Vicovation OPIA2 Review

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By Andrew Lam on October 22nd, 2016
If you’re looking for a premium heat resistant camera that rotates, Vicovation’s OPIA2 (Amazon Link) is your best and only choice. It also has some of the most incredible video quality on the market. The only major downside is the poor error notifications but we expect a firmware update in the future. There are also tradeoffs in design such as stealthiness; you can’t have everything.
 
Updates
Mar 20, 2018: The Opia 1 WiFi should be considered as an upgrade over the Opia2 reviewed in this article. The Opia1 features an upgraded f/1.4 lens, sensor and added WiFi functionality while retaining the same great qualities from the Opia2 model – such as parking mode and heat resistance.
Aug 30th, 2017: The OPIA1 Wifi model is coming out and from what we have seen it should be a winner. Vicovation has finally equipped their camera with a WiFi module. It will support up to 128GB SD cards and will boast an upgraded f/1.4 aperture and 7G lens. We will update you more when we get this camera in our hands.

Video Review

See this video first to learn everything you need to know about the Vicovation OPIA2  
 

The Camera

  Vicovation is a Taiwanese company that creates premium dash cameras for the consumer market. Their cameras are designed for the hot, humid weather found in Taiwan. The OPIA2 uses the same rectangular body found in the 2014 Marcus 1 camera but greatly improves upon the video hardware. The OPIA2 uses the Omnivision OV4689 CMOS Sensor and Ambarella A12 image processor which is likely the best hardware combination for dash cameras right now. Its rotation is rather unique as every other $200+ cameras which use capacitors can only rotate up and down. This can help with stealthiness but limits a lot of their usefulness. You can use this rotation to capture events which can be missed like this driver’s encounter with a hit and run driver.
 

Specs

Date Released May 2016
Max Resolution 2560 x 1440P @ 30FPS
Processor Ambarella A12
Image Sensor Omnivision OV4689
Lens Glass f/2.0 Lens
Capacitor // Battery Capacitor
LCD 2.0″
Diagonal FOV 160°
GPS Yes
Wifi No
Bitrate 20 mbps
Memory Type microSD
Max Size 128GB
Operating Temp Max 75°C/167°F
Size 7.2 cm x 5.3cm x 3.3cm
  Box Contents Vicovation OPIA2 Camera • Suction Mount • Adhesive Mount • Quick Release Bracket • 4M/13′ Power Cable • Power Adapter • USB Data Cable • English User Manual I thought it was a little disappointing that a SD Card Reader, adhesive cable holders wasn’t included which is often found with premium cameras  

Video Quality & Raw Videos

video_quality_police Overall the video is likely the best there is outside of some specific ultra-low light situations with the next generation of Sony sensors. I looked at a lot of raw videos and the OPIA2 seems to be the current leader. I’ll be testing more cameras and updating this section as necessary.

Daylight Videos

Sharpness vs Older A118 The OPIA2 is more legible and sharper but it’s not as noticeable during the day compared to night.  Download Raw Videos: A118OPIA2   Dynamic Range Comparison The OPIA2 has the best performance out of all four cameras. The $100 A119 has the second best video quality followed by the $70 Yi.   Download Raw Videos: A118A119OPIA2Yi Cam   Comparing Exposure in Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions When we compared how quickly the cameras responded to bright and dark we found it paled in comparison to the OPIA2. There’s a small period of time where you can’t see anything before the contrast fixes itself.   Download Raw Videos: A119OPIA2Yi Cam   Forward Collision and Lane Departure Modes These two options I found are annoying and won’t be helpful to any drivers. This is the first camera I’ve tested where you can limit its activation to highway speeds only. Still, there were too many false positives.   Download the Raw Video: OPIA2 Warnings

Nighttime Videos

Low Light vs the $50 A118 Against our $50 recommendation the OPIA2 is noticeably better in every single way. If you were to increase the exposure you’ll notice that it can’t pick anything up in the shadows even though the exposure on the construction pylons is about the same.   Download the Raw Video: A118OPIA2   Circular Polarizer vs No Polarizer With the circular polarizer attached you can see the videos are grainier. From what I can see it doesn’t significantly affect the video quality until you get into very low light situations. I would recommend everyone to use a circular polarizer unless you regularly drive in rural environments with no external lighting except your headlights   Download the Raw Video: PolarizedNo Polarizer Ultra Low Light Compared to the DOD LS460W the OPIA2 has much better dynamic range. You can clearly see the buildings on the side while still having the same exposure in the lit section of the road. This is useful if a pedestrian runs from the side of the road and you can show that there wasn’t anything you could have done to avoid the collision.   Download the Raw Video: DOD LS460WVico OPIA2    

Summary

opia2_summary_banner A camera that delivers excellent video quality and functionality. We believe reliability will be excellent based on Vicovation’s history and their familiarity with the hardware design of the OPIA2. Overall:Best and only choice for anyone looking for a rotating, heat resistant dash camera. If you don’t need rotation you may also wish to consider other cameras like the Street Guardian SG9665GC.
The Good The Bad
  • Excellent video quality
  • High Heat Resistance. Focus does not shift when heated
  • Power efficient and effective parking mode
  • Suction & Adhesive Mounts Included
  • Quick release bracket easy to use
  • Easy to add circular polarizer, 52mm size has cheap options
  • The only heat resistant camera for 2016 which rotates 360°
  • Bad notifications, will hopefully be fixed in a future firmware update.
  • Optional GPS is expensive
  • Power adapter doesn’t use a separate charger and USB cable
  • Power cables use straight connectors which will pull on the wiring when the camera is turned
  • Easy to accidentally turn off recording when pressing the power button
 

Where to Buy It?

  Vicovation has a number of authorized retailers listed on their webpage.  

United States

 
amazoncom_logo
Sold through VicoDirect who manages sales for Vicovation products around the world. Based in New Hyde Park
Get it From VicoDirect’s Amazon Store
Spy Tec Logo Spy-Tec is a well known USA retailer and has been serving the dash and surveillance industry for many years. They are based out of New York and have a great reputation for customer service.
Get it Direct from SpyTec
 

Canada

amazonca_logo Sold again through VicoDirect, now stocked in Canada
Get it From VicoDirect’s Amazon.ca Store
canada_dashcam_logo The only dash cam specialty retailer who stocks OPIA2. Good reputation from what I’ve seen.
Get it from Canada DashCam
 

Australia

  dashcams-australia-logo-238px-w-x-92px-h-01 The only dash cam specialty retailer who stocks OPIA2. Good reputation from what I’ve seen.
Get it DirectGo To Their eBay Store

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Raghav
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Raghav

How are you getting the 25 MBPS Bitrate? I am at the latest firmware & I only get 19 MBPS. There is no option to increase the bitrate in the settings. Your RAW file sample genuinely shows 25 MBPS too. I first bought the Viofo A119 & it recorded at 25 mbps. But that had a faulty GPS so I returned it. Then I bought the Opia2 thinking the rotating mount would be useful, but now, it seems to have worse IQ compared to the A119. The night time video especially appears to be really really bad compared to the A119. And its all due to the bitrate.

Don
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Don

Any updates on your impressions of the OPIA1? I’m debating between these two

JTF
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JTF

Great review! It helped me decide to order & install one. I needed to decide which latest firmware to use 2.6 or 2.6S affecting image quality. I’ve posted the results for all to see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIO9gGFB4eQ

Adrian
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Adrian

Hi Andrew, I put this on your YouTube comments, but am hoping to get your attention and maybe your answers will benefit people in both locations: First, thanks so much for your straightforward, super-intelligent super-well-researched reviews. What a breath of fresh air. I’ll be buy via your links if that time comes. Woud you kindly take a minute to compare the Opia2’s specs and features to this sexy number from Vava: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2130897358/the-vava-dash-cam-capture-the-road-ahead/description Hard to fully say what the Vava is made of, but the CPU and sensor specs are towards the bottom of the page*. Compared to the Opia2, the Vava dashcam is less expensive, better-looking, and it claims to do many things well. Vava makes a high-quality bluetooth speaker that I’ve owned for six months. But it’s a kickstarter, and I know it’ll be a risk. I just want to know if you see any obvious red flags or… Read more »

Attila Biber
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Attila Biber

Hi Andrew, can you help me decide between the Street Guardian SG9665GC and the Vicovation OPIA2.
The price is about the same with a power protector and only about 100 bucks cheaper from Thinkware F770.
I am a long time hobby photographer and most likely the poor picture quality may turn me away from F770, on the other side I am not much of a night driver and more care about vandalism or hit and run.
Thanks

Rich
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Rich

What kind of software do I need to download/edit video from this cam on my Mac?