Have you been shopping around for a helmet camera, but are overwhelmed by the dozens of choices? An action camera that you can mount to your mountain biking helmet is an excellent addition to any trail ride, but it can be challenging to decide when all the cameras seem to be more or less the same or if you’re not sure what you want in a camera.
If you’re buying your first action camera or are looking to upgrade to one that has longer battery life, the Contour HD camera may be the perfect choice for you. We will discuss the basic specs of the camera, some other HD versions by the company, and a few things to consider when buying an action camera for mountain biking.
A Quick Look At Action Cameras
Even though action cameras (also often known as Point of View or POV cameras) have been around for decades, many people don’t really know what they do or how they work.
Today’s action cameras are lighter, more compact, affordable, and readily available than those that were used 30 to 40 years ago. While action cameras are often an essential tool for law enforcement and other occupations, it’s also a popular device among outdoor enthusiasts.
Most POV cameras have similar features and designs, but some are more durable than others and are better designed to hold up when riding on rugged terrain or in all-weather environments. Although many cameras are designed for mounting to a helmet, other mounting options are available to get a variety of angles.
What To Consider When Shopping For An Action Camera
Before discussing the specs of the Contour HD camera, we will take a little time to talk about some things to consider when looking for an action camera.
As a mountain bicyclist, you need an action camera that can withstand any kind of terrain you ride. It should also be able to stay intact when you wipe out or if your gear bag gets tossed around.
Most action cameras are made of a durable material, have a protective casing, and are shockproof, but you should always make sure it can handle your riding style.
Even if biking is your number one passion, you may also enjoy hiking, surfing, or other activities that you’d like to record. A waterproof camera can expand your options and get more out of your action camera; waterproof capabilities are also nice if you’re biking through creeks or end up riding in the rain.
While there are dozens of action cameras on the market, some of them only have a battery life of about an hour. If you plan on filming longer than an hour at a time, it’s important to find a camera with extended battery life.
What Accessories Are Included?
Action cameras can be a little expensive and even more so if there are extra accessories needed. As you browse your options, it’s best to find a camera that includes things like cables and mounting gear.
If all of the things we listed above are your requirements in an action camera, the Contour HD checks all the boxes; let’s move on to an in-depth look at the Contour HD camera.
Who Makes Contour HD Cameras?
Contour, LLC. is a Utah-based company that has over a decade of experience manufacturing POV cameras for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to professionals. From a walk in the backyard to an epic hill climb, a Contour camera is for anyone who wants to share their experience on video.
According to the company, in 2011, it was recognized as one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. 500. Last year, the company was sold to a fellow Contour HD camera fan, and the company moved to Utah. Despite some past hardships within the company, the primary goal of making high-quality action cameras, available to anyone who wants one, remains.
An In-Depth Look At The Contour HD Camera
While the HD is one of Contour’s smallest cameras, at 95 x 55 x 34 mm and a little over four ounces, don’t underestimate its capabilities.
Thanks to the hands-free design and simple slide button operation, this camera is one of the easiest action cams to use; this means you can spend more time and attention on your riding than worry about if your camera is recording.
If you’re looking for a durable camera that you don’t need to worry about if you rough it up a bit, the HD, with its aluminum body, is a great choice. Not only is it tough, but the water-resistance makes it easy to use in all types of weather. If you choose to submerge the camera in water, make sure to use the case to ensure proper functioning up to about 34 feet of water.
Early action cams produced grainy and poor-quality video footage. Not only was video challenging to see or enjoy, but the cameras also didn’t have good stabilizing features.
This versatile camera has high-definition 1080p video, an internal mic with wind noise reduction, and the laser alignment helps you line up the perfect shot before you start filming. The 135 degree (Four Element Glass), the wide-angle lens captures more of the action without hardly any distortion and the lens rotation is 180-degrees.
The video formats on the Contour HD are as follows:
- Full HD 1080p: Resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 30 frames per second (fps).
- Tall HD 960p: Resolution of 1280 x 960 and 30 fps; ideal for taller images.
- Action HD 720p: Resolution of 1280 x 720 and 60 fps; ideal for action over resolution quality. Helps reduce blur.
- Contour 720p: Resolution of 1280 x 720 and 30 fps; ideal for limited space on memory card.
Hours Of Use
Another feature that sets the HD aside from other action cameras is that is has a 32 GB Micro SD card which allows the user to record over eight hours in full HD mode. The rechargeable battery records up to four hours, which is about four times more than action cams made by competitors.
Having a card with a significant amount of storage space and a battery with a longer life, you can save some money by not having to buy an extra card or battery; we recommend having one of each on hand just to make sure you have enough recording space and time.
Uploading Your Video
Unlike similar action cameras, you don’t need to rely on a separate app to upload your footage. The Contour HD software is easy to use, which means you don’t need a background in editing to create some polished video footage; all you need to do is provide the narrative, and the software will do the rest of the work.
When you create your finished product, not only do you have the option to share your video to social media or on your personal blog, but you can also add it to the Contour community of HD users like yourself.
What’s The Price and What’s Included?
Depending on where you shop online, you may find the camera anywhere between $200 to over $400. Many of the current Contour HD cameras are used, so be sure that you’re aware of what you’re getting before you buy; some price comparisons will most likely be necessary.
The HD camera comes with a 2 GB Micro SD card, Li-ion rechargeable battery, a USB cable, lens cap, a google and flat surface mount.
Newest Versions Of Contour Cameras
While this HD Camera is loaded with a lot of features that you may be looking for (and are ideal for mountain bicyclists), some other action cameras may be worth checking out.
According to the manufacturer, two of them are out of stock, so we will only give you the basic specs; you may be able to find a camera available at an online marketplace or check back with the manufacturer.
The Contour+2 has built-in GPS and Bluetooth capabilities. It has 1080p HD video, a still photo mode, and a 270-degree rotating lens and 170-degree wide-angle lens. The main difference between this and the original HD is that there are connectivity opportunities; many of the other features are similar.
Roam3 has some of the same features as Contour+2 and the HD, such as 1080p HD video, but one of the biggest improvements is the 8GB Memory card.
As the name suggests, the latest action camera has 4K of HD video capabilities, and connectivity features much like the Contour+2 and Roam3. When you visit the manufacturer’s website, it looks as though the Contour 4K is not available yet and interested buyers need to sign up.