Length:: 4:38 Mins
#UPDATE: I've put together a video which shows video/image quality and a run through of the modes and Bluetooth functions. Note that depending on which device you're viewing this from, you may not be able to view the video.
♦ Introduction ♦
The action camera market is a fiercely competitive one. Ranging from all kinds of ranges from affordable budget action cams to the more pricey premium action cams, there is always going to be one for everybody. The problem is finding the one that fits for your purpose.
I've owned and used various action cams from budget brands to the more premium brands such as GoPro, Sony & Drift; all of which have their own positives, however you will find that they are good in different areas to each other.
Sena's Prism action camera is the first to have in-built Bluetooth technology that can communicate with other Bluetooth headsets (either Sena or non-Sena branded). This allows users to record their own dialogue over their video footage without wires. Unlike the Drift which requires a wired mic to overlay audio, the Prism doesn't which means more mounting options are available.
- Main Features:
∙ 137° Field of view.
∙ Full HD 1080p at 30fps.
∙ Bluetooth voice recording with Bluetooth headsets.
∙ Ultra HD audio recording with combined use of Sena UHD compatible headsets.
∙ Included Quick-release Mounting system.
∙ Bluetooth 4.0 technology.
∙ Charge whilst being in use.
∙ 2 Hours battery life.
∙ Firmware upgradable.
♦ Box Contents & Recommended Extras ♦
Unlike most other big brands which fall within the same price range, Sena actually include a decent variety of mounts in the box already. Brands such as GoPro, Sony & Drift only include the basic adhesive mounts with their action cameras, so it was refreshing to see a brand actually include a good variety of mounts to begin with.
- Box Contents:
∙ PRISM Camera | Lens Cap | Waterproof Housing | Skeleton Back-door.
∙ Helmet Mounting Kit (Helmet Clamp Kit, Goggle Strap Mount & Helmet Surface Mounts etc...).
∙ Motorcycle Mounting Kit & QRM System (Single & Dual Suction Cups, Handlebar Mounts & Quick-Release Mounting System).
∙ Allen Wrench.
∙ Safety Wire.
∙ Micro USB Cable.
∙ Instruction manuals*.
* There are two manuals included: First is the 'PRISM Flow Chart' which shows all the settings available and how to find them. The second one is just a quick set-up guide. Unfortunately there isn't a manual showing how to set-up/use the accessories included; whilst most are self explanatory, it still would have been nice.
- Recommended Extras:
∙ MicroSD Memory Card
- Optional Extras:
∙ Spare Battery
∙ Spare Top Surface Mount w/QRM System
∙ USB AC Adapter
∙ Micro HDMI to HDMI cable
∙ Sena 20S-01 (Single Pack - Motorbike Bluetooth Communication System)
∙ Sena 20S-01D (Dual Pack - Motorbike Bluetooth Communication System)
- Extra Information:
The Prism is EXTREMELY versatile when it comes to mounting. Sure it uses its own proprietary QRM system, however its 1/4" thread is easily accessible which means it can be attached to other third party mounts too.
♦ Prism's Functions & How to Use ♦
The rear of the camera has a battery compartment which also conceals the memory card slot as well as the Micro USB & micro HDMI ports. This can be opened by firmly sliding the switch down. The micro USB port (used for file access & charging) is the only part which can be accessed whilst the cover is attached. There is a little rubber flap to protect it from water/dirt however you will need to use the included cable when the battery cover is on as it has extra reach.
To the side of the camera is a small LCD screen which when on displays text in a nice clear and bright blue colour. The LCD screen displays remaining memory, battery life, camera mode, resolution & frames per second.
On top of the camera is an LED indicator, this changes colour depending on which mode you have selected:
∙ Red: Video mode.
∙ Blue: Single shot mode.
∙ Green: Burst mode.
∙ Pink: Time lapse mode.
∙ Off: Settings.
∙ Flashing: Recording.
Also on top are the 'M' (Mode) & 'S' (Shot) buttons:
∙ Hold 'M' & 'S' at the same time to turn the Prism on; tap them to turn the Prism off.
∙ 'M': Displays the next option when pressed, or displays settings for the selected mode when held down for a second.
∙ 'S': Selects the mode highlighted, so if you're on 'Video', it will start recording when pressed and stop when pressed again.
I know it might sound silly me complaining there isn't a microphone port on an action camera that supports Bluetooth connectivity, however covering both ways would have been a welcomed addition as it would provide people with the choice of wired or wireless.
♦ Results ♦
- Ease of Use:
Navigating around the menu system is simple, it's just getting used to where all the settings are which can be time consuming.
If you have a smartphone then I would highly recommend paring it with the PRISM, then downloading the 'Sena PRISM' app.
Pairing the PRISM to a Bluetooth headset and/or smartphone will require you to do it directly from the PRISM. This can be done by going to 'SET', 'Device SET' then either 'HEADSET Pairing' or 'SMARTPHONE Pairing'.
To pair the Prism with a headset, you will need both to be in pairing mode for them to connect. If you own a Sena 20S, disconnect it from the universal clamp, turn it on and shake it to put it into its pairing mode.
For smartphones, the PRISM will be visible on your Bluetooth devices list once you've activated the pair mode.
The app doesn't allow you to remotely command the PRISM to start recording, however it does gain you superb ease of access to ALL the settings and can be changed quickly.
Settings range from resolution to field of view, upside down mode, time-set and mic options such as sidetone and gain. You can also view the PRISM's quick guide and user's guide.
If you own a Sena 20S, you can skip through modes and when to record and stop recording using the jog dial. Within my experience, it worked well without any hitches.
- Video Quality:
Video footage is recorded in the 'MP4' format. 1 minute of 1080p footage took up around 76MB of memory. Files can be found by going into the PRISM folder and through the following folders: 'DCIM' - '100MEDIA'.
∙ Daytime Quality: Overall quality is pretty darn good; colours are good and the video is quite clear, however it could be slightly better (a little increase in sharpness and at times better exposure), other than that the video produced is well suited for either personal videos or uploading on YouTube.
∙ Low-Light & Night-time Quality: The quality sits between the Drift Ghost HD
which can be quite darn awful in low-light (so much noise), and Sony's AS100V
which has incredible low-light performance.
Whilst video quality at night-time isn't exactly this cameras forte; noise levels are fairly low, it's just can't quite pick up the surroundings. Though footage at night-time with street lighting would be usable as evidence in an event of an accident. Indoor footage is at an acceptable level.
The Prism can't touch the low-light levels the AS100V achieves, but compared to some other action cameras, the Prism does pretty well.
∙ Image Stabilization: The stabilization is the same as the GoPro & Drift, there is none. It will really depend on how stable the unit is which you're mounting it on. Being mounted on my helmet and having good suspension on my motorcycle meant that the majority of my footage was reasonably smooth.
∙ Bluetooth Range: The range may vary on the headset you're using. I used the Sena 20S and managed to get around 20 or so metres away before it decided to cut off; the 20S & Prism automatically reconnected when I was back much closer in range.
Leading up to the 20 metre mark (after 10 metres), as I was walking, there were times where the audio became a bit choppy, so I would question the durability going at high speeds with the Prism & headset being further away from each other.
I have no doubt that the Prism would stay connected within a 10 metre radius going at speed, so if you were to mount it onto your motorbike rather than your helmet, there will be no issues in connectivity.
If you're planning on dual-vlogging (compatible via Sena headsets), make sure the headset that you've paired with the Prism is closest to it. If the PRISM is on your bike, you need to equip the headset that's paired up with it. So as long as your headset is connected to the Prism and is also getting signal from the other headset, audio from both parties will be recorded.
∙ Sound Quality: The in-built microphone picks up sound with a lot of clarity, however does also pick up a lot of wind noise at speeds. This can be reduced by using a waterproof housing, but it's still noticeable.
The Prism REALLY shines when using in conjunction with a Sena product that supports UHD audio such as the 20S Bluetooth communication device. The results are fantastic! It captures your voice with crystal clear clarity, very pleased indeed.
I can't comment on the quality of a normal Bluetooth headset as I don't have one.
- Photo Quality:
Photos can be taken singularly or via the burst setting (3, 5 or 10 pics), photo resolution ranges from 3MP to 5MP. The Prism has a decent response time from pressing the button to taking the photo. I timed it to be around 80ms. Photos are saved in the 'JPEG' format and can be found in the same folder as the videos.
Daytime quality is above average and doesn't suffer from much motion blur. It's perfect for posting on social media such as Facebook, but wouldn't rely on them to make prints.
Low-light quality is usable, but can suffer from bad motion blur if moved whilst taking a photo.
- Time Lapse:
The time lapse feature is extremely cool. You can choose the Prism to take a photo in 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 second intervals. You also have the choice to save them as individual files or make into a video! Neat eh?
- Battery & Temperature:
Whilst using the Bluetooth feature, I managed to get a total of one and a half hours worth of footage and the battery hadn't died, but was getting very low. I think it could possibly get near to the two hour mark which is pretty good for something that uses Bluetooth as well.
The only time I noticed the Prism getting quite hot on the side was when I was using it inside and was constantly plugging it into my laptop. Otherwise when in use outside, there was no noticeable heat, even when it was enclosed in its waterproof housing. There was no fogging up either.
♦ Final Thoughts ♦
The main feature of this action cam is to be able to overlay your speech/conversations from a Bluetooth headset onto your video footage whilst filming. This is extremely convenient as it opens up multiple choices for mounting.
Unfortunately I can't comment on the quality with a non-Sena headset as I don't own one, but I can say in use with a Sena headset delivers outstanding results.
I do still love my Sony AS100V due to its crazy low-light & image stabilization quality, however its poor mounting options for my needs makes it very unfavourable. As a whole package for motorcycling & motovlogging, the Sena Prism wins hands down.
✓ Smart & slimline design.
✓ Ability to flip video footage.
✓ Versatile when it comes to mounting.
✓ Great variety of settings & features.
✓ Simple to use and even simpler with app.
✓ Can control the Prism via selected headsets.
✓ Tonnes of different mounts included in the box.
✓ Amazing audio quality via Bluetooth headset (UHD mode).
✓ Has sidetone feature, so you can hear yourself whilst talking.
- Video quality is decent, but could be a bit sharper.
✘ No external mic port.
✘ Doesn't organise photos & videos into their own separate folders.
✘ Quite a lot of wind-noise on internal mic (with and without the waterproof housing).
► Note: I received this product in exchange for an unbiased review.