HD keychain cam

edited October 2011 in KAP Cameras
Has anyone had experience with this HD version of "spy cam"? It looks to have some decent quality video for such a small package/low cost. Great write up.


  • edited October 2011
    I've only used the old #3 version, which is standard def.

    I haven't followed it in several months, but this forum thread has everything you need to know about the #11:


    But be aware that this camera has gone through several versions, with different firmware for the date/time stamp (with or without), and different ways of handling the file size limitation of FAT. The thread has over 7000 replies now, but I think the first five are updated as things change, plus you might want to review several pages worth of the newest replies.

    I think the consensus is that the #11 really does surprisingly well for US$30, and the video is true 720P. Of course the lens is quite tiny, so as you would suspect there will be a limit to how well it performs in low-light conditions. Also, as I recall the early versions didn't do white balance very well, but the newer firmware may have fixed that.

    Looking at some of the sample videos people have posted, it's hard to see how you can go wrong for the price. And as the reviewer said, there is the fundamental advantage that it you lose it, it hasn't cost you a fortune.

    Maybe someone else will have had some KAV experience with the #11, and can advise you.

    No bokeh though. :-)
  • Wayback, thanks for the extra info. There is more going on about these little cams than I could ever imagine. Weighing in at only 15g, one of these could keep an eye on my rig in operation (improvement study aid).
  • wayback, that seller offers a bunch of different ones at slightly different prices. Am I right in guessing that the internals are all the same, but that the difference in price is because of different packaging and different accessories? Some look like they come with an external battery charger, and others look like they come with a completely external rechargeable battery. I can paw through accessories, but I'd hate to get the wrong camera through sheer ignorance. Anything I should be looking for when shopping?

    Flash-FX, that is a really REALLY good idea. You got me hooked!

  • Here's a good site for 808 camera info:

  • Tom, I don't know what seller you're referring to, and I never ordered a #11 myself, so I really don't know. That rcgroups.com forum is the place to ask.

    It does look like some of the sellers are pre-loading their #11's with different firmware reflecting the various options that are available. For example, if you don't want the date/time stamp to appear at all, that would be one firmware version. Then another choice is whether you want the camera to start a new file every few minutes, or go all the way to 4GB. So now we're up to four different firmware versions reflecting just those possible combinations. It looks like the combinaton of no time and 4GB is popular.

    Well, again, the first five replies in the rcgroups thread should have everything you need, but that includes the FAQs listed there too.

    I don't think any of them come with an external battery, although some will come with a car charger.

    Note that reply #2 also lists a couple bogus sellers you want to avoid.

    And of course you'll need to get a microSD card to use, maybe a Class 6 just to be sure, although that may not be required. 4GB would work.

    Flash-FX, yes, they are small and light enough to use as monitoring devices so you can video exactly what is going on. You get audio too. If you're very careful, you can even open them up, break away the glue on the lens, and unscrew it a bit so as to produce close-in focus if that's needed. They typically come focused at somethng like 20-30 feet, which works well for infinity, but maybe not really close.

    I see the prices are up in the high thirties now (US$), plus you need to allow for the microSD card. So I guess around $50 altogether.
  • Oops! "That seller" was in reference to a post on the rcgroups.com forum. My simple brain can't handle having two forums (forae?) open at the same time! I posted on the right one, but referenced a post on the other one. >sigh<

    A couple of the sellers on Ebay are now listing them with external power supplies. Some look like they're cans built to take a single AAA battery, while others include a LiPoly, charge controller, and mini-USB jack so they can be charged along with the camera's own battery. The latter are, of course, more expensive than the former.

    Thanks again,

  • Just "fora" I think.

    Well, for the RC crowd it could make sense to have an external power supply because they could connect the 808 to the plane's battery and not have to worry about charging the camera's lipo. I suppose that could be true for KAP use too if you use a powered circuit. But the built-in camera lipo is awfully small and light. I guess it just depends on the intended use.

    I'm in a continual state of amazement over what you get in the way of electronic devices these days for very little money. Whether it's a camera like this one, or a smart phone, or a 2TB hard drive for $100 or less, or even a "Poverty Wizard" flash trigger for $23 (as opposed to $400 for genuine PW's) that I can't make misfire. And then there's that de-blur plugin coming for Photoshop. It's almost magic.

    Yes, the plural of a -um noun is -a, as I recall.
  • edited December 2012
    We are now doing a series of tests looking at the £27/US $44, 808#16 D wide-angle version for use by kids [and for those of us who like to play ;o) ]. See down:

    See also GoPro comparison:

    Initial tests suggest that an 808#16D mounted on a single party balloon may be the safest and most effective introduction to aerial photography work for children. We will post details here:
  • We have now started to fly the 808#16 D on kites and lines as an introduction for kids.:
    If anyone can suggest any non-picavet, ultra-simple techniques for attaching the camera, that would be appropriate for young children, do let us know.
  • Hot glue and binder clips?

    self adhesive velcro and a 'seat belt' wrap or two?
  • Inspired by Simon H,
    Plastic Bag Clip...
  • edited January 2013
    Thanks folks!
    I tried a plastic bag clip with balloons a couple of weeks ago at the site of Bathgate Castle...worked fine until I was adjusting the line and the balloons escaped, fortunately without the camera ;o)
    Self-adhesive velcro is one of our standards....will have a further play.
    Jim, Bronwen and I were out today playing with a water rocket...see our link above for some small images and also:
    All very much 'under investigation'
    I managed to loose a camera in the grass which had most of todays aerial videos on ;o(
  • SueSue
    edited January 2013
    @ John. Re losing the camera. The camera light enough attach a key finder (velcro'd back to back?) which bleeps when you clap or whistle.

    Fly High

  • Yesterday I got to the end of a adhesive tape and the centre was strong plastic. It is about2" diameter and it could be made into a mini 'Hamish inspired rig' for your minicam. It would probably make 3 rigs as the tape was 2" wide.

    Fly High

  • Sue.
    Now there's a thought ;o)
    Even without the cross, it will allow some flexibility on angle.
    All we need now is some better weather.

    Loosing the camera was my fault. I forgot the usual safety line ;o(......but not again!
  • edited January 2013
    I used one of these in a model rocket with a middle school class last year. Here's some stills from the video. Your website has some great ideas and how tos, and it looks like a lot of fun.

    In short, these cameras are great for teaching.

  • edited January 2013
    Yes, the cameras really are great and, weighing in at only 18g, open up lots of wonderful possibilities. I bet the kids really enjoyed the rocket flight and looking at the images afterwards.

    Much of these discussions pages is devoted to the pursuit of excellence and the production of high quality images. However, it was a low-resolution PenCam Image of an archaeological site (http://www.armadale.org.uk/cairnpapple050.htm) taken by James Gentles that really impressed me. The later 140x140 pixel thermal images by Ulrich Kiesow (http://www.armadale.org.uk/phototech03.htm), taken from a micro-light, are amazing too and illustrate how such images can be used for archaeological prospection.

    The geophysical techniques used in archaeological surveys, although measuring different variables, produce useful data with sampling points taken every square metre. So, imagewise, anything better than 1 pixel per square metre can be useful.

    KAP, using any camera, is an amazingly cost-effective archaeological research tool.
    The 808#16D, although dismissible in terms of still image quality, it is a wonderful educational device that overcomes safety worries of a 'brick on a string' or writing-off cameras, and which can also be used as a practical, low-cost, multi-platform tool.

    I have not had so much fun for years ;o)

  • edited January 2013
    I will try using the head of a metal mini-tripod by removing the legs and replacing them with a piece of Meccano.
    and suspending it from the kite line with a single string and with the gimbal unlocked.
    The notch may be a problem.
    It is easy to add another piece of Meccano to turn it into a standard picavet with the gimbal locked.

    (28 Jan 2013 - For still images, it is probably easier just to lock the gimbal and glue the thumb wheel in place and attach the camera to it upside down with velcro - this at least gives the camera some weight)
  • John

    I tried various ways of stabilising a tiny 'gumstick' spycam rig a couple of years ago, using small vanes/sails to fix its heading with respect to the wind. However the low weight is the real problem, it just wobbled around too much. I only ever got half-way decent results when I fixed it to my normal R/C rig or to the kite itself (given its robustness you don't have to worry about damaging it if the kite crashes on launch).
  • Hi Dave
    I will add a weight to the velcro loop if needed but I am hoping that sticking the camera to a split ping-pong ball at the end of a centre rod may be good enough for kids.
  • I too have experimented with these both directly on the kite (keel and the trailing edge) as well as on the rig.

    When directly on the kite, the videos came out too "ripply" for my taste. I think this was a combination of wind movement, as well as the video processing algorithms in the camera-- there was a certain regularity to the artifact, if memory serves.

    I had a little more luck with one velcroed to the KAP rig, though I never was terribly pleased with the video. I think it's easy to get spoiled by the video out of whatever regular camera is on the rig, such that the output of one of these looks like a 2005 era cell phone video by comparison.

    Can't beat the price though... it makes you willing to do things with it that you wouldn't dream of doing with another camera (see rocket shot above-- now that's cool). Seems like a tailor made product for educational purposes like you are using it for. Good luck.
  • I use a number of those very cheap tripod heads, less then £1 GBP. They simple screw to the tripod with one screw. I use them with jubilee hose clips, the type you tighten with a screw driver. Simply drill a hole in the band large enough for the screw, then screw it to the head. I can now attach my GoPro to a 6m carp pole or anything else I can get the clip around.
  • edited January 2013
    One of my very first picavet crosses had a £1 plastic tripod head screwed underneath ;o) Then, I even used wireless remote triggering as I was using a film camera.
    The metal one above is needed for the weight and the smooth gimbal action.
    For poles, I replace the screw with a longer one, cut off the head, and glue it into a carp pole which has been cut to an appropriate position where the inner diameter matches that of the screw thread.

    Hoo Dat
    Yes, the rippling is characteristic. Progressive scan?! Balloons can produce smoother videos.
    The camera apparently has time lapse, but I have not tried it yet: http://www.mytempfiles.info/nr16/Nr16Setup.zip

    I like using water rockets (http://www.armadale.org.uk/ballisticphotography.htm#the) but having only just started, I am trying techniques to ensure that the cone stays on in flight but comes off at zero velocity, at the maximum height reached. I am trying spacers. There are electronic techniques but I want to keep it as simple as possible. A springy parachute is an alternative approach. The problem with rockets is that you have no idea where they will end up.... the 120 degree field of view helps!

    The advantage of using all these platforms is that it highlights just how good kites are.
  • edited January 2013
    We will try a version of this the next time we can get out!
    Two tent pegs with the HD 808#16D on the left.
  • John, your rig above looks very interesting. Does the long arm have to be at the low end?
  • edited January 2013

    Does the long arm have to be at the low end?
    No, as long as it is vertical.

    It is just a variant of the classical pendulum arrangement. The long arm would be where you normally put a camera and the arm would be pivoted below the line so that it would hang vertically regardless of flight angle. The short arm could be made with an adjustable pivot but I am hoping that a coat hanger wire will be easily bendable.

  • edited February 2013
    The above tent peg arrangement actually works!
    Still from a video (extracted using VideoLan): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADOjyOg2f9I&feature=youtu.be (not stabilised)
    Remember to click on the cogwheel icon to view in HD

    A bit bouncy, so we will use a longer vertical arm when we have a wire coat hanger to cut up.
    A water rocket video for comparison at the same location, but vertical: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5bktfT6e84&feature=youtu.be
  • This thread encouraged me to update myself on current keychain cameras.
    I read all 12,136 posts at http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1556994
    I am glad I did.
    There are two developers for the #16 camera, one carefully monitors the forum comments and is quick to consider them.
    The other simply copies the first, but only at extended intervals.
    The #16 v2 has video out that works great with inexpensive car reversing monitors.
    Many properties of the camera are configured using a programme on the PC and downloaded to the camera.

    There are a couple of 'trusted' suppliers, the main one being this :-

    Ebay item 180941670824

    Delivery is fast, as indicated.

  • Hi John.

    Might be useful to make the video output feature more prominent.

    I have also bought a pair (for stereo) of 'B' lenses.

    It will not be easy, but I want to try to remove the IR-blocking filter at the FRONT of the lens and fit an IR-pass filter.

    Easier than a rear filter and no change of focus.

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