A hassle free helmet cam that simply works and works well
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
After trying many alternatives, I have settled on the Sena Prism Tube WIFI as my adventure helmet camera. I have 2 GoPros that I use off the bike and sometimes mounted to the bike, but the Prism is always on my helmet. Why? Because as much I like documenting my rides and mixing videos, the journey is the reason for everything and I want nothing to impact on that aspect if at all possible. This is top priority and is where the Prism comes into its own. Most of the time I forget it's even there and then when I do want to roll the camera, I can start recording without even thinking.
Three is a magic number and the first three features of this camera alone make it a no brainer for me.
The Best Feature! The prism has a single large sliding switch to power on and start recording. The switch is easily operated with the gloved hand even if that hand has been clutching the handlebars for many hours and the rider is suffering from the inevitable addled brain. Genius! GoPro take note: The record button on the Hero range is a monstrous failure for motovloggers. It's hard to find and even harder to operate requiring Hulk like strength and even then, you are never sure if the camera is on or off.
Second Best Feature! The included earpiece announces that the prism is on and recording. No more trying to focus half an inch from your eye to spot the slowly blinking light on the top of a GoPro, that's even if you can see it where the camera is mounted. Then something else will inevitably distract you. What's that on the monitor screen? Is the battery going flat? Can't quite see, shift the helmet, peer even harder. What's that noise? It's a car horn, you're on the wrong side of the road!!! This is all very dangerous and stressful when the Prism simply tells you when the battery is getting low directly into your ear, in a calming female voice.
Third best Feature! A microphone is included in the kit which plugs directly into the Prism, on the same waterproof connector as the speaker. It has exceptional wind noise reduction. I can even speak and be heard, at speed, with the front of my helmet open. GoPro want you to buy a expensive microphone adaptor which not only adds bulk, but comes with it's own mounting challenges. It also requires you to remove one of the cameras sealed doors thus making the GoPro no longer waterproof.
The Prism is very small, very light and easily mounts to the side of my helmet with the included ball mount(Clip or Stick on included). I hate the weight of a GoPro and associated mounting gubbins attached to my chin bar, especially when traveling 1000s of miles. Front mounted cameras interfere with the flip mech on my helmet and become useless, high level, tree bashing hindrances when the flip part of the helmet is raised and the GoPro protrudes even higher above the raised chin piece. With the Prism I can continue to film with the flip up. I do this a lot when stopping to take in the view or slowing right down to tackle an off road section. This is when some of the best footage is to be had.
The Prism has an internal battery that lasts for 2 hours. Some say that is a deal breaker, but with the camera costing only £130 ($160) you can buy two whole Prism cameras for less than half the price of a single GoPro, let alone spare batteries, charger and audio adaptor. I usually recharge mine when I stop for coffee and can keep it running indefinitely this way. Alternatively you can power and charge the Prism while you film, via usb, but you do loose the microphone and speaker functionality if you do this.
Quality is good, maybe not GoPro good as it doesn't have 4k, but 4k is a pain on long trips because of the amount of storage space required and how long it takes to render. I still find the prism better in low light and dappled sun anyway. The Prism can record in 1440p, so it’s a cinch to crop to1080p and add image stabilization in post without losing any resolution.
Here is a side by side comparison with a GoPro. The Prism here is the older version without Wifi and the video has not been stabilized so you can expect even better results.
Finally a down side. The switch on the Prism is a little stiff straight out of the box. Other reviewers have called this a deal breaker and it could be, except if you spray a small amount of WD40 on the switch. This lubricates the waterproof seals and allows the switch to glide with the lightest of touches. I've not had this problem reappear in 8000 miles(Mostly in the rain) so I'm calling this a permanent fix.
In summary here are the pluses:
Very easy to start/stop recording
Compact and very light
Hasn't got millions of features
WiFi connectivity to preview and transfer images
Charge while recording
Simple and effective lightweight mount included.
Wind cancelling microphone included
Speaker included (announces camera state)
2 hour record time
1440p 30fps/1080p 60fps
Good in low light
Waterproof(Even with microphone attached)
Works with convertible helmets
All metal construction
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