Meet Arsenal, the Smart Camera Assistant Review (2018)
For those who have amazing DLSR and Mirrorless Cameras, I think you are going to find our Arsenal Review rather interesting. The company’s motto is “The Arsenal, the Smart Camera Assistant”
In this review, I’ll take a look at the Arsenal and what it POTENTIALLY has to offer a photographer. I will showcase what you can expect to get, what the company claims are it’s functionality and throughout I will add my own observations using the unit.
This review is broken down into several sections including
- Arsenal Unboxing
- Actual Review
- Product Specifications
- Questions and Answers
- Final Thoughts
so please read on.
The Arsenal Package Arrives!
While many Kickstarter folks are waiting for their Arsenals to be shipped out, we got the scoop on what you can expect once yours arrives.
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Arsenal Initial Observation
The initial observation is the power button has been moved to the right of the unit. Previous photos had the power button on the left side of the unit.
The packaging is really well thought out and super appealing.
Note: The Arsenal didn’t come with any protective case other than the original packaging. Since the unit is plastic, you may want to considered buying a small pouch to store it in. Also the unit is NOT weather/water proof, so it’s advised not to use it in the rain, snow and sleet or in pools or other bodies of water.
Meet Arsenal, the Smart Camera Assistant Review
So what exactly is the Arsenal? It’s a device that you place in a camera’s hotshoe to help intelligently guide it for perfect shots, or at least better shots than most individuals could take by themselves and from what I have seen, it actually may deliver on that.
Arsenal Got It’s Kicks with Kickstarter
Back in 2017 15,766 backers pledged $2,650,310 to help bring Ryan Stout’s Arsenal Kickstarter project to life.
Arsenal Key Features
I had a chance to chat with Carly Wilkins from Arsenal to get some of the lowdown on the Arsenal’s key features and what the Arsenal could do for you.
There are 6 main areas Arsenal is going to help with your photography needs
- Automated Photo Stacking
- Automated Focus Stacking
- Time Lapses
- Professional camera adjustments with Smart Assistant AI
- Wireless Control
- Photo Sharing
Arsenal uses the Arsenal mobile app to control the Arsenal unit. Connection is made via bluetooth.
Arsenal Automated Advanced Photo Stacking
Arsenal automates advanced photo stacking techniques to help you capture scenes with High Dynamic Range (HDR). In seconds, you can take multiple exposures and merge them into a single RAW or JPG file on your camera—no post-production required.
As someone who used to be a real estate photographer, being able to take HDR images without post processing is amazing. This alone would have saved me a ton of time. For those that haven’t heard of High Dynamic Range photography, it’s a rather cool concept. Usually you take 3 pictures of the same scene, 1 over exposed, 1 normal exposure and 1 under exposed. When you combine all 3 pictures, shadows and dark areas are lighted and over exposed areas are darkened, giving you a picture that pops.
I found by taking HDR images of houses, they tended to sell better and attract more buyers than your everyday run of the mill images would.
Observations: I am not really sold on the exposure stacking stacking. From my experience you WILL need to use your camera on a tripdod. Taking pictures is slow and sometime you run into interface bugs.
Arsenal Focus Stacking
Another cool feature the Arsenal has is called Focus Stacking. With focus stacking, you can get your entire scene in sharp focus. Arsenal calculates the optimal number of exposures, takes them at different focus positions, and merges them into one crystal clear image.
I am really excited to test this particular aspect out. I have a Sony A7iii and the auto focus is stellar. Combining it with Arsenals ability to focus stack, could be really impressive.
Observations: Like Exposure Stacking from my experience you WILL need to use your camera on a tripdod and taking pictures is slow and sometime you run into interface bugs.
One of the key features of the Arsenal is the ability to control timelapse footage and maintain proper camera settings as the lighting changes.
Arsenal Smart Assistant AI
One super cool aspect of the Arsenal unit is it’s ability to fine tune camera settings based on thousands of professional photos. Users can choose from various pictures to replicate the settings for shooting. The smart assistant is trained on thousands of photos and it will determine and fine tune the optimal settings for the scene you’re shooting.
Observation: While I found the Arsenal to take good pictures, I am not sure it takes them any better than if you did it yourself with some practice.
Arsenal Wireless Control
Arsenal lets you control your camera from up to 100 feet away. Use the smart assistant AI, set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, see a live preview, or trigger the shutter from your smartphone.
Observation: When working the wireless control seems to offer some nice benefits, but I did experience some camera to phone dropouts. It just isn’t reliable.
Arsenal Photo Sharing
A key feature of the Arsenal app is the ability to review and share images directly to Instagram, Snap, or Facebook right from your phone.
Observation: I had zero issues with the photo sharing aspect and found it really helpful to upload a picture.
Arsenal Mobile Application Overview
Like many things these days, there is an App for that. Arsenal uses a phone application (“Arsenal Remote”) to help guide you through all aspects of the Arsenal settings. Arsenal uses an intelligent algorithm to suggest settings based on your subject and environment. Then like any good assistant, it lets you control the final shot.
Here’s how it works:
- Compares current scene with thousands of past images using a convolutional deep neural network. (The same algorithm used in self driving cars)
- Optimizes settings based on 18 different factors
- Avoids settings that produce weak images on your specific camera and lens
- Uses image recognition to identify subject-specific needs (e.g. fast shutter for birds)
- Shows safe ranges for each setting based on situational constraints (e.g. vibration)
- Gives you the ability to change the settings you care about most
Getting Started With Arsenal
Setting up the Arsenal requires the Arsenal app called “Arsenal Remote” and a compatible camera.
The Arsenal comes with a USB Controller cable, a USB Charging cable and the Arsenal unit. Prior to use, you are required to charge the unit. Once charged, the Arsenal can be placed on the camera’s hotshoe and the controller cable connected to both the Arsenal and Camera. You will also need the Arsenal Remote application available for either the iPhone or Android. Once downloaded, you will go through a process on connecting your application to the Arsenal and also uploading any firmware. After that you should be good to go.
Observation: I have run through several updates with the Arsenal and isn’t a seamless process, but it has gotten better over time as a result of new firmware updates.
Arsenal Technical Specifications
Arsenal uses a mobile phone application to communicate with the hardware and can wireless transfer photos and videos.
- Connects to most Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony DSLR and mirrorless cameras. See full list here.
- Works with any IOS 9.0+ or Android 4.4+ smartphone
Smart assistant AI
- Manual Mode to adjust Shutter, Aperture, ISO, etc
Timelapse Mode for advanced control
Arsenal uses a mobile phone application to communicate with the hardware and can wireless transfer photos and videos.
- Connects to most Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony DSLR and mirrorless cameras. See full list here.
- Works with any IOS 9.0+ or Android 4.4+ smartphone
- Smart assistant AI
- Manual Mode to adjust Shutter, Aperture, ISO, etc
- Timelapse Mode for advanced control
Arsenal hardware consists of Arsenal unit + micro USB cable.
- Connects to camera via Micro USB cable (included)
- Powerful ARM processor
- Weighs 2 ounces (57 grams)
- Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi-enabled
- Up to 100-foot wireless range
- Charge while in use (with any USB-compatible battery pack, not included)
Has The Arsenal Shipped?
As of today (June 18th) I haven’t heard anyone receiving a unit. The Arsenal was supposed to start shipping on June 4th, but it appears there may have been a holdup with shipping or people receiving their units are being very quiet.
The main topic of discussion on Kickstarter appears to revolve around shipping. I believe people were expecting shipping confirmation. I seemed to remember Arsenal saying that the first units going out would be to the early Kickstarter adopters before the main group.
As soon as I hear anything new I will post.
Do you need a Camera’s Hotshoe or Coldshoe to use the Arsenal?
NO. A camera’s hotshoe or coldshoe is only used to hold the Arsenal unit on top of the camera and make it more convenient.
What Cameras Are Compatible with Arsenal?
The team at Arsenal have designed the unit to work with many of the most popular DSLR and mirrorless camera models including Sony, Canon and Nikon. Currently Panasonic, Pentax, and Olympus users are left off the list of supported cameras. A full list of supported cameras and models can be found by visiting the Arsenal Website.
What Phones work with the Arsenal app?
Currently both Apple iOS (9.0 or newer) and Android (KitKat 4.4 or newer) smartphones are compatible
What comes with the Arsenal?
The Arsenal currently ships with the following:
- 1 Arsenal hardware device
- 1 USB cable for connecting to your supported camera
- 1 USB charging cable
- 1 USB wall adapter for charging (USA-style plug)
How long does the battery last?
You can expect 4 to 5 hours of usage out of a single battery charge.
How do you charge the Arsenal?
The Arsenal uses a micro USB port for charging and a second USB port for connecting to the camera. The Arsenal can be charged while in use. Arsenal supports USB IQ for fast 2-amp charging from a USB battery pack or computer (not included) — or from the included USB wall adapter if you have AC power handy.
Can you shoot Handheld?
YES. When shooting handheld, Arsenal disables certain settings that require a tripod. These include:
- Exposure stacking
- Focus stacking
- Long exposure stacking
- Mirror lockup
- Refocus before shot
Do you need a Tripod?
Certain functionality of the Arsenal will require you to setup a tripod or stable platform. This includes
- Exposure stacking
- Focus stacking
- Long exposure stacking
- Mirror lockup
- Refocus before shot
Can you shoot video with the Arsenal?
YES. You Enable Live View the the Arsenal Remote app, compose your shot, and set your focus point(s). To start recording video, you will the tap the shutter button. You can stop recording by pressing the shutter button a second time.
What Camera’s Work with the Arsenal?
At this time it appears only certain models of Canon and Nikons. As far as I can tell no Sony camera has worked.
Colin Bryson. Here is Colin using a Canon 6D Mark II and showing some of the functionality.
The shot below is on the Nikon in full automatic and the Arsenal in Smart mode. As you can see the Arsenal did a better job at adjusting the camera than using the camera’s auto mode. The Arsenal adjusted the camera’s aperture and shutter speed to create a cleaner crisper image.
You can see more images that Colin Bryson took with the Arsenal
Arsenal – Bottom Line
First impressions are always important and my first impression of the Arsenal is it sounds and looks amazing, but after having the unit and running into all sorts of bugs, it’s just hasn’t lived up to the hype for me. There were way too many bugs that stopped me in my tracks. I am still waiting on bug fixes that allow me to use my A7iii in smart mode.
I know a lot of Kickstarter folks are anxiously awaiting their units and are just waiting shipping confirmation.
Check out the Arsenal (https://witharsenal.com/) and see if it is right for you. The retail price is going to be around $250.
Sony Camera’s still seem to plague the Arsenal and working properly with all the promised functionality.
Here are some of the new updates for Sony
Sony Wifi Camera focus stacking
We had fixed multi-point and whole scene focus for Sony Wifi cameras in 0.9.50, and this new release now includes a relaunch of focus stacking for these cameras.
After this release we have a number of other adds/improvements planned for Arsenal and that will remain our focus for the short-term.
Saving stacks to SD card
Our #1 priority is finishing or making a call on saving stacked images back to the SD card. Users can currently share a JPEG image from their mobile app, but the final stacked image is not available on the SD card. We continue to run into some challenges with a number of cameras here and we are identifying ways to work around limitations in camera APIs.
Sony Setup Wizard
We know that setting up Arsenal with some of the Sony models, particularly over Wifi, can be a bit challenging at times. We’re looking to make this easier via a setup wizard that better detects where you are in the process and advises you on next steps as you go through the process.
Automatically Save to Phone
Based on feedback from users, in the next release, we’ll have the ability to automatically save your images directly to your phone for later use (you can do this today through the OS’s native share dialogue, but it does not happen automatically). A small quality of life improvement, but one we’ve seen requested a bunch.
UPDATE: June 24, 2019
Still, no focus stacking for Sony’s. Below is the response from the company, so it appears they are working on it.
“Focus stacking for Sony is in BETA testing now. Users are reporting it working well. It will be in the next release. If you’d like to be part of the BETA, feel free to write email@example.com.”
BTW – Last software release was in May. Maybe they will have a software release in July.
Testing out the Arsenal with the latest firmware. The results are really bad. It just isn’t ready for prime time, even with the latest firmware using a Sony A7iii. I simply can not rely on the Arsenal to perform in the field.
The latest firmware update seems to have fixed some of the issues with shooting exposure stacks, but I still ran into bugs. Right now I just find that the Arsenal isn’t a reliable tool that I could take out in the field and not worry about some issue cropping up. I definitely wouldn’t use it on a real estate shooting project like I had hoped.
Still no love. A firmware update was supposed to be pushed out last week, but so far it hasn’t hit the app store.
I am still waiting on a slew of fixes for the Sony A7iii that have yet to fix the Arsenal issues.
Manual mode: Works, but that really defeats the overall purpose of the Arsenal. What people, at least from what I hear want, is automatic camera adjustment.
Timelapse: Works, but nothing of note.
Video: Holding off on trying it.
Exposure stacking: doesn’t work.
Focus stacking: doesn’t work.
As you can see it’s been well over 2 months without the ability to truly test out the Arsenal. For some the frustration waiting to get the unit only to discover it doesn’t work as anticipated has been too much and have requested a refund.
I am still not able to test the Arsenal in Smart Mode with the Sony A7iii. I spoke with the company last week and they were looking into the issue, but so far nothing has been pushed that allows me to continue testing.
An update was pushed yesterday and unfortunately it doesn’t appear to work for me. I have heard other people having success with their Sonys. The Arsenal now does detect Sony cameras, but for me if I try and take a picture, nothing happens.
I have been waiting to test the Arsenal with my A7iii and haven’t been able to test it yet due to Arsenal software issues.
I was able to borrow a Nikon camera from Precision Camera and test the Arsenal, but most of the cool Arsenal functionality that was supposed to work, didn’t at the time, so my testing pretty much ended with not much to show.
I am currently in a holding pattern until the Arsenal team resolves the A7iii issues, which would then allow me to continue testing.
The Arsenal team has been working on bug fixes and new updates are being pushed on a weekly basis. For those that backed the Kickstarter, shipments of the Arsenal units have been slowed down so that the company can get a handle on the various bugs people are finding.
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Service has definitely improved. I just received my unit, and it was quite a bit quicker getting here than I thought it would be. I am very impressed.
Good to know. Thanks for the update
Sadly, there is no zoom control for DSLR’s with zoom lenses-a definite useful feature. Cheap internal battery is also a downer.
Images saved in camera is a big plus. Stacking frames was quite short and a good result-important is astrophotography.need to do some more testings.
Got mine and tried it on Nikon D800e. Several issues are problematic. It takes a long time to shoot a sequence of stacks as it lifts the mirror and makes calculations and finally snaps. That makes it difficult for moving things like clouds or other. Was told by an Arsenal tech that it was planned more for “motionless subject” his words. It takes a long time to process stacks (minutes) meanwhile the phone and camera are rendered unusable. Hopefully the best light didn’t happen just then. So between the time taking the stacks and then processing the stack, bring a lounger chair and several battery packs….
The app image viewer sucks, no changes on orientation for photos, only portrait. They are working on making the transfer (sharing they call it) of images more efficient. Right now, processed images are only saved to the phone or tablet in their exclusive viewer, The you have to save it to another app unless you want to send them using your cell data plan. You can only see them and manage them with” all-parts-on and connected,” (Arsenal, camera and phone), while the battery gently weeps. Since the phone Wifi is used by Arsenal the “shared images” go via cell data plan, while the wallet gently weeps.
I had to save/copy the image to iOS Files so then I could email it or send as attachment. Only one image at the time, mind you…they are working…..
I thought I would get an assistant for focus stacking, eyes not so good anymore, we will see, still to figure out how to do that as it requires a specific focus setting.
No Genie in a bottle here – their own images of course look like candy but as usual to get that….. well….
I got more control of the brackets and better, faster results exp bracketing in camera and processing in Photoshop and Lightroom.
They have a 90 days return policy!!!
The condensed bit that appears when searching Google states that Arsenal can take a stack of exposure bracketed photos for HDR, process them and saved them in JOG or RAW in camera. This is erroneous, HDR image stacks processed by Arsenal are stored in the cell phone or tablet used with the Arsenal app and not the memory card in camera at this point. And they appear as .PNG images not JPGs or RAW.
Comments I wrote to Aresnal today regarding Firmware Updates:
“As a current user, please allow me to make a suggestion.
I am a professional photographer, using Arsenal in the field for various purposes – like time lapse shooting weather, as an example.
PLEASE make your updates OPTIONAL! Not required to use the device. If I am REQUIRED to update, and then have to have an internet connection, and then have to wait 15 minutes for the update to download and install, my shoot opportunity is GONE!
This is not useful as a consumer product, let alone a pro-sumer or Professional product.”
Yep, I totally agree. Having the updates be required slows everything down.
I was in the field tonight without internet access when I discovered this policy. Are you kidding me? Most boneheaded design decision I can imagine. I’d just used the device last week, so why is it refusing to work now? How does it even know it needs a firmware update if there’s no internet? Does this mean that when the company goes belly up, so does the device? Words are not adequate to express my disgust. Save your money, you can’t depend on this albatross.
The review states that Arsenal works with “most” Fuji DSLR and mirrorless cameras. It does not. It officially supports TWO models.
Ordered my Arsenal in Sept. and arrived in December. Unboxed it, plugged it into my Canon 6D MII, waited for the connection and viola! works like a charm. One of the easiest and best tools in my camera bag. The on-board exposure stacking is really convenient – no longer need to export photos to light room and can easily save / share final photos. Thank you Arsenal!
Hi Nick, I just purchased Arsenal today. I was wondering what you think now? is it still working good?
Would be nice to try this product if they would actually send me one. 3+ months and nothing. Won’t respond to messages, won’t refund the money, etc… Have had to contact the credit card company to dispute it. Amazingly a short time after I did that I got a message from Arsenal (not the shipping company) that says it was delivered. Imagine that. I have cameras that run 24/7 and no such item was ever delivered. The product may work or it may not, I don’t know. But I know they took my money and I know they have no care for a customer at all.
I finally got my Arsenal unit but I wish I had never heard of Arsenal. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get it to work on my Sony cameras with no success. I have emailed Arsenal to request information on returning the unit for a refund. No reply. Really lousy product and company.
I purchased my unit back in February 2018 and received the unit in October 2018. I’ve yet to take one photograph with it. I’ve emailed no less than 5 people (tech support) and neither of them had a direct solution to my issue of the Arsenal unit flat out not working. I’ve downloaded updated software, but nothing happens. I have a Nikon D800, but the Arsenal unit tries to refer to my camera as a Sony. I’ve made this known to the company, but I get a lot of run around and very slow email responses. As with my photography business I can’t devote huge chucks of time to do the R&D for this company, I don’t get paid for it. I’ve asked for a replacement unit or my money refunded. But what I’ve gotten from this company is no true solution. From reading this forum there are many more people who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to use this device.
Sounds like they sent you out the wrong unit or maybe had tested it with a Sony and for some reason keeps referring to that.
You might find some luck by posting to the FB Arsenal group.
How is this any different than CamRanger – who have had this product out for years and are offering a mini version next year – both of which seem to do all the things your product does, you just changed the name
It isn’t my product, it’s just a product I reviewed. I haven’t tried CamRanger.
I have received my Arsenal 3 days ago, order from 31.10.2017!!! and after payment of additional 50 € customs fees . After the update of the OS there is no Arsenal network anymore. A connection is no longer possible. On the Kickstarter page the error with several users is described. The best is the “Support”! No answer to mails, no answer in the chat system of the website. Comments on the Facebook page are deleted immediately. Produced for the garbage. Hands off!
Thanks for this review. I’m shooting with a Canon D60. I’m playing around with my arsenal after receiving it just yesterday.
So far very disappointed in how it is handling.
Even in Smart mode, it takes forever for it to take the photo so if I’m trying to shoot something that is moving the subject is gone before the picture is taken. I’m finding the “tap to focus” very unreliable. It has uploaded several images to my phone but not all of them. Hand-held mode is probably the most disappointing–so far everything when I go to review it (even if I take several photos of the same thing as one of the help sections suggested) is massively over-exposed and unusable. I’m going to try playing around with the stacking using a tripod tomorrow. I love the idea of this product and I was so excited to receive it. Maybe some of the folks who are having success on Instagram should hold an online tutorial because the website certainly doesn’t seem like it is an accurate representation of how easy and successful the device is in real life.
I am ‘quite’ disgusted by the way that I am treated. No response, x wrong delivery ‘estimates’ and months to wait. At this point, I want my money back, but where is the response? Oh, well, I get blocked on the Facebook Fan Page for voicing concern over ‘no delivery’. I suggest someone gets in touch with me, stat. Enough is enough.
I Ordered mine April 2017 and finally received a shipping confirmation 29 September 2018. It left Hong Kong on 29 September, that morning. It is nearly 2 months later and hasn’t hot the U.S. ?! Contacted Arsenal but no reply. This is very frustrating.
Keep trying. You might also want to check the Kickstarter Board and the Facebook board. I know both of those are active.
I just got mine on Wednesday. I was excited to see what it could do. The firmware took a while to update but that was expected. the time it took to take a shot was really long. I tried a multifocus picture and it took a long time to figure out what it wanted to do.
My camera battery was low so i recharged it Thursday morning. i wanted to try a time lapse. when i started my camera back up (saw the display on) and went into Arsenal, it didn’t find the camera. when i looked at my camera, it was dead. My Nikon D90 dead. have not been able to revive it.
I emailed Arsenal but it is Thanksgiving Day so wonder if/when i will hear back.
I thought I had preordered Arsenal, however, I have not seen anything to indicate I did. Can you confirm
You would have to contact the company. I am not affiliated with them other than having done a review.
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Tom, I think you are suffering the same early optimism as many of those who embarked on this particular kickstarter journey. Sadly, the issues raised are much wider than just poor communications and logistics from the company. We’ve had our first show of the device simply breaking out of its casing, Firmware that cancels out the wifi emission capability and pictures that are far less optimal than the user could achieve without the device.
However, perhaps the greatest issue is the absolutely derelict regard for those experiencing technical issues. The @help facility is arguably ignored by the Arsenal crew and users left holding a device that simply does not work. There is a strong likelihood that this ‘idea’ already mirrored by another product on kickstarter will likely be surpassed by in-camera technology long before Arsenal get a grip of their quality, distribution and communications issues. A sad end before a project has really even started.
Still well done you for trying to be supportive and to be honest your article reads better than the actual product itself.
Arsenal team still continues their false promises. I was one among the earliest to support the project and still not received the device. No proper reply from the team also.Simply Pathetic, non professional and irritated of Arsenal team, just false and fraudulent promises about delivery but nothing in actual yet. Shame of team Arsenal for their fraudulent promises.
I have persisted with this piece of Junk for months and I must confess that I should have known better than to be sucked in by the ridiculous expectations set by with arsenal. Ah well lesson learned.
I ordered mine end of March, and it arrived last Weekend (12. October).. I#m glad it made all the way to Beijing, China. Extra custom fees applied.. but well, thats not Arsenals fault.
Using it on a Sony A7 MArk II, the biggest problem was updating the firmware and remote app of the camera itself. Updating Firmware on the Arsenal worked fine even beyond the Chinese Firewalls. Camera, Arsenal and iPhone then connected without problems.
I was just indoor testing the Arsenal. Some features are not yet available for the Sony Camera like Focus stacking, multiple focus points.. Video.. saving stacks to SD Card.. I guess I have to be still patient for a while longer.
Overall the App feels a bit slow in handling. Smart mode did not give me any choice for variation at all. I did some night shots from the window – city skyline and road crossing – using the smart mode. Obviously the choice was low Iso and long exposure, but I also have to say the resulting images were very crisp and clear and focused. For a straight aim and shoot I am pleased with the result.
So overall I have to say I hoped it would have arrived earlier and it is a bit disappointing that not all features are yet working. But I do not regret having ordered it and I hope the developers can fix the bugs soon so people will be more pleased with the product.
Great overall assessment. Hopefully in time the Arsensal team will figure some of the issue out and release more updates that make it a better more reliable product.
Great review Tom! Accurate to the tee. Very disappointing results after much trial & tribulation where the App simply would not allow us to get online, when it finally did the update took forever and never actually closed down when finished as demonstrated on the video. Handheld is really a waste of time. Shooting with a Nikon D7200 with its own settings is fabulous and noticeably less quality with Arsenal attached. The App simply will not update or acquire updates via iPhone X so resorted to via my Mac computer which after countless tries worked to update the unit itself but still the App fails.
They have some work to do enough to convince me this product can outdo the Nikon on its own!
I cancelled my order at the beginning of September due to the delays in shipping. I got the refund 3 days later. 6 weeks on the dot an arsenal arrived on my door. I cannot get it to connect to my a7III. Despite what it cost me it still seems like a lot of money.
The only reason I purchased this thing was to make my shoots in unforgiving environments easier while shooting astrophotography. The only feature I wanted? Long exposure stacking. It takes 3 photos and then – CAMERA ERROR. For as much as this device costs you would think there would also be some support, but also another lacking area. This as others have said has been a learning experience, as this thing is useless in the field. Any item you carry that cannot be depended on should be left home or returned. Oh wait, you can’t return this thing either. Such a sour taste in my mouth. Multiple ports for charging and data? Seriously? Not a USB micro, but some custom rectangular plug that also accepts USB micro? SMH. Buyers remorse doesn’t even start to cover it.
Simply Pathetic, non professional and irritated of Arsenal team, just false and fraudulent promises about delivery but nothing in actual yet. Shame of team Arsenal for their fraudulent promises.
I am very disappointed with this product. The kickstarter promo video for this product lead me to believe that the product was functioning. However I experience the following problems,
– loss of wifi connection after one or two shots
– loss of camera connection after a couple of shots requiring camera, Arsenal and phone app to be shut down and restarted … but this may have to be repeated
– does not always focus correctly
– I get the camera error message that requires a complete restart to clear
– cannot focus on an object closer than 6 feet without continually retrying the single focus option
– several times the resulting image is completely black
– prompted to set camera mode to ‘A’, but then after doing so nothing works, app freezes
– drains battery very fast
– if camera is moved have to restart everything and go through the process of trying to get things working again
– cannot see the little green LED is on or not if shooting in daylight…especially if sunny.
– the shots I have taken, are not really an improvement over what I can do
– all the time it takes to get 4 images, I could have shot dozens using the cameras auto mode and moved on to another location.
I have requested help from Arsenal. If these problems are not solved I will attempted to get a refund.
December 2017 Kickstarter purchase — Received it today, and had to pay ANOTHER 85$ customer costs! Really upset! I will NOT recommand this to any of my friends and relatives!
I was a kickstarter backer and I finally got my Arsenal a couple of weeks ago, but my box contained NO WALL ADAPTER 🙁
I waited 9 months to receive my Arsenal. While that was irritating in it’s self, I am now having trouble with the connection to my computer to download the updates to the unit… If that is not irritating enough, I emailed customer support and it said that they would not get back to me for a week…… There is no phone number to talk directly to a support technician, so I am sitting here waiting… This is not acceptable… Poor Customer Service…..
I agree totally what a waste of time and money, whic someone is sitting pretty on
I ordered my arsenal back in November 2017, and just received it on Friday, September 10. I’ve conducted a brief test on my Sony A7riii, and other than challenges with upgrading the firmware, it seems to be working. The manual mode works, I was able to take some “smart” images (not much of a test), and created a very short timelapse. I hope to play with it some more today. While it was frustrating to wait, I’m glad I didn’t receive early. Frankly – I would have been more frustrated. On the shipping issues, my order sat with Singapore Post for 10 days without movement before shipment to the west coast. Once it got to LA, it took a few days to get to my home via USPS. Per arsenal website, you should expect your arsenal 14 days after shipment notification, but it sounds like there is little control over some of these larger shipping companies. One final comment – when you upload the firmware and are struggling with the app (my WiFi seemed to keep disconnecting), install it via computer. I was able to successful install it with my MacBook Pro.
Ordered Dec 17 Received it 9/13/18. Also slow boat, and the DHL tracking number was bogus. But I finally got it. Nikon D500. It first locked up my phone, had to turn off phone and used iPad. All downloads were then smooth. Once that was working, set up iPhone with no problem. Bluetooth worked fine with both remotes. I had given up and told them I was going to contact our Attorney General for a fraud investigation and it arrived the nest day. So far, it does everything they say it is supposed to do. Going to take it up in the mountains next week and give it a workout. Of course my wife said “you take good pictures, why do you need that?” Hmmmm she has a point, men and their toys.
Hi Robert, I was wondering how the Arsenal has worked out for you? I ordered it today however that was before I seen all these bad reviews about it. I hope you have some good news on it.
Some news from switzerland.
I got mine a few days ago. It wasn’t really very easy to update the firmware but finally was able to start to use it.
But I’m still facing some issues :
– It drains the battery of my Phone and of the camera (Nikon D500) quite quickly….
– I’m facing some bugs when on the fields making some times very difficult to make pictures.
– It’s very slow
And how to say that… currently not totally convienced.
You can see some pictures done today using my Arsenal and reviewed in Lightroom.
(long, drawn-out sigh) I’m also an Arsenal backer. Placed my order on 3/2/18 (for Nikon mount). No delivery of product as of yet. As you mentioned above, I’m now also a frustrated backer looking for a cancellation of order & refund. However my numerous phone calls, emails & messaging have all gone unanswered. I get it, they’re a start-up and have hit some snags. It happens. But these folks have now ventured into a communications black hole. Not cool.
There is a simple solution if you paid by credit card: contact your CC provider advising that goods purchased have not been delivered in a timely manner and that repeated requests to Arsenal have been unmet. The CC provider will then do the leg work for you and usually credit the amount yo your pending resolution.
Don’t be surprised that you don’t have yours yet. I placed my order back in November of 2017…. Just got mine today, 9/8/2018…. I bet it will be coming within the next month or so.
When/if you get it, good luck getting it to work. I’ve had nothing but firmware update/connection issues with my Nikon. I’ve tried both Android and IOS devices, with no luck. I did get it to connect and function once, briefly… Definitely not a happy Arsenal user at this point….
The same here, only once able to make a picture. No connection between the mobile and the arsenal device, not automatic not manual. No response from the help@ as well.
So not happy with this starter, i ll give them some time to respond otherwise is being send back
Same. I backed Kickstarter in November, based on their really great idea. 11 months later, it arrived (after taking over 22 days to arrive after receiving the shipment notice and tracking number (They shipped everything – literally – on a slow boat from China. Mine took 22 days to finally arrive from date of sending)
So, its great that it finally arrived, I just thought it was going to have more functionality than “doorstop mode”. (I would say ‘paperweight’, but its not heavy enough for that).
Hey John, don’t fret too much with this product very disappointing. Buyers, put your money into a high-end DSLR and the results will be stella compared to the Arsenal!
I ordered an Arsenal in March and five months later still getting the runaround about shipping orders being delayed and delayed. There is a similar product on the market that is looking more enticing all the time. Then I read some of the above comments and have some doubts about whether the product will actually work assuming I ever get one. Frustrating and disappointing. Replies to my inquiries must be lost in space.
What camera did you ordered the Arsenal for? From what I have seen it seems they shipped Canon and Nikon units first.
I was a canon user and only got mine last week and I ordered 01/18
I love the idea… but not backing this up with all these bad reviews!! I’d rather wait until there is a final product that really works and pay the $250 than to be stressed out and sorry for my money!!
I got mine a few days out and spent the last two entire days trying to get it to work. No dice. I use a Pixel II XL and two Sonys, a A7R MKII and a MKIII. It won’t work with either. It occasionally connects but not for long enough to actually do anything. I did get the MKIII to actually connect to the camera but after it took one picture it refused to fire the camera again. Its network seems to fluctuate and disappear. Certainly would be useless in the field. I am very disappointed and feel that this is never going to function properly and I have simply wasted my money.
I am hoping that if a new firmware release comes out, it will have a lot of the Sony Fixes that have been plaguing Sony users.
I had this issue too. I had to format my card then i had no issues.
Received mine ! Vere disappointed !
Arsenal can’t find the camera ! Very poor micro USB ports !
Sorry for my money…
Had Mine a few days ago. On my Sony A7R Mk3 with a Sony Android Phone, it does not work well. I made all the settings as adviced, for Phone and Camera, but it bugs all the time. Arsenal stops, does not trigger and does not make changes to the settings most of the time.
Very very disappointed!
Its New, it promised a lot, it has been delayed very often and when they send the product it does not at all what is promised.
Will it ever work? Do they send me the money back?
For sure this was the last time I funded a Kickstarter project.
I was an original Kickstarter backer, and have had mine since mid-June. Don’t understand why others are having problems getting theirs. Using it with a Nikon D7200.
Current firmware update, as of this writing, is v0.8.51 … and, as a side note to the original tester here, it also contains fixes (and new connection procedures) for some Sony cameras that were having issues.
Sure, there have been “teething” issues and delays, but this was an incredibly, unbelievably ambitious project … and I have no doubt that these folks will continue to get everything else sorted out in short order. 😉
Looks like shipping has started back up. Any chance your issue was resolved? Looking forward to updated reviews
This is the worst thing of this whole process you can forgive the product is that new its having problems with production but there is not 1 single review by a photography vlogger or blogger this could possible be a crock of shit that don’t work and that’s the reason they are not sending it out because they are scared someone will tell the truth and the orders will be cancelled . if they send them all out and we receive them we cant give them back when we find out theirs that many bugs in the system that means it don’t actually work and its the biggest waist of money ever to come on kick starter. i cant believe in all this time not one decent person has been able to do a good review REALLY THINKING OF CANCELLING. i just wanted it to go out and point and shoot somedays without going deep into my brain to remember all the different settings because i’m just a hobbyist photographer
Here is the quandary they ran up against. Keep delaying the product because of firmware issues or send it out knowing there are a lot of issues. Neither option was really a good one. The good news is the Arsenal team is making some headway in fixing issues people have been finding. Unfortunately I am still waiting on a fix that will allow me to use my camera for testing. I had hoped a firmware update would have been released by now, but so far the releases have been pushed that fixed Canon and Nikon issues.
It’s been a few weeks now. Do you have any pictures to post? Your pet, car, tree in your front yard?
Still waiting on a firmware update so I can use my camera. Until then, I don’t have anything for ya.
Some people on FB started posting some pictures.
I can’t wait to see the actual review on this. I have a Nikon D7500 and use SnapBridge quite a bit. Wondering how this will compare to that and if it’s worth it.
Are you thinking of doing a review on the aurga which is similar to this?
Based on what I am seeing on the Kickstarter page for Aurga, people are having issues with it. Seems to be sort of in the same state as the Arsenal with lots of firmware bugs being addressed and new updates being put out.
Tom, I’ll be looking forward to some sample photos I’m using a Nikon 750. Can’t wait to improve my shots and save time doing it.
I am waiting on another firmware release to come out. Much of the testing I did on the Nikon resulted in me reporting bugs and things to the Arsenal team. At the time of my test, the Arsenal had a ways to go before I would consider it a polished product. Too many bugs.
Seriously backers on Kickstarter complaining on here. You really need to stick with Retail in the future. Better to wait and get a great product than have a less than acceptable product sent.
Stick to your whining at home !!!!
Hi Tom please send us your sample photos on your arsenal you use it will be great! thanks
Hi Sylvester. Will do. As soon as I have time to take it out around town I will be posting pictures.
So far, Arsenal has been nothing but missed timelines and over-promises. It was supposed to ship in January. Timelines slipped many times since then, and still nothing. With all the problems, I don’t have have expectations for the device itself.
This is a preview of Arsenal and not a review!
SEO wise people don’t search for Preview, they search for Review.
A lot of people, namely Kickstarter folks have been complaining that no one has received any shipping confirmation or received an actual Arsenal unit. The main topic of discussion on Kickstarter appears to revolve around shipping. I believe people were expecting shipping confirmation. I seemed to remember Arsenal saying that the first units going out would be to the early Kickstarter adopters before the main group.
If I hear of an actual confirmation of someone receiving a unit, I will post it here.
I’m one of many who backed Ryan Stout on The Arsenal. Shipment has been postponed several times and as of yet there are no solid evidence of a single unit been shipped and received. As this is a new article I would like to ask the journalist behind (Tom Crandall) if he have seen and tried the Arsenal?
Looking foreword to your response.
I haven’t tried the Arsenal yet. We are expecting 2 units to arrive later this month or early next month. I spoke to Arsenal directly and had a pretty good conversation about the Arsenal and what to expect from the unit. Once we have had a chance to play around with the 2 copies, I will be updating the article with a more in-depth review and analysis.
I asked Arsenal about why they weren’t supporting Panasonic, as I had a GH5 and knew there are a lot of people who use that camera. The response I got was they simply hadn’t had the time to work with Panasonic and chose to work with Sony, Nikon and Canon. I could easily see sometime down the road that it will also work with at least some Panasonic cameras.
We will be using 2 Sony A7IIIs for the testing.
How have you given this 4 out of 5 stars when you’ve not even used it? Do you rate things in their marketing or something?
The rating is based on users rating the product. If you look below the article there is a section where you can click a rating from 1 to 5 stars.
Actually they have shipped thousands of the units but they only work on Canon and Nikon, and some Sony barely. They agreed to support Fuji XT1 at the time the Kickstarter campaign kicked off. I received my unit but it does not work and I have talked with countless other Fuji users who have the exact same issues. For the most part it is overhyped and underperforming and people are not happy. The ones that paid full price retail are going to be really upset, expecially the Fuji users.
Sorry to hear your issues with Fuji. I can imagine that would be extremely frustrating.
Torben, I supported the kickstarter campaign and have not received my shipment of 2 units. I received an email on August 4th stating my order was scheduled to ship on August 20. I recently sent a follow up email status but have not received a response. Have you received your shipment?
November 2017 Kickstarter purchase — Mine took 22 days to arrive, shipped the last week of July– they LITERALLY shipped them on a slow boat from China.
*** Do NOT expect tracking updates. I called DHL after 2 weeks, and they said they have 21 business days to deliver before they’ll look into where your shipment is. Basically, expect arrival up to a MONTH after the shipment notification.***