XtremeVu CamClamp and CamLens Review – First Look

by Brian Mullin on February 18, 2010

I have been testing the ContourHD and the ContourHD 1080p video cameras for a long period of time, and although it has become my camera of choice, their mounting system always seemed to be a bit sloppy in its stability. No matter how I set up their proprietary TRail Mounts “slide and lock” system, which at its heart is basically a multiple tongue and groove connector, it just had a slight looseness within the connector that I could never quite alleviate.

I used their goggle strap mount with a wide Velcro strap for my helmet while mountain biking, and it gave more security and stability for the camera than any of their other mounts, but alas it still didn’t help.

I ride extremely rough terrain while mountain biking, and the camera just gets jostled around enough that the videos always had the shakes, and it really took away from the aesthetics of the final product. I used video editing software that helped stabilize the video, but I always found that it detracted from the quality of the video.

On the MTBR.com video forum, I saw a small blurb about a third party mounting system named the XtremeVu CamClamp. After checking it out on their site and watching one of their short videos on their product line, I was extremely intrigued. After conferring with Patrick at XtremeVu (big thanks Pat), he sent me along an entire slew of their product suite for a thorough test and review. The products I am testing include their CamClamp, CamLens and the CamClamp ball adapter.

XtremeVu website has an excellent short blurb that sums up the system up pretty well:

The XV CamClamp is a custom multipurpose mounting system for the Twenty20 brand of wearable sports camera systems. It is compatible with the Twenty20 VholdR, ContourHD and ContourHD 1080. Machined from 6061 aluminum and anodized the CamClamp adds a high level of protection to your Twenty20 camera with a weight at 2.5 oz. Dual contoured swiveling pads with 3M dual lock allow for helmet and surface attachment on uneven surfaces. Easily detachable the CamClamp allows for multiple attachment locations by adding additional 3M Dual Lock pads. An inner silicone rubber liner increases the gripping force of the CamClamp while eliminating metal to metal contact. All assembly hardware is stainless steel.

Installation
Putting the system together was very straight forward. Separate the sections, and install and tighten down the helmet pads on one side using the recessed holes. Place the camera in the just assembled padded clamp, with the clamp section as far back as possible, so that it still allows the camera door to open. Connect the other section sides to its mate, and tighten everything down.

Attach the record button with a small dab of epoxy, I erred on the side of an extra amount of epoxy, so its not the prettiest, but it will provide more robustness and longevity. The dual lock helmet pads have a slight curvature to them, so that they will fit on the contours of helmets.

I added the dual lock attachment strips to the top and sides of the helmet, in sections that provide the best camera angles. Due to the helmet vents, I had to make some allowances for proper adhering due to the holes, else the strips would not be as stable.

Impressions
To place the camera on the helmet, you just give a good hard push so that the dual lock meshes together. It takes a few tries to get the hang of meshing the clamp’s helmet pads onto the helmet’s strips, but the dual lock sticks like glue and incredibly robust (I like that word). When it comes time to take the camera off, you really get a good idea of how well it adheres, since it takes a decent amount of effort to pop it off.

On my first long ride with the CamClamp I never felt any sloppiness nor movement from the system, and it allowed me to really snug my helmet down when recording, since I could feel how stable the camera was on my head. I never noticed the additional weight when it was on the top of the helmet, but I did feel a slight difference when it was on the side. My preference is top placement anyway, so it was a moot point for me.

She likes it on Top

Measured Specs
Camera – 101.5 grams (Note: this was the weight from my old camera)
Camera w/ CamClamp, helmet pads, and CamLens – 226.8 grams
CamClamp, helmet pads, and Camlens – 125.3 grams

When I got home and downloaded the footage, I could immediately tell the increase in stability that the CamClamp system afforded the camera. It was a night and day difference. The shakes from the normal mounting system all but disappeared, and all that was left was a slight helmet movement, and obviously the trails roughness. I was pretty amazed of the footage improvement, and the additional weight increase is well worth the stability benefits.

CamLens
The CamLens is a nifty attachment, which is an adapter to the factory lens, and incorporates an additional detachable lens. This extra lens protects the factory lens, since it’s the one out there getting the abuse. It’s easy to take the lens off and give it a good cleaning, and in addition it’s easily replaceable. Another nice feature is that you can use filters. The kit came with a UV lens, and it was extremely noticeable how well it helped when the camera would pan directly into the sun.

The XV CamLens is a 39mm threaded lens adapter for the Twenty20 brand of wearable sports camera systems. It is compatible with the Twenty20 VholdR, ContourHD and ContourHD 1080. This adapter adds protection to the factory lens and allows for the use of any standard 39mm threaded lens and filters. An embedded O-ring keeps dust out of the adapter and the factory lens clean. Set screws keep the adapter in place but still allow for the rotation of the factory lens. Quickly and easily replace and clean the lens.

Installing the CamLens took more time than I expected since the tolerances are very tight, and the O-Ring made for a good squeeze to get everything aligned. On my first outing with the camera, I had the factory lens recessed too far, so the footage had a tunnel effect, so I had to move the CamLens in farther.

Conclusion
I am very pleased with my early usage and testing of the CamClamp and the CamLens. They are well built, have great tolerances and are tough as nails. The stability that the CamClamp offers the ContourHD series of camera’s is outstanding, especially if you frequent rough and rocky terrain. The shaking issues I had with much of my previous video footage, have pretty much been alleviated. The CamClamp does add weight to the entire camera system, but its benefits far outweigh that detriment. The CamLens is a nice additional feature, that help protect the camera lens, and allow a functional lens and filters to be used (such as the excellent UV lens).

Pinball Trail – ContourHD w/ XtremeVu mount 02/16/10 from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

I am in the process of testing out the handlebar mounts, which uses a ball adapter, and the RAM system of mounts.

CamClamp $49.99
CamLens $29.99
CamClamp Ball Adapter $19.99

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 26, 2010 at 9:01 am

nice post. thanks.

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet March 3, 2010 at 6:06 am

Thanks!. It has turned out to be a pretty impressive mounting system, albeit a bit heavy.

Reply

Brian December 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Any update on any extended testing?
How well is the Velcro holding up to the on/off removal?
Instead of mounting their one inch ball plate into the system, I was thinking I would put Velcro on the plate and use the Velcro to on/off attach it…feasible?
Due for my desire to have more video options than the Drift has 🙁 this is looking like my option of choice at this time.

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet March 14, 2011 at 5:54 am

The dual lock has been very tough, and very secure. Not sure I follow you on the ball plate, since the normal plate already has the dual lock?

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