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The Mini F9 Camera is everywhere (and it’s incredibly bad)


This is another post about cycling, but my parents bought me a helmet-mounted camera to wear when I cycle. It’s kind-of a necessity, particularly when commuting, because motorists are lunatics and cycling infrastructure is inadequate in almost every part of the UK.

Unfortunately, they were duped into buying a Mini F9. It’s an extremely common bullet-style camera that’s almost ubiquitous on Amazon. It’s been around since roughly 2014, from what I can tell, and purports to record sound, be waterproof, and support 1080p recording both during the day and at night.

Oh, and it sucks.

Because we’re just coming out of winter, most of my cycling has been in the dark. And it’s been almost completely useless. Several times I’ve gone to retrieve footage, only to find that the camera hasn’t picked up license plates, or even the audio when I’ve read them out to make sure they’re captured. Even in the daytime, the footage isn’t great. It might be 1080p, but the sensor looks like it was taken from a 2005 flip phone, the footage is so grainy.

Add on to that a battery life of around 2h30m, and a maximum micro SD card size of 32gb, I often can’t guarantee that I’ve even still got footage when I get home - it loops over older videos when the card is full, which is about 2 hours worth of footage at 1080p.

I’m especially annoyed because I found out that the website my parents bought it from had marked it up considerably, and then mysteriously vanished once the Christmas season had passed. The price seems to vary massively - some vendors sell it for around £25, but I’ve seen it listed at £60 at times.

Anyway, this was a rant/warning for anyone on the lookout for a helmet camera: the Mini F9 is very bad. I’ve just picked up a Drift Ghost XL, although I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet. I’m hoping the image quality is much better - it also supports livestreaming and has a ~9hr battery life, which should be really good for when I do my 100km charity ride.

About the author

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I'm Lewis Dale, a software engineer and web developer based in the UK. I write about writing software, silly projects, and cycling. A lot of cycling. Too much, maybe.