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Old 01-09-2011, 09:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Initial impressions of ContourHD camera

I bought a ContourHD camera right before a recent 4 day trip to Snowbird. I had the camera with me on the mountain every day.
I took about 64 individual videos (many of them very boring since I live in the south and start huffing and puffing by time I get up to any moderate riding/speed)

My first impressions of the ContourHD are this:
1. Use the orientation lock - The camera lens/sensor rotates in its housing for vertical or horizontal mounting. I went out most days without engaging the orientation lock and ended up with many videos at a 45 tilt when the camera rotated by itself (or as a result of my many falls)

2. Keeping the camera on all the time and recording most of your runs, expect battery life to last half the day. - I put the camera into 720p@60 fps mode and put an 8GB microSD card in. On the days I did a lot of recording (I would record most of a run, stop recording after the run, but leave the camera on), the battery (or SD card, in one instance) would give out after lunch. A few hours of battery life is pretty good run time. If I turned the camera off between shooting, then I would probably easily get almost an entire day of riding on it (if there were enough space). Even so, I might invest in a spare battery as a back up.

3. Stay centereted - This camera, like other similar cameras, has a short focal length and wide field of view. The level of image distortion is noticeable and the sharpness/distortion at the corners of the lens is very poor.

4. Get a hoss computer - The camera records in H.264 format inside a Quicktime .MOV container. My laptop (Thinkpad T60 w/IPS screen) can handle the clips, but it still drops frames. You will want a computer with a dedicated video card (and dedicated video ram) in order to watch the clips if you record them at high resolution or high shutter speed.

The goggle mount that comes in the package works very well. The camera stayed put after a few tumbles and I like how relatively unobtrusive it looks compared to a helmet-mounted GoPro or Drift camera.

I have a few other comments, but I will wait until after I have processed one or two videos in Adobe Premiere before I make my final judgement
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good, practical review. I'll be interested in seeing some sample vids.

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First unedited clip. Youtube really kills the bit-rate on these movies... I might try vimeo instead....

YouTube - Natalie and Slez Whodunnit tree jump at Snowbird
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I found that the goggle mount got a little bit shaky on me. I might try the adhesive one to get it to sit still a little bit more.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by boarder27 View Post
I found that the goggle mount got a little bit shaky on me. I might try the adhesive one to get it to sit still a little bit more.
Agreed. Even if you have your goggle strap super tight, any drop or landing causes the camera to jiggle a bit and the video looks shaky. As a compromise, I use some velcro on the side of the helmet when I want to mount it on the side and that seems to work well.
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