So after Kickstarting this little box of tricks what feels like a long time ago, I recently got notification of despatch. This is a first thoughts review of Arsenal: The Intelligent Camera Assistant. The main web site for this is https://witharsenal.com/
I guess the first thing to note, and a key factor in what might be a critical review, is that it wasn’t delivered, but held at the local postal collection depot, some twenty miles away, with a £26.06 Customs and Excise charge and a £8 Royal Mail handling charge. That takes the Kickstarter price of the Arsenal to around £170.
You might like to consider that when you click buy at (currently) $175. I’ve found most other international electronics despatches are face valued at less than their actual purchase price, or sent as gifts, thus generally exempting them from customs charges, but Arsenal are made of purer stuff.
Also, as an aside, I spoke to the postal worker at the collection point. He said he used to hold one or two of these chargeable items per week, but in recent months it’s been about eight to ten a day. It seems clear that, as we race headlong and headless toward the Brexit cliff-edge, HMRC and Border Force are working hard to get what they can for the exchequer.
Anyhooo… Opened, extracted and charged for a few hours, just in case.
Using the get started video at https://support.witharsenal.com/ I connected the unit to my Canon 5D Mk III and rn up the app on my iPhone 7. The first thing was a 480MB firmware update (0.8.51). The download took only a minute, the transfer to Arsenal barely a couple but the actual update took about twenty minutes. And then it all started to go a bit wrong.
A good time to break for lunch, methinks. And so to poached eggs on toast…
Right. Back we come, to a re-powered up Arsenal and a re-loaded iPhone app. This time it connects to the Arsenal, but the Arsenal still can’t see the Canon 5D mk III. Hmm. Checking the independent Arsenal forum I see a number of similar problems, and one suggesting the provided mini-usb connector is too short to fully engage with the pins in the camera. Hmm, again. I try the Canon 7D Mk I and yes, it makes connection – sometimes. Back to the 5D Mk III… nothing.
So the Micro-USB to Mini-USB cord is seemingly faulty. Given the lack of response from Arsenal regarding the customs charge I don’t think I’ll bother to seek a replacement right now. Initially considering shaving some of the plug housing back, I find Amazon have a cord for less than three quid.
So that’s the initial review. Great right up to the point it wasn’t. More when I have it.