I recently bought a Contour Roam2 camera and thought I'd do a little write up as I think for us narcissistic kitesurfers it is a better option than some of the other POV cameras out there. It was replacing a GoPro HD2 that I bought in a rather sheepish follow the herd mentality. The reason I say this is because the vast majority of kiters have them and everyone who wants to buy a POV camera seems to automatically opt for the GoPro?
However, if we were to stop and consider it for a minute would we actually choose it as the best form factor for what we do? People will argue that the camera is the smallest, easiest to use and gives the best picture quality (if you are an aficionado) and that with the release of the new version its kicks ass… and for all intents and purposes it does.
So what do I have a problem with – the hulking plastic case and mounting options! To summarise; for kiting I have found it boxy, unwieldy in it's case and a total pain to mount at times (screwdriver and cold fingers!), but my biggest problem is the fogging! I have tried all the tricks from drying it out in the fridge, using the air con and packets of silica yet I have still had videos look like Stephen King’s the Fog – usually a great session where I was amped to get home and check the footage to find it mistier than a misty thing on a misty day!
So researching this and line mounting options I found the thread on here, where the guy who tests the Camrig mounts stated he prefers to use the Contour Roam as he feels it gives more consistent results. He uses it without a case and has never had any problems or failures as it is waterproof to 1m taking all the splashing and an occasional dunking, and if line mounted the form factor is more stable with a better centre of gravity.
So a little bit more research led me to getting the Roam2, as I wanted something easy to mount and simple to operate with no need for Wi-Fi or fancy bells and whistles. The Unit itself is light and compact (not as much as the GP - but without the case), very sturdy and the package came with a rotating mount and profile mount, plus a 4GB micro SD card. I used the profile mount on the side of my helmet and it feels very secure – maybe because it sits more flush to the surface and does not protrude, plus it has a little lanyard to attach it to a strap etc.
To operate it is very simple via a push switch with a little locking mechanism and it will start recording (or taking photos) instantly. However, this might be where it gets some criticism as you have to set it up via your computer and then it is essentially stuck in this mode until you hook it up again. So if halfway through your session you thought it might be good to take some pictures then there is no small buttons to press to do this. That said I have never wanted to do this and found that a few times with that other camera I thought I had pressed record to get back after a session to find only one picture – usually of my face!
I got mine from these guys http://www.contourshop.com/t/ContourRoam2
and so far it fits the bill perfectly. Easy to mount, foolproof in its operation and the results so far have been good - even on a very overcast cold Scottish day (check the image quality is good at 720p with 60fps in the video below). I have the line mount here and as soon as it thaws enough to be unhooking more I’ll put of some video of me repeatedly crashing blind judges and maybe someone can give me some pointers!?