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!?
I had a contour plus. Like had it warrantied due to sound issues but also broke several mounts in a matter of days snowboarding. Even cracked the rail system on the camera just from forces involved in landings. Never fell on the camera. I was pleased with the footage once I got comfortable using it. The rotating lens was an awesome feature but the camera has some serious weight to it. It's not any smaller in profile, really it just looks more aerodynamic. I had an oregon scientific POV camera before and that thing sucked. It might work better now with the faster SD cards but it couldn't handle the action.
The main thing I have found is that the footage seems to be easiest to follow if there is something stationary like the side of your helmet or your lines from the kite. Anyways, I was kiting with contour as well and it was fine on the board mount but the audio was pretty bad but the plus ins't waterproof so I had to get the housing. The housing is massive, bulky, heavy and it doesn't not float like it is supposed to. At least not with the mount attached to it it doesn't. I thought the point of the floating case was so that in the event of mount failure, you would at least be able to find it floating.
I used it on the lines a bunch before losing it, it worked fairly well. It definitely snagged the lines a bunch but the main thing I didn't like was how much it swiveled in the lines due to weight. I like the easy sliding record button but that only works when its in reach. I just got the new hero and I really like the small cube of the housing, low profile mounts and the ability to change from picture mode to video while the camera is hanging from my kite and I'm riding.
Basically just saying that if you go contour, don't bother with the gps or the plus models until they waterproof those cameras to a meter like they did the roam. I haven't had issues with fogging but once mounted I make sure it sits in the shade until use. Had about 5 hours of use in 55-60 degree water no problems with fogging.
Hey I see you on a Monk Forever with what appears to be the new Sneaker X pad/straps. Any comment on the new setup?
The straps are great but I put Mystic d3o pads on it as soon as I got it. In the summer I get on great with the Shinn pads but I like something with a toe bar in the winter so I can grip it with boots on - but I have very narrow feet?
I haven't had issues with fogging but once mounted I make sure it sits in the shade until use. Had about 5 hours of use in 55-60 degree water no problems with fogging.
I live in Scotland and we go out in in air temps below 40F and mine fogged like the glasses of a fat kid in a sweet shop! Even with gloves I can mount the Roam and switch it on in seconds - the GP was a pita as I had to get the angle right (reflection in car window) then tighten with a screwdriver to secure and then press the button(s) and make sure it was in right mode and recording.
Time will tell but so far I love the simplicity of the Roam (without the case) and the form facor just seems so much better for kiting?
I know what you mean about dealing with all the setup parts in cold weather. My contour was ok when snowboarding but some days, really cold ones, the power on button, and battery check wouldn't always work. It wasn't a glove issue since I wear the thinnest gloves possible but it wasn't a biggie. I learned a lot with the contour that preparation and testing helps with getting angles and shots right. I became quite proficient with switching between my helmet, and ski pole mount, and back pack mount and adjusting shooting angles to compensate for changes in position for the best shot. Do you have the laser angle projector on the new roam, or was that only a feature on the gps.
As far as fogging, I think the main thing is keeping a consistent air temperature on the camera, and case inside, outside and underwater. I know that the hero 3 heats up nice when running continuously but I haven't had any troubles thus far. A lot of times I'm using a surf board and TT in a session and when not using using the surfboard, I make sure to rest it top side down so the camera stays in the shade, haven't even bothered to turn it off
I can confirm the contour roam does float in the waterproof case. Mine was ripped off in a huge wipeout and i have an hour of footage of it floating. It washed up on the beach and i found it about 2hrs later.
Looking at the footage it floats ok but is hard to see as its only the lens thats above the water.
The roam might weigh less than the plus. Did the case rip off with the surf mount pad and all? I heard mine jiggle on my board in the air, landed, it fell off, I saw it, quickly changed directions and it was gone! Mine definitely sunk.
Mine was on a self adhesive rotating helmet mount. The mount was tethered but it was the rail on the waterproof case that failed - the yellow plastic rails were pulled off the housing. Fixed with some superglue and now tethered using the tripod screw.
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