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Compared to videos I've seen on Youtube, the image quality I'm getting from the cameras isn't very good. I'm recording at the highest quality and FHD 30 fps, and I've upgraded to the EN 1.007 firmware, which appears to be the latest version.
Is the video on the left the YouTube video and the one on the right yours? Its hard to tell the difference from small thumbnails, but it appears that one video is over saturated and one is normal. It looks like someone hit the button to let YouTube try and auto color correct their video, which always over does it, and makes it the video's color grading looking awful.
Neither of the images look good. Color issues aside, what I don't see is clearly legible text on the license tags. I thought these were supposed to show text well?
If there is no protective foil on the lens and car windows do not alter the image significantly - check by using the camera outside of the car, or at least pointing out of open door - then it looks like a physical focus issue to me.
Notice how close objects (dashboard reflected in the windscreen or rear wiper) are sharp and distant objects are very soft. Now, speaking generally of dashcams, I do not know BlackVue construction and common issues, this can be:
1. permanent defect (manufacturing defect, shipping damage),
2. "permanent" problem (in the sense that lens are just rotated out of focus, but can be adjusted, in some dashcams easily at home),
3. temporary change (in the sense that for example when cold, the image is sharp, when hot, camera case/lens holder/chip mount elongates in various proportions and image goes out of focus - had this in dashcam of different make, major PITA, a possible solution is to adjust twice a year for summer focus and winter focus).
To check if it is indeed a focus issue (1, 2, or 3) - take a picture (a paper with large text etc.) and move it in front of camera from right in front of the lens to a distance of another car in front of you. Check video of how sharpness change with distance.
To check if it is temperature related (3), take entirely cold camera (not placed in hot car beforehand, air conditioned room temperature), park the car in direct sunlight in front of any scenery and record. Check video if objects at various distances come in and out of focus with time.
You may have gotten a faulty unit. I experienced the same thing when I got mine, blurry, out of focus quality. I contacted support and got a replacement.
The left screenshot is my front camera and the right one is the rear camera. The dashcam firmware's brightness setting is 1 (lowest).
Recordings early in the morning look a lot better compared to during the day when it gets blurry, so I'm thinking it is a temperature issue as you state.
To my knowledge, there's no way to adjust the focus from the firmware. I think I'm just going to get a replacement.
Yes, most dashcams have fixed focus, so you cannot adjust it with software. You need to physically rotate the lens - i.e. Mobius (which has a more DIY nature) includes a small hex wrench to unlock lens, BlackVue looks more drastic
(the video is for 500&550).
Replacement may be the easiest option.