The not-so-minor details
Shimano Sport Camera
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So tiny and light
Simple Wifi - Smartphone system
All the shooting modes you need
No display makes for studying the instruction manual vital
This one’s more out of left field than Clive Palmer grabbing senate seats! Shimano, the world’s biggest bike component manufacturer have entered the helmet / wearable camera market.
With the experience in electronics Shimano has developed over the last half dozen years with their Di2 battery-powered shifting, we guess the Japanese giant has been laying the ground work on this move for a long time.
But can Shimano be a serious challenger in this incredibly competitive market? We’ve seen a number of brands throw themselves up against the might GoPro and come away second best. What gives the Shimano Sport Camera a fighting chance? Certainly not the name… Sport Camera?
We previewed the Sport Camera couple of months ago and finally received a test unit in the mail today. After half an hour or so of tooling around with it, we’ve got to say it really does seem to be very good. You can read all the tech specs here, but below are our initial impressions.
First up, it’s absolutely tiny. At just 86g and not much bigger than a box of matches, it’s impressively petite – a child could swallow it – as it doesn’t rely on a waterproof casing to protect the innards. The whole unit is waterproof to a depth of 10 metres apparently (no surprise really, given Shimano also push this unit as a product for their fishing market too).
There’s no live display or menu on the camera – instead it relies on a basic series of coloured LEDs to let you know what mode the camera is in. BUT this rather basic on-camera information is supplemented by a fantastic smart phone App. So far, we’re confident in saying the interface between phone and camera is the best we’ve used. You can change modes, resolutions, replay and delete clips, format the card, switch the lens angle from 135-180 degrees and more from your phone. There also seems to be very little lag from the camera to the phone display.
In the box there’s a couple of mounting options, namely a stick-on flat surface mount and a vented helmet mount. As we’ve found in the past, the success or failure of a camera like this can really rest on the quality and availability of good mounting options, so we’re super happy to see that the Shimano camera works with all GoPro mounts, as well as a range of Shimano’s own mounts.
Unfortunately you’ll need to shell out for a micro SD card before you can actually record anything, but that’s fair enough as the $449 price tag seems quite reasonable to us thus far.
Incredibly, the camera is also ANT+ enabled, meaning it can record information from your GPS and incorporate that into the video file. And if you’re a roadie you’ll be pleased to know that the camera can talk to your Shimano Di2 shifting (providing you’ve got the new Di2 D-Fly transmitter) and incorporate all kinds of nerdy info about your shifting too. Welcome to #thefuture.
We’re really looking forward to reviewing this one!