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A backup camera is an exclusive video gadget that’s attached to a vehicle’s rear to mitigate blind spot and aid reversing. It’s also referred to as a rearview or reversing camera and is designed to prevent a collision.
Factors to consider when buying a backup camera
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Whether you require a standard or wireless backup camera, considering these factors helps you enhance your chances of making an informed choice.
Your backup camera of choice should produce high-quality footage to enhance video clarity. A good quality video saves you from struggling to view images. The ultimate backup camera should produce clear images complete with enough contrast, detail, and color precision. This way, drivers can tell the difference between objects within a vast range of lighting circumstances.
Wired vs. wireless cameras
Ordinary wired RV backup cameras come with a cable to facilitate a connection between your car and the display. Installing a wired camera can be a difficult task that involves threading and poking your vehicle before finally hiding power wires and cable behind the dashboard, between door jambs, or beneath trunk carpet.
Experienced DIYers can install a wired camera within a short time. Wireless backup cameras leverage radio waves to convey image signal to the display. While installing a wireless backup camera mode is easy, it’ll need power to operate effectively. Powering is done via a wire connected in your vehicle’s rear, often at the reverse light. It’s important to ensure that your camera and display are compatible with the receiver and transmitter.
While wireless systems are convenient, they are susceptible to delays, especially when you’re changing gear. What’s more, they can experience a lag in detecting surrounding objects and this can result in accidents if you aren’t careful. A wired backup camera is often more precise and reliable regardless of the daunting installation process.
Camera field of view
A good backup camera produces a field of view between 160 and 170 degrees. With a wider field of view, drivers will be able to see further left and right behind the bumper. If your camera’s field of view is more than 170 degrees, images will be altered into a fish eye shape. This means you’ll have a difficult time recognizing them.
There are three basic camera mounting methods as seen below.
License-plate frame replacements
These models are ideal for DIYers because they’re easy to install. Fix your camera in the same frame where your license plate lies. The frame runs over your vehicle’s plate or around it like an ordinary license plate frame.
License-plate center mounts
This mounting design places the camera on a small slanting neck that’s fixed on your license plate’s top. Depending on the model of your camera, you can use simple clips, non-permanent screws, or adhesive strips to connect a center mount.
This model is placed inside a car’s body part such as a trunk lid or a bumper. The model is the best for a truck’s tailgate. However, you’ll need to drill a visible hole in your vehicle. The process of establishing a vertical angle should be precise, which is why you’ll need a professional to execute it.
A good dash display comes with a flexible mount that you can easily tilt left, right, up, or down to fit the lighting and driver’s preferences. Some displays in the market today come with fixed mounts and these can give you a bad glare and angle. Mounts are usually attached to the windshield or dashboard with a suction cup or double-sided mounting tape. These materials are ideal seeing that displays are light. You can easily attach a backup mirror display on your vehicle’s rear view camera bracket and adjust it with minimal struggle.
The backup cameras reviewed here convey video images complete with fixed guidelines. These lines stretch from your car and this helps you estimate the car’s distance from obstacles displayed on your screen. These vary from systems in some new cars which come with feature dynamic guidelines that bend and compress to display your vehicle’s path as you spin the steering wheel.
Add-on cameras are incapable of achieving the same seeing that cars come with varying turning radiuses. These cameras aren’t connected with the vehicle’s steering system and computer like is the case in new vehicle systems. Maintaining your guidelines on is recommended. However, you can turn them off if they distract you.
A good quality backup camera can function well under low light conditions to approximately 0.5 lux. This is enough if you use your camera for reversing because backup light on your vehicle provides adequate light to display clear images. Some cameras come with small infrared lights that discharge microscopic light but which the rear view camera can see in almost total darkness.
Infrared lights are ideal for a camera that’s always on such as the one used on a truck or rearview when hauling a car or trailer. While these cameras help you determine details behind your car on a dark road, they’re costly. They also convey a grayscale video which may not be as ideal for reversing as what the average low light camera offers.
Which is the Best Backup Camera?
In a market where there’s an influx of a vast range of backup cameras, finding the ideal gadget for your car can be a difficult task. With a good aftermarket backup camera, you’ll be able to enhance your safety on the road, revamp your driving skills, and protect yourself and other road users from accidents. Here are some reviews to ease your search
Look-It Wireless Rear Vision System
The Look-It Wireless Rear Vision System is not only wireless, but it also comes with a rechargeable battery. It’s designed to display images through Bluetooth on your Smartphone and features a camera that’s connected in your vehicle’s license plate frame. This camera doesn’t switch on automatically when you engage reverse gear. The gadget comes with a remote which you use to activate it.
For convenience, you can mount your remote to the steering wheel or vehicle’s dashboard. Still, you can have it wired on your car’s backup light. Once activated, the video feed will appear on your phone within a few minutes, making it ideal for parallel parking and reversing on busy streets. The video remains on your screen for approximately 30 seconds and you can press your remote button to stop it instantly.
This backup camera is ideal for you if you’re comfortable with having your phone on your vehicle’s mount as you drive. The system comes with a magnetic mount that you can fix on one of your car’s dash vents. While it comes with a 130-degree field of view, the video resolution is below standards even though you’ll be able to view everything behind your car. This system is powered from a battery located in the license plate frame that’s designed to last for approximately three years.
Look-It Wireless Rear Vision System features two extra buttons which you can utilize to show a map of your surroundings on the phone’s screen. IPhone users can either use Google Map display or Apple Map. Android users, however, can only use Google Maps. With these maps, users can view their surroundings without having to launch another app especially when you’re attempting to negotiate through a road closure.
Still, this gadget doesn’t allow users to enjoy the comprehensive functionality of Apple and Google Maps applications such as getting directions or entering destinations. While you can easily install this gadget without the need of a professional, it’s costly. Configuring the Look-It to work with your phone through Bluetooth can be difficult because instructions aren’t straight forward.
Rear View Safety RVS-770613 RV Backup Camera System
The Rear-View System-770613 is a specially designed single wired backup camera that’s ideal for recreational vehicles. It comes with a 7-inch digital screen and a 130-degree field view angle. You can comfortably use this system with up to three cameras, which is ideal if you’re interested in augmenting your system in the future.
This system comes with a trailer disconnect cord which you can utilize when you need to execute a 5th travel trailer or wheel installation. Further, you can forget about your images getting scaled due to problems with the wireless transmission. It also comes with 18 infrared lights which help you see even in complete darkness up to a maximum of 50 feet.
This is a clear indication of this gadget’s night vision efficiency. It’s specially designed to be waterproof which means it can effectively function in different types of weather. The monitor included in this rearview camera can exhibit distance guidelines.
The Accele RVCLPMBS is specially designed to deliver ultimate performance at a reasonable price. It displays clear images both during the day and night with adequate dynamic resolution range and moderate color accuracy. This enables you to identify objects clearly.
You can mount this gadget on top of any regular license plate without barring registration stickers. With an easy to tilt lens, you’ll achieve the proper angle for your vehicle. Whether you use this camera with reverse lights or under direct sun, you’ll still get clear images that help you stay safe.
While this gadget has a dynamic range, it displayed more balanced images compared to other cameras. Street lights don’t distract the image display at night or day and you can view everything clearly.
Further, this camera displays the ultimate combination of color depth, saturation, and accuracy. Color accuracy is ideal is you’re interested in clearly identifying obstacles behind your car. With the Accele RVCLPMBS, you’re sure of seeing a true representation of colors.
Wide field of view
This camera comes with a wide field of view which enables you to see the wider area behind your vehicle. This is unlike other cameras available today that feature an overly narrow field of view which can hardly help you view objects within the corners of your vehicle’s bumper.
No Night Mode
While the Accele RVCLPMBS doesn’t feature a particular night mode, it offers a good image display in darkness. This is because the camera turns on automatically when you engage reverse gear. The backup lamps of your car are enough to light your way. If you want your backup cameras to function in minimal lighting, you can leverage the reverse lights to provide adequate lighting at night.
This camera’s image displays static guidelines that stretch away from your vehicle to help you assess the distance of any obstacles as you reverse. These aren’t adjustable and you’ll have to guess the distance that each line depicts. You can always turn off guidelines by disconnecting a wire loop stretching from the camera.
You can install the Accele RVCLPMBS in a manner similar to many other cameras available today. The camera mount utilizes available holes and bolts in your car’s license plate. Tilting the camera is easy.
The Esky ES-15 is 4.3 inches on a dash display that offers excellent image quality during day and night. You’ll also get a good balance of color saturation, contrast, and a convenient wide viewing angle. It features a simple albeit easy to adjust stand which helps you get the ideal angle.
This is particularly critical if the vehicle is shared with other people. If you’re looking for ultimate color representation, the Esky should be your go-to gadget. When compared to other Esky models featuring a flip-up design, this gadget ranks high in terms of color display.
When different displays were compared with the Esky ES-15, some of them gave a better performance in various conditions. While there are better units than the Esky, it’s specially designed to remain consistent day and night.
Powering the Esky ES-15
This gadget is powered through hand wiring it to the accessory fuse panel located behind your vehicle’s dashboard. According to an assessment conducted on this display unit, it remained firmly intact on the dash where it was mounted with double-sided tape six months without showing any signs of weakness.
If you doubt the effectiveness of double sided tape you can use adhesive on a hidden area and assess its reaction before using it on your dashboard. Some people prefer mounting their screen displays on the windshield. However, it’s important to understand that it may be illegal to do so in some areas.
While this Auto-vox T1400 backup mirror doesn’t present high-quality images, it offers a functional image and you don’t have to use multiple screens on your dashboard. This unit is specially designed to take over from your vehicle’s rearview mirror and display the backup camera’s image on its left when you activate reverse gear. The image usually disappears when your car is no longer in reverse, and this leaves behind a traditional rearview mirror.
When taken through a series of tests, this unit’s display was great both during night and on cloudy days. However, it presented lots of glare when exposed to direct sunlight compared to other displays. So robust was this brightness that it had a negative effect on the quality of images.
This display adjusts itself automatically to circulating light level triggered by a tiny sensor located at the back. The extra brightness comes in handy during daytime to enhance color precision and reduce glare.
During the night, however, this unit doesn’t display proper colors and images may sometimes seem distorted. Even then, the Auto-vox display is a functional screen under all circumstances apart from bright glare-generating conditions.
Fits in the rearview mirror
This unit is specially designed to fit well in the rearview mirror mount in most vehicles. You can easily replace your old mirror with this unit. The installation process is easy even though the unit comes with numerous wires. Depending on your vehicle you may need to fasten your wires along the seam between your vehicle’s windshield and headliner. You can choose to wrap them together in the headliner. Once you’re done, proceed to drive your wires through the pillar located close to your windshield and down to your dashboard.
ZEROXCLUB Digital Backup Camera System Kit
The ZEROXCLUB Digital Backup Camera System Kit is a 7-inch LCD monitor that offers ultimate view of everything that’s happening behind your car. This system is among the best backup cameras available today and is ideal for large vehicles such as trailers and recreational vehicles. While LCD monitor’s resolution is less than 1080p, it features an intelligent CMOS sensor complete with infrared lights to display clear images from the back of your car.
This camera system comes with an IP69K rating which is ideal for the rough roads that large vehicles have to navigate through. With a wireless transmitter, you can be sure that it won’t interfere with the rest of your wireless gadgets in your vehicle.
This way, you can enjoy maximum control when driving and feel secure while navigating through byways and highways. While this aftermath backup camera isn’t designed for all vehicles, it remains one of the best especially when you need to reverse a large vehicle.
Z-EDGE S3 Dual Dash Cam
Unlike ancient backup cameras that display poor quality videos, Z-EDGE S3 Dual Dash Cam is designed with a 2560 x 1440 resolution up front and 1920 x 1080 HD at the back. However, it’s worth mentioning that should you use them concurrently, you’ll have to contend with the 1080 format.
Even then, this is one of the best units available today. You can hardwire this system to your vehicle’s ignition system to facilitate automatic turn on and off. One of this unit’s drawbacks is the LCD display which measures a mere 2.4 inches. Still, the image clarity is commendable.
TOGUARD Dash Cam Backup Camera
Given a chance, every driver would choose a user-friendly touch screen interface. If that’s one of the factors you consider when choosing a backup camera, then this is your go-to unit. TOUGARD comes with a 1080p resolution up front and 480p VGA at the rear.
With this unit, you don’t have to be worried about obstacles within proximity of your car. In terms of viewing angles, the rear is displayed at 120 degrees. While this falls close to the specifications allowed by law, there are systems available today with enhanced viewing angles. However, this dual-camera system is easy to install and features an excellent styling which makes it a must-have gadget in your vehicle.
PRUVEEO D700 7-Inch Touch Screen Backup Camera
If you’re already used to utilizing your back up mirror that you can’t imagine replacing for a more enhanced reversing or rear parking gadget, the PRUVEEO D700 7-Inch Touch Screen Backup Camera should convince you otherwise. This unit features a comprehensive 7-inch of TFT display. This is different from cameras that use the backup mirror.
This camera comes with an excellent 1080p up front and VGA resolution at the rear. The cameras are directly fixed to a large screen which enhances your safety as you drive. Its installation process is easy and you’ll enjoy loop recording efficiency.
How much is a backup camera?
Backup cameras cost anything between $21 and $600. Sometimes they come complete with a display system whose cost can be $800 or more. The quality of your monitor and camera is of utmost importance especially when you depend on a clear view to back up.
It’s important to test your preferred camera before you can finally invest in it. Nearly all backup cameras come with guide marks configured in the camera display to help you determine the distance of objects from your car. The guide marks also vary and you want to choose what best suits your needs.
How much does it cost to install a backup camera?
Cost of installing a backup camera varies depending on whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or they’re hiring a professional to execute the task. The price will range between $50 to $200. The cost often depends on camera and head up installation program.
Is a backup camera worth it?
A backup camera comes in hand to assist with rear parking and enhance security for you, your vehicle, yourself, and other road users.