Dazzne is a Chinese action camera brand that offers a lineup of just four cameras. My colleague Pavle already reviewed the P3 model and was favorably impressed. In this article I’ll be reviewing the Dazzne P2 Plus.
The Dazzne P2 Plus retail price is a stupefying $399 (about 360€/£308) on the Dazzne website! Maybe the “Plus” model means “plus more money!” Retail websites show a list price of about $199 but always sell it at a discount. As of the date of this review it was available for $79 (about 71€/£61). The lesson: never pay the full retail price! But regardless of price, is the Dazzne P2 Plus a good camera? Let’s find out.
The Dazzne calls the P2 Plus a 2K camera. It has a maximum video resolution of 2560 x 1440 at a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). “2K” is a generic term used by many manufacturers of cameras and displays to describe any format having a width of about 2,000 pixels. However, the only standard industry definition of 2K is the one offered by the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI). DCI defines 2K as being 2048 x 1080 at a frame rate of 24fps or 48fps, a resolution that the camera’s Omnivision OV4689 image sensor can easily exceed. The image processor is a Novatek NT96660.
The Dazzne also records 1080p at 60fps or 30fps. When you’re capturing motion the 60fps frame rate can give you sharper videos than 30fps. It also records both 720p and WVGA at 120/60/30fps. The 120fps setting can be good for making slow-motion videos.
On the other hand Dazzne’s claim of 12, 8, and 5 megapixel (MP) photo image sizes is simply false because the Omnivision image sensor only supports a maximum of 4MP. Only the 3MP image size is native. The larger sizes are achieved by interpolation.
Dazzne claims the P2 Plus has anti-shake but that might be a matter of interpretation. There’s no menu setting for anti-shake but there is for gyro stabilization. Anti-shake is normally used when shooting photos whereas gyro stabilization is used when shooting videos. You can notice the difference in videos recorded with the Dazzne’s gyro stabilization turned on. Did Dazzne mean it has gyro stabilization instead of anti-shake? Only Dazzne knows the answers.
The Dazzne P2 Plus can use microSD memory cards up to 64GB. The 2-inch display has a pretty good resolution of 960 x 240 but it doesn’t translate into good quality. The 3.7 volt battery is rated at 1000 milliampere-hours (mAh).
Using my own calipers and scale I measured the camera as follows:
Width x Height x Depth:
- Camera body – 60mm x 45mm x 29mm (2.3in x 1.8in x 1.1in)
- Waterproof housing – 68mm x 75mm x 39mm (2.6in x 2.9in 1.5in)
The weights are:
- Camera only without battery – 71.8g (2.53oz)
- Camera with battery – 92.5g (3.26oz)
- Waterproof housing plus camera and battery – 148.8g (5.25oz)
I could find no information about a warranty on the box or in the Quick Guideline pamphlet. Nor did I see a way to register for warranty on the Dazzne website even after I setup an account (a hollow achievement because it gains you nothing). What are you afraid of Dazzne? If you build a good product you should stand by it and proudly proclaim that you’re doing so.
The website has a “Supprort” page in English that appears to provide access to a product manual but when you click on it everything is in Chinese – no good for me but great for about 1.4 billion other people.
The following table lists the full specifications according to Dazzne.
- Image sensor
- Image resolution
- Video resolution
- Video compression format
- Image format
- Photo time-lapse
- Video time-lapse
- External Mic
- Video Stabilization
- Dazzne P2 Plus
- Novatek 96660
- OV4689 4MP
- 6 glass
92.5g (3.26oz) - with battery
71.8g (2.53oz) - without battery
148.8g(5.25oz)- with battery and housing
- Size : 60mm x 45mm x 29mm (2.3in x 1.8in x 1.1in)
- 2" LCD - 960 x 240
12M(4032 x 3024) - interpolited
8M (3264 x 2448) - interpolited
5M (2592 x 1944) - interpolited
3M (2048 x 1536) - native
- Image format : JPEG
- USB, HDMI
Up to 20m
The Dazzne P2 Plus comes in a small box just big enough to protect the camera and the (very few) accessories. This is a refreshing change from some manufacturers who only package their cameras in retail display boxes.
Despite its size the box has a nice photo of the camera on the front and a barely legible but complete list of specifications and contents on the back. The specifications fail to disclose that the 5MP, 8MP and 12MP photo image sizes are interpolated. It also incorrectly lists 15fps and 24fps among the possible frame rates, though these might be available on non-US-spec cameras..
The included “Quick Guideline” pamphlet is printed in a small gray font that’s not very legible. It doesn’t really matter because while it has some interesting guidance about the camera it doesn’t describe the menus correctly.
The P2 Plus includes the waterproof housing but very few mounting accessories. I had the “Standard” package, hence the lack of accessories. Those that were included are compatible with inexpensive, widely available GoPro-style accessories so you can buy what you need at little cost. A mini USB x USB cable is included in the box but there’s no AC adapter.
The contents of the box are as follows:
- Dazzne P2 Plus Action Camera + Waterproof Housing Case + Base + Long Screw
- USB Cable
- Flat Surface Base + 3M Sticker
- Curved Surface Base + 3M Sticker
- Lens Cap
- 3.7V 1000mAh Battery
- Chinese / English User Manual
You can view the unboxing video and have a look at the contents below.
Design and Build Quality
Some would say the body of the Dazzne P2 Plus is a lovely minimalist design. Others would say it’s simply boring. Then there’s the rubbery feel of the surface texture – not bad, just different.
Whatever you might think of its look and feel the camera body is well made. It’s tightly constructed with no mismatched seams and buttons that are raised ever so slightly. Although they have a nice feel they lack adequate resistance so it’s too easy to press them unintentionally. I found it impossible to shoot videos while holding the bare camera because my fingers were always touching the buttons inadvertently. Using the camera with the frame mount I purchased separately largely fixes this problem. The frame is thicker than the raised portion of the buttons so you don’t accidentally press them. You could also attach a hand grip to the frame’s tripod mounting screw.
Dazzne has taken a real interest in protecting the camera. The door for the battery compartment is side-mounted and remains attached when opened so you won’t lose it. The opening for the cable connections and memory card slot includes a dust cover that fits snugly to keep things clean and dry. Unlike the battery compartment door it doesn’t remain attached when opened so be careful not to lose it. The camera has ports for mini USB and micro HDMI. Dazzne also includes a snug-fitting lens cap with a convenient pull tab for easy removal.
The waterproof housing is well made and the camera fits easily and snugly inside. The latch has a nice, beefy feel and snaps tightly closed. Unfortunately the click of the bare camera buttons can’t be felt through the housing’s buttons. They have a spongy, springy feel with no sensation of clicking at all. When the camera is in the housing you can’t hear it beep. You’ll need to pay special attention to the various flashing lights to figure out what’s happening.
The few mounting accessories included are generally well made. They require real effort to slide together and they fit very tightly – a good thing for action cameras. Unfortunately even when the waterproof housing is screwed onto the mounting accessories as tightly as possible the housing can sometimes inadvertently tilt because the surfaces where the housing and mount are in contact are smooth. Some people roughen these surfaces with sandpaper or a file to prevent them from slipping.
The bottom of the camera body does not have a threaded opening for tripod mounting and none of the included accessories allows you to do so without the waterproof housing. Dazzne doesn’t offer a clip to fit the P2 Plus on their website, a problem that Pavle also ran into when he tested the P3 model. As a result, using only the accessories in the “Standard” package I received, you can’t mount the bare camera on a tripod. I decided to buy a Dazzne frame mount kit for $11 (under 10€) from Amazon. It’s really annoying that just two pieces – the frame and the tripod mount – couldn’t have been included with the camera to start with.
Using the Camera
For me a camera like the Dazzne P2 Plus that has three buttons and uses icons to navigate menus is less convenient than one that has four buttons and uses words. You get used to it but it can be frustrating. When a device has selectable languages why not avoid the confusion of icons and just stick with words that users recognize? Thankfully as you go into the submenus you’ll find words in addition to icons.
Nor am I particularly keen on a menu-submenu arrangement. To me it’s easier to scroll through menus rather than selecting icons just so you can drop down to a second and third level of icons like the Dazzne.
The first mode to appear after the start screen depends on what you selected in the Boot setting (see the Settings section below). If it’s Video you simply press the OK button to begin recording and press again to stop. If it’s Capture you press the button to snap a photo. If it’s Time Lapse Shoot you press the button to begin taking photos at time intervals you’ve already set in the menu, then press again to stop. If you have Boot Record turned on then the camera will automatically begin recording video. Regardless of the first mode, if you press the Mode button the top-level menu will appear and you can advance through the icons to select a mode.
In Playback mode, press OK to playback video, press again to pause, press and hold to exit playback mode. Press the Mode button to advance to the next video/photo, press the WiFi button to go back one video/photo. During playback press the WiFi button to rewind 2X, again for 4X, again for 8X. Press the Mode button to decrease the rewind speed. During video playback press the Mode button to fast forward 2X, again for 4X, again for 8X. Press the WiFi button during fast forward to reduce the speed.
Playing back videos on my 1080p TV directly from the camera via the HDMI connection worked well for videos at all resolutions and frame rates. Photos looked good too. The P2 Plus can also record videos and shoot photos while it’s connected. There’s only a split-second lag between camera and the live feed on TV.
The display on the Dazzne P2 Plus is rather dull – and that’s on the brightest of three available settings. When looking at it straight-on it’s not especially bright and details can’t be seen clearly. The reflective surface of the display is a real hindrance in daylight and it’s almost impossible to see the display when using the waterproof housing in daylight. The need to use the housing for any mounting also means you won’t capture any audio except the loudest noises. Using the camera with the separately purchased frame mount and threaded tripod connection cures the audio problem.
The power saver function is a strict task master. If it’s set at let’s say 2 minutes and you’ve been fiddling with settings for that long but haven’t yet shot any videos or photos, the camera will turn off anyway.
A useful feature missing from the Dazzne is a one-button toggle for gyro stabilization. The SJCam SJ5000X Elite tested by my colleague Pavle has this feature. Gyro stabilization is intended for recording videos. When shooting photos it can cause them to be blurry. If you want to alternate between shooting videos and photos it would be best to switch between gyro on and off. With the P2 Plus you need to enter the settings menu to do so. A simple one-button toggle would make things much easier.
[phpzon keywords=”Dazzne P2 Plus” num=”4″ country=”US” trackingid=”pevly0d-20″ templatename=”columns” columns=”4″]
The Dazzne P2 Plus lacks a setting for wide dynamic range or high dynamic range (WDR or HDR) on the camera menu. In scenes that have both dim and bright areas or a very wide range of colors, WDR/HDR helps the camera record videos that appear more like what’s seen by the naked eye. However, WDR On/Off is available on the WiFi app. If you’ll be using just the camera then set your WDR preference using the app before you begin. Your preference will be saved.
There’s no file lock or protected file function on the camera to prevent accidental deletion of files. It also appears that you can’t format the memory card using the camera because there’s no such menu selection. But like WDR, there’s a Format selection on the app menu. Similarly you can’t use the camera menu to choose whether or not to record audio because it lacks that setting but it too can be found on the app.
Nor can you manually adjust the ISO on the Dazzne P2 Plus. An image’s exposure is determined primarily by just three settings: aperture, ISO and shutter speed (or exposure time) . Because action cameras have fixed apertures (the size of the opening that light passes through), when you eliminate the ISO adjustment it leaves only exposure time to manually adjust for an image’s exposure. This can be a real shortcoming in some situations. But the Dazzne does adjust the ISO automatically according the conditions.
The camera also lacks zoom. In some ways this is not such a great a loss because action cameras use electronic zoom instead of optical zoom. Images are simply enlarged and cropped to obtain a zoom-like appearance. This can be easily done in video editing programs. Still, some people like having zoom on the camera so they’ll miss it on the Dazzne. You can’t zoom with the WiFi app either.
Time Lapse, Burst, Timer (shutter delay) and Movie Capture (takes a series of still images at timed intervals while you’re recording a video) all worked fine.
The Dazzne P2 Plus has four red and four blue LED’s, one of each on the top, bottom, front and back of the camera plus an additional blue light in front for WiFi. You’ll appreciate how bright the lights are when you’re outdoors on a bright day but otherwise they’re bright enough to reflect off nearby objects. The reflections can be inadvertently captured in videos and photos. Fortunately the lights can be turned off except that they always flash when turning the camera on or off. Flashing red lights marked with an asterisk (*) work in conjunction with beeps.
- Brief steady blue light on front; then all four red lights briefly steady followed by a triple flash* – camera turning on
- Six rapid flashes of all four red lights* – camera turning off
- Flashing red lights – battery charging
- Slow flashing red lights – camera recording video
- Rapid triple-flash red lights* – lights flash after pressing the OK button to stop recording video
- Double rapid flash, pause, then triple rapid flash of red lights* – shooting a photo
- Steady blue light on top – connected to AC adapter but battery is fully charged
- Slow flashing blue lights – camera is on
- Second slow flashing blue light on front of camera – WiFi connected
Beeps (when sound is turned on)
Beeps can be turned off or the volume set at 70 or 100. For me 70 was plenty loud indoors and 100 scared my cat! But the louder volume is good if you’re outside, especially in a crowd. Beeps for turning the camera On and Off are at 100 no matter the setting. Beeps are always in conjunction with flashing red lights except where noted by a circle-x (⊗).
- Three rapid beeps – turning camera on
- Six rapid beeps – turning camera off
- Short beep – start recording video
- Single beep followed by three beeps – stop recording video
- Double rapid beeps followed by a pause followed by triple rapid beeps – shooting a photo
- Single beep⊗ – when changing modes; going through video and photo files in playback; going through menus and changing settings
Quality of Video and Photo – Settings in Common
This section addresses how the quality of videos and photos changes when settings that affect both of them are adjusted.
Exposure Value – Exposure value (EV) can be changed in 1/3 increments from -2.0 to +2.0. Each step change has a small but noticeable effect and can be used to fine-tune exposure. It works well for both photos and videos but regardless of the setting, the Dazzne has trouble handling very bright and dark areas in the same scene as discussed below in the Video Quality and Photo Quality sections. If you leave the setting at +0.0 the camera will adjust the exposure time automatically. Except in certain circumstances, or unless you’re trying to achieve a certain effect, the Dazzne works best at +0.0.
White Balance – The white balance, also called color temperature (measured in Kelvin), can be adjusted to more closely resemble the hue of the ambient light. For example, incandescent lights are typically about 2500K whereas bright sunlight is about 5500K. There are five settings plus automatic on the Dazzne. Each change in color temperature setting makes a significant difference in the appearance of videos and photos and worked well for both. The Dazzne does a good job if you leave it on Auto.
Image Rotation – This menu setting is supposed to rotate the image 180° in case you need to mount the camera upside down. Unfortunately it only inverts the menu and on-screen display icons. If you mount the camera upside down you’ll end up with upside down videos and photos.
The Dazzne P2 Plus records mostly good videos (except for one serious problem). Outdoors during the day, for recordings at 2K 30fps, 1080p 60/30fps or 960p 60/30fps, with various combinations of camera or subject in motion or stationary, the videos are sharp without the edges being jagged or fuzzy. Details are easily visible. The focus is good down to about 15cm (6 inches). The colors are true with mostly correct brightness and good saturation. It has trouble in mixed bright light and shadows, the greater the difference the greater the problem.
While colors remain good, videos recorded in 720p are worse overall. Edges appear jagged or fuzzy and distant scenes also appear fuzzy. 480p is even worse. The problem with bright and dark scenes is neither better nor worse at 720p or 480p. For some reason when I recorded 720p 120fps, the file segments were 1:12 to 2:00 minutes long even though it was set at 5 minutes.
The first two videos below demonstrate the problem with high contrast scenes. The first video was recorded inside a historic church. With the bright light streaming in through the windows it’s hard to tell the dark object in the corner is a pipe organ until I get closer and the window light is limited.
The second video was shot at Big Oaks Rescue Farm in Greenwood, South Carolina, USA. At first the bright exterior causes the interior to be almost entirely black but as I pan right the camera adjusts.
The third video below is inside a modestly lit arts and crafts store. As long as the lighting is consistent, whether consistently bright or consistently dim as in this video, the Dazzne does well. All things considered the color, brightness and detail are really quite good.
These videos were shot before I purchased the separate frame mount for the camera. As a result there’s a bit of haze and glare in them – and no audio – because the camera was mounted inside its waterproof housing.
The Dazzne’s gyro stabilization does a pretty good job of limiting inadvertent camera movement while panning (from side-to-side) or tilting (up-and-down) but it’s of little use controlling roll, i.e., rotation of the camera. When you hold the camera while walking, the resulting video with its constant rocking motion is really annoying.
In the first two videos below the camera is mounted on a tripod. In the first one you can see a bit of gyro stabilization when tilting up and down. It also gives a sense of the barrel distortion – not too bad in my opinion. In the second video you can see how the video drifts back to center at the end of each panning motion as the gyro stabilization settles down. These videos also demonstrate the very good quality of the camera’s recordings in bright sunshine.
In the third video I was walking while holding the camera using a hand grip attached to the frame mount. I was holding the camera as smoothly and steadily as I could but you’d swear I was drunk! You’ll also notice the lady with the “flashing” black-and-white striped top at the beginning, an odd phenomenon of the video recording, not the reality of her clothing! As usual, with the sky still somewhat light, pretty much everything along the sidewalk is too dark.
In this file you’ll find some nice street scenes recorded at dusk in 2K 30fps, a morning race at a regatta recorded 1080p 30fps, and a 4-man scull rowing out to the starting line recorded 1080p 60fps. To me the Dazzne’s video sweet spot is 1080p 60fps. It looks better than all the other resolutions and frame rates. It even looks better than 2K 30fps – perhaps unsurprising because the bitrate is slightly higher.
However, there is a serious problem with “blackouts” of outdoor daytime videos. Under some circumstances, areas of the video will be blacked out for one or two frames. Most often it’s the sky that’s blacked out but other elements are affected too. I noticed the effect when recording in 1080p 30/60fps, 960p 30/60fps and 720p 120fps. It doesn’t happen all the time, it’s not a result of sun in front of or behind the camera, total recording time, overall brightness or contrast of the scene, or ambient temperature. It occurred in the middle of the day under full sunshine but it also occurred in the morning in the shade. My colleague Pavle ran into the same problem when he tested the SJCam M10+ camera.
Below are some frame captures showing the blackout effect.
When Boot Record is turned on and your Dazzne P2 Plus is connected to a 12V adapter plugged into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket, the camera powers up and begins recording as soon as you start your car. When you shut off your car the camera turns off.
Used as a dash camera the Dazzne P2 Plus has the same strengths and weaknesses as it does when used as a video camera generally. Under the right lighting circumstances the videos look very nice, with good contrast and color saturation and accurate colors and details. The biggest problem again is in scenes with high contrast. In scenes with bright sunlight or light but overcast skies combined with dark areas and shadows, the light areas will be too bright and the dark areas too dark.
When vehicles are stopped at an intersection (the first set of zoomed photos below)you’ll be able to capture the license plate of the car in front of you but when vehicles are in motion, whether at low speed (second set) or high speed (third set), the camera can’t get the numbers clearly. If you want to use the camera to have a record of your journey or to capture traffic events generally then the camera does a good job. If you need the license plate of a traffic violator the Dazzne won’t help much.
The video in this link shows how the Dazzne makes high quality yet problematic videos at the same time. Recorded in 1080p 60fps, it shows the same stretch of road driven in opposite directions within two minutes of each other close to sunset. At first the sun is in front of the camera. You can see that the trees seem to be mostly a single dark green color and much of the detail is lost.
After I turn around the sun is behind the camera. You can see the Dazzne is capable of very good color and detail. The gas station is colorful including a glimpse of a flowering tree. Along the road the various shades of green and brown and the shapes of trees and shrubs are nicely captured. Check out the lightning at 2:11!
The following video shows how an overcast sky can completely overwhelm the Dazzne depending on the position of the clouds, sun and camera.
The Dazzne P2 Plus takes good photos. As with videos, details are very good and edges are accurate, neither fuzzy nor jagged. Colors are true and the saturation is spot on. Also like videos, the Dazzne has trouble with high contrast scenes and it’s especially bad in extreme circumstances. There was no blackout problem shooting photos like there was with videos.
To me all four image sizes – 3MP, 5MP, 8MP and 12MP – were almost indistinguishable from each other. Keep in mind that the three higher megapixel sizes are interpolated. This means that pixels are added to the maximum native image size – in this case about 3MP – to give it more pixels. This can sometimes be nothing more than a gimmick by manufacturers to claim that their camera’s resolution is greater than it actually is. However, depending on the algorithm used for interpolation it can have good results and that seems to be the case with the Dazzne. It’s hard to tell the difference even when they’re zoomed though the 12MP probably looked best and the 3MP the worst. If you don’t plan to zoom in on your images then save the file space and stick with 3MP.
I photographed the following scene at 3MP, 5MP, 8MP and 12MP. This file contains all four photos. You can see the very sharp details of the racing shells, the natural green and blue colors and the nice details of the far shore.
If you check the Properties>Details as shown below for any Dazzne photo you’ll notice a few things. First, the f-stop is always f/2. This is consistent with the fixed aperture for the Dazzne. Second, although the ISO is not manually adjustable, the camera nonetheless adjusts the ISO automatically based on the conditions. I saw a range of ISO 50 through ISO 480 though I don’t know the camera’s full range.
Third, the camera maker is always “SJCAM”! Excuse me? That’s like looking beneath the sheet metal of your Toyota and finding out it’s a Honda! But both Dazzne and SJCam are Chinese brands and that’s the thing about Chinese action cameras. You can’t be sure who actually assembled them or developed the firmware despite the brand name. And remember that the SJCam M10+ and the Dazzne P2 Plus both have the video blackout problem. I’m not necessarily saying the same party is responsible for both cameras’ assembly or firmware but it’s an interesting question.
The audio quality of the Dazzne P2 Plus is mostly good but with one negative aspect. The good: The pitch and timbre sound pretty good. The Dazzne’s small built-in microphone does a surprisingly good job of capturing most frequencies and tone colors accurately. Individual voices and instruments are heard as if you’re standing right there. The deep bass and bright tambourine can both be heard clearly in the video of the street corner band below.
The bad: The Dazzne seems to converge loudness to a set level. The louder the sound the more it’s quieted down. In the videos below the band playing on the street corner was actually quite loud while the guitar duo was quite a bit less so. Yet the volume on the video clips really isn’t all that different. You can readily see this on the graphic volume bar on each video. I wasn’t equipped to test the external microphone capability of the Dazzne.
Battery and Power
When you connect the charger to the Dazzne P2 Plus the camera automatically turns on. Be sure to turn it off to minimize charging time, especially if you have Screensaver or Auto Power Off turned off.
The battery charge is displayed in only in 25 percent increments. It can be difficult to judge how close you are to the end.
I was able to record continuously at the following settings for the time indicated until the battery was fully discharged:
- 2K, 30fps, WiFi off, display on, gyro on, quality fine: 110 minutes
- 1080, 60fps, WiFi on, display on, gyro on, quality fine: 72 minutes
- 1080, 30fps, WiFi off, display on, gyro off, quality normal: 158 minutes
- 720, 120fps, WiFi on, display on, gyro on, quality fine: 83 minutes
- 720, 30fps, WiFi off, display off, gyro off, quality normal: 191 minutes
The battery charging time is very long with the Dazzne. It takes about 4 to 4-1/2 hours to recharge a fully discharged battery using an AC adapter rated at 2.0A. With a 1.0A adapter the battery was still charging after 5 hours. Spare batteries and an external charging dock are available and might be considered necessities. A USB power bank can also work as an extended source of power.
The Dazzne P2 Plus works with or without the battery installed when connected to an AC adapter or a USB power bank
[phpzon keywords=”Dazzne P2 Plus” num=”4″ country=”US” trackingid=”pevly0d-20″ templatename=”columns” columns=”4″]
Modes, Menus and Settings
After you turn on the camera and see the first mode screen, press the power button to enter the menu . The top level menu icons will appear. Once you’re in the menus the Mode button works like a forward button and the WiFi button acts like a back button at every level. To confirm any menu selection or setting press the OK button. If you press and hold the OK button while you’re in lower level menus the camera returns to the first level menu.
Each time you select an icon the menu system goes down to the next level menu or directly into a setting. The title of the menu screen you’re viewing always appears on top and the current settings appear in a list on the right side. Your selections are highlighted in blue.
Default settings below are marked with an asterisk (*). Second and third level menu selections and settings available only on the camera menu but not on the WiFi app menu are marked with a circle-x (⊗).
First Level Menu Icons
- Video – select to go to the video mode screen
- Shoot – select to go to the photo mode screen
- Time-Lapse Shoot – select to go to the photo time-lapse mode screen
- Playback – select to go to the playback mode screen
- Camera Setting – select to go to the second level camera settings submenu
Second Level – Camera Setting Icons
- Video Parameters – select to go to the third level Video Parameters menu for video mode settings
- Capture Parameters – choose image size. Select 12MP, 8MP, 5MP* or 3MP.
- Burst Parameters – choose the number of photos per second for shooting a burst of photos. Select 3, 5 or 10 per second or Off*.
- Timer Parameters⊗ – shutter delay. Choose 2*, 5 or 10 seconds.
- Capture Setup⊗ – select to go to the third level Capture Setup menu for video and photo settings
- System Parameters – select to go to the third level System Parameters menu for general camera settings
- Delete⊗ – for deleting videos and photos. Select Return, Last One or Delete All
- Default Setting – allows you to return all menu settings to their defaults. Choose Cancel or OK.
- WiFi – turn WiFi Off* or On
- Return⊗ – select to go back to the first level menu
Third Level – Video Parameters Icons
- Resolution – choose video resolution. Select 2K, 1080*, 960, 720 or VGA (actually WVGA, 720 x 480)
- Frame Rate – in frames per second (fps). The selections available depend on the resolution and include 30, 60* or 120 fps⊗.
- FOV⊗ – field of view. Choose how wide an image you want the camera to capture. Select Ultrawide Angle*, Wide Angle or Narrow Angle icons that correspond to 170° and two lesser angles not specified by Dazzne.
- Return⊗ – select to go back to the Camera Setting submenu
Third Level – Capture Setup Icons
- Image Rotation – rotates the image 180° vertically in case you need to mount the camera upside down. Choose UP or DN (down, also shown as Off*). However, this setting doesn’t work correctly.
- Metering⊗ – adjusts the spot or area in the field of view where the camera measures for exposure. Choose from Spot, Center, and Auto (shown as AIAE*, average image automatic exposure)
- Movie Capture – takes a series of still images at timed intervals while you’re recording a video. Choose 5, 10, 30 or 60 second intervals or Off*. When you begin recording a video the camera will automatically begin shooting photos simultaneously.
- Loop Recording – length of video file segments. Choose Off or 3* or 5 minutes.
- Quality⊗ – adjusts the algorithm used to compress files. Choose Normal (Off)* or Fine (On). Normal uses less storage but can cause the quality of videos and photos to suffer.
- White Balance – the color temperature in Kelvin. Use this to adjust the camera according the lighting conditions. Choose Auto*, 3000K, 4000K, 5500K, 6500K and CAMRAW.
- TV⊗ – Off*, On. Choose On if you want to connect the camera to a TV or monitor via HDMI cable. However, the camera automatically recognizes an HDMI connection so there’s no need to use this setting.
- EV – exposure value. +2.0, +5/3, +4/3, +1.0, +2/3, +1/3, +0.0*, -1/3, -2/3, -1.0, -4/3, -5/3, -2.0
- Brightness⊗ – adjust the brightness of the camera’s display to 50, 75 or 100* percent
- Date Stamping – choose whether to show date and time*, date only or neither on videos and photos
- Gyro⊗ – gyroscopic stabilization while shooting videos. Choose On or Off*.
- Return⊗ – select to go back to the Camera Setting submenu
Third Level – System Parameters Icons
- Boot Mode⊗ – Choose which mode opens after the start screen: Record (video)*, Capture (photo), or Self Timer (shutter delay).
- Boot Record – Choose On or Off*. When On is selected the camera will switch on and begin recording video as soon as it’s connected to power. It shuts off when power is disconnected. This is useful if you want to use the Dazzne as a dash camera powered by a 12V adapter. It will also begin recording right away if you turn on the camera manually.
- TV Mode⊗ – choose the type of TV system for your country. Select PAL* for much of Europe and Asia or NTSC for North America and much of Latin America.
- Screensavers⊗ – the amount of time since the last camera operation before the display goes dark. Choose from On (display does not shut off unless camera is turned off) or 1*, 5 or 10 minutes
- Lamp Setting⊗ – for camera settings where external lights flash. Choose All On*, BEAF (only the top light is off) or All Off. Lights always flash when turning the camera on or off.
- Beep Sound⊗ – set the volume or turn off the beep sound when pressing buttons. Choose 100*, 70 or Off. The camera always beeps when turned on or off.
- Auto Power Off – choose the amount of time before the camera automatically turns off after sitting idle. Select Manual (stays on)* or 60, 120 or 300 seconds.
- Date Time⊗ – set the date and time
- Language⊗ – choose English*, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Japanese or Russian. In some cases menu selections and settings are always shown in English letters and Arabic numerals regardless of the chosen language.
- OSD Mode⊗ – Off, On*
- Version⊗ – shows the firmware version installed on the camera
- Return⊗ – select to go back to the Camera Setting submenu
There are some oddities with menu settings. Sometimes the name of a setting changes depending on which step in the menu you’re looking at. For example, the Quality setting Normal is also named Off; Fine is also named On . On the camera you can’t choose whether or not to record audio and you can’t turn WDR on or off, both of which you can do in the app menu. You’ll notice others as you look at the camera and app menus.
Here are nine sample screenshots showing some of the Dazzne’s main menu selections.
WiFi and App
I had no problems downloading the Dazzne app from the Google Play store for my Android smartphone. I also had no problem scanning the QR code on the box with my iPad Mini 2 and downloading the iOS application.
WiFi can be turned on using the button on the front of the camera or going into the menu. You’ll need to wait a couple of minutes to let the Dazzne’s WiFi “warm up” before attempting to establish a connection with your device. For the first minute or two it simply won’t connect. Once connected the app started easily. Wait another couple of minutes before you try doing anything with the app; if you don’t you’ll end up with a disconnection. Any time the WiFi connection was broken while recording video the camera continued to record. Sometimes after a disconnection the app might display a message saying, “Unfortunately, Dazzne P2 HD has stopped.” Touch “OK” to clear the message.
But all of that was only at first. Unfortunately over the course of several weeks of testing it became more and more difficult to establish the WiFi connection, and when I did it became harder and harder to start the app, and when it did start it became harder and harder to actually do anything with it. After starting with so much promise, the app became useless in the end.
At first the app was easy to use. The icons on my phone were reasonably sized and spaced so I didn’t accidentally touch the wrong one. The main icons are few and self-explanatory and the menu font is legible. The pop-ups for changing settings were smaller and not quite so legible. Using the app on my iPad Mini was super easy because the larger screen size made everything much more legible and the image was very easy to see. A menu item’s settings open in a new window instead of a pop-up so they’re more legible and easier to select than they are on the Android app. With either device the camera reacts to changes almost immediately unless you’re near the limit of its range.
The app menu is easy to use because you simply scroll through the selections. As a result it doesn’t correspond exactly to the camera’s icon-and-submenu setup. I found the app menu easier to use. The app is always in English no matter what language you selected at the camera and it can’t be changed in the app.
The Dazzne P2 Plus doesn’t record 2K or 720p 120fps when WiFi is on. Frame rates of 60fps or 120fps have more lag, freeze and disconnections than 30fps at the same distances. Indoors I could be about 4m (4-1/2 yards) away from the camera with either device and everything worked fine at 30fps. At higher frame rates disconnections occurred regularly at 4m. Starting or stopping recording happened as soon as I touched Record on either of my devices when I was within operating distance. Too far away and I encountered lag, freezing and ultimately disconnection.
Indoor operating distances were also good shooting photos using either device when the app was working. The image was clear up to about 4m, started to freeze a bit from 4m to 5m and finally disconnected beyond that. Snapping photos using either of my devices was instantaneous indoors up to the maximum WiFi operating distance.
The app failed before I could check maximum outdoor operating distances but when the devices and camera were nearby and working they reacted instantly just like indoors.
There were a couple of anomalies with the app even before it stopped working. Sometimes the menu offered the choices of 2K or 720p 120fps even though it can’t record these when WiFi is on. When I touched Record it either wouldn’t start or defaulted to 1080p 60fps. This problem usually didn’t happen if I set the resolution and frame rate to 1080p 30fps at the camera before I turned on the WiFi.
Sometimes the message “Get Battery Failure!” appeared on screen even though there was plenty of charge left. Just ignore it. The app displays an icon of the remaining battery power anyway.
Photos and videos shot during WiFi operation are stored on the memory card in the camera, not directly on your mobile device. To play them back on your device you must copy the files from the camera. You can do this via WiFi or by transferring the files to your computer and then to your device. All files including those not recorded during WiFi operation can be transferred to your mobile device.
My phone plays back only the audio on 2K videos; 1080p 60fps plays back as a series of frame captures; and 720p and WVGA at 120fps play back at 1/4 speed. Other resolutions and frame rates play fine. However, despite my phone’s playback limitations the actual video files were stored intact. When I copied the files from my phone to my computer and played them back, all resolutions and frame rates worked fine.
To copy files from the camera to your mobile device via WiFi, touch the 4-leaf icon on the app to open a list showing video and photo files on the camera memory card. The list includes all files whether they were recorded during WiFi operation or not. Videos have a movie reel icon to the left of the file name and photos have a photo icon. The lack of thumbnails means you’re guessing which file you’re downloading. Touch the icon or the down arrow to the right of the file name to copy the file to your device.
With the Android app photos download right away and videos show the download percentage completed. In both cases the word “Download” appears over the icon when finished. On the iOS app a barely noticeable progress bar near the top shows the download progress of videos and photos. When it’s complete a thumbnail replaces the icon.
If you touch the arrow on the app start screen it displays the contents of an album on your device where the files have been downloaded.
Files copied from the camera to your mobile device are not deleted from the camera. To delete a file using the app, touch the trash can icon to the right of the file name on the file list. A dialog box appears with the word “delete”. Touch “OK” to delete the file or “Cancel” to keep it. You can also choose Format on the app menu to delete all files or you can remove the memory card and use your computer to delete files.
Using the buttons on the camera to record videos and shoot photos continues to work when WiFi is connected.
The app worked in landscape or portrait orientation when using my smartphone. The menu worked in portrait only when using my iPad but you could rotate it to landscape for the live camera view.
Settings that are changed using the app are retained by the camera after WiFi is turned off except sometimes the resolution and frame rate can get out of whack as mentioned above.
While snapping a series of photos in fairly quick succession using the app with my iPad on a hot day (95°F / 35°C) the camera stopped working after about 45 minutes. I turned everything off and waited 10 minutes then started up again. The same thing happened again after 35 minutes and again after 25 minutes whereupon I stopped altogether. The camera was in the shade and operating on the battery with plenty of charge remaining. This might have occurred due to the combined heat of the air plus WiFi operation but that’s purely speculation on my part: I don’t know the real reason for certain.
The app menu settings WDR On/Off and Audio On/Off aren’t available on the camera menu. I couldn’t verify if there was any difference in videos or photos with WDR on or off and I couldn’t check if audio recording could be turned off because the WiFi failed before I had the chance.
Main Screen Icons, Clockwise from Top Left
- Setting for video resolution and frame rate or photo image size
- Battery status
- Settings – touch to open the Settings menu
- Mode selection – touch to open then choose “Moive”, Photo, Time Lapse, or Burst Photo
- Record/shutter button – touch to start/stop recording or snap a photo
- Four-Leaf – touch to see a list of files stored on the camera’s memory card
In the listing below the default settings are marked with an asterisk (*). Selections and settings available only on the app menu but not on the camera menu are marked with a circle-x (⊗).
- Resolution – choose from 2K, 1080FHD 1920 x 1080*, 960P 1280 x 960, 720P 1280 x 720, WVGA 848 x 480. Despite the menu selection the camera can’t record 2K with WiFi on.
- Frame Rate – 30fps, 60fps*, 120fps. The camera can’t record 720p 120fps with WiFi on..
- Cyclic Record – off, 3 minutes*, 5 minutes
- WDR⊗ – Off*, On
- Audio⊗ – Off, On*
- Date Stamp – off, date, datetime* (sic)
- Image Size – 12M 4032 x 3024, 8M 3264 x 2448, 5M 2592 x 1944*, 3M 2048 x 1536. 12M, 8M and 5M are interpolated.
- Bust Parameters (sic) – 3/s*, 5/S, 10/S
- White Balance – Auto*, 3000K, 4000K, 5500K, 6500K, CAMRAW
- Exposure – +2.0, +5/3, +4/3, +1.0, +2/3, +1/3, +0.0*, -1/3, -2/3, -1.0, -4/3, -5/3, -2.0
Photo Time laps (sic)
- Capture Mode – 2S Timer*, 5S Timer, 10S Timer
- Frequency⊗ – 50Hz* or 60Hz. Frequency of AC electricity in your location.
- Return menu settings to defaults – returns settings to defaults
- Format⊗ – formats the memory card. When you format the memory card all files are deleted. Always format a new memory card in the camera before using.
- Auto Power Off – The amount of time without any activity before the camera automatically shuts off. Choose 60, 120 or 300 seconds. The Manual* setting disables automatic shut off.
- WifiName (sic) – Name of camera WiFi network
- Password – you can set a password for WiFi network access
- Mostly good video quality (with a couple of caveats and one big problem)
- Mostly good photo quality (with one caveat)
- Mostly good sound quality (with one caveat)
- Good build quality with nice attention to detail; lens cap, dust cover and attached battery compartment door are nice touches
- Bright camera lights are good in bright daylight and can be turned off if preferred
- Loud beeps are good in noisy conditions and can be reduced in volume or turned off if preferred
- Sadly the video blackout problem renders the Dazzne unacceptable
- Difficulty handling high contrast scenes, both videos and photos
- After a promising start the WiFi and app stopped working after several weeks
- Gyro stabilization does a poor job of dealing with rocking or rotating motion
- Image Rotation doesn’t work
- The camera seems to reduce all video sound volume to one level no matter how loud it is
- Some people will miss the zoom function and manual ISO settings
- The display could be brighter and sharper
- The icons-and-submenus setup for the menu system can be annoying
- It’s way too easy to turn on the bare camera accidentally
- Very long battery recharging times
- Buttons on the waterproof housing feel spongy/springy
- The basic camera package lacks a simple frame mount and tripod connection
I’m sad to report that the Dazzne P2 Plus, while seeming to be so promising in the beginning, ultimately turned out to be a flop. Despite what seemed like good build quality and the camera’s ability to shoot truly good videos and photos when the lighting was consistent, the video blackout problem disqualifies the camera from consideration. The failure of the WiFi and app later on simply made the whole experience that much more bitter. Dazzne’s failure to respond to my e-mail demonstrates a total lack of concern. Skip the Dazzne P2 Plus and consider one of the other, better cameras we’ve reviewed here on Pevly.
[phpzon keywords=”Dazzne P2 Plus” num=”4″ country=”US” trackingid=”pevly0d-20″ templatename=”columns” columns=”4″]
- The image sensor, image processor and other internal hardware mentioned in this review are based on the manufacturer’s statements. The camera was not disassembled to verify components.
- The camera was delivered to and tested in the US. It’s not known if cameras delivered to other countries will have the same performance.
- There’s no indication on the Dazzne website, on the box or in the included Quick Guideline pamphlet that the camera complies with US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements for WiFi operation. The camera itself lacks the required FCC labeling.
- The tested camera was equipped with firmware version HE5V1.16.20151130. If later firmware versions become available they’re likely to alter camera performance.
- I used a 32GB Samsung Evo microSDHC memory card, speed class UHS-1. Always use a good quality name brand memory card with a speed class of 10 or faster. Dazzne recommends class 4 or higher but any speed class less than 10 can sometimes cause problems in action cameras.
- The WiFi and app were tested using a Samsung Galaxy S4 Android smartphone and an Apple iPad Mini 2. Other mobile devices might perform differently. The Android app version is 2.9.8 (422). The iOS app version is 1.4.0.
- The HDMI output was tested on a Panasonic TC-L42ET5 television, a 42-inch 1080p LCD HDTV. The quality of HDMI output might be different on another TV set or monitor.
- Photo and video files were downloaded to a Toshiba laptop with Windows 7 operating system. Viewing videos and photos to assess quality was done using a Samsung UN22F5000AF monitor, a 22-inch 1080p LED monitor/TV. I played back videos using Windows Media Player or MPC-HC. Photos and videos might look different using your computer, monitor and video playback program.
- Because the camera was tested in the southern US I couldn’t check its performance in cold weather. Nor did I have the opportunity to verify that the waterproof housing is good to a depth of 20m (about 66ft).
- The mini USB port is labeled as an input for an external microphone but I wasn’t equipped to test that feature.
Special thanks to Editor-in-Chief Pavle and Pevly contributor Alessio for their generous assistance with my first review.