the DVR with a standard USB-C connector, although the cable is anything but standard. The connector uses two thumbscrews to fasten it securely to the DVR.

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The other end of the DVR is sealed with a rubber flap.

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Lifting the flap, you see (from left to right) a 3.5mm microphone jack, a small hole for the internal microphone, a USB connector used to transfer files from the DVR onto a computer, a micro-SD card slot, and just barely visible above the SD card slot is another tiny hole. Pushing a paperclip gently into this hole activates a reset switch that resets the unit in case it were to become locked up, due to a firmware or other issue.

The unit will take up to a 128GB SD card - the faster the better. Writing HD video requires a lot of bandwidth. I have been using Samsung Evo SD Cards, and they work great. I used a 64 GB SD card that I had on hand. The card should be formatted IN the camera (using the smartphone app).

The rubber flap must be shut in order for the unit to obtain its IP65 weatherproof rating. I wondered how well the unit would record audio with the rubber flap covering up the microphone. More on this...

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The DVR comes with a plastic bracket. You can mount the bracket to your bike either with the included self-tapping screws, or the double-sided foam adhesive. The DVR snaps into this holder and is held in place firmly.

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Also included was a dizzying array of hardware obviously intended for mounting the camera. I saw an issue right away here - I mount my camera using adhesive, to the bodywork of my bike - not to a hard point with screws. The plastic ring is used to hold the camera, and the hex head screw screws into the bottom of the ring.

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Looking at the instructions on assembling the mount, it shows that you are to fit the camera into the ring, then put the screw through the bracket, through a washer, a rubber bushing, another washer, and then into the ring.

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I did as instructed in the diagram...

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Problem number one: When trying this, the screw was too long, and would not thread fully into the base of the ring. This is as far as it would go.

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I ended up using two of the rubber bushings in order to get it to snug up. However I still had the issue of how I was going to fasten this to my bike.

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This fantastic, tiny little device (smaller than a matchbox) is the power supply for the DVR and camera. It takes 12 volts (actually 12-24 volts, from what I read online) and puts out 5 volts at 2 amps. But it does more than that: It delays turn-on and turn-off by ten seconds. So you switch the power onto the bike, start the bike up, and ten seconds later, once all the headlights, starter, etc. have come on, this little box turns the camera on. This helps prevent voltage spikes and noise getting to the camera and DVR.

When you switch the ignition off, this box continues sending power to the DVR and camera for another ten seconds before shutting off. Why is this good? Well if you were to be involved in an accident, this could keep power going to your camera even if power was disrupted elsewhere on your bike.

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The output of the power supply is a coaxial jack with a threaded male end.

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This fits into the power connector on the camera's USB cable, and the ring on the USB cable screws into place, locking them together.

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Also included is a USB Micro-SD card reader. I didn't even bother opening this package as I already have a vast collection of these things in my desk drawer.

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I also received this goodie from OCD Tronic: An Innovv Motorcycle Power Hub.

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Always nice to have an explanation of what a product is, right on the box...

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Essentially, this is a high-current switching relay that gives you five individually fused power feeds for your bike, to connect all the accessories you want. Like the DVR power supply, it has a ten second on/off delay.

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Simple connection instructions help solve the problem of having 7 wires all connected to your battery, accessory terminal or ignition switch.

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In its packaging, it looks just like a black box...

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with the specifications on the top.

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Taking it out reveals some hefty 12 gauge wires, additional extra hookup wire, and a couple tabs on the side of the box to zip-tie it into place on your bike. The main input wire from the battery has a large fuse, and each of the output wires has its own fuse, so you can fuse different circuits according to their needs.

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Also included are some terminals and inline crimp connectors, for those of you afraid of soldering.

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Lastly, I was also sent this 5 volt USB power supply, to power your USB-powered devices. With a 12V to 5V, 2 amp converter (same as used for the camera), it has a weatherproof USB connector and a mounting strap with two-sided adhesive foam.

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Mounting this USB connector anywhere on your bike allows you to plug your phone or any other USB-powered device into the bike. And like the others, it has a ten second on/off delay.

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Back to the camera. With the hex-head screw protruding from the bracket, it was not flat enough to mount on my bike, and canted the camera downward, pointing at the ground. I made a slight bend in the bracket, to compensate.

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Installed, it had a more-or-less level top. I found the camera came loose too easily with the metal washer up against the clip, so I swapped the position of one of the washers and one of the rubber bushings, which stiffened it up against rotation. Note that the "INNOVV" logo on the camera denotes the top of the camera. There is no other marking on the camera showing which way is up, and no grooves or detents to lock it in an upright position. I had trouble with this, because it is very easy to get the camera rotated so that it looks like it is in correctly, but to have it slightly off - and your videos are tilted as a result.

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I took some 3M VHB (very high bond) double-sided foam tape that I keep on hand for projects just like these, and cut it to fit.

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Stuck onto the bracket, it would make do to hold the camera in place until I received a replacement camera mount (which I have already ordered) designed to mount onto a flat surface.

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The camera is shown here mounted on my filthy, bug-stained GL1500 (nobody can accuse my bike of being a garage queen!). A limitation of this mounting system is that there is no adjustment for elevation, so the image captures a bit of the fairing. Once again, I'll solve this once I get the new adjustable camera mount.

I had problems with the camera rotating in the ring while running the cable and while mounting. The camera rotates without much resistance in the ring, meaning the image will not be quite level. The Biker Pro camera had the exact same problem - I solved it by applying a piece of rubber-based electrical tape around the camera's circumference, which gave enough friction against the ring that the camera would no longer rotate. I'm going to try the same with this camera.

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Looking as you walk up to the bike, you likely would not notice the camera as it is mounted. No doubt you'd first notice the smeared bug guts all over the fairing instead! :D

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I pulled the USB cable up from the front of the bike where the camera was mounted, and zip-tied it to the fairing frame to ensure it did not touch the forks when the steering was moved. I removed the right fairing pocket.

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I then took the USB cable and fed it into the fairing through the slot in the bottom.

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Pulling the cable up into the fairing, where the pocket normally resides.

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Time to get the power supply set up. I removed the seat and pulled the side panel off my bike to gain access to the battery and power distribution panel.

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I zip-tied the power supply box to the bike frame, and tucked it inside where it would not interfere with anything.

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I then pulled its wires through under the frame member.

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I terminated the wires - a ring connector on the 12 volt feed to connect to the battery, and a spade connector each on the ground and trigger wires. The trigger wire went to one of the outputs on my power panel, and ground went to my ground distribution bar.

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I pulled the power portion of the USB cable up and fed it back to the power supply.

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Screwing the USB cable power connector to the power supply connector ensures it will not vibrate apart.

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Time for a test - I switched it on, and the DVR lit up. A good sign!

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I cut a hole in the bottom of the pocket to allow the connector and wires to feed into the pocket.

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Once the wires were through, I used aluminum tape to seal the rest of the hole.

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Here is the DVR operating, with the pocket reinstalled and the bike reassembled. Powering it on with the SD card inserted, the red light flashed slowly, indicating that it was recording, and the green light also flashed slowly, indicating that the WiFi was waiting for a connection. Hold the power button (red light) down for a few seconds, and the unit will power off, although why you would ever need to do this, I don't know. Similarly, the green button controls WiFi - but it is ready to connect as soon as you turn it on, so this button is somewhat redundant.

Once I powered the unit up, I downloaded and installed the app on my phone. I then opened my WiFi connections, it found the "INNOVV_C5_9386" network right away. I connected to it, using the default password of "123456". I then opened the app.

Incidentally, I highly recommend that you configure your phone's WiFi to NOT automatically connect to the C5. Why? Because the C5's WiFi is on by default as soon as it powers up. If your phone is configured to auto-connect to the C5, it will do so - and will then not be able to reach the Internet, because the C5 obviously does not provide an Internet connection. So any Internet-enabled apps you may have running in the background (including mapping and navigation) will stop working. Essentially, any time your bike is turned on, your phone will have no Internet connection - which may or may not be a good thing!

After two (???) rather pointless splash screens that last for a few seconds each, and which you can't skip, you're presented with a menu with the following options:

Live Recording (see live video)
Photograph (take still pictures)
Documents (view recorded videos)
Settings (configure the DVR)
Web Site (opens the Innovv web site)
Shop (buy things from Innovv)
Blog (Innovv Blog)
ShareFun (shares your videos with Innovv via their Dropbox account)

I went straight to the settings screen.

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I'll go through each of the settings and what they are for.

Password: The WiFi network name cannot be changed, however you can change the password to anything you want.
Video Resolution: (1080P 30fps/720P 60fps/720P 30fps) Self explanatory. Unless you need to record a week's worth of video, I would leave it at the highest resolution.
Loop Video: (Off/1 min/3 min/5 min/10 min) Sets the amount of time the camera records before it closes the file and starts a new file.
Time Lapse: (Off/100ms/200ms/500ms) Instead of 30 frames per second, it will take one frame every 100ms (or 200ms, etc). At 100ms, the video will play back at 10x normal speed, 200ms will play back at 20x normal speed, and so on. This allows you to record a very long trip that plays back in a short amount of time.
Frequency: (50Hz/60Hz) In countries that have 60Hz power (i.e. US and Canada) set this to 60Hz to avoid flickering from streetlights, etc.
G-Sensor: (Off/Low/Mid/High) Adjust the sensitivity of the motion (impact) sensor
Delay Off: (Off/10s/20s/30s) The amount of time the camera continues to record after power is shut off
Mirror Flip: Records video as a mirror image
Audio: Turns on or off audio recording
Date/Time Display: Imprints date and time on the video
Parking Mode: When on, the camera will detect impacts/motion while the bike is parked and turned off, and will record 60 seconds of video

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Formatting: Clicking on the Yes will format (erase and set up) your SD card. Do this before you start using the camera
Video Stamp: Clicking "Input" will allow you to type text that will be added to the date/time stamp on the video
Time Sync: Resets the date and time of the camera to match that in your phone
System Reset: Does exactly what it says

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Clicking Live Recording from the main menu takes you to a live image of the video currently being recorded. You can stop the recording by pressing the red button, or manually adjust the exposure by pressing the sun. Audio is also sent to your phone in this mode, although on my phone the audio was barely audible, and was accompanied by a loud banging noise. This noise was not evident on the recording however, so I suspect it is an artifact of the phone app.

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Clicking Documents from the main menu takes you to a listing of files (either on the DVR or already downloaded to your phone) that you can play back over your phone. Unlike the Biker Pro, video playback is instant and works perfectly. You pick the file you want to play, and it starts to play, just like it should.

Now...on to the video!





What do I think of the camera's performance? I can summarize it as a series of pros and cons:
  • Overall image quality is excellent. It's sharp, with good saturation, good color balance, accurate white balance, and outstanding exposure control.
  • Video compression artifacts are a little more than I would like to see, but are a necessary evil in order to keep the bitrate down and use a reasonable amount of storage. I suspect these would virtually disappear at lower resolutions.
  • Sharpness and shutter speed in daylight are excellent. As you could see in the video, I was able to capture a single frame of video in which you could see the license plate of a car approaching with a closing speed of over 100 mph.
  • Shutter speed, as expected, slows at night, causing motion blur at speed.
  • Low light performance is excellent.
  • Audio performance is atrocious. I had the Biker Pro DVR in the same fairing pocket as the C5's DVR, and it recorded quite acceptable audio. I tried taking the C5's rubber seal and propping it open to expose the microphone (instead of having it covered up by the rubber flap) and it made no difference. I suspect I will get a small microphone to plug into the DVR - either that, or build a circuit to hook it up to the intercom microphone, so it can pick up my voice as I talk!
  • Both the camera and the DVR are encased in solid billet-derived aluminum cases, and exude quality. In fact that's something I felt the whole time I was working with this system: The C5 is a quality product.
  • I'm not overly thrilled with the camera's mounting system, but once I receive the replacement camera mount that I ordered, I expect it to improve. I'm still fighting to get the camera level!
  • There's a bit more internal reflection in the camera lens than I'd like to see at night time. This could be mitigated with an anti-reflective coating on the lens elements (which are all glass, I should note! No cheap plastic lenses here), but that would definitely drive up the cost.
  • The video compression overall is very good. There are artifacts visible on detailed, fast-moving objects, but this is the price you pay for the low bitrate required to cram so much video into such a small amount of space. A 128GB card will store over 19 hours of continuous HD video!
  • The power supply appears to be completely immune to power fluctuations and noise, the camera never missed a beat.
  • The software and firmware is OUTSTANDING. The firmware is ROCK SOLID, with no glitches, freeze-ups or unexpected behavior. This is unheard of in a camera this early in its product life cycle! Firmware can be updated using the phone app when/if it is released. The phone app is also quite solid - the only way I could get it to crash consistently was to start it, and THEN connect the WiFi. But please...give us the option to skip the pointless splash screens every time you open the app!
So would I recommend this camera? You bet! It's high quality, worked perfectly for me, and takes great video. If you're looking for a camera system for your bike, and don't want to deal with batteries and silly helmet mounts, I suggest you head on over to OCD Tronic's Amazon store, browse the cameras and accessories, and pick up the Innovv C5.

Download the Innovv C5 manual here: Innovv C5 Camera Manual



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WingAdmin
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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:22 pm

For those of you just looking for the video review, you can see it here:




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OCD Tronic
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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by OCD Tronic » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:14 pm

Wow you're fast, very professional review. (impressive)

Thanks for digging in and sharing everything so quick.

We are excited to get the word out there is a new set it and forget it quality motorcycle camera in town.

New Amazon listings are now live but "PRIME" stock won't be available for a few more weeks as we ramp up production into the holidays. (global team effort)
https://www.amazon.com/INNOVV-Black-Cam ... ingdocs-20
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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by OCD Tronic » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:20 pm

More info about the microphone. The factory said:

"the sound quality of the built in mic is impacted by the rubber pad which is used for dvr waterproofing"

"the external mic allow people to mount mic to mouth to speak to or to engine to"



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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:24 am

OCD Tronic wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:20 pm
More info about the microphone. The factory said:

"the sound quality of the built in mic is impacted by the rubber pad which is used for dvr waterproofing"

"the external mic allow people to mount mic to mouth to speak to or to engine to"

Ua5fHuf.png
I figured as much. I'm going to try it with a mic plugged into it and see how it works. And like I said, I might whip up a circuit to tie it into the intercom mic in my helmet. :)

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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by Alan_Hepburn » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:15 pm

Excellent review! Just one small change to suggest:
Lifting the flap, you see (from left to right) a 3.5" microphone jack,...
It looks more like a 3.5mm jack than a 3.5" jack!
Alan Hepburn - San Jose, Ca
1994 GL1500SE with a California Sidecar

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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:53 pm

Alan_Hepburn wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:15 pm
Excellent review! Just one small change to suggest:
Lifting the flap, you see (from left to right) a 3.5" microphone jack,...
It looks more like a 3.5mm jack than a 3.5" jack!
Thank you, fixed! :)

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Loved them all at the time but I prefer the 1500's.

Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by welmack » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:12 pm

As always I appreciate the work you go through to make these reviews. Watching the video on the camera I thought the video wasn't as clear as the earlier video on the H-D Bullet Cam so I went back and watched that video and then I took another run at the Innovv C5. To me the Bullet Cam seemed to outdo the C5 in clarity. Also for the price the mounting of the camera seemed to somewhat shoddy on the C5. I still haven't gotten a camera for my 1500 but I believe I lean more to the Bullet Cam. I hope you won't think I am criticizing you. I very much appreciate the work you do as moderator and the superb reviews along with excellent how to articles. I would never gotten into changing my 1500's belts without your excellent instructions. This is just mho on the cams. Keep up the good work.

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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by OCD Tronic » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:28 pm

welmack wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:12 pm
As always I appreciate the work you go through to make these reviews. Watching the video on the camera I thought the video wasn't as clear as the earlier video on the H-D Bullet Cam so I went back and watched that video and then I took another run at the Innovv C5. To me the Bullet Cam seemed to outdo the C5 in clarity.
The lens and sensor are more capable on the C5.
(Especially at night)

YouTube isn’t good to judge video quality because it’s re-compressed further.

Comparing videos from two different cameras taken at two different times is also not a good test. (Light conditions etc) Side-by-side simultaneous recordings and viewing the raw video is the only way to make a true comparison.
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1963 Harley 74
1962 Harley 74
1984 Suzuki Madura
1984 GL1200
1988 GL1500
2005 GL1800 CSC Trike
2013 Harley Sportster XL883L
Loved them all at the time but I prefer the 1500's.

Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by welmack » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:55 pm

YouTube isn’t good to judge video quality because it’s re-compressed further.

Comparing videos from two different cameras taken at two different times is also not a good test. (Light conditions etc) Side-by-side simultaneous recordings and viewing the raw video is the only way to make a true comparison.
I am just using what I have available in order to try to make an informed judgement. Reviews like those posted by WingAdmin are invaluable to members as we try to determine the proper purchases for each of us. As for your statement about two different cameras at different times I know of no other way of comparison at this time. I agree with you about side by side comparison being a proper test but that is not available at this time.

I am certainly not trashing your product as I believe it to be a good product, and I believe you trust WingAdmin's judgement as he reviews your product or you wouldn't have submitted your system to him. There just appeared to be a difference in the two systems to me. Thank you for your reply.

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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by OCD Tronic » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:05 pm

I'm sure someone can do a side by side raw video comparison at some point. I don't have any Biker Mate/Pro's to do one myself.

The IQ (Image Quality) will be increased in future firmware updates. First release is for stability. Next updates will be for IQ and features.
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1962 Harley 74
1984 Suzuki Madura
1984 GL1200
1988 GL1500
2005 GL1800 CSC Trike
2013 Harley Sportster XL883L
Loved them all at the time but I prefer the 1500's.

Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by welmack » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:33 pm

Looks like a moot point as it appears the Bullet Cam may no longer be available. As I have been looking at reviews since this discussion began it also appears a lot of people have had a lot of problems as did WingAdmin. Looks like the C5 is the winner. I am looking forward to your roll-out later this month.

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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:02 pm

OCD Tronic wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:05 pm
I'm sure someone can do a side by side raw video comparison at some point. I don't have any Biker Mate/Pro's to do one myself.

The IQ (Image Quality) will be increased in future firmware updates. First release is for stability. Next updates will be for IQ and features.
That's what I was suspecting, and it appears to be done well. I've been unable to get this camera to lock up or do anything odd at all, it's really rock-solid. The compression I expected would be improved with a future firmware release, and that's what you just confirmed.

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OCD Tronic
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Re: Innovv C5 Motorcycle Camera Review

Post by OCD Tronic » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:43 am

INNOVV C5 Motorcycle Camera System Install (Australia)

http://www.compassexpeditions.com/blog- ... m-install/


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