Notice to purchasers of knock off products
If you purchased the DVR-SD4 DVR from FPV-Japan it will have the words "DVR-SD4" and "Copyright FPV-Japan 2011/2012" on the start up screen as well as our "Empowering FPV" logo on the shut down screen.
If you do not have one of these original DVR please kindly refrain from posting in this part of the forum.
We ask that you seek support from the vendor that you purchased from.(what started as a review of the FPV-Japan DVR has now turned into a support thread, which is great. If you are looking for support that might be unique to your situation such as problems with a particular order, you might contact Ren directly at: email@example.com for a faster response)
I ordered a DVR from FPV-Japan:
in part because the owner, Ren, has been incredibly helpful with respect to the Dragon OSD.
He worked out some bugs with the shipping and now it ships EMS with tracking. I think it took a little over a week to arrive. The batteries drop-ship from the US with a separate tracking number. They arrived at about the same time.
The unit itself is very small and portable. It has one-touch recording for those 'oh s$!t' moments when you are in the air and realize you forgot to start recording.
The firmware is designed by Ren so there are no blue screens. I synched against another camera (aiptek) that I know doesn't drop frames, and the two were within 5 frames of each other after 20 minutes. This is likely due to slightly different clocks so there are no issues with dropped frames.
The recording rate is 8.37 mbits/second, which is WAY overkill for NTSC. The highest resolution is 720x480 and a 1 minute video is 65 meg!
There are various adjustments to control the bitrate if you want less.
It comes with a separate remote that someone clever could put on a fibre optic line so the device itself could be buried in a ground station pack.
Sample video can be downloaded in raw form from here:
This is output from the GoPro live out feed:
This is output from an inexpensive Ebay board camera:
The only slight negative is the lack of a second audio channel, so if you have the engine on one channel and a vario on the other you will have to choose which gets recorded.
I'm very pleased with the dvr, and it is less than half of the price of the Lawmate PV500 dvr:
I've not tried both so I don't know what a head/to/head would look like, but I think that the differences will be minimal given that the NTSC signal is so degraded anyway. Onboard gopro will always beat NTSC regardless of the groundstation DVR.