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MD80 video camera - unbelievably cheap spy/helmet cam

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January 15, 2010

Smaller than a BIC lighter, and just about as cheap: the MD80 mini video camera/helmet cam...

Smaller than a BIC lighter, and just about as cheap: the MD80 mini video camera/helmet cam. Photo: RC RockCrawler.

There's not a lot that's particularly remarkable about the MD80 mini spy camera - it's pretty tiny, it records reasonable 640x480 video in AVI format at 25 frames per second, and it can be set to standby for up to 250 hours until it's activated by a sound, making it a good little spy cam unit. It's pretty similar to any number of helmet cam/mini video cam units but for one fact - it costs less than US$25 on eBay, delivered to your door. For the price it's an outstanding product and the sort of thing you could habitually carry around in your car, recording driving conditions for an instant evidence stockpile in case of an accident or incident. And more broadly it's an example of how Chinese design and manufacturing can get a competitive, quality product to market at a price point that absolutely annihilates the competition, to the point where if you're still concerned about quality, you might just as well buy five of the things in case four break. Which they're not doing nearly so much these days.

Have a look at this footage:

Not bad at all, is it? That's a crunched YouTube version of the output from the MD80 mini spy cam, less than US$25 delivered, Chinese built and from all accounts, a quality product.

Go and read the specs if you want to - they're nothing particularly special. It's a simple USB spycam that's about the size of your thumb, and because of its size you can mount it just about anywhere. In the case of the clip above, that's on a motorcycle helmet, but there's plenty of other videos showing it mounted in cars, on a neck chain, or just being hand held to capture whatever the holder sees as he/she walks around the place.

You can set it up in a room on audio-activated standby mode, where it will happily sit for nearly two weeks on a single battery charge, waiting for a noise to start it recording. It uses microSD, which means you can store up to 16GB of footage on it, and it plugs into your computer via USB (which also charges it) to let you transfer files.

And it's less than 25 bucks. Delivered. Gizmag's VIO POV 1.5 system, the one we used to film bits of this is clearly superior, but it cost nearly 30 times as much. 25 bucks is absolute peanuts for a video camera. Anyone can afford that.

Which means anyone could have one. Anyone could have five of the things. With decent-quality video recording gear so cheap, we really are moving towards a world where just about everything you do will be caught on one camera or another. Great for the Funniest Home Video Show, fantastic if somebody merges into your car, then claims it was your fault... But a bit on the nose for privacy advocates.

You can grab the MD80 for next to nix on eBay. I reckon I might, too.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
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6 Comments

hi! i got one of those md 80's on ebay and it was a copy,google some pics of the md 80 and you will see there are 2 different models.the real one has slider butons on it and the fake has tiny pushbuttons...plus mine does not work...yet..i'm working on it...and like all chead copys from china,the instructions are crap....so that's my 2 bits...

but you do get lucky on ebay some times,you just got to do your research ....

Cliff Schwankner
16th January, 2010 @ 08:18 pm PST

Bought 2,had problems from the get go.

Mine was the genuine article as it had the slider buttons.

Dealt with a company called Yotang.

Neither did not work.

Very polite,had to pay the return postage,$32 cdn.

Paid $80 usd. each.

Not worth the money.

Would not recommend,even for any low price was complete garbage.

redpattison
18th January, 2010 @ 05:28 am PST

These do appear to be copies if the original Veho Muvi. In UK on Ebay there are the cheap ones and the Veho are much more expensive. I got one elsewhere for about £50. It is amazing for its size. The sound is very sensitive, so you don't need to shout. Your Video is very good, and demonstrates the capabilities very well. It is so tiny, you can always have it handy in your pocket(to film those pesky UFOs!)

windykites1
18th January, 2010 @ 10:04 am PST

finally got it to work,got a class 6 micro sd card so it is fast.now the thing is working fine...lol...the video is not bad at all and the sound is ok also...so for 17 bucks it is a good deal as the real ones are 80 bucks...so in the end i think it is not that bad at all if you don't pay more than 20 or 25....i also got the new spy pen that has 1280 resolution and the video is alot better than my old model at 640 resolution...

so let's go make some video's

Cliff Schwankner
20th January, 2010 @ 07:42 pm PST

After I reviewed this on my blog I've had a lot of traffic from people looking for the instructions. The cheapo ebay version often seems to come without instructions, or they are in Chinese.

If anyone needs the instructions, I've scanned mine in and put them up here:

http://fistload.co.uk/blog/2010/02/23/md80-camera-instructions/

Hope this helps somebody!

daverave999
7th September, 2010 @ 04:53 am PDT

Not to steal your thunder, but I have had one of those for about a year. And I also have one of the ones below. (very good camcorder) And, the one below is only $30.



Bear.in.camo
22nd June, 2011 @ 12:41 pm PDT
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