The Sunday Review: Cambox Isi3

Hey guys! I’m the absolute worst and failed to get this out on time AGAIN!

Instead of holding out until next Sunday here it is a couple days late!

I’m sorry!

OVERVIEW:

I love watching helmet camera footage but I always thought the hardware was too expensive. I often watch Elisa Wallace’s cross country adventures and practice counting strides up to a jump. I can’t remember to count strides to save my life in person but I can try working towards it.

Last year around this time I fell victim to Facebook’s relentless advertisements. I kept seeing an ad for a helmet camera. What caught my attention was the sleek design, totally unlike the the GoPro that sticks absurdly off the top of the helmet. I did my research and found a great deal that swayed me into making my purchase.

I didn’t actually use that camera until this summer, had some difficulties, and REALLY got to use it for hunter pace season. Can you see it in my jump shots?

Photo courtesy of https://connecticutphoto.com/

Last year I purchased the Cambox Isi3. I was drawn to the slim sleek design of the camera. It is a very thin camera placed on the underside of any visor. Unless you’re looking closely you can hardly tell it’s there. I was still on the fence about the camera when I saw the Black Friday ad for 2019….they were offering the Platinum Package at 50% the price! The platinum package, normally prices at $433, comes with the helmet cam, 64GB microSD card, stick-on velcro fasteners, a multi-purpose stand, protective case, and a baseball cap.

The Cambox company is based in Nantes, France where they 3D print their cameras. The ring around the lens can be ordered in different colors. I chose my favorite color, a bright royal blue. I’ve never truly ordered anything overseas directly so I wasn’t sure how long it would take to receive the item. As it happens I received it very quickly (a week maybe?).

Seeing the helmetcam in person was a great feeling. As unpacked my goodies I found the camera itself. It was small and very light; 40g to be precise. The wings flex to conform to the shape of any hat. They can flex down with a baseball cap, flex up with a cowboy hat, and work with any riding helmet.

The lens rotates as well to adjust the view of the camera. You can have a -5° angle to see farther ahead or adjust it down to 30° to see more of the horse. This is especially helpful because every hat has a different slope on the visor. I never realized until I bought the camera that my Charles Owen has a significant downward slope to the visor.

Setting up the camera is very easy, but the instructions weren’t very straightforward (or maybe that’s just me). Physical setup is as easy as attaching the velcro strip to the underside of the helmet and giving it time for the adhesive to set. Electronically I ended up needed technical support, which I received using their website’s chat function. They got me straightened out in no time.

I downloaded the app and paired the phone with my camera. You can use the app to set the right angle of the lens but you don’t always need the app after that (I rarely ever use it).

Once recording the camera has a battery life of 75 minutes. It saves the video in 15 minute segments. The quality is quite good…full HD 1080p. The sound is high quality but you can’t really make out what other people say to you.

You can use the app and wifi feature to wirelessly view and share video footage. I prefer to remove the microSD card and insert it onto my computer. The power and wifi buttons are discreetly placed in the front of the camera with a rubber cover. Lifting the cover you will find the space for the microSD card and charging cable.

The first time I used the camera we were on an easy-going trail ride. I was pleased with the footage. On our second outing, however, the adhesive on my helmet fell off and the camera fell to the ground while we were out riding. It took a hard fall and to my dismay didn’t work properly after. My heart sank and I was worried I had wasted my money.

I reached out to the company and explained what had happened. A wonderful agent called me and we tried to get it sorted out. A software update didn’t help fix the problem so that night he emailed me a shipping label and I sent the camera back. Within a week I received a package in the mail with a functioning camera! I was SO relieved and SO excited to give it another go.

The gentleman who helped me also sent me improved adhesive strips. I use a Charles Owen JR8 helmet which has fabric material and I think the original strips may not be strong enough. These new strips are designed for motorsports so he warned me that they may be a permanent fixture on my helmet. So far after 5 hunter paces the adhesive is still going strong!

Photo courtesy of https://connecticutphoto.com/


PROS:

  • Sleek
  • Lightweight
  • Attractive
  • Long battery life
  • Lots of memory to store plenty of footage
  • Full HD video
  • High quality sound
  • Wifi to connect directly to your phone
  • Affordable
  • Fast delivery
  • Responsive Customer Service
  • Adjustable wings to fit any shape visor
  • Adjustable camera angle
  • The camera can be removed and attached to any other visor at any time

CONS

  • Instructions: The instructions leave a lot to be desired but for what it’s worth the customer service is easy to work with
  • Adhesive Strips: I haven’t had luck using the original strips on my fabric material visors. If you have fabric it may be worth upgrading your adhesive strips (but be prepared to leave them permanently on your helmet)



Alternatives:

There are only one or two big names on the market but I’m sure the first that would come to mind is GoPro. I’ve never been a fan of those funky GoPro helmet sticks. It looks goofy the way they stick up off the helmet and knowing me I’m sure to take it out on a tree branch. They also make straps to use the GoPro on your chest but I wasn’t to sure about that either.

I’ve seen Elisa Wallace using a GoPro Max. This is a $500 camera but it features a stabilization feature that helps deliver a smoother ride. You can also use a hands free option to begin video capture. At the time I don’t remember whether this model was an option but it was certainly more costly than I was willing to commit to.

Cambox recently released a newer version of their slim camera called the V4. Actually, you can choose V4 or the V4 Pro. These cameras seem to be the most competitive with the GoPro Max and are on a similar price point. In the future I am hoping to get my hands on one of these models to share with you!


Final Word:

I’ve never been a fan of the clunky design GoPro offers, never liked the look of the camera on top of a helmet. Over the years the design has come a long way but they are still well out of my price range.

When I found Cambox I was instantly captivated. I was drawn to the design and did some research before deciding to buy. It didn’t influence my decision but the idea that these are 3D printed was fascinating.

I love the design and it has good battery life. The customer service is very friendly and personable. In fact, while collecting some extra data for this review I chatted with a couple service representatives online who were very accommodating. They went above and beyond to help get me back in business when the camera fell to its doom.

Would I purchase this again? Yes….and no. I love the quality, design, and customer service. It’s worth what I paid for it without a doubt. That said, I now have my eyes set for the better models. I very much would like to try the Cambox V4 Pro and see just how much better the video stabilization can be.

If you want to see more videos using the Cambox Isi3 you can always check out my YouTube or visit my recent Hunter Pace Recap article.

If you want to find a Cambox helmet cam that suits you you can find them here: https://store.camboxhorse.us/

I also want to shout out to Lindsay at Paperchases and Petticoats who wrote a wonderful comparison article of the Cambox Isi3 and the GoPro Hero 3. The side-by-side video of the two comparable models helped me make my decision to buy the Cambox. You can find that article right here: https://paperchasesandpetticoats.com/gopro-hero3-vs-cambox-isis-helmet-camera/

As always, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your company and your input so like, comment, and share.

Photo courtesy of https://connecticutphoto.com/

4 Comments

  1. So good the company helped you out as that’s not cheap. What a great cam though, I have seen little ones in the post office that look similar for about $40 they wouldn’t be as pro but I was tempted to give it a whirl. I jumped over to youtube great clips. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. great review! i’ve had a faux-pro for a few years — a contour roam camera that is not quite so satellite-dish clunky as the go-pro, and mounts on the side of my helmet. but…. it’s still pretty giant. i’m totally addicted to the footage tho so i’ve kept on using it for like 5 years haha, but am wondering if i’d use something less obvious even more often, like maybe the v4 pro…

    Liked by 1 person

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