POV Camera Shootout – GoPro, Drift, Contour

Cameras Pro Reviews

Contour+ Rear Controls and Features

Camera Features
On the back of the camera is a simple power button, along with two LED’s that informs you of the available memory and battery levels, and they fluctuate from green (50-100%) to yellow (20-50%) and finally red (0-20%). The back has rubber flaps that cover the mini USB and HDMI ports, so they can be accessed without opening the rear door. The front has an LED that indicates if the camera is on (green) or in record mode (red), and in addition, it blinks green while acquiring a GPS satellite, and turns blue when the Bluetooth is engaged.

Inside the back door, is the battery slot, a switch to change between preset video resolutions (aka 1/2), a MicroSD and Connect View card slot, a mini USB and HDMI port, and a recessed format button. Connection to various mounts (helmet, flat surface, etc.) is done via Contour’s TRails system, which is sort of like tongue and groove, and the camera has two female grooves, and the mounts have two male tongues.

Whoa, baby, I’m a back door man
The men don’t know
But the little girls understand

Contour+ Top and Bottom Controls and Features

On the top of the camera is a mechanical slider that turns the recording mode on and off, and it is also where the 4Hz GPS receiver chip is located. Under the back of the slider is a record mode light (red), which is hidden when not recording, and at the front is the indented button to engage Bluetooth.

The lens rotates 180° clockwise and 90° counter-clockwise of the top center, which allows the camera to be mounted at varying angles, and is cross checked by using the viewfinder on a smartphone or mobile device to indicate the horizontal alignment for proper recording. The addition of a full 270° of rotation now allows the Contour+ body to be positioned upside down, while maintaining the proper lens orientation.

Strengths

  • Contour App and Smartphone interface – viewfinder and camera configuration
  • GPS video mapping capabilities
  • 270° rotatable, flush and six element glass lens
  • Loud indicative beeps
  • Mechanical slider
  • Lightweight and small form factor
  • HDMI interface
  • External Mic
  • Great video quality

Weaknesses

  • Smartphone – only iOS and Android compatible
  • Only 5MP sensor (needs 10MB minimum)
  • No Laser sighting
  • Expensive
  • Internal Mic is poor
  • Mounting system
  • Mediocre in low light

MSRP: $499.99

Overall Rating:

4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

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  • Richard Crawford says:

    One point about the GoPro that is useful is the chest mount – this give a wide shot incl hands on bars and feels much more in zone .

    Here is a good example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21NS1x1XBP0&feature=related

  • Dan says:

    Nice Review,

    Would have been nice to have some side by side video footage. Shot at the same time, same handlebars, lighting conditions… etc.

    I know you said their both excellent quality video, but the proof is in the footage.

  • brianD says:

    how do you not mention contourhd or contourgps?? i’ve tried both the gopro hero hd and contourhd and found the contour was the clear leader.

  • Mike says:

    Forget mounting the Drift backwards on your seatpost? Whaaaat? :-) For evidence to the contrary please enjoy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MApAXOtYPmI

    Mike

    P.S. I used a simple, little hiking tripod similar to this: http://www.rei.com/product/777249/pedco-ultrapod-mini-tripod

  • Ken N says:

    You completely passed over another viable camera in this price range the Contour HD.

  • pfb says:

    The Contour HD is the clear winer over the HeroHD in my book:
    -> Much cleaner helmet mount solution. You don’t end up looking like Marvin the Martian with a camera sticking up over the top of your head, or have to worry about getting it ripped off when you duck under a branch.
    -> Ubiquitous and tiny MicroSD cards
    -> Runs super-cheap and easily available Nokia BL-5C Lithium Ion batteries
    -> Better field of view. 135° (960p, 720p) 110° (1080p). Hero is stupid wide.
    -> Laser alignment. Without a LCD, very nice for verifying level/attitude on a helmet camera.

    GoPro has awesome marketing, just wish they would come out with a better camera!

  • Fourbeer says:

    I am surprised the Countour was not also tested as it is one of the more prolific cameras out there.

  • Ari says:

    I’ve only used the GoPro hero HD. You didn’t mention the optional helmet mount (what I use). If you mount it on the handlebars you get excessive shaking and unviewable video if you do any real mountain biking. On the helmet is much better. I’m sure the Drift cam has the same issues with vibrations unless it has a built in stabilizer in cam or through the mount (correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think so!). So in the end, having the helmet mount for the GoPro makes it extremely handy. And MORE IMPORTANTLY. The GoPro camera has a lot of add-ons. Most recently is an LCD screen that mounts to the back of the camera. Also the ability to buy two cameras and link them together to record in 3D.

  • yoterryh says:

    I agree with brianD; I’ve never even heard of the “Drift Innovation”, but Contour is certainly a well-established product in this category!

  • skiahh says:

    Have to concur with brianD; the Contours are definitely in this class. With the (limited) footage of the new Contour+ I’ve seen, they may have opened a new class, too… in both capability and price.

    The picture of the Stealth kit isn’t the HD… it’s an X170. I hope this isn’t the camera you used to compare! Plus it’s orange! The photo of the one on the bar is the stealth, so I’m thinking the footage comparison is valid, though.

    And though I’ve heard some negative stuff about their quality, I’d say you ought to include the Oregon Scientific ATC9X in your test, too. It’s at the same price point and the footage looks really good.

  • jlib says:

    Although a fair review, it is not really a shootout since the Oregon Scientific ATC 9K wasn’t even mentioned.

  • James says:

    I agree with Brian D. Where are the Contour models? This doesn’t really seem like a shootout with only 2 cameras.

  • Tim says:

    I have owned both gopro and contour hd. No comparison Contour HD blow the doors off of anything currently out there in it’s price range.
    Not to mention the fact it is built for live action mounting. (GoPro a regular old fashion camera in a lexan case.)
    Also, if you fix your review and make it descent by adding the contour HD you should add videos of all cameras review on the same course section maybe mounted if possible side by side or as many at a time as you can.
    Whew, here moderately fair reviews.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLK1sOuD9Gc
    But he thinks the pov hD is a much better camera. Maybe but it is in a differnt $ class and is really bulky.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBtqpmPA7vw “laser beams”

    Btw, I use the contourHD all the time for taking pictures close to my subjects off the bike and around the house instead of a still action camera.

  • Mike Sullivan says:

    Side by side video would have been helpful, as it was, I had both cameras mounted to my helmet at the same time. The GoPro mounted to the side and the Stealth mounted on top. The views were nearly identical and when I played them on the computer and Tv looked great. However, once I dumbed them down to youtube resolution they looked pretty much like any other crappy youtube vid out there. I felt that it would be better to send readers to the maunfacturers websites and see the quality that they are able to show.
    As for the countour, They didn’t offer to send me one of those as a comparision but I’m looking forward to trying one out.

  • Mascobe says:

    I shot this video with a DXG-572V I paid about $100 with a 2 GB card. No, it is not HD but it is pretty good for how little I paid. There are a bunch of other videos on my YouTube channel shot with this same camera. The mount on the seat post is an old stem with a right angle aluminum shelf to velcro the camera to.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/mascobe#p/u/24/13NnaZcBy-M

  • Floridabiker says:

    If the video you’re comparing was from handlebar mounted cameras I think you should go back and try it outside of the local park and on some serious trails. Any serious mountain biking with a handlebar mounted camera just isn’t going to look good unless the trails are glass smooth (which isn’t going to happen with serious mountain biking). I suggest you drop the BMX helmet and get an actual mountain biker to review it next time: all helmet mount, forward facing, and rough technical trails.

    That being said this way very useful. Thank you for putting in the time to compare these two. I’d love to see you contact both companies and see if they’re going to be addressing any of these issues in future models.

    How terrible is the spelling in this forum?

  • brianD says:

    Mike-
    It might be beneficial to the readers to state that these were the only two cameras compared because no other companies supplied their comparable version.

  • this is a biased review says:

    Go pro looks silly on any helmet. Contour hd is the one and only helmet cam out there. I have tested the drift, this is over priced crap with a dodgy remote control. I have seen helmets with the go pro on…definately a no no.
    The beauty of the contour is that it is sleek ,adjustable lens orientation to 180 degrees and you can use the ipod / iphone as a viewfinder and also change cam settings on the go….not to mention the gps feature.

  • Rodney says:

    Contour Helmet cam! I don’t own one yet, but others here mentioned it and I checked it out. The cheap one is the same price range with the GPS version costing only a little more. The great thing about the GPS version is the ability to use your phone as the viewfinder (iPhone only currently with Android coming soon). Contour has a rotating lens also.

  • M&M says:

    Guys you know if you want to see your favorite brand (or just the one you are considering) included in these comparison tests, email the company who makes them and tell them so. Mags and sites query all the companies but so often come up with excuses or worse yet, no response at all.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    M&M => we have a Contour+ review coming out shortly, and in the fall we’ll see if we can get a shootout done, but it’s an extremely large amount of work doing testing and reviewing (let alone a shootout) of these camera’s, and we usually try and isolate the test to one camera at a time, although we do some cross testing during the process for comparison purposes. I’ll chat with my compatriot about a shootout: GoPro HD Hero vs Contour+ vs Drift HD (the new small one)

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