Contour GPS Bluetooth camcorder
Extreme sports shooter with iPhone viewing
Review Contour has been making a lot of noise recently about the new wireless viewfinder feature for its HD range of helmet cameras. With these units being necessarily small, the idea is that the viewfinder bulk is taken care of by using your phone's display, with a Bluetooth connection streaming the pics and video. Simply download a free app and you're all set.
Environmentally friendly: Contour's GPS camcorder
The concept is great, however, the current implementation is for iOS devices only, with Android support on the horizon. The cameras themselves (GPS version tested) are impressive pieces of kit. The brushed-metal enclosure slots tightly onto the supplied fixings including the ingenious goggle-mount; skiers and off-road bikers will be most impressed. A few more bundled mounts would have been nice, though the range available separately for your chosen type of extreme, daredevil activity is quite staggering.
With resolutions from 720p (perfectly adequate) up to the majestic 1080p HD, image quality is generally impressive – though colours can appear a tad over-saturated in direct sunlight. The 1280 x 960 option gives a cool fish-eye effect and this squarer aspect-ratio proved itself to be invaluable for fitting everything into the frame. Good to see a 2GB MicroSD card included – the camera will take up to 32GB.
Live viewfinder at work on an iPod Touch
The standalone hardware certainly bears up well to scrutiny, but getting everything to play nice over Bluetooth had its share of challenges. Yes, I did manage – after some fervent button holding – to establish a Bluetooth connection between the camera and iPod. Yes, the lens-eye view on the iPod was clear and, yes, this was useful for setting up the frame before recording.
Next page: Shooting range
Although image quality is OK.
CPU/Encoder/decode chip $15, camera sensor $15, GPS $10, PCB $5. Case $50 (?), optics, hmm, dunno. Software development, well not enough it sounds like.
End user cost $450
Still, all prices come down fairly swiftly nowadays.
> And with a waterproof case at less than £30...
Why do you need a waterproof case for a waterproof camera?
I agree about the impressive stabilisation. It's up there with what I get out of SteadyHand, and that's slower than real-time on an i7.
About the resolution, if I read it right 1280x960 gives you the fish-eye effect, 1280x720 doesn't.
Tempting, but a bit expensive for me. Have a look at the Looxcie - same sort of thing, not ruggedised but allows full control over Bluetooth.
Not quite so expensive...
Quick bit of checking on Amazon, the camera's going for about £228 (use your conversion rate here), so about £100 below RRP. Me tempted, me very tempted. And with a waterproof case at less than £30...
There is some very good stabilization at play here.
Definitely way out of your usual "granny's shaking hands holding a camcorder" league.
That alone is in excess of $100.
Have had the standard 1080p version without GPS for a number of years for snowboarding and mountainbiking and love it. The problem has always been checking that the camera angle is what you were expecting before throwing yourself off the mountain for a one-off run. That's why they've included bluetooth, not watching clips back in their entirety - you're supposed to do that back at the pub afterwards on a laptop with your mates. Knowing for sure that the footage will be good is worth the upgrade cost on its own for me.
The chunky start/stop slider is one of the best features compared to something like a GoPro hero as you can actually operate the Contour using gloves and without needing to take your helmet off to check if it's on.