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Old 04-27-11, 10:12 AM   #1
motorider
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POV camera for biking?

I'm thinking to buy a POV camera. Looks like two market leaders are GoPro and Contour.

I have borrowed my friend's GoPro HD Hero and tested it out. It works well, however the housing is bulky and it is awkward when it is mounted on the helmet. The housing and the camera feel a bit heavy on the helmet. It's bit hard to operate when you can not see the status light.

I haven't tried Contour. From the specification, I like it. Compared to GoPro Hero, Contour is smaller, lighter, easier to operate when mounted on the helmet. Battery life for Contour 1080p without GPS is slightly better than GoPro.

Comments or suggestions?
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Old 04-27-11, 10:17 AM   #2
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I use a Sony Cybershot mounted on the handlebars with a reflector mount, the videos are surprisingly smooth & steady. Most people's cycling vids make me queasy. The camera is 4 years old now, probably pick one up on eBay for next to nothing.
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Old 04-27-11, 11:07 AM   #3
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Where did you get the mount? I have been thinking the option of using an old camera with mount as well. However I can't find a good camera mount to hold the camera on bumpy road.

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I use a Sony Cybershot mounted on the handlebars with a reflector mount
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Old 04-28-11, 08:24 AM   #4
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http://www.instructables.com/id/Bicycle-Camera-Mount-for-under-$1/
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Old 04-28-11, 09:12 AM   #5
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Oregon Scientific now also has a 1080p hd camera, the ATC9K. Theirs has a screen and retails for $299. Comes with many mounts including bike mount. One reviewer said he returned his Contour and got this one and likes it better. Includes integrated G force sensor, if you care, and will interface with GPS.
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Old 04-28-11, 09:15 AM   #6
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BTW, for anti-shake, run the video through VirtualDub and apply the antishake filter. Actually works better than in-camera antishake since it has access to the entire video including what WILL happen in the future.
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Old 04-28-11, 11:17 AM   #7
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I use a Kodak Playsport waterproof camcorder mounted on a Pedco UltraClamp handlebar mount. I always record in the lowest resolution setting (848x480), but the picture quality is still very good. The camera was only $117 at Best Buy. I like the Pedco mount because it is quick-release and very adjustable. I can swap it between multiple bikes in seconds.

Here's my YouTube channel. It's all cycling-related videos. Some were recorded with a regular digital camera in my hand, but all the videos of me riding up and down hills were recorded with a handlebar mount and the Playsport. The first two climbing videos, recorded in February, were recorded with a Casio EX-S12 digital camera on the Pedco mount.

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Old 04-28-11, 12:19 PM   #8
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I have been using GoPro HD cameras since these were released and have had no problems. Some of the people I know have been using Contour HD. IMHO, GoPro HD has better video quality (colors are more saturated). Also the 170 degree wide angle setting when recording at 720p gives a better perspective of speed, again my opinion.

It is indeed bulkier when mounted on a helmet but you can mount it on the handlebar, chest, etc., if this bothers you. The controls do indeed take getting used to but after a while you get accustomed to it.

EDIT: Here is a sample video from my 2 GoPro cameras (one mounted in the drops and the other one facing to the rear on the seatpost):

Last edited by cyclocommuter; 04-28-11 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 04-28-11, 12:48 PM   #9
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I forgot to mention that the Playsport also records in 720p and 1080p HD. I never tested the HD video though, as my ride videos are typically almost 1 GB in size in 720x480 SD resolution for about 40 minutes of footage after they're edited, so HD versions would be huge. The YouTube versions are around 140-200 MB each.
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Old 04-28-11, 02:03 PM   #10
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Thanks for the link. However the problem I can see is that the reflector mount could be fragile. In general reflector mounts are only designed to hold very light weight. I used to have a blinky falling off my bike due to a failed reflector mount.

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http://www.instructables.com/id/Bicycle-Camera-Mount-for-under-$1/
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Old 04-28-11, 02:17 PM   #11
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Agree with GoPro's picture quality. I like to mount the camera to my hemet so that I can easily point the camera to anywhere I want to see.

Nice video!

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I have been using GoPro HD cameras since these were released and have had no problems. Some of the people I know have been using Contour HD. IMHO, GoPro HD has better video quality (colors are more saturated). Also the 170 degree wide angle setting when recording at 720p gives a better perspective of speed, again my opinion.

It is indeed bulkier when mounted on a helmet but you can mount it on the handlebar, chest, etc., if this bothers you. The controls do indeed take getting used to but after a while you get accustomed to it.

EDIT: Here is a sample video from my 2 GoPro cameras (one mounted in the drops and the other one facing to the rear on the seatpost):
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Old 04-28-11, 02:24 PM   #12
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Cool videos! Compared to your hand-held videos, the vibration in your handle bar videos is more significant. Maybe a bit post-processing can eliminate that?

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Here's my YouTube channel. It's all cycling-related videos. Some were recorded with a regular digital camera in my hand, but all the videos of me riding up and down hills were recorded with a handlebar mount and the Playsport. The first two climbing videos, recorded in February, were recorded with a Casio EX-S12 digital camera on the Pedco mount.
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Old 04-28-11, 06:12 PM   #13
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I use the Contour GPS camera. I have a number of videos on my blog or my thoughts on the Contour.
Just a couple of thoughts to consider on the helmet mount for any camera.

I had to further secure the camera for the helmet mount. It does not take too much vibration to make a bad video.
Also you have to hold your head fairly steady during the time you are filming. Becomes a pain in the neck in more ways than one. Especially if your focus is training rather than filming.

I switched to a bar mount that I can toggle the switch while riding. The camera is actually hard to see as it sits under the bar.
The battery on the Contour last me about 40 to 50 miles and that is with me shooting video now and then. That is not a constant run time.
On a century I need to carry at least 3 batteries.

Overall I like the Contour, but wanted to give my honest thoughts. Hope that helps
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Old 04-28-11, 08:03 PM   #14
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Cool videos! Compared to your hand-held videos, the vibration in your handle bar videos is more significant. Maybe a bit post-processing can eliminate that?
Thanks Right now I'm using Windows Movie Maker 2011 on my Windows 7 machine. WMM is pretty stripped-down, so it may not have image stabilization features. I may purchase a Mac Mini sometime in the next few months. Hopefully iMovie has something like that
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Old 04-28-11, 08:05 PM   #15
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Thanks for the link. However the problem I can see is that the reflector mount could be fragile. In general reflector mounts are only designed to hold very light weight. I used to have a blinky falling off my bike due to a failed reflector mount.
I agree. I'm not sure I would want to trust my camera to that mount on a bumpy descent. The Pedco mount I use is very durable and I have had zero issues with it.
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Old 04-29-11, 12:02 AM   #16
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Jesse, thanks for the review. Looks like Contour videos does have higher vibrations. My videos made by GoPro didn't have that much vibration. Here is a video I took when descenting Mt Baldy. No anti-shake filter is applied.

Maybe I'll reconsider GoPro (maybe GoPro 960? I don't need 1080p).

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I use the Contour GPS camera. I have a number of videos on my blog or my thoughts on the Contour.
Just a couple of thoughts to consider on the helmet mount for any camera.

I had to further secure the camera for the helmet mount. It does not take too much vibration to make a bad video.
Also you have to hold your head fairly steady during the time you are filming. Becomes a pain in the neck in more ways than one. Especially if your focus is training rather than filming.

I switched to a bar mount that I can toggle the switch while riding. The camera is actually hard to see as it sits under the bar.
The battery on the Contour last me about 40 to 50 miles and that is with me shooting video now and then. That is not a constant run time.
On a century I need to carry at least 3 batteries.

Overall I like the Contour, but wanted to give my honest thoughts. Hope that helps
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Old 04-29-11, 06:37 AM   #17
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I had the GroPro mounted on the front of my helmet just at the bottom edge, I used the head strap mount with the straps removed and fastened it with cable ties and some small foam bits behind to stabilize the mount. I found the helmet mount to be weird on top. On the front of the helmet you would not know its there, plus if you leave the bold loos enough you can swing it down to see if the light is on.

This one is on the stock mount on the top of the handle bars.

I will be using the open back this weekend to let more sound in but covered with a filer to reduce wind noise.
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Old 04-29-11, 12:02 PM   #18
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What about the Flip Camera? I have one but I haven't uploaded any videos from rides yet. You could probably find some videos up on youtube! They also have a HD version. The only thing that sucks is that it might be too bulky and mounting might be tricky.
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Old 04-29-11, 12:13 PM   #19
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What about the Flip Camera? I have one but I haven't uploaded any videos from rides yet. You could probably find some videos up on youtube! They also have a HD version. The only thing that sucks is that it might be too bulky and mounting might be tricky.
The Flip has a similar form factor to my Playsport, so it should work on any decent handlebar mount like the Pedco that I use.

There is a poster here who uses a Flip and uploads videos to YouTube all the time. He posted a picture of his handlebar mount once. Maybe he'll chime in
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Old 04-29-11, 12:23 PM   #20
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It's hard to argue against the GoPro. If you look carefully, you'll find that Discovery and several other networks that produce reality shows like Mythbusters use these things by the dozens. They mount them on helmets, they tape them to cars and snowboards, they put them on sticks and dangle them off of cliffs. If they feel they can use them to produce broadcast-quality video, that's a pretty good endorsement. 'Course, they're not using the audio that the camera records, generally; they dub in the boom mic recording.
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Old 04-29-11, 02:21 PM   #21
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There is a poster here who uses a Flip and uploads videos to YouTube all the time. He posted a picture of his handlebar mount once. Maybe he'll chime in
The Flip does not have an anti shock sytem. It is tall and rectangular in profile so it vibrates plenty while mounted onthe handlebars.

This is the Ultra model which is not high def. But descending Glendora Mtn Rd at 30, not too bad for the price. ($130)


The setup


The mount $5 online..also mounts onto helmet


This is a bikeforumsdotnet ride up GMR to Baldy Village. All done by hand, no mounts. Again, the unit does not have antishock.


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Old 04-29-11, 02:26 PM   #22
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The Flip does not have an anti shock sytem. It is tall and rectangular in profile so it vibrates plenty while mounted onthe handlebars.

This is the Ultra model which is not high def. But descending Glendora Mtn Rd at 30, not too bad for the price. ($130)
Here's my descent video with the Playsport. No image stabilization, bumpy roads, almost the same shape as the Flip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bem1RSMKSq8
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Old 04-29-11, 10:13 PM   #23
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But descending Glendora Mtn Rd at 30
Just now got around to watching this video. Great job You know me, I like raw footage on most ride videos, especially climbs But a good descent video with lots of fast turns, a good song, and just the right mix of wind noise and music is cool too! Thumbs up!

BTW, someone needs to let YouTube know it's AC/DC, not AD/CD.
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Old 04-30-11, 01:48 AM   #24
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i've got a HERO-960 (slightly neutered HERO, but near half the price), and looking to get another one. mounted to the bike with RAM kit.

in comparison to the contour, the HERO is bulky and ugly, but i passed on the contour because its videos looked to me like the edges are blurred.
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Old 04-30-11, 12:16 PM   #25
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Here's some from a ContourHD 1080p (shot at 60fps 720p mode). Keep in mind that we started in the evening and went on into full nighttime, and these cameras don't do very well in low light.


And here's some helmet-mounted:


Overall, I'd give the Contour a 6 out of 10. It does seem to be quite tough; it's gone flying off the bike, been hit on tree branches, been in heavy rain, keeps working. The lens cover scratches easily if you're trying to wipe mud off it, and replacements are rather expensive... if I have to buy any more, I'll just find a glass lens in that size instead of plastic.

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