Dash Cam Footage Video Quality
Learning the specific features and technical jargon associated with dash cameras can seem overwhelming when purchasing a product, especially with a device that needs to run without issues for the times that you really need recorded footage of an event. Here is a breakdown of the most important specifications and considerations to take into account when trying to choose an HD dash cam that can help keep you safe on the road while providing quality footage.
What Can Affect Dash Cam Footage?
There are a few factors we can control when it comes to choosing the best video quality dash cam. Things like resolution, viewing angles, and other camera specifications are all things we can research to figure out which dash cam to purchase, while variables like adverse weather and poor lighting are not. The clarity of the image can determine whether an insurance claim is successfully accepted or whether dash cam evidence is. Learn more about what specifications to look for when comparing dash cam footage quality.
- Viewing Angle
- Visibility in Adverse Conditions
- Low Light Capabilities
HD Dash Cam Resolution
HD, also known as high definition, refers to video resolution. Most dash cams start at 720p and go upwards to 1080P and beyond. The highest dash cam resolution is currently 4K, or Ultra High Definition. A dash cam with poor resolution is of no use if it can’t capture clear footage when you’re involved in an accident. 1080P is typically the lowest recommended resolution to capture clear license plates, road symbols, street lights or signs, and other necessary details.
Do you need a 4K dash cam?
Depending on how you choose to use your dash cam can help determine whether the extra splurge on 4K quality is needed. 4K video vs 1080P results in much clearer detail, allowing viewers to see a crisper and more life-like image. For day-to-day drivers who are hoping to improve road safety, a 1080P HD dash cam should suffice. For others who want to capture their road trip, a 4K camera can make all the difference in the quality of your video footage.
Dash Cam Viewing Angle
Viewing angle also plays a role in the quality of your dash cam footage. Too narrow of a viewing field can mean your dash cam misses vital events leading up to an accident. A wide-angle lens of at least 120 degrees is necessary, but 130 degree and wider can help guarantee any key moments are captured in case you need to rely on dash cam footage for an insurance claim.
Visibility Due to Weather
Visibility due to the weather conditions also plays a role on the clarity of detail a dash cam captures. Lower resolution, coupled with foggy or wintery conditions, can mean your dash cam footage ends up grainy or even indiscernible. Poor weather conditions often lead to higher accident rates, so at a time when road users are at their most vulnerable, relying on dash cam footage to provide clarity in the event of an accident can help smooth insurance claim issues.
Another factor to keep in mind is that extreme weather conditions often occur during temperature fluctuations. Frigid cold and intense heat can both drain batteries in electronic equipment, so making sure your dash cam has extreme temperature protection is vital. A dash cam without power not only loses its ability to capture clear footage of the road, but it will also be unable to send out critical Mayday alerts in the event of an accident.
Low Light Capabilities
Having a dash cam with enhanced low light vision capabilities is crucial when more than 40% of fatal car accidents occur at night, despite 60% less traffic being on the road. With more accidents occurring between 6pm and 9pm, a dash cam with night vision is the best way to capture any unfolding events leading up to an accident. The majority of drivers who are involved in accidents during this time frame are teens and young adults, mostly due to their inexperience and diminished visibility. Regardless of whether you’re a parent wanting to monitor your child’s evening driving or an innocent driver who ends up being impacted by an accident, clear dash cam footage can provide peace of mind.
Keep in mind that infrared or thermal imaging is not the same as recording with enhanced low-light performance at night. Infrared dash cams work on capturing different temperatures of objects typically using infrared light emitting bulbs, while a dash cam with a quality low-light sensor will be able to record at night by magnifying existing light. Therefore, a small amount of light is required for night vision dash cams, which is suitable for recording the road ahead when you have your headlights on or when there are streetlamps lighting the road. Inside a vehicle, there is often not enough available light for a low-light sensor, which is why an infrared camera for interior cabin recording is better for capturing very dark conditions at night.