Looking to buy a helmet cam…

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Jack
Participant
#

I’m looking to buy a helmet cam and was hoping someone here could offer their thoughts on the merits of different brands. The two that I keep coming across are the GoPro HD Hero2 ($299) and the Contour ROAM ($199).


stefb
Participant
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I have the contour roam and it works best mounted on top of the helmet. I feel it is a bit heavy on te side, but I love it.


pinky
Participant
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Glad to know the ROAM is decent. I was just shopping around for one too. On Amazon it’s going for $166 minus the SD card, which will runs another $20 if you don’t already have one.

Alas I got distracted and ended up ordering a Moop messenger bag instead. Extra money is now gone.


Steven
Participant
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In April I got a Swann FreeStyle 1080p Action Cam for $145 on Woot. Had to add a memory card.

It includes lots of mounting options that seem very sturdy. I’ve got it mounted to my helmet. It includes a waterproof case (works nicely in the rain though occasionally a drop gets in the image) and a remote control.

It’s light enough that I keep forgetting it’s there and bumping it into door jambs and such.

Issues:

The battery only lasts 2.5-3 hours. (You can swap it though.)

The LCD display and some buttons are on a tiny part that snaps on the back of the camera. You have to remove that part to get it to fit in its waterproof case.

It’s camera-shaped and looks kind of dorky.

The controls and general user interface are functional but not elegant.

I’m happy with it, but I’ve not yet had the chance to see if it’s an effective black box after a crash.


chinston
Participant
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I like the Contour. I got the basic model, without GPS or whatever, and the video quality is good enough for me. I did shell out maybe $30 more for a rubber mounting apparatus, which I use to strap it to my headtube. It’s very inconspicuous, which I like – I didn’t want to have a camera sticking out from my helmet, both for appearance and comfort.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I think a bunch of us jumped on that Woot offer a month or so ago. I haven’t used it much myself, again more an issue of figuring out how to mount it. Has anyone figured out a way to attach it to something other than a helmet or handlebar? I think I’d feel more comfortable with it on my shoulder than my head.


orionz06
Participant
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Anyone have experience with GoPro vs Contour in terms of video quality?


rice rocket
Participant
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GoPro is better and handles low light better. However, the GoPro looks pretty stupid.

Sony and JVC have decided to jump into the market. I’m personally waiting for their offerings before I make a decision.


orionz06
Participant
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Looks interesting, I just wish they would stop whoring the Zeiss name when Zeiss quality is not had. The GoPro looks have not held me back but the Sony sounds appealing.


edmonds59
Participant
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It would be nice if some company would separate the image sensor itself from the rest of the electronics with a short cable, the image sensor itself only needs to be like a half-inch “button”. Placement would be a heck of a lot less problematic that way. Any idea if any companies are going that route?


rice rocket
Participant
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edmonds: The problem with making it super small is that it’ll get crushed. It needs some superstructure to it to keep it alive. The closest you’ll get is the VIO POV cam.

http://www.vio-pov.com/

There’s also this, which is really small:

http://www.tachyoninc.com/


orionz06
Participant
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While that would be cool I think you begin to have too much stuff going on. The market for these cameras includes quite a few different industries. Many TV shows are using them for in car footage and for mounted footage. Competitive shooters are mounting them to equipment for perspective footage, cyclists are using them, guitarists are using them for shows both mounted on stage and sometimes on their instruments, kayakers, skydivers, the list goes on. I think something as simple as that connection adds a level of complexity to deal with that people might not want. On the other hand I can see how that paired with lenses that are now less cumbersome due to 2 parts might be even better.


rzod
Participant
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Don’t know anything about it, and it isn’t HD (it’s 640×480), but today’s Tech Woot looks interesting for $35.

http://tech.woot.com/offers/midland-extreme-action-camera


Anonymous #

I wish more cyclist would have a camera on their bikes, just to see what we go through. lol Anyway, I have seen some pretty cool cameras on skiers helmets that look pretty small, so I thought that might also be a place to check when searching. Let us know what you land on.


salty
Participant
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I just bought a HD Hero 2 because I got a crazy good deal on it. Not sure how I’m going to use it – I have mixed feelings about recording my commute, although I did that on the way home. Then I attached it to one of my dogs for fun.

A few questions for people who have this camera: (1) why does it default to 1280×960 – is there any downside to 1920×1080 assuming you have a 32G SD card? (2) The sound is really muffled, should I swap out for the other “door”? (3) It seems a lot of people use the helmet mount but it worries me that it could compromise the functioning of the helmet in a crash. I bought the handlebar mount which seems to work pretty well, are there any advantages to the helmet other than being able to turn your head and film things?

I didn’t think it was terribly easy to get a plate number from cars that passed me but I only have a crappy video player (no frame-by-frame) and changing to 1080p might also help.


cburch
Participant
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1) less processor power for longer battery life for all day recording of whatever action sport you are doing (its main purpose)

2) the sound always sucks on go pros, this is one reason why most videos just skip most of the sound for a music bed.

3) additional stability. you dampen a lot of the trail/road vibrations naturally with your body (especially when riding out of the saddle as most people using these on bikes do, since they are riding bmx, trials, downhill, etc)


salty
Participant
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thanks… do you have one? if so, what resolution do you usually use?

i did notice the bike swaying back and forth when pedaling, and it is a bit jarring over bumps… overall i like the handlebar mount, although i’ll try the helmet to see the difference. nice to have so many mount options.


cburch
Participant
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i have a contour. when i got it gopro hadn’t yet released the hero2 and the contour hd was way better at handling changing light conditions.

they also have a chest mount for the go pro that would be a decent compromise between frame and helmet.


boostuv
Participant
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I’ve been meaning to get one that I can swap around between my motorcycle and bicycle. Colin, have you had any crashes with a GoPro or the Contour? If so has one faired better than the other?


cburch
Participant
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People crash with both all the time. They are pretty rugged. if you want one for moto use though get the gopro. Much better mounting options for that one. Also if you do crash hard the camera is inside a box not exposed.


boostuv
Participant
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I’ve never seen one of the Contour’s so I wasn’t sure as to their ruggedness. The ability to switch between bicycle mount for commuting, bicycle mount for sport riding, moto helmet mount for commuting, moto mount for sport riding is incredibly appealing.

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