How to choose the right reverse camera system

In this day and age, we are constantly presented with an endless amount of options! Where should we go for dinner? What type of phone do I need? Right down to which type of bread should I eat? All of these different options can become a little overwhelming and unfortunately purchasing a reverse camera system is no different.

I assume that if you are reading this post that you may have viewed our range of reverse camera options and are probably scratching your head! What the heck is a NG-CV60DC or a WOZA kit I hear you say, I get it! Fear not as I am here to guide you through the process and make it a bit simpler. In this article I am going to try my best to break down some of the different monitor, camera and cable options followed by an explanation of the different model numbers and how they might benefit you.

Monitors

NG60 monitor

Ok so let’s start with the basics! As you might have noticed most of our reverse camera kits have the same screen which is what we call an NG60 screen. This screen has superseded a lot of our older monitors because it can take up to 4 cameras and we have found it to be a good size (not too big, not too small).

The NG60 screen has a nice 6.2” LCD which pretty much sits between our older CM60 (5.6” screen) and CM70 (7” screen) models. We have also modernised the look of the NG60 screen so you will find that it looks a bit more up to date compared to some of the other reverse camera screens on the market.

It is completely touch screen which means that if you have more than one camera hooked up to it, all you have to do is touch the screen to filter between the different cameras. There is now only one button on the monitor which is a power button located up the top, if for whatever reason you wish to turn the monitor off.

The NG60 screen sits on the dashboard or you can purchase a suction mount bracket to mount it onto the windscreen. As more new vehicles come out onto the market you might notice that a lot of factory screens are now sitting above the dashboard. This is the whole idea behind the NG60 screen – to make it look as though it is part of the car.

The NG60 screen also has an anti-glare screen built into it so there is no need for a sunshade. Even with sunshades and anti-glare, you will never get rid of sunlight affecting the image at certain times of the day because unfortunately we cannot pull blinds down in our car as we would in a lounge room. The anti-glare screen is simply designed to reduce the glare by having a matte finish to it as opposed to a glossy finish.

CM60 monitor

 

 

 

 

 

 

We still have some of our older 5.6” LCD’s in stock but once we run out we will no longer be stocking them. The CM60 monitor is a good monitor however we decided that the reverse camera market needed a fresher, more up to date looking monitor with technology to match.

RVM42 monitor

 

 

 

You might also notice that we also sell a mirror mount style monitor which is what we call the RVM42 monitor. This is a good alternative if you don’t want anything sitting up on the dash board as you may already have a million-and-one things sitting up there. The RVM42 monitor simply mounts over your current rear vision mirror and the reverse camera image appears on one half of the mirror.

The RVM42 monitor will take up to 2 cameras so this system could be used for a car and caravan setup. The camera image will just be a little bit smaller in comparison to our NG60 screen. Please also take not that this is the only reverse camera kit where we use RCA style plugs so if you do want to adapt it for a caravan, you will need to purchase adaptor cables.

Whilst the RVM42 is a good little system it does have its downsides. Because it also doubles as a mirror, it has reflective properties built into it – including the screen. On a really sunny day, the image can be hard to see. This is the case with all mirror style monitors on the market as they all have reflective properties built into them. We have tried to “dull down” this issue by having our mirror slightly more tinted but this also means that when you aren’t looking at the camera image, you will have to get used to looking at a slightly darker mirror.

Cameras

Now for the fun part – cameras! The cameras all depend on what vehicle you drive and what you want the camera to help you with, for example, do you want it just for reversing safely or do you also want to use it as a proper rear vision system?  Different cameras serve different purposes due to the mounting style, wide angle lens and other varying factors. From small cameras to dual cameras, it can get confusing but the good news is, I am here to help!

The cameras I am focusing on for now are our most popular cameras – what their main purpose is and what type of vehicles they suit. I am not going to get into the technical aspect of each and every camera however, if you want to see the specifications they are available on our website or in our 2017/2018 catalogue.

Miniature Camera

 

 

 

 

 

The miniature camera is mainly designed for tow vehicles. The main purpose of the miniature camera is to assist you when reversing. Whether it be hitching up your vehicle or checking behind your vehicle for potential dangers when reversing. It has a 170 degree wide angle lens which gives you a very broad vision of what is behind your vehicle and if you want guidelines for added safety you can request this. You might notice a little bit of a “fisheye” effect with a 170 degree wide camera but this is typically normal if you want to see as much as possible behind your vehicle.

What you will also notice with a wide angle lens is that objects behind the vehicle look very far away when in actual fact they are quite close. This is because the wider the lens angle, the more it will distort the depth perception. This is the case with all wide angle lens cameras. This is why we don’t suggest that a miniature camera go on the back of a caravan or motorhome unless you want it for reversing purposes only, not to see how far vehicles are behind you when driving.

This camera has a butterfly mount style bracket so it has a lot of flexibility when deciding where you want to mount it.

It is always suggested that when you fit these style of cameras to always have the camera pointing towards some type of reference point, whether it be your tow ball or part of your bumper. This way you will have some type of indication as to whether you are about to hit something or not. If you have the camera pointing straight out you will clearly see if something is behind your vehicle however, you will have absolutely no idea how far away the object is.

This camera doesn’t have built in infrared however, because this camera is mainly used for reversing, your reverse lights will emit enough light to see behind you in darkened conditions

Number Plate Camera

 

 

 

The number plate camera is pretty much identical in terms of specs as the miniature camera except that it has a long bracket either side of the camera. This camera is great for number plates that are positioned in the centre of the car and it makes for easy fitting. All you do is take off your number plate, position the bracket behind the number plate, line it up to the number plate screws so that when you screw the number plate back on, the bracket will hold in place. The camera lens will poke out over the top of the number plate. Our guys love fitting this style camera because it’s quick and easy.

This camera is not suggested if your number plate is off-centre as you might not get the view that you want and because it has a guideline feature built in, which will not be accurate if it’s not mounted in the centre.

This camera doesn’t have built in infrared however, because this camera is mainly used for reversing, your reverse lights will emit enough light to see behind you in darkened conditions

White Round IR Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This camera is suggested for motorhomes and caravans but it all depends on what you want to use it for. The camera has a 120 degree wide angle lens, whilst it’s not as wide as the miniature and number plate camera, it is still considered a wide angle lens. You won’t get the “fisheye” effect as much with a 120 degree angle lens though.

This camera gets mounted up high on a vertical surface to get as much vision as possible behind the caravan or motorhome. This camera is great for reversing purposes but is so-so for rear vision. As mentioned before the wider the angle lens, the more it will distort depth perception. This camera is not ideal if you want to know the rough distance that a car is behind you because cars will appear quite far away when in actual fact they are quite close behind you. Keep in mind that some customers have been happy using this camera as a rear vision tool as they start to get use to the rough distance between the back of the vehicle and a vehicle behind them.

The camera has built in infrared LEDs so you can clearly see what is behind you in darkened conditions.

This camera is also available in black if your caravan/motorhome is black and silver.

Black IR Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The black IR Camera basically has all the same specs as the white round camera however, this camera is a good alternative if you cannot mount to a vertical surface. This camera has an adjustable bracket and sunshade so the most common position it is mounted is on top of the vehicle pointing down.

This camera is also good for trailers (e.g., box trailers, camper trailers etc.) as it can withstand a bit of rough housing.

The camera has built in infrared LEDs so you can clearly see what is behind you in darkened conditions.

Dual IR Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may seem a bit odd to have 2 cameras in one but there is actually a method behind the madness. One of the built-in lens is 120 degrees, this lens points down and is ideal for reversing purposes. The other lens is 40 degrees and this is an ideal viewing angle for rear vision.

The narrow 40 degree angle points straight back and provides more of a “true” image so you can make a better judgement of how far a vehicle is behind you. Reversing cameras are never going to be as good as your eyes but the 40 degree lens is probably the best that you are going to get in terms of trying to estimate the distance of traffic behind you.

We do not sell 40 degree angle cameras on their own, they are only available in the dual camera setup as 40 degrees will not give you a wide enough range to help you reverse.

Cable kits

WOZA Kit

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let the funny name deter you, this cable kit has been designed specifically to extend onto your caravan or trailer. The WOZA kit comprises of 3 cables:

2 metre cable with chrome socket

Curly cord with chrome sockets

10 metre cable with chrome socket

The 2 metre WOZA cable is fitted into your vehicle with the chrome socket sitting somewhere on the back of the tow vehicle. If you are thinking, hang on 2 metres is not going to fit the length of my car, don’t worry, most of our kits already come with a 7 metre cable and you plug the 2 metre WOZA cable into this cable.

The 10 metre cable is fitted into your caravan/trailer with the chrome socket sitting somewhere on the A frame.

The curly cord then fits in between the car and caravan and “marries” the caravan camera to the monitor in the tow vehicle. When the curly cord is unattached, the caravan camera will not appear on the screen.

Think of the WOZA kit as a long fancy extension cable that is broken up into 3 pieces. We recommend this type of cable kit as it is specifically designed to withstand all types of environmental elements however, more importantly it is designed to be constantly attached and detached as it has larger, more durable pins inside the socket. Our standard extension cables are not designed for either of the above.

Dual WOZA Kit

 

 

 

 

 

You are probably aware of both the WOZA and the dual WOZA kits but are unaware of the difference between the two. The dual WOZA kit is designed for the exact same purpose as our standard WOZA kit except that it allows you to have 2 cameras (or the dual camera) on the back of your caravan/trailer.

The WOZA kit only has one camera input on the end of the 10 metre WOZA cable however the dual WOZA kit has 2 camera inputs on the end of its 10 m Dual WOZA cable.

The dual WOZA kit has 5 pins in its chrome sockets as opposed to 4 (because it needs a second video signal). The dual WOZA kit still only has one curly cord and saves you from having two curly cords running between the car and trailer. In fact it is mainly all one cable, it starts off with 2 inputs on the 2 metre dual WOZA cable, merges into one cable > one curly cord > continues as one cable and finally splits into two  inputs right at the end of the 10 metre dual WOZA cable.

I keep seeing NG, CV & CM amongst all of your kits and I still don’t understand the difference – HELP!

Ok so we have covered the basics and now I will run through the different kits to help you make an informed decision. Again, I won’t run through what comes in the kits but bear in mind that the kits come with all the cabling required for the suggested vehicle(s). If you want to double check the components of the kit, you can view all of this on the website or in our catalogue.

NG60

 

 

 

 

Think of this kit as the baby of them all – the starting point. This kit is ideal for hatchbacks, sedans, 4WD’s and SUV’s. Its main purpose is for safely reversing and to help guide you when reverse parking. You can also request the miniature camera with guidelines for added safety, or you can switch to the number plate camera which comes standard with the guidelines built in.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Not ideal for rear vision

RVM42

 

 

 

 

This kit is designed for the same purpose as the NG60, however if you don’t want anything sitting on the dashboard, then this monitor is a good alternative. It is ideal for hatchbacks, sedans, 4WD’s and SUV’s

Ideal for reversing purposes
Not ideal for rear vision

NG60WR

 

 

 

This kit is ideal for motorhomes or large vans. It is designed for safe reversing and it can also help you reverse into tight spots provided that you have the lens pointing towards a reference point on your vehicle so you have some idea of distance between your van and the end of the parking spot. If you have the lens pointing straight out, then it is only good for making sure there are no kids, adults, animals or objects behind your vehicle before you start reversing.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Not ideal for rear vision

NG60DC

 

 

 

 

Suitable for motorhomes and large vans. It is designed for safe reversing and reversing into tight spots with the 120 degree wide angle lens. The 40 degree lens will help with rear vision and the ability to judge the distance of vehicles behind your large vehicle.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Ideal for rear vision

NG-CV05

 

 

 

Ideal for reversing your caravan/trailer safely and reversing into tight spots (provided that the lens is looking at some reference point on your caravan).

Please note that this kit does not come with a camera for your tow vehicle and is ideal for vehicles where a reverse camera comes standard on the tow vehicle.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Not ideal for rear vision

NG-CV05DC

 

 

 

 

Ideal for reversing your caravan/trailer safely and into tight spots with the 120 degree camera lens. The 40 degree lens will help with rear vision and the ability to judge the distance of vehicles behind your large vehicle.

Please note that this kit does not come with a camera for your tow vehicle and is ideal for vehicles where a reverse camera comes standard on the tow vehicle.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Ideal for rear vision

NG-CV10

 

 

 

This kit comes with 2 cameras and is ideal for both car and caravan. The miniature camera is mounted on the rear of your tow vehicle and will help you when hitching up. Not only that but you will become so use to having a reverse camera on your caravan that you will miss it when you unhitch your van.

The caravan camera is ideal for reversing safely and reversing into tight spots (provided that the lens is looking at some reference point on your caravan) with your caravan or trailer.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Not ideal for rear vision

NG-CV60DC

 

 

 

 

This kit comes with 2 cameras and is ideal for both car and caravan. The miniature camera is mounted on the rear of your tow vehicle and will help you when hitching up. Not only that but you will become so use to having a reverse camera on your caravan that you will miss it when you unhitch your van.

The dual camera for the caravan is ideal for reversing safely and into tight spots with the 120 degree camera lens. The 40 degree lens will help with rear vision and the ability to judge the distance of vehicles behind your large vehicle.

Ideal for reversing purposes
Ideal for rear vision

What about wireless systems?

 

 

 

 

 

This is a question we get asked about all the time and you would think that with all the technology in this modern era (seriously, they can put a man on the moon!) that we would finally have a decent wireless system. I hate to burst your bubble but unfortunately they just cannot seem to make one that does the job.

We have tested so many different samples over the years and the short answer is, they just don’t work properly. After I visited the electronics fair in Hong Kong last year, I looked around at some wireless systems and inquired with several manufacturers, all of whom assured me that they are much better quality now. I was sold and decided to order a couple of different samples, I mean surely they have to be better, right – wrong!

We tested the various systems in our workshop and the image kept cutting in and out. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like on a car and caravan if it couldn’t even work properly on a test bench. The problem is that majority all other wireless devices run on the same frequency (2.4 GHz) which interfere with the system. We have heard stories of people driving near CCTV’s and picking up their image on their reverse camera screen. Whilst it is the cheaper option, don’t expect it to run smoothly 100% of the time.

I’m still confused and don’t know what kit to get!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The point of this article was to try and break down what some of our different cameras and monitors are made for and how they can be of benefit to you. Hopefully I haven’t overloaded you with too much information. However, I understand that there are many different brands of camera systems and this is where too much choice can become a problem. Even if you decide to go with another brand, hopefully this article has helped you in some way. If you are still unsure or confused, feel free to give us a call on 1300 555 514 and one of our helpful staff members can assist you over the phone. Alternatively you can always stop by our stand at the many caravan and camping shows that we participate in over the year and speak to us in person – we won’t bite, I promise.