In Search Of A Helmet Cam…
I had been wanting a helmet camera for a while, and had been reviewing what was available for a couple of months. There are so many on the market that it became confusing, but I managed to whittle it down to GoPro Hero 3, Drift HD, Replay XD1080, and Contour series of cameras.
Each has their good, and bad points, and all do the job of recording your adventures quite well. So it was a matter of making a “for”and “against” list and working out what was going to float my boat. The main thing for me was that it had to be rugged enough so that in the event of some rough roads the mounting was not going to break or come loose.
GoPro Hero 3
Now I know that everyone says GoPro is the best, and rightly so, but I have an aversion to having something that resembles a giant pimple stuck to the top of my head. Yes I know you can get other mounts but it still “looks” like a camera. I wanted something that was less obtrusive.
The price of the GoPro was up there with the best as well, a bit beyond my budget.
So the Gopro was (unfortunately) ruled out early on in the piece.
Addendum: I saw a mounting on the weekend that hooks to the chin of an open face helmet, much better than sticking it to the top of the lid
The Drift camera was another that I looked at. It looked the goods, as it could be mounted to the side of a helmet and was certainly small and compact enough to be unobtrusive. It actually looks a bit like a ScalaRider intercom.
Unfortunately I wasn’t keen on the LCD screen, it’s just something else that could be damaged. Also, the buttons looked fiddly, not that I would be making adjustments on the fly you understand, but it was still something to consider.
The main thing that put me off was the video quality that I had found on YouTube, it just didn’t seem worth it for the price. Again ruled out.
There are a heap of mounting options for the Replay and the video quality is very good. Adjustments can be made on the fly but again they looked a bit fiddly. The only downside I could find was that the battery life was a limited when compared to some of the others.
I don’t like the idea that the battery is non-replaceable.
The one thing I liked most about the Contour was that it has one big arse slider on/ off button on the top of the unit, great when you are wearing gloves and simple to operate.
I was looking at the Contour +2 because I liked the idea of being able to control it through an android or iPhone. Video quality was good and the WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS features were an added bonus. The contour +2 does have a replaceable battery which is great if you are going away touring and don’t have access to a recharge point.
The price was at the top end of my scale, but with a little surfing, I found a good price at a local supplier. In short I’d have owned this on a heart-beat.
Well the plan was to buy a Contour +2 in the new year (2013), but my wife is on good terms with Santa, and persuaded him to leave a Contour under the tree. She also pointed out to Santa that I was not Quentin Tarantino, and that a camera with such advanced features was like giving an GP bike to a learner
Santa took this all on board and left me a Contour Roam 2. It does everything that the +2 will do, only without the WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS features. I’m more than happy with the camera and can get about 3 hours form a battery, which incidentally is not replaceable on this model.
I’ve shot maybe 50 hours of footage so far, much of it for my own amusement. Some of it is here at the Experimental Ghost YouTube channel. I find that by reviewing my riding I can correct things I’m doing wrong, and I’m having a bit of fun editing the footage.
Unfortunately the machine I have at home can’t keep up with the rigors demanded of a good video editor so the next thing is to build a machine that can handle the video editing.
Then I will improve content and quality without a doubt.