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GoPro HD Hero vs Contour roam vs Sony Action Cam

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GoPro HD Hero vs Contour roam vs Sony Action Cam

Old 10-13-12, 08:05 PM
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Oregonboy109
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GoPro HD Hero vs Contour roam vs Sony Action Cam

Hi Everyone, Im looking to get a handlebar/ helmet cam this winter and I'd like to know which one(s) you've had experiences with, Pros/cons...? Durability is obviously very important as well as the choice of mounting options and included accessories. I won't be using this camera for cycling only, but it is what I'll use it for most.

Any info would be greatly appreciated,

Sam

LINKS

https://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero-naked-camera/

https://contour.com/products/contour-roam

https://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...52921666484161
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Old 10-13-12, 09:53 PM
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I bought the Contour Roam because it was much cheaper than the others (about $130 right now on Amazon, but has been under $100). Image quality is great. Sound quality on all of these cameras will be poor if you mount the camera to your handlebar where it will pick up little more than wind noise when you are moving.

GoPro is obviously the most popular product, though I expect that is because they have much better ad campaigns. Sony is brand new and I don't know anyone who is using it yet.
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Old 10-13-12, 10:05 PM
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https://replayxd.com/cameras/replay-xd1080-camera/
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Old 10-14-12, 06:38 AM
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I've been really happy with the GoPro. Image quality is very good. Sound quality seems to be good when I'm not moving, but I get a lot of noise transmitted through the frame/stem/mounting hardware when I am moving. I would think that changing the mount might help in this regard, but I haven't tried it yet (currently using the GoPro handlebar/stem mount which others have had problems with in terms of durability [which I attribute to user error on the install]).
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Old 10-14-12, 07:52 AM
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I use the Contour but it's one of the earlier versions, ContourHD. Best setting, for a helmet cam set up anyway, seems to be 720@60fps, 130 deg lens. I have a Contour+ which has a 170 deg lens but it's actually less sharp than the regular Contours I have.

That Replay seems pretty intriguing but I'm kind of tapped out for cameras. The semi-waterproof bit is appealing to me and the small form factor. The Contour is not waterproof but I've used it in very wet conditions.

The Sony, if I read the product description right, doesn't have a rotating front lens thing so it has to be vertical. I was researching regular camcorders when I went to the Sony site so I don't know if that's accurate.
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Old 10-14-12, 11:35 AM
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That Replay XD does look promising.
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Old 10-14-12, 12:45 PM
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It sure does, the size is a huge plus but it also seems durable as well. I'm leaning towards it, but will keep the others in consideration as well.

Thanks for the helpful replies everyone!
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Old 10-15-12, 05:12 AM
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I just bought the Contour Roam a couple days ago. I chose the Contour due to the aesthetics mainly. Looks much better attached to my bike than the chunky GoPro (more aerodynamic as well). I took her for a short 10 min ride on an extremely overcast day, quality was ok, not great. It its defense it was set to 720 and not 1080. Changed the settings and headed out for a ride on wednesday morning (Tokyo Time). Hopefully I can give more detailed report with attached video. Currently attached to my head tube.

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Old 10-15-12, 06:16 AM
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Without having to go through all the features, I would like to know which one includes a type of toolbar on the replay that shows at least...speed of a ride. Maybe some sort of attachment or "ant+" feature to make it work with existing Garmin setup.
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Old 10-15-12, 07:16 AM
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I just picked up an Epic camera this weekend and the image quality is fine, especially considering I only paid $80.00 for it. I am having trouble finding the right mounting spot on my helmet though. I picked a spot while in the house, not taking into consideration that Im not straight up when I ride, so I got a shot of nothing but the ground in front of me for the entire test ride. Unfortunately I used the "permanent" mount, then had to pry that off my helmet rendering that mount useless. I tried the strap mount a little further back with the same result. I moved it back again last night, but havent had a chance to try it. Does anyone know where you can get a replacement sticky pad to use on the permanent mount (without going to the manufacturer)?
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Old 10-15-12, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I would think that changing the mount might help in this regard, but I haven't tried it yet (currently using the GoPro handlebar/stem mount which others have had problems with in terms of durability [which I attribute to user error on the install]).
Could you please explain how you mounted it? I put mine on the handlebar and one of the little arms that goes attached to the camera case broke during a speedy downhill due to vibrations. Tried putting it up on my helmet but it is heavy and I look too many places when riding.
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Old 10-15-12, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by lsberrios1 View Post
Could you please explain how you mounted it? I put mine on the handlebar and one of the little arms that goes attached to the camera case broke during a speedy downhill due to vibrations. Tried putting it up on my helmet but it is heavy and I look too many places when riding.
I think that people are simply over-tightening it - it may not fail while you're tightening it, but I think that it's stressing it enough so that it does fail when you hit the bumpy bumpy. I tightened evenly between the two thumbscrews a little bit at a time (towards the end, less than 1/4 turn each) *just* until it no longer rotates around the bar/stem with reasonable amount of force. I've installed and taken it off several times and commuted to work daily over really, really bad NYC streets and haven't had a problem.
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Old 10-15-12, 08:38 AM
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That is not the right Sony to buy. This one is: https://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...52921666484197

It has wifi and image stabilization, both of which will become a ubiquitous technology and both of which are not present on any of the 3 cameras linked in the OP. I run everything I do with my GoPro Hero2 through deshaker, and it makes it a lot more watchable, but as stabilization becomes better this may not be necessary for road biking. (MTB I doubt any in-camera stabilization will ever be adequate, example here.)

The wifi feature is actually even more useful-- not to watch what you're shooting as it happens, but instead to check your point of aim. This is critical before a ride and besides doing some test shots and either not moving the camera or hoping you've put it in the same place, you can't do anything near as slick or effectively as using a wifi-streamed feed to your smartphone to check what the camera is seeing.

Next I predict there will be availability of wifi accessories such as remote stop/start buttons you can clamp on your bar or clip to your clothing.

Nikon has a camera like this Sony either on the market or very soon to be. My GoPro is only 3 months old and it will always be a very good camera. But in 2 years, it might be used most often for additional angles, rather than the primary one, because these 2 features are really important.

Last edited by ColinL; 10-15-12 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 10-15-12, 09:58 AM
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I tried the GoPro handle bar mount. It broke 1/2 through the first use, a 75 mile ride. No matter how I tightened it, the camera would fall over from vibration. I'd rotate it back to vertical and then it would slowly fall to the side again. Then the plastic mount failed, broke just below the screw. Luckily I was trying to straighten it when is came off in my hand. I returned it to REI.

Plus the footage was not good. Vibrations made it unusable. The road surface was chip seal.
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Old 10-15-12, 10:05 AM
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As far as durability:

Contour survives avalanche. Recovered two years later & still working.

I don't have experience with any camera other than the original Contour HD, but it's been a great camera. The only complaint I would have is the audio quality - it picks up lots of wind noise, but doesn't pick up voices from anything over about 5' away. But I didn't buy it for it's audio abilities, so I'm OK with that.
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Old 10-15-12, 11:03 AM
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I've been using different cameras(GoPro 960, ContourGPS, regular pocket cameras - Olympus 820, Samsung HZ30W, Fuji XP50, cellphones, etc.) mounted to different spots(helmet, handlebar, triangle by the rear wheel, fork, just holding the cam w/ my hand) for the last couple of years now. I like the Contour better than the Gopro. The shape is better, flush makes it easy to mount to different places; no special mounts for me - I just use strips of an old inner tube. One thing I don't like about these sport cams is that they don't have a screen
and the buttons for the different functions. If you already have a regular pocket camera, maybe just get a Fotopro mount or any other universal mount(I saw one in Walmart) and
try it on your bars. You may have to cinch it down with some strips of big rubber bands or
inner tube to control the vibration.

ContourGPS mounted on the bars of a roadbike:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJA9SXNTsd8&feature=plcp

Originally Posted by Oregonboy109 View Post
Hi Everyone, Im looking to get a handlebar/ helmet cam this winter and I'd like to know which one(s) you've had experiences with, Pros/cons...? Durability is obviously very important as well as the choice of mounting options and included accessories. I won't be using this camera for cycling only, but it is what I'll use it for most.

Any info would be greatly appreciated,

Sam

LINKS

https://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero-naked-camera/

https://contour.com/products/contour-roam

https://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...52921666484161
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Old 10-15-12, 11:55 AM
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Current Contour models are waterproof, they sell a shell for
folks who want to submerge them say, kayaking or surfing.

ContourGPS ridden in heavy rain for my one and half hour commute home,
cam was fine afterwards:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI


FORK MOUNTED CONTOURGPS CAM by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I use the Contour but it's one of the earlier versions, ContourHD. Best setting, for a helmet cam set up anyway, seems to be 720@60fps, 130 deg lens. I have a Contour+ which has a 170 deg lens but it's actually less sharp than the regular Contours I have.

That Replay seems pretty intriguing but I'm kind of tapped out for cameras. The semi-waterproof bit is appealing to me and the small form factor. The Contour is not waterproof but I've used it in very wet conditions.

The Sony, if I read the product description right, doesn't have a rotating front lens thing so it has to be vertical. I was researching regular camcorders when I went to the Sony site so I don't know if that's accurate.
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Old 10-15-12, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I use the Contour but it's one of the earlier versions, ContourHD. Best setting, for a helmet cam set up anyway, seems to be 720@60fps, 130 deg lens. I have a Contour+ which has a 170 deg lens but it's actually less sharp than the regular Contours I have.

That Replay seems pretty intriguing but I'm kind of tapped out for cameras. The semi-waterproof bit is appealing to me and the small form factor. The Contour is not waterproof but I've used it in very wet conditions.

The Sony, if I read the product description right, doesn't have a rotating front lens thing so it has to be vertical. I was researching regular camcorders when I went to the Sony site so I don't know if that's accurate.
I have had the one above since they first came out. Work fine for what I use it. It has also worked well when wet sailing. They are much better and cheaper now since I bought mine, but the mounting options I like better than others. Truth is that they are all probably more than good enough, so it boils down to battery life and price.
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Old 10-16-12, 09:33 AM
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What keeps me coming back to the GoPro is all the accessories available for them, especially if you are a multisport kind of person.

I.e. chest harness for skiing, etc.:



Wireless remote which can allow you to control a single or multiple cameras simultaneously as well as broadcast in realtime:

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Old 10-16-12, 09:43 AM
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On the Durability side I have to vote Contour I have the 1080HD and from experience I can tell you at 40mph I lost it on a downhill descent on the asphalt and it still worked and actually had very little sign on bouncing at that speed LOL.
And a few other slow speed drops and still working, so
durability I'll say Contour but on a flip side support is none on anything older they will not look at them if you have a problem they tell you to replace it.

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Old 10-19-12, 11:23 AM
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Not going to bother quoting myself to prove how right I was, but the new GoPro Hero3 has wifi. It still lacks image stabilization, but given the size and weight reduction, I think most will overlook that. I wonder how the battery life is now.

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/pr...8.0.NONAV.html
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Old 10-19-12, 12:22 PM
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The GP Hero3 has a lot going for it. Smaller now too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...d=EM_SAL15160a
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Old 10-19-12, 05:03 PM
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I picked up the Sony Action Cam w/WiFi about a month ago and have been playing with it since. The camera comes standard with a waterproof case, good down to ~160' so you can take it diving with you, and 2 mounting brackets; one curved and one flat. The waterproof case has a standard camera mount so any tripod or regular mounting hardware will work. I bought a handle bar mount at the same time.

The SteadyShot capability works pretty well but only at 120 degrees. If using 170 degrees, SteadyShot will be turned off. Audio from the handle bar mount is pretty poor due to the mic location. The Action Cam only supports 1080p 30fps, 720p 30f, 720p 60fps, 720p 120fps, and VGA. The Action Cam will also do interval recordings where a still image will be recorded at 5, 10, 30, or 60 second intervals.

The handle bar mount comes with 3 sets of shims so it should fit any bar out there. Installation was easy and camera attachment simple. The mount has a number of fixed position, simply push a button on the mount and adjust the camera angle, so fine tuning is easy.

I haven't done too much work using the WiFi capability to control the camera yet so I won't comment on its usefulness but the capability does exist.

Overall, I'm pleased with the video results. Here's a short video of parts of our normal shop ride.

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Old 10-19-12, 06:49 PM
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I bought a ContourRoam about a month ago and at first I was extremely disappointed with the video quality. Plus when I saw that the Sony was released and less than what I payed for the Contour but came with image stabilization (and I assumed a better sensor) it added to the hurt. Stabilization can be done decently in software though. I never really liked the GoPros, IMO they are popular because they have infinite mounts but I do not like the way they look. The Sony is new so does not really have many mounts but it looks like an awesome camera.

Something I have to say though, the videos that the manufacturers post up are bullcrap and really should not be used for comparing quality. YouTube compression makes things harder to compare and the companies record in absolutely perfect conditions and probably touch up the videos a ton with really skilled people and production software. I knew this before I bought my Contour but did not expect the difference to be as big as I saw.

I am probably one of the few people who would much rather see improved image quality over any other new features (wi-fi/gps/bluetooth/4k/120fps/etc) though.

Anyways, now that I have had more time with it I like it quite a bit more, I am very happy that I bought it. I would recommend my friends look at it if they were in the market but if they asked what they should pick out of the three you stated ... not a huge difference between them from what I have seen and read. I would only tell them the small differences and let them decide.

Here is a video I recorded (ignore the newbie-ness only my second time mountain biking):
A bit of clouds but overall a sunny day.
Here is how I had it mounted that day. Low mounting is awesome IMO because you look like you are going super fast ... not like you are riding your brakes the whole way down the mountain
No post-processing to change the image quality, I only cut out segments of the video where I stopped or wiped the lens and put transitions between those cuts.

Here is another video (4th time mtb so still a newbie) (explicit language warning!):
This day was very cloudy and the clouds were low too (top of the mountain you were IN the clouds). It was one of those dark days where it is threatening to rain at any moment.
Mounted to my goggles with the goggle strap mount.
Used a little bit of noise reduction and stabilization in software. Plus started using my Garmin Forerunner 305 and RaceRender for the speed.


For the first two runs of one extremely muddy day I had it mounted under my bottom bracket. This is what my bike looked like at the end of the day btw. No problem other than the fact the video showed one brown blob lol. Had to use an old toothbrush to clean the camera out in the sink even after hosing it down.

What I like about my ContourRoam:
- Waterproof to 1m without a case so when I am mtbing I leave it on my bike and just spray everything down. Also do not have to worry much about mud and stuff.
- Lens that can be rotated is amazing, you can mount the camera in any rotation and always have it record properly. Probably my favourite feature!
- Laser is useful for lining things up but is really hard to see most of the time

Downsides:
- Internal battery (apparently necessary to make it waterproof ...) but I have not ran down the battery's life yet so has not limited me so far. I will probably buy a USB pack if necessary since it can be recharged and continue recording simultaneously ... but then you lose waterproofing.

Apparently all the cameras have sound issues, the Contour has wind-noise issues and the GoPro barely picks up sound in its case (from what I have read, never used one myself). I think there are ways to get around these issues though. For my Contour I used two band-aids over the mic, some people use electrical tape, some rubber band a sock. The band-aids work well for me, in the past the videos above you would not be able to hear me or hear my bike's noises as the wind noise was so overpowering (it was unbearable IMO).

Honestly I think I, and most people, would be happy with any of these cameras as they are so similar in performance and features. I just love being able to watch my rides, it gets me hyped up and makes me want to go ride again. It also lets me pick out other lines I want to try and analyze mistakes I made.

If you do get a Contour I recommend checking out the flex strap mount I love that thing it is extremely versatile as a mount, for a road cyclist you might also want to check out the vented helmet mount. I was not too fond of using the adhesive mount on my helmet (did not work out well IMO and just pulled it off and attached it to my bottom bracket instead).
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Old 10-20-12, 04:19 AM
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For what it's worth, there is a mic port, along with a mini-hdmi and Sony camera port, on the botom of the camera. That still doesn't help when the camera is in its case.

Here are a couple of stills taken at 1920x1080. The shots were taken at Levi's GranFondo this year.

There is a little blob in the upper left corner of these shots that comes from a scratch on the lens cover. I dropped the cover on a concrete sidewalk before I ever got to use the camera.

Cazadero


Lone rider on Kings Ridge


Pacific Coast - Socked in!
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Last edited by blacksquid; 10-20-12 at 04:21 AM. Reason: additional info
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