Self filming and ‘selfies’ is the latest fashion, some might even say a craze and the world of bow hunting and target archery is seemingly no exception to this. The chance to record your best target shot or hunting success is just too good to resist and needless to say, there are now plenty of accessories available to furnish the archer with a bow mounted camera.
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Camera Mounting Options
There are many different options possible now, from mounting your smart phone onto the bow with a specialist device, attaching your GoPro, to buying a purpose built bow stabilizer camera. But which one is the best option?
Let’s take a look.
Bow Stabilizer Cameras
Tactacam TA-FB-FB 2.0 Bow Package with Flat Black Stabilizer
This Bow Stablizer Camera is a purpose built bow camera, so easy to use and unobtrusive, with a one button stop/start function; you can press start and simply forget it’s even there. The key thing about the Tactacam compared to most other bow mounted alternatives, is the lens design which basically replicates the human eye so that your film will capture perfectly the distance at which your target is sitting so when you and others view it, the distance between you and the shot is represented exactly, there is no distortion.
This is of course reflected in the price but if you are a keen filmmaker and really want to share that with others, then the Tactacam will give you that element of ‘on the ground’ presence; your audience can really share the whole experience with you. It comes with lots of bits of kit as well such as a rechargeable lithium battery which will give you 2+ hours record time, a universal mount, a charge cable and a USB cable.
The tactacam is also designed to work well in low light situations. That’s low-light where hunters excel, not no light. The lens on the camera is specially designed to gather as much light as possible and the software behind it will adjust footage to make the absolute best of any available light. If you’re out after dark however, you’re going to need to pair this with some sort of high power torch or headlamp so you can continue to film at all hours and keep your hands free.
So how does the Tactacam compete against the GoPro which can easily be mounted on the bow? The GoPro surely must have something to say – compact, waterproof, with High Definition crystal clear video footage and many people have one so why not just fit that to the bow instead of investing in the Tactacam?
This clip shows you Ben the inventor of Tactacam running through how it works and the difference between the Tactacam and other filming alternatives. Interestingly, you would think the light vibration of the Tactacam would affect the stability of the bow but far from it; this is viewed as s selling point from the user’s perspective as it is much easier to tell that the camera is on and functioning compared to other devices like a bow mounted GoPro.
I guess the difference is that the GoPro can do the job but the Tactacam is purpose built for the job and the next clip perhaps illustrates that very clearly.
The Tactacam gives much more of a real time feel to the shot.
What we liked:
- Purpose built
- Easy to use
- Light vibration reassures the user that the device is filming without affecting bow stability
- Sophisticated lens which replicates the human eye, producing real-time quality film in high definition and without any perspective distortion
What we didn’t:
- If you already have a GoPro then you can simply mount that without the added expense of another piece of kit, you can even use your smart phone as an alternative
GoPro Mounts and GoPro Cameras
The ZX5 Bow Camera Mount
If you already have a GoPro then you can simply buy a mount and for relatively little cost, fix your GoPro to your bow. The ZX5 Bow Camera Mount for GoPro is an lightweight aluminium bow mount, machine engineered to offset the stabiliser, so ensuring the weight of the camera does not affect the balance of the bow – the one counterbalances the other, ensuring the bow remains stable.
There is no need for an additional tripod mount with this product unlike other alternatives on the market. Fully waterproof and with a lifetime guarantee, this simple and robust piece of kit could literally mean that you attach you camera and Go….Pro.
What we liked:
- Perfect if you already have a GoPro as for a small additional cost, you can start filming and photographing
- The product is well thought out and not just a flimsy add-on, it is robust and consideration has been put into the effect of the mount on the bow and how it works in conjunction with the weight of the camera
What we didn’t:
- Film does lack the quality and depth of image of the Tactacam
- It’s not always possible to tell that you are filming as there are no visual or vibration clues from the device when it begins to film
Smartphone Bow Mounts
CrazyArchery C Clamp Smartphone Mount
Despite the title, this device is compatible with any smartphone or media device which can be mounted either horizontally or vertically on the bow. Easy to fit and very lightweight, this device will not disturb the balance of the bow
What we liked:
- Will fit any device so it pretty much universal
- Easy to fit
- Sits very stable in position on the bow
- Dual Caliper
What we didn’t:
- Doesn’t swivel so has only one fixed position which is at ninety degree angle to the bow
- Responds to the vibration level when the string is released which has an effect on the quality of the image
For those who only want to film occasionally and who do not shoot on a regular basis, then the CrazyArchery Smartphone Bow Mount is quick and easy to both add and remove from your bow and an inexpensive option.
If you already have a GoPro then the ZX5 Bow Camera Mount is possibly a better choice. However if you are more serious about your filming and really into your archery or, if you don’t already have a GoPro, then the Tactacam would be the kit of choice despite the cost.