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Old 06-15-11, 09:22 PM   #1
JFlurett
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Contour HD $179 @ Amazon

I have no affiliation with this, just was sent the link via a friend looking out for me. I'm still not sure what I want to do. This @ $179 or the gopro HD helmet @ ~$255.

3 hours left on this deal.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox/dis...TQBQJXBB3RZX23
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Old 06-18-11, 08:25 AM   #2
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deal is still going, and google (search for "contour 1300") shows several stores with the same price (including B&H). $180 might be the new price.

i've got a pair of HERO-960s on the bike, front and rear, and when i hear back from contour tech-support after the weekend i'll probably buy one of those for my helmet... it's less weight, less conspicuous and a lot less ugly than a HERO. i'm not a weight-weenie, but a two ounce difference on my helmet is much bigger than two ounces on the bike, especially if i can mount the camera on top. i don't care much about looks, but putting a HERO on top of a helmet is too bizarre looking, even for me; putting it on the front of the helmet seems to make the weight more noticeable. for $180, a contour-hd 1080p on top of the helmet is too good to pass up.

i got both of my HERO-960s from jensonusa.com for $180/ea (plus shipping to NZ).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...p_Full_HD.html

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...eo+Camera.aspx

i'm not shooting for IMAX so the 960p is plenty for my rides. there are plenty of comparison videos on youtube. note that the contour-hd 1080p is much better image quality than the older contour-hd 720p, and some of the youtube videos might not specify which version of the camera is used.

as far as i can tell, they're all good cameras for the money. probably the biggest difference if the field of view. the HEROs are crazy-wide at 170 and very sharp all the way to the edges. the contours reign that in a bit, but 110/135 is still decent for most applications. the older contours distorted towards the edges but from the videos i've been watching on youtube it seems like the 1300 (1080p) has it all sorted out.

HERO-960:
* 170 FoV
* ugly, boxy
* on a kitchen scale, mine weighs 6oz with the case
* file format: MP4 (ISO Media, MPEG v4 system, 3GPP JVT AVC) H.264, AAC-48Khz
* SD card (standard) up to 32GB
* godawful proprietary mounting system
* settings configurable via cryptic display and two buttons

contour-hd 1080p:
* 135 960p and 720p - 110 1080p and WVGA
* sleek, sexy
* weight: 4.2oz
* file format: MOV
* micro-SD (come with 2GB card) up to 32GB
* godawful proprietary mounting system
* settings configurable via software

edit: actually, the mounting systems aren't terrible... unless you want to get creative. using them as the manufacturer intends, i don't think they're bad... aside from being proprietary.

Last edited by smasha; 06-18-11 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 06-18-11, 12:30 PM   #3
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I own both a GoProHD and ContourGPS. I like the GoPro better. I gave more detail about why in this thread.

Note that the GoProHD has crazy distortion around the edges too when in 960p/photo/170 degree mode. Here's some examples in photo mode and here's an example in video mode.
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Old 06-18-11, 10:53 PM   #4
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http://www.amazon.com/Contour-1300-C...8458947&sr=1-1

Looks like it's now on the main ContourHD Amazon page for $179. It's $179 through B&H so I would imagine it will stay at $179.
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Old 06-18-11, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasha View Post
HERO-960:
<SNIP>
* ugly, boxy
* on a kitchen scale, mine weighs 6oz with the case
This pretty much kills the Hero in my book; do you really want to strap a big lever to the side of your helmet? That's exactly what it's going to be in a fall, not to mention the potential for snagging branches, etc. when riding off road or the extra drag when going fast on the road. The Contour seems to be one of the few cameras designed by someone with an actual understanding of what an action camera should be.
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Old 06-19-11, 12:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
This pretty much kills the Hero in my book; do you really want to strap a big lever to the side of your helmet? That's exactly what it's going to be in a fall, not to mention the potential for snagging branches, etc. when riding off road or the extra drag when going fast on the road. The Contour seems to be one of the few cameras designed by someone with an actual understanding of what an action camera should be.
I use their Chesty mount with mine with far better results than on the helmet. When mounted to the helmet there's no frame of reference as to what activity is going on. You could have it mounted to the hood of a car and not tell the footage from a helmet mount. Also with it's easier to manipulate the controls when its at chest level.
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Old 06-19-11, 12:36 AM   #7
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This pretty much kills the Hero in my book; do you really want to strap a big lever to the side of your helmet? That's exactly what it's going to be in a fall
No, it won't be a big lever. Instead, if you hit it hard, it'll just break off. (Same for the Contour.)

As for the weight, the ContourHD is 4.2 oz, so it's not *that* much better. (Without the case, the GoProHD is 3.3 oz, but that's probably not important on a bike. (It mattered on my R/C airplane, however, where I made a case for it from coroplast in case the plane crashed.))

Extra drag? It's a pretty small difference. But if it matters, use the chest mount -- which isn't really practical with the Contour at all (or available, not that one couldn't fashion it themselves if the Contour was shaped appropriately.)

The GoPro gives you more mounting options.

But ultimately, they're pretty similar -- the differences are fairly minor.
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Old 06-19-11, 01:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
No, it won't be a big lever. Instead, if you hit it hard, it'll just break off. (Same for the Contour.)

As for the weight, the ContourHD is 4.2 oz, so it's not *that* much better. (Without the case, the GoProHD is 3.3 oz, but that's probably not important on a bike. (It mattered on my R/C airplane, however, where I made a case for it from coroplast in case the plane crashed.))

Extra drag? It's a pretty small difference. But if it matters, use the chest mount -- which isn't really practical with the Contour at all (or available, not that one couldn't fashion it themselves if the Contour was shaped appropriately.)

The GoPro gives you more mounting options.

But ultimately, they're pretty similar -- the differences are fairly minor.
Could be useful to have one of each and use the different footage to give a wider overview of the action.
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Old 06-19-11, 02:15 AM   #9
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No, it won't be a big lever. Instead, if you hit it hard, it'll just break off. (Same for the Contour.)
if you mount a HERO on top of a helmet you'll look like a teletubbie - http://www.google.com/search?q=teletubbie&tbm=isch

mounting a HERO on front or the side of a helmet, it's 6oz + mounting hardware which, even if you don't crash or snag, is a bit of a lever compared to almost 2oz less (contour) mounted almost flush with the top of the helmet. even mounted on the side, the contour is ~50% lighter and doesn't stick out as far. even if they weighed the same, being closer to the helmet would make the contour feel lighter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
I use their Chesty mount with mine with far better results than on the helmet. When mounted to the helmet there's no frame of reference as to what activity is going on. You could have it mounted to the hood of a car and not tell the footage from a helmet mount. Also with it's easier to manipulate the controls when its at chest level.
i'm not too concerned with providing a frame of reference, but i'm surprised there isn't a shoulder-mount for the contour... or a chest-mount that uses a periscope and let's the camera sit flush...?

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Note that the GoProHD has crazy distortion around the edges too when in 960p/photo/170 degree mode. Here's some examples in photo mode and here's an example in video mode.
my HERO-960s are just as sharp and crisp at the edges as they are in the center of the frame. that's 170 @ 960p.

the quality of the contours jumped between the older HD 720p and the newer HD 1080p (even when they're both in 720p mode)... maybe what you've seen is from an older version of the HERO?
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Old 06-19-11, 11:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
if you mount a HERO on top of a helmet you'll look like a teletubbie - http://www.google.com/search?q=teletubbie&tbm=isch
Don't delude yourself. You'll look dorky with either camera strapped to your helmet.

Quote:
the contour is ~50% lighter
A more accurate figure would be 29% lighter. (4.2 oz vs 5.9 oz.)

Quote:
my HERO-960s are just as sharp and crisp at the edges as they are in the center of the frame. that's 170 @ 960p.
Sharp and clear, yes, but massively distorted.

Quote:
the quality of the contours jumped between the older HD 720p and the newer HD 1080p (even when they're both in 720p mode)... maybe what you've seen is from an older version of the HERO?
Those videos and pictures are mine. Taken with a GoProHD (but in 960p or photo mode -- that gives you the widest view. 1080p mode gives you a much narrower view, which also skips the parts of the lens with the most distortion.) For example, in reality, the horizon here is almost perfectly flat/straight, but you can't tell that from this picture!) (That was taken with the 3.3 oz (without the case) GoProHD taped to the bottom of a R/C airplane in picture mode, which has the same field of view as 960p mode.)
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Old 06-19-11, 12:31 PM   #11
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@dougmc

1- the countour is a lot less dorky looking on a helmet, IMHO.

2- the mounting hardware for putting a HERO on a helmet is almost 2oz on my kitchen scale. let's say 1.9 + 5.9 = 7.8oz. i don't have the weight of the countour mounting hardware, but i'm guessing the contour + "flat surface mount" is no more than 5.2oz. factor in the HERO's weight being farther from the helmet (which acts like a lever)... contour looks like a big win for helmet mounting.

4.2 + 50% = 6.3

mathematically, i was expressing myself wrong. even without the mounting hardware, the HERO weighs about 50% more than the contour-1300. three contours weigh about as much as two HEROs (with cases).

3- i do wish the Fov on the HERO-960 was a bit narrower, but maybe i'll switch to contours if that turns out to be more usable...?

i just heard back from their tech support, and it looks like the only software i need to change the camera's configuration from linux is a text editor. i'll be getting one. all i need to do now is find which retailer has the cheapest shipping to NZ.
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Old 06-19-11, 01:02 PM   #12
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1- the countour is a lot less dorky looking on a helmet, IMHO.
Dude, so you might not be the purple teletubbie any more -- but you're still a teletubby

Quote:
2- the mounting hardware for putting a HERO on a helmet is almost 2oz on my kitchen scale.
Having it myself, that seems incredibly high -- the case is kind of heavy, but the mounts really aren't. Still, the helmet mount for the Contour is basically the same -- it sticks to the helmet. The GoPro mounts do let you aim things in odd directions better.

Quote:
mathematically, i was expressing myself wrong. even without the mounting hardware, the HERO weighs about 50% more than the contour-1300. three contours weigh about as much as two HEROs (with cases).
If X weighs 50% more than Y, then Y weighs 33% less than X.

Quote:
3- i do wish the Fov on the HERO-960 was a bit narrower, but maybe i'll switch to contours if that turns out to be more usable...?
Both the GoProHD and ContourHD have a FOV of about 130 degrees in 1080p mode. (I've no experience with the Hero 960.)

Quote:
i just heard back from their tech support, and it looks like the only software i need to change the camera's configuration from linux is a text editor. i'll be getting one..
Yes, that is true -- you can control it with a text file on the sd card. It's not particularly user friendly, but it works.

One drawback is that you just have two modes -- 1 and 2 -- and can only switch between these two modes in the field without a computer (or one of the later Contour devices and the bluetooth card and an iPhone app). The GoPro's controls may be cryptic, but at least they're available.

If you get the ContourGPS, you'll need their Windows software to get the GPS stream off with the video, though you can dump the NMEA stream with something like this --

strings video-file.mov | grep '^\$GP'

and that's pretty easily parsed at that point. (perl, perhaps gpsbabel ...)
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Old 06-19-11, 01:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
Dude, so you might not be the purple teletubbie any more -- but you're still a teletubby
hehe... i can be the fluorescent safety-orange teletubby


Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
Having it myself, that seems incredibly high -- the case is kind of heavy, but the mounts really aren't.
that's a curved-surface mount, the piece that clips into the mount, the "hinged" thing, and three screws.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
Both the GoProHD and ContourHD have a FOV of about 130 degrees in 1080p mode. (I've no experience with the Hero 960.)
the 960 is like a HERO-HD but it only goes up to 960p, and there's no expansion port. and it's about half the price of the HERO-HD. or i could say that the 960 is about 40% more affordable than the HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
Yes, that is true -- you can control it with a text file on the sd card. It's not particularly user friendly, but it works.

One drawback is that you just have two modes -- 1 and 2 -- and can only switch between these two modes in the field without a computer (or one of the later Contour devices and the bluetooth card and an iPhone app). The GoPro's controls may be cryptic, but at least they're available.
based on the cryptic interface on the HERO, i'll be happy to have a camera that's not capable of much more than "on" and "off" in the field. i'll play with the settings when i first get it, but after that i don't think i'll need to touch it. if the HERO's settings get messed up and i don't have the manual handy, i'd be lucky if i can remember half the settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
If you get the ContourGPS, you'll need their Windows software to get the GPS stream off with the video, though you can dump the NMEA stream with something like this --

strings video-file.mov | grep '^\$GP'

and that's pretty easily parsed at that point. (perl, perhaps gpsbabel ...)
cool! for now i have no desire for the GPS model, but that's good to know.
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Old 06-20-11, 08:52 AM   #14
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wooo!!! new toy!!!

amazon ships that to NZ for $16!!! and the total is cheap enough that i won't have to pay import duties!

and i found a good local deal on a 16GB card... which is a nice surprise. ordering that from amazon would push the total price very close to the trigger for import duties.
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Old 07-01-11, 06:52 PM   #15
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Aw man, it's now $230 on Amazon and $250 on BH. What a shame.
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Old 07-02-11, 05:52 PM   #16
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I just bought a JonesCam Ion HD (1280x720p) for $189. Very small and lightweight (32.5g). I like it so far. My first commute incident: http://vimeo.com/25873427

www.jonescam.tv
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