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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for helmet cameras?

    Hey guys,

    I'm interested in buying a helmet camera but there are lots of options out there. Anyone have one they'd recommend?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    GoPro HD
    http://www.goprocamera.com/products/...ero-camera.php
    Good Review - http://gizmodo.com/5396576/gopro-hero-hd-camera-review

    Contour HD
    http://contour.com/camera/contour_hd
    I don't have any reviews on hand for this

    Basically: GoPro shoots 720p, Contour can shoot at 1080p (both at 60 or 30 fps), GoPro has 170 degree lens vs 137(about), Contour is sleeker, shinier, GoPro comes with more rugged case, waterproof. Both mount to helmets, bars, goggles, virtually any round tube, cars/flat surfaces, surfboards. Although the GoPro has a chest harness, which personally, I would get. GoPro claims 2.5 hour battery life, Contour- 2 hours.

    I think you can make the choice from there

  3. #3
    Senior Member dorkypants's Avatar
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    Let's see...GoPro HD, right?

    To be fair, let's consider some other factors: ContourHD has laser aiming guides, GoPro doesn't. ContourHD gives you audible feedback when it starts recording and when it stops recording (different beeps), GoPro doesn't.

  4. #4
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Moving this from Road Cycling to Electronics etc. Carry on...

    --Juha, a Forum Mod
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


    Become a Registered Member in Bike Forums
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  5. #5
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    I have a ContourHD1080p. I think it's great, easy to use, etc etc etc. Some things it doesn't do - doesn't do 60 fps at 1080. I run it at 720px60fps, which is plenty for a large screen TV. I don't use the helmet mount, just use the goggle mount sideways with a minipump strap (velcro, about twice as wide as a regular velcro strap for say a saddle bag).

    2GB lasts an hour. I have two 8BG MicroSD cards. I can record a little over 2 hours of riding time before the battery gets low (standard battery). I don't carry spare batteries.

    You can turn the camera on and off easily while riding, even with winter gloves on.

    The camera does get warm. It is not totally waterproof although I used it in a wet race with no problems. I should have used it the next day but didn't - I didn't know how the picture turned out so I assumed that it hadn't turned out at all.

    I tried a GoPro, not the HD. I even tried it for free and based on my GoPro experience I bought the ContourHD.

    The biggest thing about the GoPro is the clunkiness (big box on your head) and the wider angle (a little wider than the ContourHD, 170 vs 130 degrees, something like that, don't quote me). I think the GoPro works decently as a "on the bike" camera, but it's not very intuitive. The first bit of every GoPro recording is of a close up of the user squinting into the lens to see if it's really turned on and really recording. You definitely cannot turn the thing on while kitted up in long finger gloves etc, at least I can't. I had to take my gloves off.

    I do have a GoPro clip of the descent off of Palomar and Wohlford (for those in the SoCal area). I have yet to put it into a clip that I can upload.

    Some sample ContourHD1080p clips:

    In the wet:


    In the dry:


    And a non-HD clip for comparison sake (520 line cam on helmet, feeding a wide screen but not HD camcorder in my pocket... also a guest appearance of a cam that is neither GoPro nor ContourHD):


    Hope this helps
    cdr aka sprinterdellacasa

  6. #6
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    I really recommend the VIO-pov camera, but its not cheap. We never have used it for biking but it was great for river rapids
    R&J

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    Many thanks guys! I have a few follow up questions if you don't mind. I tend to over-analyze these types of purchases so apologies for the survey feel to this ;-)

    - Do you leave it on all day or do you stop and start it to capture specific moments? If you stop and start it, does that feel tedious? Do you sometimes miss stuff? If you let it run all day, how do you find the good moments later?
    - What do you use to edit your videos later?
    - What other sports have you tried it with?
    Last edited by noahsw; 10-19-10 at 11:18 PM.

  8. #8
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    Keep in mind that my primary use for the helmet cam is as a recording device in case something happens. I spent enough money after getting taken out in a bike race (intentionally, but the action wasn't directed at me, it was "generic", i.e. would have taken out anyone in my position) to buy 20 racers (basically the size of the field) a ContourHD and memory card. If I had access to all 20 riders' recordings, the rider probably would have had a meaningful punishment.

    I also live in an area where drivers habitually ignore stop signs and no turn on reds. Not just rolling through them but going through them at 20-30 mph, tires squealing, etc.

    I use my phone as a dash cam when I drive for the same reason.

    Back to the questions...

    ContourHD and GoPro both turn off if inactive for some time. I don't remember GoPro's time, Contour is 15 min.

    With over 2 hours available recording time, I usually just start recording and leave it. For races and such I'll start at or near the start line.

    For training rides I start right away. I shut off if I stop or if I'm on a MUP since I'm more interested in making sure that if anything happens to me, someone has a video to view. I've recorded the interesting parts of a 100+ mile day this way. Since a ContourHD is sooooo easy to start/stop (recording - slide large thing either forward or backward) it's not "tedious". Don't even have to look at it - feel it (with/without gloves on) to see if it's recording, if it's not then slide forward, wait to hear beep, you're good.

    For editing I use iMovie for ContourHD clips (.mov). When I imported data from a camcorder into a windows machine, I used Windows Movie Maker. iMovie is much easier to do. You can tell which clips I did with what - all the HD clips are iMovie, the others are WMM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bat56's Avatar
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    Wow, another way to spend $300. Thanks a lot.

  10. #10
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    For me, one nice thing about the GoPro is that it's more suitable for mounting in situations OTHER than on a helmet. I like to put cameras on kites, rockets, dog collars, motorized vehicles of various sorts, etc. The GoPro has tons of mounting options and is pretty easy to make your own too.

    Also, I like the "a picture every X seconds" mode - very useful in some situations - you can do time lapse movies of an entire drive across a continent, for instance. It's just a very flexible piece of equipment.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awesomejack View Post
    Basically: GoPro shoots 720p, Contour can shoot at 1080p (both at 60 or 30 fps), GoPro has 170 degree lens vs 137(about), Contour is sleeker, shinier, GoPro comes with more rugged case, waterproof.
    GoPro HD does 1080p as well.

    Contour drops to 720p when doing 60 fps. (Note that the GoPro can do 60 fps as well, and it too drops to 720p when doing so.)

    When the GoPro HD is in it's 170 degree mode, it's doing 960p (1280x960) rather than 1080p or something else. When it's in it's 1080p mode, it's doing 127 degrees.

    Really, their specifications are very similar, but the GoPro will go wider (with massive amounts of "fish eye lens" distortion on the edges of the lens, but that's to be expected) and it has a "take a still picture every X seconds" mode that the Contour doesn't have (that I'm aware of.)

    GoPro's case is rugged enough, but if you drop it there's roughly a 40% chance that it'll hit the lens cover (which sticks out) and it'll be scratched and will have to be replaced (or you'll have a spot right there on all your video.) I don't think the Contour has this issue.

    If your camera is mounted somewhere you can't see it (like your helmet) you will get situations where you've got an hour long recording of the sky or ground. The Contour's laser could help with that, of course, but I'd rather mount to my bike where I can see it. Mounting to your handlebars has it jerk back and forth with your steering -- the best idea I've seen is to zip-tie a stick to your frame that extends forward past your steering tube and mount it to that -- much more stable.

    If you're on a really tight budget, skip these two cameras and get one of those dirt cheap ($13 with shipping) 808 keychain cameras. They take 640x480 video and the quality can't compare to the Contour or GoPro -- but they're so very cheap it's hard to go wrong with them, and they're so small that mounting is very easy -- just velcro them where you want them to be, they won't fall off.

  12. #12
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    I need a cam too. Some maniac in a beat up old F-150 nearly mowed me down this morning. With a camera I can upload the video and report it to the authorities. Has anyone had any luck with that? I mean I see people on the trail all the time with helmet mounted cams, but other than for entertainment has anyone actual used the video to resolve a dispute?

    In any case, it sounds like to 2 choices are Contour and GoPro?

  13. #13
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If you really want to use your video as evidence, then yes, I think you need HD. Standard def is OK but unless you can catch up with the car you can't be sure you'll get the plate numbers.

    As for whether it does any good, it varies by jurisdiction. Some departments will issue tickets based on videos, some will pay a visit to the person and inform them of bicycle's rights and possibly that what they were doing would be considered assault, possibly assault with a deadly weapon, which could be a felony, if a case came to court. Most will at least take a report so that if the person is involved in an accident later it may weigh against them. Some won't even talk to you.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  14. #14
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    If you really want to use your video as evidence, then yes, I think you need HD. Standard def is OK but unless you can catch up with the car you can't be sure you'll get the plate numbers.
    Even HD doesn't guarantee that it'll catch the plate numbers, but it does greatly improve the odds.

    640x480 will certainly get what happened and where, however -- as long as it happened close to you, anyways. But to be sure, you'll have one camera pointing forwards and one back, and even that may not catch everything. It starts getting expensive.

  15. #15
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I think a reasonable compromise is to point an HD camera front and a cheap SD camera rearward.

    Personally I have a cheap SD camera but I rarely use it, because stuff rarely happens to me, and I've never had anything happen to me that I wanted video evidence.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  16. #16
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paverman4u View Post
    I need a cam too. Some maniac in a beat up old F-150 nearly mowed me down this morning. With a camera I can upload the video and report it to the authorities. Has anyone had any luck with that? I mean I see people on the trail all the time with helmet mounted cams, but other than for entertainment has anyone actual used the video to resolve a dispute?

    In any case, it sounds like to 2 choices are Contour and GoPro?

    I have the same question; Can a video camera be used to resolve a dispute? I originally asked in the A&S Forum, and 80% of replies said "No", Even Though the SUV was pulled over by Police a little later in the video.
    Okay, maybe it was me, going 40 in a 30 zone...

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...olice-On-Video!
    NOTE: This thread was CLOSED, and remains LOCKED, you can NOT post a reply.

    I will now test my ability to Embed a video:



    Did I embed that video correctly? If you want to reply, please reply on my YouTube video, since the A&S thread exploded in flames... Thank You.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  17. #17
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    I have the same question; Can a video camera be used to resolve a dispute? I originally asked in the A&S Forum, and 80% of replies said "No", Even Though the SUV was pulled over by Police a little later in the video.
    The thread you're referring to doesn't even contain the word "dispute". The results will vary based on what exactly you asked, so you should get that part correct.

    I didn't read that thread that carefully, but I don't recall you showing the police the video and then they pulled the guy over. I thought they pulled him over without ever seeing your video. In that case, your video did not resolve any dispute, even if you did show it to them later.

    As for your "poll" ... the police usually aren't terribly interested in getting reports of moving violations made to them, even with video evidence. There may be some exceptions, especially for the more egregious violations, but mostly they just don't care. However, if there's an actual collision and you caught it on video, you'll find that people are very interested in seeing that, especially the insurance companies who might be able to use it to avoid paying a claim.

    I wish somebody would make a tiny camera like the 808 keychain cameras that took an external power source and recorded all the time that they had power, perhaps keeping 1 GB files and deleting the oldest one as needed to free up space. And of course I wish it had a cost comparable to the 808 keychain cameras. If this existed, I'd put them in my car -- one forward, one back -- powered when the ignition is on. And I'd use them on my bike as well, perhaps getting a hub generator to provide power so I never need to remember to turn them on. They may or may not catch license plates well, but they certainly would end a whole lot of disputes about what actually happened.

  18. #18
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I'm thinking about upgrading to HD. This camera I have (Canon SD1200) does not discern lisence plate numbers.

    I learned how to embed a youtube video today, this is only a test...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  19. #19
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    Didn't settle a dispute but it changed the cop's mind from ignoring us to driving to the guy's house and giving him a short lecture (probably on the importance of not killing tourists in a tourist area).

    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...uises-and.html

    Picture (still, shrunk, from the ContourHD):


    Plate was very legible.

    I too want an automatic, rolling-drive, front and rear cam set up for my car. I'll stand by pretty much all my driving (some remote highway stuff notwithstanding). I drive with the phone as a dash cam all the time (DroidX, the lens peeks around the window mount). I have no problem showing an officer my whole drive, and they can extrapolate speed, tailgating distance, etc from the video. I drive my car and ride my bike like someone's video taping me all the time because, frankly, someone is. If everyone drove and rode like that, well, it'd make the roads safer.

    I did turn around once when I was a passenger in a car being tailgated ferociously for no reason (other cars in front of us, long line of traffic). It's when I pretended to take out the phone cam that the driver backed off. A rear facing camera with some words like "smile, you're on camera" would do wonders to ease the aggressiveness of some drivers around here.

    cdr

  20. #20
    Super Moderator
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    btw USA Cycling is considering banning helmet cams. If you race, please let your local rep know how you feel about this.

    cdr

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