Shimano Sports Camera - Review

I was pretty excited when I found out about the Shimano Sport Camera (I found out by seeing this video of a sprint within the peloton at the Tour of California - you've got to watch it if you haven't seen it). What got me pumped is not video quality or anything like that, but that the camera looks good.

I never liked GoPro because it was a big awkward box, and it just looked horsey on racers' handlebars - even when put upside down. The Shimano Race Camera is nice and compact, and looks like it was made for the bike. I'd imagine it has aero advantages as well.

I bought the K Edge Aero Combo Mount, which again was a big reason for the camera purchase. It has a compact and clean look integrated with the Garmin. It installed without a hitch, and attaching the camera to it worked fine, no trouble. While riding, I can't even see the camera below the Garmin.

I also purchased a 32GB micro SD card (unfortunately the camera can't do 64GB ..... I found that out the hard way). It is inserted into the back of the camera, the same place that the USB charging cord is attached.

IN THE BOX: the camera came with multiple sets of instructions, a helmet strap, a USB charging cable, and an underwater lens add-on. The helmet strap doesn't really work with the design of my helmet, but I wasn't really planning on using it that way anyway.

INSTRUCTIONS: There are 4 sets of instructions that all let you know how to use the camera in a bit of a different way. I liked this quick guide one the best.

TURNING ON THE CAMERA: After charging the camera, it is pretty easy to get started. There are 2 ways to turn it on. Press the mode button, or press the record button. When you turn it on with the mode button, you can access all your options prior to recording. You can switch between modes and video type/quality, and turn on the WiFi connection which lets you access the camera with your phone. If you turn it on by pressing the record button, it automatically starts recording using the last video type/quality setting you used.

RECORDING: If you turned on the camera with the mode button, you start recording by pressing the record button. If you turn on the camera with the record button, it starts recording using the last settings used. A red light slowly blinks to let you know you're recording, and you also hear a double beep. To stop recording you simply press the button again for 1 sec and a double beep lets you know it has stopped. To turn it off, hold down the record button for 4sec and you will hear a series of four beeps. I thought it was pretty intuitive.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS: You have to take the Micro SD card out of the camera and plug it into your computer to download the videos. I wish there was a way to connect the camera and computer directly. I imagine that would make the camera larger though, and I'm okay with sacrificing that ease of use for a smaller and lighter camera.

You can download the videos like you would from any other SD Card. I use Image Capture on my iMAC. For longer videos, like the Oxford Hills RR, the camera made 3 videos, the first 2 around 4GBs and the last about 1GB or so (if I remember right). 

The mount I picked also means the videos are all recorded upside down. I used Quicktime to rotate the footage, and also to stitch all the videos back together. Long videos take a long time to save (I think it took more than an hour), but that has nothing to do with the camera.

VIDEO QUALITY: I thought the quality was just fine, no better or worse than GoPro videos. I tried all their options and angles before settling on the first option 1920x1080 30fps with standard width lens (the superwide was just too distorted on the edges I thought).

Home Screen, and selecting the Shimano Camera WiFi.

Home Screen, and selecting the Shimano Camera WiFi.

Liveview and the settings screen.

Liveview and the settings screen.

PHONE INTERFACE: I thought this worked well. I wish it connected by bluetooth to avoid the extra step of switching the WiFi, but after you get used to it it's not that bad. It took about 7mins the first time. Download the app. Turn on the camera with the mode button, and then hold down the mode button till it beeps, and both lights blink green showing that the WiFi is turned on. On the phone, go into settings and pick the Shimano Camera for WiFi and put in the password (it's easier every time after because you don't have to put in the password). Then open the app. The interface is intuitive and I think one of the best ways to tweak the settings. The Liveview also works well.

OVERALL

PROS: Looks great, aero and light, easy to use, good phone interface.

CONS: Can't download video via direct connection, no bluetooth phone connection option.

RECOMMEND: Yes, I'd recommend this. Especially if aesthetics are important to you. If you've never taken and edited videos before, I'd just be aware that it's a time-consuming process that takes up GBs of space on your computer. But that's an issue no matter what camera you use.