HD keychain cam
  • 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.
  • 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<<br />
    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.
  • 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...
  • 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(
  • @ 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!
  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.
  • Puffin
    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.
  • 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?
  • Hi

    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.

  • 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.

  • Hi David
    I believe the front IR-block coating only applies to the #16 V2-B (it looks red instead of blue)
    To have it removed from the #16D would be amazing and make the camera one of the cheapest archaeological prospection tools.
    The 'no change in focus' should apply to both front and also the rear lens coated versions. I tried to get a professional to remove the rear coating..to no avail. Maybe it is a sealed unit. I have even contacted the supplier...with no response.
  • John, in the video it looks like all the movement is in the "roll" plane, with no pitch or yaw. That would mean the rig is just rolling back and forth around the kite line. Does that sound right?

    What would happen if you put the 808 at the end of the long arm?

  • Fundamental problem for light rigs in KAP is the amount of movement, particularly with a rig as light as this. For such light rigs, slack-lining is a great way to go, you need much less kite and less wind than most. KAPpers are comfortable with. Either that or add a bit more weight to stabilise the rig.
  • Hi wayback
    That is correct.
    Theoretically, adding this camera to the long arm should make little difference to the pendulum component of the motion. The camera is light, so it would not significantly move the centre of gravity of the system and therefore change the effective length of the pendulum.
    To increase the natural period of the swing, lengthening the long arm should be the way to go. So, my next attempt will be with a long piece of wire from a coat hanger, as mentioned above, which will also add weight. Adding overall weight to a free moving 'pivot' assembly should increase inertia as pointed out by Simon and a slack line should further dampen movement (although, I must admit, I did not think of doing that - thanks Simon).

    With a light camera like this, a counterbalanced steadicam approach should work too, but for use with kids, I need something very simple.

  • Hi John.

    Removal of any rear IR filter or coating WILL affect focus, that is the law of optics.
    The focus distance will change by about 1/3 the filter thickness.
    For these sorts of cameras that is a tiny amount.
    Whether it is noticeable is another matter.
    In addition, because of the small sensor size and very short focal lengths, the depth-of-field is huge anyway.

    Are you not bothered by the distortions of the 'D' lens or can they be adequately corrected ?
  • Seems like you could put a fishing weight on the long end of the tent stake, and leave the camera where it is. Just don't tape the weight to the stake, but put a length of string between the stake and the weight so it dampens any possible pendulum like resonance with the kite string.

    I just got one of these too so maybe I'll post a video as well, off to the camping store!
  • Hi David
    You are correct.
    The older version of the 808#16 does not have a rear filter according to the professional that I asked to remove it!
    It is simply a coating on the rear surface of the lens, so removal of the coating should not affect focussing as the thickness should be negligible. I assume that it is coated by vacuum deposition.

    The distortion is marked as with the GoPro:
    Most of this can be quickly removed using the free program GIMP http://getgimp.com/lp/index.php?pk=4769 by sliding the main lens distortion filter slider to the left, via menus:
    Filters > Distorts >Lens Distortion
    There is a rough-and-ready example here on our balloon page:
    Alternatively, you could carefully correct an image of a brick wall (or chart) and apply the corrections to your other images.

    The camera and simple rig are intended for use by kids, so the wide angle is useful for limiting height. The weight and cost also reduce the concerns of their teachers etc. Educationally, older or more able students can try GIMP.
    Despite its limitations, the camera can be useful as a broad sweep auxiliary camera which can also be attached to the main one, when carrying out our archaeological surveys - note the ground detail in the snow image.
    Above all, this simple approach is intended as a hook for those who have not done KAP - once caught, it is easy to move onto better things ;o)
  • String theory ;o)
    That is one less technique for me to try!
    I hope that you are having better weather than us.
    We currently have wind gusts of 45mph and rain
  • John, look at first item in Section 4 here :-


    It would seem to be a mechanically and optically suitable lens with no IR coating.

    Too bad you cannot obtain them.

  • Hi David, I think that I should try again with Eletoponline to see if they can get an appropriate lens for IR. It should be a simple processes of not coating some in a production batch...unless it is part of an automated line?!

    More on the above tent peg transverse pendulum rig:
    I will be trying a longer coat hanger wire next, as this is what most people will have to hand, or can easily obtain.

    However, if a wire is chosen that is the same diameter as the screw that holds on the legs of a mini-tripod, a thread could be added to the short arm and, with the legs removed, the tripod head can be screwed onto the wire. The thumb wheel of the tripod head can be glued so that it does not turn on its own thread and velcro added to its surface for attaching the camera, albeit upside down.
    If the thread on the wire is long enough, it alone is enough to lock the gimbal into a desired position. The metal mini-tripod heads are the most versatile, as the section with the gimbal notch can be rotated.
  • I have been informed that the lens for the 808#16D can be supplied without the IR block coating ;o)
    I have asked for more details in terms of the minimum number that I can order.
    ('There have been a couple of posts about how easy it is to separate the filter from the lens unintentionally if the lens is removed and handled' See: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1820193). So, possibly not a coating!?

    I then have to find a small R72 IR pass filter, rather than use processed, unexposed transparency film.
    This could mean cheap near infra-red KAP for everyone!

    If the weather forecast holds true, we hope to have flown 808#16D coat hanger cam ver.1 before last light on Friday of this week.
    A soft weight will be added to the end of the long arm.
  • Who did you contact at Eletoponline ?

    I would prefer the 'A' lens for my work.

    I will let you know if the 'B' lens has a filter or coating.

  • Peter (xinrong zhang)
  • We played around with the SD version of these cameras a while ago, perhaps the mounts on the linked page might give someone an idea, providing the kite does not flap too much attaching directly to the kite works well.
  • John, I'd like to revisit how the 808 is suspended from the kite line. In another thread on reducing camera vibrations, or perhaps something similar, someone put forth the idea of using a pendulum-style rig, but instead of increasing the length of the pendulum to reduce its period, you would place a nearly equal weight ABOVE the line. With this method, the period is reduced so much that the camera only follows absolute movements of the line, but almost no pendulum motion is induced.

    So for example, if you mounted the 808 at the end of a wooden yardstick, the balance point of that rig would be moved from the 18-inch point for a bare yardstick down to about 14.25 inches with the 808 mounted. Then you would attach this rig to the kite line at the 15-inch point, with 21 inches of bare yardstick sticking up above the line. It needs to be a little above the balance point so the rig will be biased to hanging vertically with the camera at the bottom.

    I did a quick test with my 808 taped to the end of a yardstick, but instead of mounting the rig on a kite line, I just gripped the yardstck between my thumb and forefinger at the 15-inch point, and moved the yardstick around to simulate how the line might move. I found that even if I do large movements from side to side, the camera simply matches those movements, but does NOT swing pendulum-style. By contrast, if I grip the yardstick at the 35-inch point, any movement produces large pendulum swings. The damping effect of the near-midpoint mount is quite pronounced.

    With the complication that part of the rig extends above the line, it's not clear how one would actually build it in practice, but whoever had the original idea can no doubt provide the method - since he actually built it. I wish I could remember who it was, but it just escapes me. Perhaps someone else will remember that thread. Of course the original idea was for mounting a regular camera - instead of using a picavet - but it seems to me that it should work particularly well for video, including your 808 stuff.

  • David, Eletoponline has responded without answering my questions about the nature of the filter:

    Yes, we can remove the IR filter for you, if the running qty is ok for

    However, as I posted above, the rear filter on the D lens can easily be removed.
    As the lens costs less than £8, I may have a look later but it would be a pain to find some plane glass to replace it.
    Removing the filter/coating from the front element of the #16 V2-B would be a better option.

    Wayback, Confused at the first read...will have a think.

    Bruce too, Great! Thanks, I have added the link to http://www.armadale.org.uk/aerialtechniquesforchildren.htm

  • John, regarding the 'B' lens, here is one (of two) that I did earlier :-

  • David, Please explain.
    Is that the hot mirror removed?
    From the front of the lens?
  • Yes it is.

    Using a brand new Swann Morton scalpel number 11 blade, place the module on a polypropylene cutting board so that the flat flexible connector is vertical.
    Hold the module very firmly (not easy because of its size) and using a see-saw motion rather than slicing action, cut into the lens mount.
    Press the scalpel against the underside of the raised ridge formed by the outer part of the lens mount.
    Turn over and cut the other side.
    Finally, cut the third side that is away from the connector.
    Carefully cut through any remaining bits and lever-up the top sufficiently for the filter to drop out.

    Weld the plastic back together with something like Polyweld.

    Fit the hot mirror into a tiny, push-on holder so that the camera can also be used for normal photography.
  • Oooooh!
    What are the images like without the hot mirror?

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