Review of Roscoby Riser Cam

Review of the Roscoby Riser Cam

Reviewing any camera or recording device is always a treat for us here at Heritage Hunters.  After all, it’s products like these that allow hunters to preserve the Heritage and pass it along digitally to the next generation of hunters.  Because the Roscoby Riser Cam aids in this process, we were immediate fans of the philosophy behind the product, but we’ll still try to examine it from a neutral point of view.
The Roscoby is a  product for those who want to capture their bow hunt on film (specifically the shot) but do not have the luxury of having a cameraman in the tree with them.  Then again, for those that do have that luxury (as is the case with Dan and I)  it allows for that second camera angle to add to recreation of the hunt.  Many times, the camera angle is not directly behind the shooter and the Roscoby always provides the shooters point of view. Either way, the Roscoby Riser Cam gives you the ability to film that moment of truth without the hassle of camera-arms and a lot of the other cumbersome equipment associated with videoing the hunt.  Simply attach the product to your stabilizer mount on your bow and go hunting!

Here are the Specs on the Roscoby Riser Cam
• Hands-free digital recording
• Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels (VGA)
• Frame rate: 30 frames per second
• Focus range: 2 – 40 yds
• Operates with minimum ambient light (5 lux)
• Highly water resistant
• SD card memory expansion: Up to 4GB
• Built-in memory: 64MB
• Microphone jack: 3.5 mm
• File format: AVI with DivX codec
• Operating system: Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS/OS X (with DivX download)
• Views on both PCs and TVs. USB and RCA cables included.
• Operates on 2 AA batteries (not included). Lithium batteries recommended

What This Product Does:
The Roscoby Riser Cam allows you to capture your arrow in flight as well as the impact on the animal.  The camera records a digital movie of anything that it’s pointed at.  For examples of the Roscoby in action, check out these videos from Roscoby’s website: http://www.roscoby.com/riser_cam_videos.html

Function and Limitations:
Because the Roscoby Riser Cam is mounted on the stabilizer hole of your bow, the camera must handle a great deal of vibration upon the release of your arrow.  Although today’s bows produce much less vibration than in the past, the force required to propel the arrow is still jarring to the camera.  That is why the footage you see at the shot is “unsteady” at best.  You have to know this fact going in (and we did).  A bow mounted camera simply cannot handle the associated force of the shot without some jarring.   There’s no way around it, so when considering the Roscoby Riser Cam, please understand that it’s not a malfunction of the Roscoby but more of a limitation of any bow mounted camera. The unit weighs approx. 13 oz. so it is not going to add much more weight than your existing stabilizer.  In our case, the unit replaced our Limbsaver Mini-coil stabilizer weighing 7.25 oz.  The increase of 5.75 oz was not noticeable to us on the shot but it did add some length, so we had to take the unit off the bow when fitting it into the bow case.

Another consideration for the Roscoby Riser Cam is that it takes some practice to get used to filming your shot.  One thing we had to train ourselves NOT to do was to drop our shooting hand after arrow release.  It only takes one shooting session with the Roscoby to get used to how to hold your outstretched arm so that the target you’re trying to film is captured entirely.  The Roscoby comes with cables that allow you to quickly hook up to your TV and immediately preview the movies you just captured.  Each movie is broken up into separate movies on the SD card.  This makes it easy to scroll through and pick the movie you want to preview.  One drawback to this unit is that it does not have the ability for immediate preview in the field.  You need a TV or Computer for playback of the recordings on the SD card.   So if you’re still in the tree wanting to see just where you hit the animal, you won’t have that ability with this type of product.

We like the fact that the Roscoby operates on 2 AA batteries.  These types of batteries are readily attainable pretty much anywhere.  Roscoby recommends that you use the Lithium type of AA’s since it gives you better battery life and seems to cause fewer problems in operation of the camera.  We tried both regular and lithium type AA’s and found this statement to be true.  We achieved better battery life out of the Lithium AA’s while getting about the same quality operation out the unit with both battery types.  Bottom line; start off with the lithium AA’s and use the regular type AA’s in a pinch to get you through a hunt if need be.  The unit even has a power indicator light on the display to let you know when the batteries need a changing!

Length of recording:
We got about 50 minutes of recording time per 1 GB of SD card memory with the Roscoby Riser Cam.  The unit accepts up to a 4GB card and the display on top of the unit shows how much time is left on the card.  That means that you can record well over 3 hrs  of video on the unit by using a 4GB card. That’s better than our $2000 Canon G2 which can only record a maximum of 1 hr of video on a single Mini DV tape before needing to change tapes. 

Movie Making with the Roscoby:
Probably the best thing about the Roscoby Riser Cam is that it allows you to take your “In-the-field” memories captured on the SD card and transfer them to your computer to any movie making program.  Many computers now come with SD card readers that make it ultra easy to read the digital data and dump your movies into your computer.  If your computer doesn’t have such a feature however, the included USB cord can accomplish the same. 
Once the contents of the SD card are dumped into your computer, you can start manipulating your movies with a variety of software. If you’re a Windows fan, “Movie Maker” is quite simple to use.  If you’re a Mac user, “IMOVIE” might be the simple choice.  Because of the jarred “at the shot” footage we experienced, we found that slowing down the footage resulted in seeing the shot and the impact better.  Add a Firenock to the mix and the flight of the arrow is unmistakable!


We’ll break this down into 2 parts: Image quality and Physical quality of the product
We were quite impressed with the Image quality of the Roscoby.  We played around with the camera in a variety of lighting and found the quality of movie image is quite good. 
We experienced zero problems with the physical quality of this product.  The plastic housing was rugged and waterproof.  We never tested the Roscoby in a downpour so our “waterproof” statement needs to be tempered here.  We did however test this product during a rainy afternoon and experienced zero problems.  We thought that since we wouldn’t be filming with our regular cameras in such conditions, why would we use the Roscoby?  On the other hand, the Roscoby might be an alternative for use in those conditions when you normally wouldn’t want to take out your $2000 camera.  Food for thought.

The Roscoby comes with a small microphone that you can plug into the front of the unit.  The microphone works quite well at picking up sound and is recorded in mono instead of stereo.  The sound of the shot is exaggerated however since it is so close to the bow upon release of the arrow (as can be heard in the video clip above) 

Overall Comments:

We definitely see a use for the Roscoby Riser Cam not only for the average hunter wanting to video his/her hunts, but also for the more serious videographers out there wanting more than one camera angle.  Often times, Dan and I need a little break videoing each and every hunt.  Sometimes we just want to go out by ourselves for one or two hunts during the season.  Last year I did that very thing.  I went out by myself on the morning of November 10th and shot the deer pictured below:

I remember feeling sky high at the quarry in front of me but also a little down because this hunt wasn’t on video.  Imagine if I would have had the Roscoby Riser Cam????  This product would have preserved the shot on digital video along with the track job and other emotions that I shared with another hunter that day, my father.  I could have unscrewed the camera from the riser, using it as a hand-held, or simply kept it on my bow and pointed it toward what I wanted to film.  For the $350 that this product costs, I could have relived that shot along with countless other memories in the field.  Lesson learned!

Look at it this way.  If you want to get into filming your hunts but don’t really want to fiddle around with cameras and camera arms in the tree (and you don’t have a cameraman to take care of all this for you), you’ll want to take a hard look at the Roscoby Riser Cam.  It’s a quality unit that will help preserve those bow hunts forever on digital video.  The folks at Roscoby are also extremely helpful with any questions as well, many of which can be found on their FAQ page.

Our Marks on this Product:

Function / Quality:  4 out of 5
The fact that this camera is mounted to the bow during the shot makes the video of any impact shot a jarring experience.  However, slowing the video down via any movie making program on your computer makes the shot much clearer and easier to see.
The Quality of the video image on the Roscoby is very good otherwise.
The ease of use is also a standout on this unit.  Mount it to the stabilizer hole, push two buttons and you’re recording! 

Battery Life: 5 out of 5
Using the recommended Lithium Batteries gave us about 1 – 2 hours of usage in Moderate to Cold temps.

Value/ Price: 4 out of 5
The jarring of the video at the shot is something you can’t get around.  However, the quality of video for the price is excellent (especially if you’re using the unit as a hand held) and if you utilize a movie editing program to slow down the shot, the memories preserved are well worth the price in my opinion!  Like I stated in the review, I would have gladly had this unit for last year’s buck!  If it’s within your budget to look at the Roscoby Riser Cam, I’d suggest it to anyone.

The Perfect Gift:  If you’re looking for that perfect gift for the avid bowhunter in your midst, take a look at the Roscoby Riser Cam (www.roscoby.com).  In fact, we feel that one of our members should get the opportunity to play around with this product on their next bow hunt.  That’s why we’re giving away the very unit we used in this field test.  We can assure you that the unit is in perfect working condition and was not banged around too much!  We’re pretty careful with our equipment since we usually can’t afford to buy new stuff.  Check out this link to enter to win the Roscoby Riser Cam  http://www.theheritagehunters.com/forum/index.php?topic=718.0

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