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Silhouette CAMEO 3 vs CAMEO 4: Do I Need Both? (Comparison Chart)

With the recent announcement that the new Silhouette CAMEO 4 will be released later this year - now many Silhouette CAMEO 3 (and older model) owners are wondering if they should upgrade.

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The answer is really up to you and what you want to do with your machine because the features of the Silhouette CAMEO 3 vs CAMEO  4 are significantly different.
If you're comparing the Silhouette CAMEO 3 vs Silhouette CAMEO 4 there are a lot of differences. The most significant are with the cutting capabilities of the new Silhouette machine.  The amount of downward force, cutting speed, tool and material options, and price are all vastly different.

Downward Cutting Force

The Silhouette CAMEO 3 has a cutting force of 210 grams compared to the CAMEO 4's 5000 grams or 5kg.  The CAMEO 4's right tool carriage will be responsible for the increased downward force due to the type of motor that's powering it.

However, unlike the CAMEO 3 where any tool - aside from the AutoBlade which must be used in the left/red carriage - can be used in either carriage, the CAMEO 4's right carriage will be limited to specialty tools like the Rotary Blade, Kraft Blade and Punching Tool.

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Increased Cutting Speed and Acceleration

The Silhouette CAMEO 4 will have the ability to cut certain materials up to 3 times faster than the Silhouette CAMEO 3.  The cutting speed is the speed at which the Silhouette machine is able to cut when cutting in a straight line.

The Acceleration speed has also been increased from the CAMEO 3 to CAMEO 4 by about 2x. Acceleration is the speed at which the machine can cut when the blade has to make a turn or change direction - such as around a corner.

Considering both the improved speed and acceleration together - the average increased speed of an average cut job is about 3x faster than the CAMEO 3.

On the CAMEO 4 the left tool carriage is the one that can take credit for increased speed and acceleration. 

Tool Carriages and Tools

The Silhouette CAMEO 4 tool carriages are driven by two different types of motors.  In contrast, the CAMEO 3's dual carriage has the same motor driving both sides of the carriage - hence why you can put tools all tools, but the Autoblade, in either carriage.

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Because the CAMEO 4's two tool carriages are different and the right is exclusively for specialty tools users will actually lose some abilities.

On the Silhouette CAMEO 3, both tool carriages have the exact same ability for speed and downward force. That means you're able to put two cutting blades in and set the blade depth and force independently to achieve a kiss cut and full cut in the same pass.  The same for sketch and cut and foil and cut with the CAMEO 3. With the CAMEO 4 users lose this ability since the right tool carriage is only designed for specialty tools.

There are other big changes between tool carriages on the CAMEO 3 vs CAMEO 4 as well.  The actual tool carriage has been redesigned and the opening for tools is larger on the new Silhouette CAMEO than on the older Silhouette CAMEO models.

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The tool carriage on the CAMEO 4 will also have the ability to automatically identify tools and use the smart tool identification feature to adjust cut settings.

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Certain tools like the CAMEO 4 Kraft Blade and Silhouette Rotary Blade will only fit in the CAMEO 4's right carriage - they can't be used in the left tool carriage of the CAMEO 4 or in any of the older Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait models.

The CAMEO 4 will include a tool adapter to allow tools that fit the older models to be used in the CAMEO 4.

Silhouette CAMEO 4 Autoblade 2 vs Silhouette CAMEO 3 AutoBlade

The Autoblade for the Silhouette CAMEO 4 is a single tap blade which means it will only need to tap one time to adjust to the correct blade depth. The CAMEO 3 Autoblade needs to tap multiple times to get back to 0 then continue to tap to adjust up to the necessary blade depth.

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Silhouette CAMEO 3 vs 4 Machine Design

The Silhouette CAMEO 4 uses a back lit touch panel rather than a touch screen (CAMEO 2 and 3).

A retractable lid replaces the hinge-close lid on all older model Silhouette machines.

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A built in, pull out roll feeder has been added to the CAMEO 4 whereas the CAMEO 3 (CAMEO 2, 1, and Portaits) needs to use the roll feeder attachment.

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The rollers on the CAMEO 4 have also been updated to allow for one-hand adjustment as opposed to the lock and teeth grip rollers the CAMEO 3 uses.

CAMEO 3 vs CAMEO 4 Price

The Silhouette CAMEO 3 price will remain between $269 and $219 for bundles and $199 for the base machine. The 12" Silhouette CAMEO 4 price will be higher will have a base price of $299 and CAMEO 4 bundle starting at $329.

Silhouette CAMEO 3 vs Silhouette CAMEO 4 Side by Side Comparison

Feature CAMEO 3 CAMEO 4
Downward Force 500g 5000g (5kg)
Cutting Speed
3x faster
Bluetooth Yes Yes, increased range
Autoblade Original Auto Blade Auto Blade 2
(single tap)
Rotary Blade No Yes
Kraft Blade CAMEO 3 Kraft Blade (New) CAMEO 4 Kraft Blade
Punch Tool No Yes
Cutting Dimensions 12" x 10' 12" x 10'
Price $199 base $299 base
Roll Feeder Attachment Built in

Teeth & Grip Single hand adjustable
Cover Hinge Retractable
Dual Tool Carriage Yes, single motor Yes, dual independent gear driven motors
Availability Current Fall 2019
Clearance 2mm 3mm
Machine Controls Control Panel Touch Panel
Auto Tool Detection No Yes

My Opinion on Upgrading from a CAMEO 3 vs CAMEO 4

I do NOT  look at the CAMEO 4 as a replacement model for the Silhouette CAMEO 3 like I did when the CAMEO 3 was released after the CAMEO 2.  Instead, I feel that the changes, features, and power of the Silhouette CAMEO 4 put this machine in a new category.  I consider it at an add-on machine that should accompany a Portrait or older model CAMEO - not one to replace them in your craft room.

With all its bells and whistles and bragging right, the Silhouette CAMEO 4 is a powerhouse specialty machine that allows you to cut thicker materials and allows for increased speed and productivity.  For some crafters - especially Silhouette beginners - it may be more than they need which could be intimidating in both features and price. 

For these reasons I am hoping (and pushing) that Silhouette NOT discontinue the Silhouette CAMEO 3 with the release of the CAMEO 4. Currently that is the plan.

And because I know you'll matter what Silhouette America ultimately decides to do with the CAMEO 3, the older Silhouette machines will continue to be supported by both the software and accessories so no need to hoard ratchet or Auto Blades.

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  1. Ta very much for the info. I would really like to know more about the mat less cutting feature which is the main reason I am excited about the 4!

  2. Thanks so much for putting together everything we wanted to know!

  3. Thank you for the information. Do you have any additional information on the additional types of material that can be used?

  4. I would rather they have made it larger than 12" wide, perhaps 15" with all that additional power.

    1. they have, the bigger ones won't be on the market till 2020...they have 15 and 20 I believe.

  5. That final sentence was the most important to me!!!

  6. I still have the Cameo 2 and it works great and I still Love it, I just bought my Daughter the Cameo 3 about 4 months ago she is still learning it, What happens if they discontinue the Cameo 3

  7. Yes why not a 15" on v.4 or are they waiting to spring that or bigger after the 12" v.4 and 15" speed collide and then have to re-do the v.4 up to another bigger, badder, and price to finally get there where something really works seemingly correct together without add this, can't do that, need that attachment and so on.. anyway just a thought cause sure they already know all this.. I'd rather pay once now for the biggest and baddest instead of teasers then add on's and take aways.. anyway just my thoughts and prayers...

  8. Thanks for the column. You always provide great information that helps us to understand what is happening and the pros and cons. Appreciate it!

  9. Will the new machine work with the CB09 blade?

  10. Will the new machine do scoring?

  11. I have a new 3 and the updated software. Can I still use the 2? The software doesn't recognize it.
    Thank you

  12. Hi Melissa! Thank you for the fantastic info as usual! Seeing as the "kraft blade" will be made available for the 3... may I ask what exactly it will be useful for? I'm assuming it isn't a rotary function or a deeper cut. I'm out of ideas :)

  13. I asked Spencer at All Things Silhouette about keeping the cameo 3 and his response it depends on manufacturing availability. That makes allot of sense to me.....if cameo 4 demand increases then they may not have capacity for the cameo 3

  14. Will I be able to use the Foil Quill with the Cameo 4?

    1. It's unclear at this time if third party tools will be able to use the tool adapters provided with the CAMEO 4.

  15. Will the Cameo 4 be able too emboss/deboss, etch or do the indented type score lines?
    Thanks for all your helpful information.

  16. Will the Cameo 4 be better able to handle faux leather (not just Cricut) for earrings? I am finding my Cameo 2 to be hit or miss with most faux leather (Cricut leather cuts just fine but others...) - this is a super important feature for me!

  17. something that is important to me are dimensions of the Cameo 4, how wide, how tall, how deep,

    1. HI, Until I have the machine I won't be able to provide this info unfortunately

  18. I have the Cameo 2 have been watching the info on the 4 I am going to get another cameo would it be better to go with the 4 or jump to the 4.

  19. Thanks for all the great info you share with us! If you’ve upgraded your software to Designer Edition will you keep that or will you need to buy it again for the new machine? Thank you.

  20. I still have the original Cameo and it works great. The issue is the compatibility with the latest windows update. Has anyone come up with a solution for that? Will the original Cameo still work with a MAC?

    1. Yes it will work on a MAC. Silhouette is still exploring options for PC

  21. That's good to hear! Hopefully they come up with something I hate to throw out a good machine

    1. I have the original Cameo machine, too. It works great for my needs but the software doesn't always see the Cameo. Very time consuming and frustrating. I hope Silhouette America can figure this out soon.

  22. So if the right side has a maximum down force of 5000g what is the maximum downforce of the left side? It looks like it ships with an autoblade but that can't be used in the right side, and the kraft knives aren't available yet so what use would the right side be. just hope this isn't as useless as the extra down force on the cricut maker. You are not allowed to create or edit any materials for the knives that cricut uses so you either have not enough downforce or you have a lot of down force with 18 passes.

    1. The left carriage on the CAMEO 4 has the same force as the CAMEO 3 carriage which would be 250kg of downward force. So you are correct that at the launch, and until the specialty blades are released, the right carriage is useless.

  23. I just upgraded to the Cameo 4 from my Cameo 2 because my software kept telling me that it wasn’t connected. I also couldn’t use the updated software because all my tabs disappeared. I had to download the legacy software as well as contact Silhouette to see what I needed to do to connect my cameo 2. I ended up having to delete a folder to get it to work again. To avoid that happening again, I purchased the Cameo 4 so I could use the Bluetooth option. I really love that the roll feeder is made into the machine. It is a new learning curve since the buttons differ from the Cameo 2, but I’m enjoying learning about my new machine.


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