The Contour+

Every so often I get a call from my friend Jody over at Robert’s Distributors to have me play with (at the risk of breaking) some piece of equipment that they are thinking about carrying, or want to do a review on.  One such example of this would be the RadioPopper PX system that I reviewed for them earlier this year.  Since I made it through that demo without breaking the gear (not like I did the beta hardware pocket wizards when I reviewed the Flex system for Nikon), Jody decided to give me a buzz about doing a little demo about a neat little video camera named; the Contour+.  Being the mentally 5 year old that I am, I was exceptionally excited about the possibilities.  Unfortunately life got in the way and I was unable to have this review up about two weeks ago long before Christmas Season.

(image courtesy of Contour’s website)

That’s the little guy right there.  It’s what’s called a POV (Point of View) Camera for attaching to places where you normally couldn’t see things from.  A good friend of mine from college got a GoPro hero, which he puts on his mountain bike from time to time.  None of his footage is posted anyplace though as he only edits his footage on an Asus eeePC, which is like trying to use a tack hammer to nail in a railroad spike.  I digress though, as the Contour+ isn’t your standard POV camera; it’s considerably better.

Before I get too far into it, I’d like to mention that no; I am not paid to write what I’m going to write about the Contour.  Neither Roberts or Contour have had any effect on what I’m saying about the camera, and have not compensated me in any way.  (Except for that Klondike bar that one time… but that was for something else completely.  Thanks again Jody!)

The camera itself has a pretty solid list of features, including that you can have up to a 32gb Micro SD card, external Audio via a 1/8th inch stereo jack on the bottom (with included cable), 1080/30i and 720/60p resolution with a 170 Degree field of view 270 degree rotatable lens, as well as one of my favorite features; wireless bluetooth viewfinder.  Just to name a few important features.  Wait, what was that?  Wireless Viewfinder?  Yup.  Think about it, what’s the hardest part about using one of these POV cameras?  You never know what you’re going to get until after you do your recording, and then you’re lucky if you get what you want.  Thanks to the Contour that problem is done and gone.  It’s awesome.

The camera comes with a 2gb MicroSD Card which honestly is pretty good.  I happened to have an 8gb card from an old cell phone that I slapped in there to make sure I could record as long as the battery lasted (which was about 2 hours).  This is where my association with the Naptown Roller Girls comes into play as Jody and I agreed that it would be very cool to see some clips as to what it looks like to be in the middle of the pack during a Roller Derby bout.  A bout wasn’t possible, but a practice scrimmage a few weeks ago was, and that’s where I shot the still above to demonstrate the wireless viewfinder.  Our skater?  Katya Lookin, of Naptown Tornado Sirens fame, as well as that of Vital Skates in Fountain Square here in Indianapolis.  That wasn’t enough though.  I also contacted my friend Alan Young with Hardcore Sportz, who rides Flatland BMX.  Check out a quick FULL 1080HD compilation of the two with some absolutely horrid royalty free music:

Wow was I impressed with the Contour.  What a Sweet little camera, especially in low light. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that you constantly see a lot of these POV camera’s footage in extremely sunny days, which I had not single one of during the time that I had it.  It definitely did its job in full 1080 HD, and not only that, but it performed beautifully in one of the darkest venues that I know of: The NRG Practice Space.  The Practice space is so big and dark that I set up three, 1000w flood lights and ended up shutting them off before the filming because they didn’t make any difference.  The contour pulled through though, like a champ.  Not only that, but the helmet and modular mounts that I had were no brainers.  They attached to the helmet, and to Alan’s Bike super quickly and easily.  The camera is Durable; if you wait until the very end of the video you’ll see that Alan took a spill that caused us to stop shooting.  The bike fell right on the camera and not only did it keep on recording, but it was unfazed by the fall.  I’ve never used a Hero GoPro, but I do know the features of the upcoming Hero GoPro 2, and I must say in all honesty that I’d choose the contour.  The Wireless Viewfinder does it for me.  The GoPro gives you a similar feature, but you have to buy an extra component in order to make it work where as the Contour works with the Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad that you’ve already got! Not only that but you can adjust the settings of the camera on the fly; without a computer.

(Click to biggify)

You can’t use the viewfinder while you’re recording, it’s kind of a either/or situation which is fine with me, and I found that the horizon line on the front of the camera didn’t quite line up when I rotated it to level.  I’m guessing my eyes are just crooked as opposed to there being something wrong with the camera.  I recorded a little bit of 60fps footage, but none of it looked cool slowed down so I am not posting it.  No point in making someone watch roller skating at 60fps when there’s not a fall or a hit to partake in right?  The F2.8 Aperture of the Contour made sure there was enough light that shooting even in the NRG Practice Space was possible without any problems.  Any complaints?  The only complaint that I have is that the Contour+ (as tested) is a $499.99 camera that wasn’t waterproof.  It is Water resistant, but it couldn’t take a quick dunk and survive; which honestly for that kind of money on a POV camera I’d hope it to be more than just water resistant…

Either way, the camera is awesome and I kinda want one…  Know all those Visa Gift cards you’ll get for Christmas from the strange relatives that you never hear from except around the holidays?  CONTOUR CAMERA!  Robert’s website says they are out of the + model at the time of this posting, but call down there to ask.  In total, they have the Plus, GPS, and the Roam which is Waterproof without a special case.   All of these have the wireless viewfinder ability, but the Roam and GPS require the Connect View Card to do it; which at $29 is an easy addition.  Plus, you could probably fit both the Connect View Card, and the Contour into a loved ones stocking without any problem.  Ever wanted to capture their face while they are opening their gift?  POV cam Baby!  More Soon.

I really just scratched the surface of the features and potential of this little guy…For more information on the Contour, visit Contour’s Website.
If you’re interested in Purchasing, buy where I get almost all of my gear: Roberts Distributors.