The Cambox V3 is a fantastic idea, but it's not without it's flaws. In terms of the Cambox vs GoPro debate, the Cambox still has a fair way to go to beat the quality and usability of it's more illustrious sibling. Having said that, you can't beat it's POV, immersive footage.
Before we begin this review, we'd like to state that we have had limited time to test the Cambox v3 on-track due to the Covid 19 pandemic. As soon as we are unleashed once again we will update this review with more comprehensive onboard videos and update our score / text.
We were extremely excited about the arrival of the Cambox v3, here at KartUK. As much as we love our faithful GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition, we have lost count of the amount of times it has fallen off it's mount (thankfully tethered) or lost battery halfway through a session. Obviously the lack of placement on the helmet (and rightfully so) also means that capturing a true sense of what a driver is experiencing while driving a kart is also tricky.
The Cambox Mk3 is a neat solution to those classic GoPro problems, by enabling you to place the camera inside your crash helmet, discreetly and safely. By placing it directly above the drivers eyeline, you can produce an almost perfect replica of what the driver sees through the visor. This greatly enhances the viewers immersive experience, however as we'll get to later, it is not without it's own drawbacks
First off, the design. The camera arrived in a neatly packaged box including all it's accessories such as USB cable for charging, lens cleaning cloth, velcro strips to attach the camera to your helmet and some instructions in a variety of different languages. Removing the camera itself, the initial impressions are good. It feels well built and solid. The 'wings' flex to enable you to stick it to curved surfaces and the lens itself extends downwards and contracts back upwards to finely tune your viewing angle.
The first negative point is the USB port covering, which covers the power button. This flimsy piece of rubber covers the USB port aswell and is used to push the physical power button that is placed right next to the Micro SD port. It simply clips into place with rubber tabs and seals the unit from the outside elements. We found that sealing it properly was really quite a lottery and often the flap would come away and hang down, obscuring the drivers vision - not dangerously as it is so small, however it was a distraction! Because this flap is also recessed into the body of the camera, it also meant that pressing the power button was almost impossible with gloves on. Coupled with the fact that the camera automatically begins recording when the power button is pressed, meant that on more than one occasion it had to be set recording as the driver placed the helmet on before a race. It then recorded for multiple minutes while the previous race finished and then ran out of battery halfway through our race. Ok if you have a helper on hand to press record through your visor while sat on the grid but not so good if you're running yourself.
Thankfully the entire camera vibrates vigorously twice when you have successfully turned it on, meaning there is no mistaking when it has been correctly powered on. Once running you really don't notice that it is in your helmet and the velcro attachment really does keep it nice and secure above your eyeline. Immediately, however, we discovered another issue. After our first session on track, reviewing the footage we noticed it was almost completely obscured by the visor sticker on our helmet! Several sessions later and much adjustment with the viewing angle of the lens and we managed to get a half decent video recorded (see footage below) however even then we did find the visor sticker displaying at the top of the footage. Eventually, a small slot was cut in the visor sticker which enabled us to get a full screen video recorded. Not the most elegant solution!
Footage quality is on par with the GoPro and due to their being no outer case the sound quality is a very good replica of what you hear in-helmet. There is a fair amount of camera shake, however we found this only really added to the immersive feel to the footage.
Removing the MicroSD card every session grew tiresome and so we gave the app that accompanies the camera a go. Unfortunately this was a real let down. It isn't intuitive and the UI is frustrating and to make matters worse it is buggy. When you eventually get it working it is functional and you can view the footage on your phone in between sessions, however we found it almost as easy to plug the card into a laptop and view the footage manually - eliminating the point of having an app in the first place.
On a positive note the battery easily lasted a full days testing with quick charges between sessions and the footage secured across the day was very good. One niggle when the camera came away from the velcro slightly mid session was solved easily and with a new strip of velcro added to the helmet it remained firmly attached for the rest of the day.
|Features||GoPro 7 Black Edition||Cambox Mk3|
|Resolution||4k @ 60fps||1080p @ 30fps|
|Battery Life||85 minutes @ 1080p||75 minutes|
In general we love the Mk3 Cambox. The footage it creates is on another level to any GoPro thanks to it's discreet placement in the helmet. It gives an immersive, POV view of what it's like to drive a Kart and with just a few tweaks to improve the app, ergonomics and usability it would be a serious contender for being THE must-have camera for Karting.
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