Lukas's LK-7900 is poised to compete head to head with the high-end single channel dashcams from Blackvue and Finevu. It too boasts a 1080P Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor however Lukas has taken a dramatically different approach to design. The look of the LK7900 reminds me of the USB webcams or baby monitor, and to put it bluntly it's rather unsightly compared to the sleek CR500HD or DR500. Perhaps in a work truck I wouldn't really mind the LK7900 but I don't think I would put this eyesore in my small sports cars. The overall height of the Lukas is about 4" tall when you factor in the built in adhesive mount compared to the very low profile Blackvues which are only about 2.5" tall. Not only would this taller height raise concerns about theft, in smaller cars like my Miata it would be impossible to mount it seamlessly behind the rearview mirror in the ideal centre position making it quite noticeable while driving.
A tall and awkward circular design frankly isn't the most appealing.
Inside the Box
Lukas has provided the usual cigarette adapter power cable, adhesive mounting tape, and a 16GB full-size SD card. Where they've gone the extra mile is by including a UV filter which should benefit optical quality slightly, however coming from the DSLR world I know that UV filters are often just used as protection for the actual lens itself. Those that want a more noticeable effect, particular on a sunny day, should opt for Lukas's CPL filter which would typically improve colours and reduce glare. We also like that they've provided some clips to assist with tucking in wires neatly. One thing we didn't like was the mounting bracket that you clip the main unit into, it's not as easy to unhinge as the FineVu or Blackvue brackets and some users have complained that it's rather fragile. This is doubly important as we know some users (especially with such a tall dashcam) like to remove/hide their units for theft deterrence but also the lack of WiFi function means that users may choose to remove the device to load videos onto their computer.
The Lukas LK-7900 is about par for the course in terms of features for it's price range, while it doesn't have the WiFi function of the DR500/DR600 it does have an internal GPS. At the moment of this review FineVu's CR500HD with the external GPS option is still a fair bit cheaper than the LK7900 and we definitely prefer the external accessory as it keeps the main unit size down. One nuance of the LK-7900 is it's maximum SD card capacity of 256GB, while cards like these probably cost as much as this dashcam, it's pretty cool that it can support such a high capacity. Like the Blackvue and FineVu dashcams, Lukas does have parking mode by motion detection, however, in our testing we found that the parking mode lacked the sensitivity we're used to with the aforementioned dashcams. What we mean by this is that the LK-7900 doesn't begin recording until the vehicles are very close to the vehicle, so when you're parallel parked on the street a vehicle further down the road will not trigger it. You also cannot configure the frame rate of the parking mode to save storage space which is quite useful when parked in a mall where many vehicles and pedestrians will be passing by.
Another unique highlight of the LK-7900 is it's factory specified temperature range of -20˚C to 80˚C, it's rated to a higher temperature than a lot of other dashcams making it suitable for hotter environments, here in Canada where we're based it's not a huge concern. Lukas also has integrated the ability to monitor and record OBD data from your vehicle's computer via an optional OBD II cable. This feature emerged from Korea where unintended acceleration caused a few accidents and drivers wanted extra evidence to backup that they were not at fault, frankly nowadays, particularly in North America we don't see much utility out of this feature either and it just adds even more unnecessary wiring.
Video quality is where we were most disappointed with the Lukas LK-7900 despite it's Sony sensor and conventional filter mount. Even in daytime video the image appears pixelated and cartoonish with very poor detail and edges all have a halo effect. The screengrab below is from Youtube user Dash Cam Man's independent review where you can clearly see the power lines have a weird white glow, the grass looks blurry, and the poor dynamic range where the darker parts of the vehicle ahead aren't well exposed. There's also a noticeable amount of fisheye distortion even though this camera only has a 135 degree viewing angle.
The LK-7900 does handle oncoming headlight glare quite well at night but overall we have to give the advantage to the CR-500HD which can be had for less money and did significantly better in daytime testing. We suspect that the haloing effect is the result of Lukas boosting sharpness artificially to compensate for subpar optics. Ultimately we aren't really sold on the LK-7900's video quality and don't think it can justify the price tag despite the Sony name.
Our problem with the Lukas LK-7900 is that it's higher price tag is justified by a lot of irrelevant or unnecessary features and yet it falls short in terms of video quality. While internal GPS is nice to have we could really do without OBD support and 256GB card support. Furthermore, parking mode is of utmost importance to us here at BlackboxMyCar particularly with higher end units and we don't have the same confidence with what Lukas has provided.
We also haven't been shy about how unattractive the device is on a purely aesthetic level but we recognize that styling is pretty subjective issue, however the bulkier design and difficulty of concealing it is undeniable. A slimmer body, WiFi function, or price break would definitely hep the LK-7900 gain some favorability but as we stand the FineVu CR500HD is just a much more attractive product overall.
What is Parking Mode by Motion Detection? Learn more from HERE