New Camera – Shimano CM-2000

June 27, 2018 at 21:40 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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A few months ago, the Shimano camera I have facing forward on my bike fell off. The clip isn’t all that great, and I apparently hadn’t secured it properly. After pinging across the road, it still worked – but the lens was cracked. A new lens cost $40, so I didn’t buy one; after all the camera came with a spare one (of a different shape for using under water) which I thought would be fine. Except that I couldn’t find it anywhere. And then it seems what remaining stocks of spare lenses that might have been around evaporated, and were no longer available anywhere.

The great thing about Shimano bike cameras though is that they are absolutely awful. Not the actual camera bit;  the physical design (apart perhaps for the clip) and the video quality is fine. No, rather all the other bits are awful. They WiFi connection is flaky as. The battery life is ordinary. The app is a disaster. The promised video editing software to overlay your data has never made an appearance. This means that, when launched, they retail at $500 but after a while are available for a song as no-one wants to buy them.

And it seems Shimano made a version 2 bike cam, and this too is awful, and is now also available for a song. A $149 song, in fact – which is not a bad price for a high-quality HD waterproof camera, even if none of the other features work. So I bought one. Although they still don’t include a handlebar mount, I was able it improvise a stem mount from the helmet mount and some cable ties.

It’s definitely better than version 1 – especially in low light. But the clip is exactly the same. And on the third outing with the new camera, it too pinged across the road after going over a bump. Luckily, the lens was not broken (the design means it’s a bit less vulnerable than version 1), and it still works…

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Shimano Sports Camera CM-1000

July 19, 2016 at 14:32 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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CM1000As you may have noted elsewhere in my blog, I have another camera in my bike arsenal. I’d been thinking about a front-facing camera as a counterpart to my Fly6 on the rear, and had seen the CM-1000 a few times. It looked quite good – the main attractions being it is waterproof without needing a housing, and quite low-profile. The RRP seemed to be around the $460 mark though, which seemed quite a lot, given that’s about the price of the Fly12 (the front light / camera combo from Cycliq). It also didn’t seem to have that important feature of the Fly range – the ability to automatically overwrite old files, meaning you don’t need to faff around deleting thigns to make space on the memory card.

Then I spotted it online from an Australian retailer for about $160. This was too good an opportunity to pass up, although it did cross my mind that if it was being discounted that heavily, perhaps it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be…

cm1000 on barsThe camera itself looks smart enough, but shortly after getting it out of the box I discovered the first problem. It doesn’t come with a handlebar mount. This is a camera specifically for cycling made by the worlds largest bike component manufacturer. And they don’t give you a clip to mount if on your handlebars. Unbelievable. The mounting is a GoPro style one, so there are plenty of mounts available, but it’s a strange omission – which meant I couldn’t actually use the camera until I bought a mounting for it.

The camera can record at a range of resolutions, angles and frame rates, which are set via a phone app. You connect the camera to your phone via wifi, and can control the various settings, as well as downloading or deleting files and using the phone screen as a viewfinder. This should be good, but unfortunately the connectivity is extremely flaky. It just rarely successfully connects to the phone. And since I upgraded my phone to the latest version of Android, it has never worked. The only way I can now adjust the settings is to us an old android tablet I have, which seems to connect somewhat more successfully. The Google Play store is full of one-star reviews complaining about this, so it’s not just me. I’m not sure if it connects to iDevices more successfully, but for all intents and purposes the app is useless.

This means the camera really can only be used as a basic camera – you can start and stop recording, and then pull the memory card out to copy and delete the videos. Bad luck if your memory card fills up during your ride – you can only delete files with the app, but it doesn’t work, especially when you need it to.

Having said all that, the video quality is good. It records in full HD, and can also record at high frame rates (up to 120fps) if you want to do fancy slo-mo shots. (Although good luck getting the app to work to change these settings…). It has a wide-angle lens, and the setting include a very wide angle mode which captures a lot of your surroundings, if somewhat ‘fisheye’. The sound, however, is terrible. These types of cameras rarely have good sound, mostly picking up wind noise. However, the CM-1000 is a slightly loose fit in the mounting (the original part, not the bit I had to buy) – which means you not only get wind noise, you get a loud rattling sound over all your videos.

Here’s a sample video, taken with the camera pointing backwards on the bars. Note the car who overtakes closer than the legal one metre!

video
(not sure what went wrong with the YouTube upload there – looks very grainy. The original is way clearer.)

What else? Oh yes, the battery life is not very good. I don’y get much more than 90 minutes of recording from a fully charged battery. So I have to charge it up every day in order to record my 45 minute each-way commute.

Apparently you can connect an ANT+ sensor to it, so it can record other data along with the video, such as speed or cadence. I haven’t tried this, but apparently all this does is create a text file of data sampled every second or so whilst the camera is running. When the product was launched some years ago, Shimano promised a video editing app that would then overlay this data back onto the video, but it never eventuated. Given the last firmware update was now almost a year ago, and the current firmware clearly isn’t perfect, I wouldn’t hold your breath that the video app will ever appear. I sense Shimano are no longer actively supporting this product.

So all in all, it’s not a great product. The video quality is good, and it’s nice that it’s waterproof. But everything else is hopeless. For $160, I’m quite happy with it. Had I paid over $400 for it, I’d have been sending it back.

 

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