I tested all the different HD video resolutions, and my usual preference was full-frame 960p, since it gave more of the trail viewpoint of what is perceived when actually riding a trail, meaning taller and narrower field of vision. The 720p at 60fps was nice and smooth, and due to the additional flow, it offered to the footage, I have become enamored with it, and it was easy to edit and splice, and was more conformable to the video upload sites. The camera can have two preset video resolutions, which are set up with the Storyteller application or a smartphone, and then are chosen with the 1/2 switch, and I usually did a 960p and 720p pairing. The captured footage had good clarity and sharpness, with realistic colors, although they were slightly cool and muted. The picture quality has evolved with each of their successive models, and the top of the line Contour+ really shines, and it’s definitely their best yet, although I would like to see the 5MP sensor bumped up to at least 10MP.
Video courtesy of Lee Lau – showing varying light conditions:
The new lens is no longer recessed, and is flush, so it doesn’t t catch mud, snow and dirt, and the six element glass offers better clarity, for improved footage quality. It did well in bright sunshine, especially when panning directly into the sun (some rare purple CMOS flares), but it wasn’t the best when alternating between sunshine and shade. Pixelation was good, with a mild amount of aliasing, and framing was smooth, but heavy shocks, and vibrations caused occasional distortion. If the terrain was smooth, or you could tighten down your helmet or use a full faced version, the 1080p offered outstanding clarity. Unfortunately, with the rough terrain encountered during typical mountain biking, and loose fitting helmets, the 1080p format had a significant jellovision and “jump or shake” syndrome, and it made those recordings less desirable. Many of these anomalies are because inexpensive CMOS sensors use a Rolling Shutter, which makes videos seem a bit shaky, scattered and jellovisioned, due to motion artifacts (skew and wobble), and also spatio-temporal aliasing, which has a rippled or watered appearance.
Video courtesy of Lee Lau (thanks Lee for the great camera footage!):
Changing the lighting settings can make some impacts during early dusk conditions or riding in deep trees, and the footage had a prominent response with those tweaks, with the quality being quite decent. However, I was unable to get the night, low light indoors, late dusk or darker footage to work for me, and I considered the results mediocre, as it was pixelated and noisy. I rarely record anything that late in the evening, so it was not a deal breaker for me, but the camera is not at its best in low-light conditions.
Using the HDMI connection, you can stream live or recorded video to a display (TV) or external capture device. It was nice to be able to watch previously recorded footage on a big-screen TV, seeing things with exceptional clarity, spaciousness and sharpness.