Reviewed: Shimano CM-1000 Helmet Camera
Shimano CM-1000 Sport Camera: A high definition and waterproof helmet camera in a simple to operate, ultra-compact and lightweight package.
PRICE: 299 EUR
WEIGHT: 88g/152g with case
MAX HD FRAME RATE: 1080p @ 120fps
MAX RESOLUTION: 4k @ 30fps
BATTERY LIFE: 1.05hrs @ 4k/1.50hrs @ 720
AVAILABLE FROM: Wiggle Online Cycle Shop
It’s a clean ten years now since the first action cameras made an appearance strapped to our helmets. You could be fooled into thinking that these cameras couldn’t get any better. Not on your nelly, they’re improving all the time.
Right now, there are two distinct types of helmet camera available. Fully featured action cameras with waterproof casing, integrated screen and complete control via an onboard menu. Or, ultra-compact, lightweight cameras which rely on smart phone integration for the screen and controls.
Top end cameras are now pushing to blend the two approaches. Shimano hasn’t done that. With its CM-1000, Shimano has opted for basic functionality in a tiny package, but without forgetting connectivity options.
Weighing in at just 86 grams (by comparison, a GoPro Hero 3 with its casing weighs 140 grams), it’s a miniature 7 cm long and 3 cm high. An ultra compact size that makes Shimano’s camera more discreet and easier to position. It’s also compatible with GoPro’s accessories, including K-Edge’s Go Big range, which immediately opens up huge possibilities when it comes to usage.
When it comes to the interface Shimano have kept things simple. There are two buttons and two indicators showing battery level and recording mode. The smaller mode button serves both to turn the device on and off and switch between recording modes. The bigger button, the one with the big red dot, is your record button. A slightly annoying beep marks each change of state, but it can be disabled in the settings.
Included with the camera is a key card to show what each display colour-coded icon means. Do not lose this, you’ll need to refer to it a lot at first. It does take a bit of getting used to but it’s actually quite intuitive.
You can extend the functionality of the CM-1000 using the “Sport Camera” Shimano app available to download for free on the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. The app lets you operate the camera via your smart phone through a wifi connection. Get full access to the settings including recording mode and lens angle, and use Liveview to get a visual of what’s being filmed. The app also lets you access and play all the video files on the camera’s Micro SD.
All in all the app is simple to use and reasonably complete, which is a good thing since as there’s no built-in screen on the camera, it’s the only way to frame the image. The only gripe is that the connection between the camera and the phone can be a little fickle, but it’s difficult to say whether this is the fault of the camera or our iphone.
When it comes to connectivity, the CM-1000 is compatible with Shimano’s Di2 groupset via the D-Fly Data Management system allowing gearing data to be displayed in the video. It’s also ANT+ compatible so the camera can be set to read speed, cadence, power and heart rate cycle computer data as well.
Image quality is rendered via a 6.4 megapixel CMOS sensor. The lens is set to f/2.0, ideal for dealing with sudden changes in light when riding through woodland and you can choose between two lens angles, a 180 degree fish eye and a 135 degree wide-angle. It’s worth noting that the narrower angle requires more accurate camera positioning to capture the frame.
As advertised, you can expect between 1 hour 45 and 2 hours of battery life on a full charge. We certainly managed well over an hour and a half. The 950 mah lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in four hours. Plus, to preserve battery life, inactivity automatically triggers the camera to go into standby mode, and it starts up again more or less instantly as soon as you hit the record button. Unfortunately, in order to keep the size of the camera down the battery is built into the unit, so is non-replaceable.
The CM-1000 adheres to the standard IPX8 waterproof rating, which basically means that the camera can be continuously submerged to a max depth of 10 metres. Shimano includes a separate underwater lens cover with the unit, which seems a bit strange and makes you wonder why they didn’t just provide one that was suitable for every scenario. We found that the regular lens worked fine even in heavy rain, so unless you’re planning a water jump, the out-of-the-box unit is fine for most conditions.
All in all, Shimano’s CM-1000 helmet camera packs an impressive array of features into a very compact package. It’s simple to operate and the app to extend functionality works very well, although the connection can drop in and out. The camera’s so light that once attached to your helmet you’ll quickly forget it’s there. But, you only get the helmet mount and any other mounts have to be bought separately, which seems a bit mingy when you’re spending 299 euros. Fortunately though, it is compatible with GoPro’s vast array of mounts, which solves the problem altogether.