Can You Use GoPro as a Dashcam?

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In today's digital age, having a reliable driving recorder has become essential for many drivers.

As an absolute leader in the action camera field, Gopro is known to record videos at extremely high video quality 5K at 30fps, and many users have started to wonder if GoPro is superior as a drive recorder. As a pioneer in dashcam for years focusing on license plate capturing and image quality, VIOFO however holds a different perspective and in this article, we will disclose why you should choose a dashcam instead of a GoPro for drive recording.

1. Software Reasons

1.1 Manual Start/Off:

VIOFO dashcam will automatically turn on and start recording when you start the car. Unlike dash cams, GoPro requires manual operation to start. If you forget to press records, it could mean missing crucial footage if any unexpected thing happens. At the same time, the VIOFO dashcam will stop working after the car is turned off, or enters the parking monitoring mode (need to install hardware kit) to record. This is a convenient feature that GoPro can't offer.

1.2 Various power supply

VIOFO dashcam offers many power supply methods such as cigarette lighter power supply, fuse box power supply, OBD power supply, ETC power supply, etc. Compared with GoPro’s single power supply method, VIOFO’s dashcam can adapt to the installation of various vehicle models.

1.3 No Parking Mode:

GoPros don’t have a parking mode like VIOFO dashcams do, which means you won’t catch any theft, or prank happening around your parked car. All VIOFO dashcams provide 7/24 parking monitoring and have three modes (Auto Event Detection/Time Lapse/Low Bitrate Recording) to choose from to meet different monitoring needs.

1.4 Lack of G-sensor

The key feature for car recording that GoPros lacks is G-sensor. In VIOFO dashcams, the G-sensor detects accidents or sudden impacts, preserving the footage from before and after the event. This prevents crucial footage from being overwritten by new data, making it easier to manage and retain important evidence. This feature is invaluable.

1.5 Loop Recording in a Different Way

Both GoPro and dashcams offer Loop recording functionality. However, when the memory card is full, VIOFO dashcams can overwrite old video files with new ones to continue recording, while GoPro requires manual formatting of the memory card to resume recording.
Loop Recording function explain from GoPro official:

2. Hardware Reasons

2.1 Overheating Issue:

Designed as an action camera, the Go Pro is not suitable for long-time work. Working for long periods constantly can cause it to overheat and shut down or the machine to freeze, resulting in missing some critical recordings. The VIOFO dashcam can better handle long-term work and is equipped with a supercapacitor, which can also record videos well in extreme weather.

2.2 Additional cost:

Different from the 5MP or 8MP image sensors used in dashcams on the market. The GoPro 9/10 example, uses the SonyIMX-677 image sensor which has 23.9 MP. It could offer higher resolution than most dashcams on the market. But it still brings double or triple the additional cost of buying a dedicated dashcam.

3. Video Quality Reasons

3.1 Field of the View Range

Compared with GoPro, dedicated Dasham pays more attention to zooming on the small details in the view field, like car plates. As you can see from the below comparison, the VIOFO A119 V3 2K dashcam captures then clearer image than the GoPro run at 5K resolution. GoPro with a wilder view field will make the car/car plate look smaller and unreadable.
Picture and test from Vortex Radar 16:27

3.2 Motion Blur

Under the fastest shutter speed setting 1/480, GoPro still has more motion blur than dashcams when capturing the coming or still car plates.
At the same time, the Looping feature only supports when the GoPro runs at 4K 30fps and other features like shutter speed setting or ISO setting will be stuck in auto mode. This will be less effective if using a GoPro as a dashcam.
The lens aperture is also one of the important factors to ensure clear recording. The general apertures of action cameras are F2.5 or F2.8 (GoPro for example is F2.8), and most dashcams' apertures are F1.6 and F1.8 (VIOFO A229Pro for example is F1.8). A larger aperture can reduce motion blur and provide clearer picture quality.

3.3 Poor Night Vision

GoPro is mainly designed for the daytime recording. However, being a qualified driving recorder, taking clear shots during both the day and at night is important. VIOFO dashcam (A229Pro example) equipped with the Sony STARVIS 2 IMX678 image sensor, combined with HDR tech ensures a bright image in low-light conditions.
As well as what has been mentioned in the previous point, VIOFO dashcams use lenses with larger apertures. In dark light environments, a large aperture can capture more light, providing a brighter picture.
Picture and test from Vortex Radar 20:14

4. Other Features

4.1 Inconvenient of Mounting:

To mount a Go Pro in a car, you need to purchase the bracket and suction cup. With all these combined, it will be very large and block part of the driving sight. VIOFO dashcams, all come with static stickers and 3M sticky pads, making it easier to mount on the windshield steady, and designed to be compact and invisible for windshield installation.

4.2 One channel Only

Using a GoPro as a dashcam has a notable limitation in that it can only record a single view. In contrast, VIOFO dashcams typically offer multi-channel recording, capturing footage from the front, rear, and interior of the vehicle simultaneously.

4.3 Voice Notification

GoPro used as drive recorders lacks voice notification, unlike VIOFO dashcams which offer this feature for better understanding of device status. Voice notification provides real-time updates on functions and settings, enhancing usability while driving. The absence of this feature in GoPro cameras may limit user awareness during operation. Additionally, VIOFO's recently launched dashcams, A229pro and vs1, are supported with a voice control function that makes drivers without distractions.

It might be pleasant to use Gopros in multiple outdoor activities, but they are not optimized to be dashcams in so many ways. For the reliable and hassle-free recording of your driving adventures, investing in a dedicated dash cam is certainly a wiser choice to ensure you have the right equipment to capture every moment safely and securely on the road. 


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