Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is the Cam ECS-12 Worth It? Build it!!

It's been a question on the minds of Nerfers since enGadget released photos of this nifty blaster: is the Cam ECS-12 going to be worth the pricetag?  At the time, the cost was up in the air but we weren't expecting anything cheap.  Well, sites in the US are starting to show a $79.99 Pricetag on the video camera-embedded Flywheel Blaster which has folks wondering "is it worth the money?"

To find out, let's break down what exactly you're getting with this blaster and compare it to alternative setups.

First, let's consider it's size.  This is a rifle-style blaster, roughly the size of a RapidStrike with a fixed-length shoulder stock.  There are N-Strike Tactical Rails on the top and underneath the main barrel.  It also comes with a 12-round Magazine with Elite Darts.  For our purposes, let's put a value on just the dart blaster itself between the RapidStrike and a Stryfe, so about $27.  The blaster is powered by 8 AA Batteries, and a pack of Energizers is about $10.  A 4GB SD Memory Card, which stores the photos and video captured by the Cam ECS-12, are about $5 online.  So we're up to $42 with what we've got so far.

Now comes the camera equipment.  This is a little tricker, since there's really no way to BUILD a camera into your Stryfe or RapidStrike like the Cam ECS-12 has already set up.  However, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can buy a $15 Nerf Tactical Mission App thing that will attach to the rail on top and capture video.  You can even skip the cost of an SD card and have a $35 Dollar "Cam" Stryfe with your phone recording the action!  However, that iOS Device probably cost you quite a bit of money... so that blasts this comparison in the eyeball.  You could also argue that not everyone HAS an iPhone, so the Cam ECS is still a better setup... but let's do the math.

Because we've added batteries to the cost of our Build-A-Cam-Blaster project, we'll be fair and add it to the cost of the other one.  That $42 dollar blaster we've built up versus the $90 Cam ECS-12 (that price includes the batteries now) has a $48 gap to fund our camera addition.  On, you can pick up a Kodak Mini Handheld Video Camera for $40.  It has a bigger screen than the Cam ECS-12 at 1.8 inches (the Nerf one is 1.77) and That even includes a 2GB SD Card.  With this camera, we have $8 budget left until we're equal with the cost of Nerf's blaster, which isn't too bad.  But we're forgetting something!

We still need to mount this somewhere ON the blaster, which still gives the Cam ECS-12 the upper hand.  Sure you could Duct Tape the Kodak on the side of your Stryfe, but to actually get some kind of hardware that will hold the camera, it's a little trickier.  You could modify that Nerf Tactical Mission App cradle, but that piece alone will put you over budget.  So... in the end, it appears Nerf may have actually priced the Cam ECS-12 right.

Add in the fact that Nerf has somehow increased the range on this blaster up to 85-90 feet and it's either a close race or a tough call.  Clearly, to justify shelling out $80 for the Cam ECS-12, you need to have a NEED for a battle-camera blaster.  Just purchasing it for the range and performance won't make the money worth it, so already this blaster has a limited audience.  But if you're that guy who wants to post his epic Nerf kills on FaceTube or YouBook, this is cheaper and smarter than any equivalent I can think of.

Honestly, I was expecting for the math to kill the Cam blaster.  After taking a look at cost, performance, and convenience, this blaster actually hits the mark.  Let's not rule out that it actually looks like a cool blaster, so I'm happily surprised to report that, despite my initial thoughts, the Nerf N-Strike Cam ECS-12 is worth that pricetag as long as you NEED a battle-cam rifle of whiteout-looking goodness.


  1. If you get one I'd love see your improved paint job, nice that comes with a clear magazine but white...

  2. But the camera is only 0.3 mP. I bet that Kodak was a lot higher grade. 0.3 mP is fine on a 1.77 inch screen, but on a 15 inch computer screen that is some grainy footage. At least now we know where all the recycled "digital" cameras from the '90's went.

  3. My problem with it? Well... how hard is it to slap a POS camera onto glorified Stryfe anyways? It looks cool and that's really it. There isn't a thing about this rife that really makes my jaw drop like Nerf actually put an ounce of effort into designing this blaster. And the price sure won't help either.

    1. Didn't they change the design so it is fully automatic like the rapidstrike?

    2. I've looked around and I'm not really sure if they did.

  4. you really need higher than .3 mP to see darts fly with a camera.

  5. I think you hit the nail on the head about the main point: who really NEEDS a built in blaster cam? Anyone who really wants to post decent battle video has probably already paid for a higher quality camera set up, and even then, watching other people "play nerf" is never really all that exciting...

    But there's no denying that shell does look really really cool, so maybe the parents with lots of cash to blow on their kids will take the bait...

  6. That guy was WAY to ecstatic about saying "Requires 8 AA Batteries which are not included!"