I've been playing with the Prism. Here are two examples - they're ZIP files because YouTube and Dropbox compress video files to save space. Images in their files are miserable. So here's the real deal. Download them to view them. I swear they're virus and malware free. Honest. Short demo
- Crossing Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
I like the HD imagery. Whether the 60 FPS images are better than the Prism's 30 FPS is an open question. IMHO it's a "so what".
The manual sucks. It has two major omissions and a number of "say what?" items.
Omission 1: The manual shows how to open the back of the camera and insert the battery and microSD (32G max according to the manual). But it shows exactly nothing about extracting the battery. There is a small orange tab (or dohicky) that holds the battery in place. There's a black plastic tab on the battery, clearly meant to extract the battery. Except the orange whatsit holds the battery and tab is useless. It turns out the orange whatever must be rotated clockwise, as far as possible, to release battery. Plan on using a small pusher (e.g., unbent paperclip) to shove the orange thingamabob out of the way. Tilt the camera lens up and the battery will probably slide out, at least to the point where the tab can used to pull battery out. Slide a battery back in and the orange twisty thing will pop back into place. Practice this move a lot. The camera eats batteries like popcorn at a movie.
Omission 2: The manual goes on at great length about Bluetooth connections. A lot. Pairing a Sena product (or some non-Sena product) with the camera, via what most people think of as Bluetooth pairing (e.g., pairing with a car, wireless headphones, etc. but not, not, not with a smartphone) appears to work. And it should. Sorta. But BT pairing will not give full control of the Prism. In some instances, the one thing that works - starting and stopping recording - goes away. And doesn't come back. What always works is audio via an intercom mic - as it should.
The solution is not in the manual except for a brief, ambiguous footnote early in Section 10 of the manual. The proper procedure: put the intercom in intercom pairing mode. Put the Prism Set mode - Device settings. Scroll to bluetooth HEADPHONE pairing (their upper & lower case). Click the S button (makes sense when you have a camera to play with) and Prism will go into its hunt for anything that uses Bluetooth technology. Such as an intercom. Once the intercom is satisfied intercom pairing has happened, the Prism will show "Complete". Get out of Set mode and back to Video mode (first option after Set mode). After a short pause you'll hear "Prism connected". Push the jog knob (20S or SMH-10) and you'll hear "recording" - press again and it stops. Yea! Power down the intercom and Prism. Power up the intercom, and then the Prism. Everything still works. Yea! Turn while pressing the jog knob and the Prism scrolls through Single Shot, Burst shots, Time lapse, and back to Video (Set must be done with the camera buttons). Push the intercom's phone button three times and the Prism goes into "Deep Sleep" mode (somewhat like "sleep" on a Mac or PC). Three taps and... wakey wakey. But nowhere does the manual say the bit about pairing with the intercom in "intercom pairing" mode - nowhere.
This mess hinges on semantics. Intercom connections between other intercoms or the Prism use Bluetooth technology. But... pairing with a smartphone or GPS is not done with intercom pairing. Ever. Even though that pairing uses Bluetooth technology, too. The only way to connect an intercom to a smartphone or GPS is with "phone pairing". (See the intercom manual for details) Do a Bluetooth pairing with a smartphone and pairing will happen. And that's it. The phone can't access the Prism, and the Prism won't do anything through the phone. A Sena tech confirmed pairing the Prism with a phone is useless. I do not know what happens with pairing a GPS to the Prism. Maybe the Prism records GPS audio, maybe not. I'll try this sometime.
"Say what?" items are mostly about various mode options. Usually it comes down to does or that option hammer the battery. In some cases it's unclear how (usually mic) options interact, if at all. They don't spell out that if a smartphone is paired to an intercom, with the Prism, it's no longer able to interact with the intercom. No music or GPS when the Prism is powered up and connected to the intercom. There's a reason for this, but it's out of the scope of this review (see the intercom manual for a hint as to why).
Other gripes center on firmware. As with any Sena product's firmware, it can be updated in the field. It requires a Mac or PC (no Linux support) and a USB connection. Well, that's the claim. In the two years the product has been on the market, there has been no update. Not to fix things, not to add or revise functionality. The camera is still FW Ver. 220.127.116.11. Does updating work? Dunno...
What works? The jog knob and phone button controls work well and make controlling the camera, while riding, very easy. As I said, the imagery certainly works for me. As the demos show, the intercom mic works well, even if the rider is babbling like an idiot - um, yes, well... Wind noise and motor noise depend on the mic's placement. There is an external mic (which Sena calls an internal mic - more semantics). It's really great for making videos with lots of rushing wind and maybe a little motor noise. Production values, people, production values. Videos with wind noise are annoying and suck!!! Disable the internal/external mic and go with the helmet mic. Please!
The lens field of vision can be set to fisheye or 90 degrees. The resolution can be 1080, 750 (or is it 760?), or four hundred-whatever. Tapping the phone button while recording takes a .JPG frame from the video. I haven't tried burst or time lapse. Yet.
Using a 32G chip... haven't gotten anywhere near filling one yet.
The battery... oohhh, here comes bad news. The claim is 1 hour of recording. 30-45 minutes is probably closer to the truth. In-camera charging takes 3-4 hours (via USB). The best way to beat this is buy Sena's external charger and a spare battery. The charger comes with a battery and has space for two batteries. Buy a battery and you now have have three batteries. The charger is also powered via USB. AFAIK, it's not a "fast" charger. Power can come from a computer, wall wart, or plug-in 12V adapter.
There are two buttons on the camera: mode and "S". Mode shifts through modes (Video, Single Shot, etc.) or options in Set mode. The "S" button (if it has a name, I forget what) is the "do it" button. Push it in any camera mode and something happens. In Set mode. whatever option is shown on the camera happens. The "do it" button.
There is no video playback. Connect a USB cable to the camera (a neat Sena microUSB plug can go through an opening in the back of the camera, or you can open the back and use a not so cool plug) or a microHDMI plug to TV cable. Either that will show playback from the camera.
The screen shows mode icons, setting titles, etc. It informs but doesn't show video. Meh - not really a gripe.
The camera comes with a bunch of mounts. There are three options for helmet mounts: clamp to the side of the helmet, stick a mount somewhere on the helmet (chin, top, side... you get the idea), or a goggle strap mount. There are two articulated mounts (put the camera on the gas tank, wind screen, saddle bag... on and on). There's a handlebar (or crash bar) mount.
The camera, on its own, is water-resistant. It can get wet, but don't take it swimming. Put it in the included watertight case, use the top buttons (no BT intercom does well swimming or diving), and impress the socks of anyone who likes underwater video.
Bottom line: Yes, I'd buy it again. Intercom control of the camera is very good. Bike helmet mounts are clearly the camera's focus. But... Sena customer communications range between near incomprehensibly and none at all. Call them up and (anything else may be considered racist - save tech support is clearly English as a second language - from other than Spanish). Sena replies on their corporate forums are very rare. Battery use time is, IMHO, too short, charging too long. The manual sucks. But, knowing what I know now, I'd buy the camera again, and be glad of it.
Recommended with the caveats listed above.