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Matecam 808 Keychain camera

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  • Matecam 808 Keychain camera

    Shortly after buying my first plane, I thought it would be cool to have a camera onboard to record the flight from the plane's POV. I have a GoPro, but was hesitant to risk a $200 camera on the ways I had for attaching to a plane, and also wondered about the effect the weight and profile would have on the flight characteristics. After doing some online research, I decided to try a budget-friendly option first, and ordered a Matecam 808 keychain camera off Amazon. The Matecam can still be found on Amazon for under $30, as of this writing.

    The positives: It's small, weighing in at under 18 grams with the Velcro attached. At its thickest, it's less than 3/4", and overall length is 2-1/4". The lens is fisheye, though not as pronounced at the GoPro. It records to a micro SD card, and recharges via a micro USB cable. Video quality is surprisingly good for such an inexpensive camera. One feature I liked about the Matecam that was absent from some other similar sized cameras, is that it includes an eyelet for attaching a keychain, which I used for attaching a loop of thread as a safety leash, should the Velcro come loose in flight. It's cheap enough that if something does happen to the camera, you don't feel like you're taking a huge financial loss.

    The negatives: The controls are not the most intuitive. Pretty much, it uses one button to power on, start and stop recording, etc. The indicator LED is tiny and recessed in the casing, so not always the easiest to see to verify that the camera is in recording mode. Changing settings is accomplished by hooking the camera to your computer via the USB cable, and editing a text file. While it records video continuously, it breaks the video into 2 minute segments. This is kind of a wash, as the subdivided video is easier to isolate the parts you want, though if you want to put together a continuous video of your flight to share, you have to edit the segments together using a video editing program. The included instructions are printed in tiny font on a small sheet, so if your eyes are like mine, you might decide it's easier to download the file onto your computer where you can zoom in on the text. The camera does not have any wireless function, so it cannot serve as part of an FPV system.

    Overall, if you're looking to try out onboard, inflight video, this is a budget-friendly way to experiment, before dropping more serious money on nicer camera systems. The following videos were taken using this camera: I've attached it atop the wing and atop the horizontal stabilizer, with no negative impact on flight performance. Obviously, depending on where you mount it, check balance/CG before flying.

  • #2
    Looks pretty good to me


    • #3
      I have had an 808 for years. HD720p @30FPS, the camera is really light and has a great image.This camera was the predecessor to the mobious which is a bit heaver and can switch between 1080p 30FPS or 720p 60FPS. The weird shape is a bit of a negative but nothing a small block of foam cannot fix. These are available on ebay w reps from the mfg, highly recommend.