Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
contourplus_450.jpg
  • Compact, splashproof body
  • Solid build
  • 1080p @ 30fps, 720p @30 and 60fps
  • Time Lapse/Burst Mode Still image capture
  • HDMI output
  • A/V output
  • Bluetooth connectivity via Contour Connect App for Android and Apple devices
  • Built-in GPS
  • Live Output through HDMI
  • Excellent editing and archiving software
  • An accessory for any situation
  • Internal Li-Ion battery (charges via USB cable)

Pros
  • Small, Solid and reliable
  • Mounts for any situation
  • Onboard mic input for outstanding quality audio 
  • Great color and exposure
  • Smooth playback, even with fast-paced action
  • Still capture mode allows for burst image shooting, great for create capture of motion
  • Numerous accessories
  • Good battery life
  • Rotating lens
  • HDMI cable included with the camera
  • Contour Connect App for both Android and Apple platforms - use your phone as a viewfinder via Bluetooth
Cons
  • Settings must be changed while hooked up to a computer
  • No optical zoom
  • No single shot still image capture
  • Poor Still image quality
  • No optical or digital stabilization
  • No LCD or viewfinder to adjust composition without using a Bluetooth enabled Android or iPod Touch/iPhone (3rd or 4th gen/3GS or 4)
  • Onboard Mic does not perform well at all
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first video captured = approx. 4 seconds
  • Shutter lag video = 4/10 of a second
  • All of our tests were completed using a 2GB microSD card. This camera is built for extreme situations that have been planned for.
Bottom Line
The perfect accessory for your extreme sport, the Contour+ gives everyone the ability to see and hear what you do, not to mention it can also record stats and give live feeds with its optional equipment.
Pick This Up If...
...you are an extreme athlete or adventurer looking for a viable option to record and or live broadcast your sweet moves in HD video.
Keeping up with the fast-paced world of extreme sports, Contour, a sport and recreational video camera company, has created several Point-of-View (POV) video cameras. One of these models, the Contour+, which we had the pleasure to use, is a full HD capable video camera that is small enough to literally wrap your hand around it. It sports a f/2.8, 170° wide-angle lens that has ability to rotate up to 270° allowing you to mount it to just about anything and still capture the upright images that you are looking for. A unique mount system also assists in being able to put the camera anywhere, including a headband, goggle, picatinny rail and surfboard mounts. With optional accessories, this camera can also become a live HD video feed and completely waterproof, allowing you to take on and capture just about any situation.

A Bluetooth, HDMI, USB and built-in mic jack give this camera a clear advantage over most. Bluetooth actually allows the camera to connect to an Android phone or iPod to be used as a wireless viewfinder, since the compact model does not have an LCD screen built in. This makes it easy to adjust and frame your images, even when the camera is still mounted several feet away. The Bluetooth capabilities also allow you to connect the Contour+ to the MOD unit from Recon industries using MOD Live, which allows you to mount a viewfinder inside of your ski goggles. Its built-in mic jack allows for an external microphone to be used to capture higher quality sound during those amazing moments. What could be the most amazing feature is the camera's ability to stream live HD footage through its HDMI port (with optional equipment that is not listed on the manufacture's site). This provides almost unlimited potential for live events. This is also something you will not find on any other POV camera. A feature we were not able to test very well in Ohio is the GPS feature, that has the ability to tell you height, speed, location and much more about you and your videos.

At first the Contour+ is a little intimidating as its compact body only features two major controls and no LCD or informational screen. While fewer controls may not sound intimidating, when you only see controls for the camera's power and record functions, you really start to wonder where and how everything else works. Once you get your hands on the camera, you quickly find the door on the back revealing the battery, I/O ports and a switch. This switch allows you to program 2 of the camera's preprogrammed shooting modes into the memory so that you do not have to connect the camera to a computer every time you want to change it. This can also be changed while using the iPod or Android app, Contour Connect, with the camera's Bluetooth connection. While we tested this on both the iPod Touch and Android, it worked much better using a 4th gen iPod. With the Android phone, it was difficult to get working and when we did, the battery would have to be removed from the phone in order for it to be used for anything else. (It is very possible that this could be an individual case with the reviewer's phone)

Attaching the camera to yourself or other objects is incredibly easy. Using their unique mounting system the camera stays put, and will not come off of its mount unless you want it to. At times it can even be a little difficult to take off of the mounting system, which gives you the confidence to trust the camera to be there when you are finished with whatever you are doing. One thing that is missing from the camera is a tripod mount. Since most of the mounting options are secure but not adjustable, the lens inside the camera body has the ability to rotate up to 270°, so no matter how you have to mount it, you can always capture your videos upright and level. 

While the camera is somewhat water resistant, it is not waterproof and you don't want to drop it into a pool or river. To accommodate water related activities, Contour offers a waterproof surf case that keeps the water out and adds a little extra protection for the camera itself. With the standard mounting system built in, it works with all of the regular camera mounts and includes a tripod mount if you should ever want to put this camera on a tripod. If you should lose the camera in water with this case, you will be happy to know that the case holds enough air to keep the camera afloat at the surface of the water; which is great if you are attaching it to a surf or wake board. 

In completing our tests, we used the two highest quality shooting modes, testing in 1080p at 30fps and the camera's sport mode which is 720p at 60fps. While both of these modes produced excellent looking videos, both in exposure and color, the sports mode playback is noticeably smoother and easier to see when motion is involved; due to its faster frame rate. Both of our water slide samples were taken using each mode to show you the difference. We have also included a sample of the camera's still image continuous mode, which is designed for capturing and displaying motion. With settings to capture one image every 3, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds, it is more of a time-lapse setting than a burst mode, and wont capture action that is too fast. It does not capture single images, which is good because the still image quality is very poor. Only one thing that we would like to see, due to the nature of the videos that this camera was designed for, would be some type of optical image stabilization or vibration reduction to help steady the camera during rough events. If you would like to have any type of descent sound with your movies, you will need to invest in a mic to attach to yourself or your subject; unless you just plan to add music afterwards.

Powering the Contour+ is a 3.7v, 1050mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. While we do not have a standard way to test this type of camera, the battery did very well through testing the Bluetooth connect system, video recording and idle time spent between videos. Throughout our tests we did not have to stop to recharge the camera. If you plan on big, full day trips into the mountains or down a river, etc. you may want to pick up the external charger, car charger and a few spare batteries so that the only time you spend working with the camera is charging between destinations or swapping out a battery.

Bottom line - the Contour+ is the perfect POV video camera for the extreme athlete. From surfing to snowboarding, kayaking to hunting, this camera can go anywhere you go and capture all of the action. The beautiful, smooth movies handle fast paced sports and fast motion very well, while the extensive accessory options and mounts assure you that no matter what you want to do, Contour has already provided a way to capture it. With a MSRP of US $499.99, you will pay a little more for this model than some of the others, but its features, accessories and quality make it worth the investment if you are serious about recording your extreme situations.


Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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