The HP f200 full HD car camcorder is pretty much a miniature marvel. Shooting full-res 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second, the f200 will give you some great looking video, whether you are using it to record a trip or for accident documentation.
The HP f200 utilizes a 1/3.2” CMOS Sensor which does a great job in daylight and a better than expected job at night. That’s probably because it is matched with a fast f2.4 3.0mm lens. Stills can be shot at 5MP (2592x1944) with auto shutter speeds from ½ to 1/2000 second. ISO speeds automatically adjust as lighting conditions change so don’t expect the same high quality video at night.
The battery is a 470mAH Li-polymer rechargeable so it will continue to operate even when not plugged in. You could therefore take the camera out of the car if there’s something you wanted to video tape, but don’t expect real long life from a 470mAH battery.
For the price, this camera is going to be pretty impossible to beat. I like the ease of use and the quality of the video, which is the ultimate point of having a camcorder.
HP f200 Features
The back of the camera comes with a 2.4” LCD color screen that can be used to frame the best view when placing it on your windshield.
Camera will take still photos as well as video.
Video resolution can be either 1920x1080 (full HD) or 1280x720 (DVD quality) and file storage is in the Quicktime .MOV format.
Easy to mount suction cup mounting with ball adjustment to set recording angle
Wide angle lens gives a full street wide view.
Loop recording feature so you don’t need to repeatedly clean off the SDHC card.
Supports SDHC cards up to 32 GB capacity. Figure about 3.1 GB per hour of continuous recording – so a ten-hour trip would fill a 32 GB card.
Supplied with long-length USB power cord so cord can be routed up the windshield column and across the head liner.
Motion detection to start and stop the video. (This worked for me sometimes and sometimes not. There’s really no advantage in stopping the video, since you will never overfill your memory card.)
Automatic emergency recording when a collision is detected. That video will be stored automatically in a separate folder that does not get overwritten.
Supports SDHC cards up to 32 GB capacity.
Installation couldn’t be simpler. Simply screw the camera to the 1/4x20 nut on the bracket and flip down the latch on the suction cup to lock it to the glass. Attach the USB power cord and plug it into your cigarette lighter.
When it senses power, it will automatically turn on and start recording.
A couple cautions are in order however. Be sure to mount the camera so that the lens is in the arc wiped by your windshield wiper so you can use it in the rain. If you have had an aftermarket tint film applied to your windshield, you might not want to mount it with the suction cup. Lastly, if the temperature is extremely cold outside, don’t try to attach the unit until both the unit and the glass are the same temperature.
You can set the unit to automatically power on each time the car starts or you can manually operate it with the power and record buttons. Alternatively, you could just pull the 12v plug.
Typically video is recorded in 3 or 5 minute video files. Hitting the OK button while recording will give you one long video file until you press Stop.
Audio can be recorded as well as video if desired.
Date and time imprint on the video is optional, and can be changed easily from the menu.
If you are looking for a security blanket when driving, this is probably the unit for you. Light in weight, high in quality, easy to install; this set-it-and-forget-it camcorder will serve you well. Check it out here.
This product is has been awarded the Senior Citizen’s Thumbs-Up rating on DougBardwell.com. Check the Senior’s page for more recommended products for those 65 and up.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.