Adventure enthusiasts; hold on to your helmets! The Contour Roam2 is now available to capture your latest adventure. With 1020p HD video capabilities and an adjustable 270 degree viewing angle you are sure to get the video that will make your friends envious. At a street value of $200, will the Contour Roam2 have you braving the elements to buy one or have you running for the hills?
The Contour Roam2 Waterproof HD Action Camera is designed for outdoor and action enthusiasts that are interested in filming their adventures. It is equipped to shoot 1080p HD video and has an adjustable 270 degree viewing angle, so no matter how it is mounted, with one twist of the lens, the shot comes out right side up.
There is a 4GB miniSD card included in the package, with a full-sized SD adapter, and Contour offers a desktop based program for editing video called Storyteller, which lets users play, edit, and share video. Oddly, the software is also the only means by which to configure the camera for specific settings.
Build and Design
The Contour Waterpoof HD Action Camera is about 2.4 inches tall, 1.33 inches wide, and 3.9 inches long, which makes it compact and lightweight, at about .31 lbs, as far as HD camcorders go, but mount the Contour 2 to a helmet, and its bulk and weight are still noticeable.
It comes in four colors, black, blue, red, and green, and features multiple mounting options. Another design feature of the Roam 2 is that it is waterproof up to about 3 feet. An additional case is available for purchase to make it waterproof up to around 200 feet.
On the top of the camcorder is the "instant on" switch, which helps maximize the battery life by eliminating a "stand-by mode." On the actual recording switch is a small locking switch with a red indicator to show if the recording switched is locked or not.
The back of the camera houses a latch sliding cover that, when pushed up, exposes the miniSD card slot, a reset button, a format button, and a miniUSB port for the charging cable. A status button and resides on the back of the latch along with display lights that indicate SD card status and battery life.
The front of the camera houses the lens, which can be rotated to film at zero, 90, -90, or 180 degrees, so that if the camera is mounted in a way in which it would be filming upside down, the image will still come out right side up. Since the Contour Roam 2 lacks a viewfinder or LCD screen to line up, there is an automatic laser alignment tool on the top of the lens and at the base of the camera
This light will turn off after 15 seconds, and this feature can be disabled by changing the camera settings via the Contour Storyteller program. The LED light that shines red on the top of the camera can also be disabled via the Contour Storyteller program, so that it will not light up during recording.
The contour camera does not come with software included in the packaging, preloaded on the device, or on the included 4GB miniSD card. However, users can download Contour's Storyteller program for free. This program lets users edit video, import movie files from the camera, and control the camera's settings.
It is not possible to change settings on the camera while filming, since the device itself lacks a menu screen. This means the settings chosen while it is plugged in will be the settings used until it is hooked up to a computer again. Keep that in mind should you take the Contour on a camping trip or extended expedition -- you'll also need to bring along your laptop.
The options for shooting video include:
Audio settings are limited to mic sensitivity and the camera's beeping noise.
Picture controls include:
Under this option, the metering can be adjusted between center, average, and spot; and this helps the camera's aperture and shutter speed accommodate for different lighting situations. Users can also name the camera something other than CameraROAM2, which is helpful for those using more than one camera. Finally, the video capture can also be changed from 30/60fps to 25/50fps for international users.
All told, the Contour offers an impressive amount of control compared with other small rugged HD camcorders, particularly with the manual adjustments. It's too bad that they are hidden and only accessible in the software, where experimenting with different settings is annoying at best and impossible at worst in an action environment. Maybe it's asking too much, but some quick controls on the actual device would be a huge improvement over the current setup.
The versatility of the Contour Roam2 with mounts is one of its largest selling points, as it offers mounts for a wide range of activities, and each slot neatly into the base of the camcorder.
The camera comes with two mounts, a profile mount and a rotating surface mount. The profile mount attaches the camera onto the side of a helmet or object as a stationary device, and the rotating surface mount allows the user to turn the camera freely. The free motion mount can also be locked in place if the user wishes to keep the camera at one angle. On the back of each mount is an adhesive, and along with the two standard mounts, the camcorder also comes with an extra adhesive pad for mounting.
Additional mounts are available on Contour's website including moto mounts, snow mounts, bike mounts, helmet mounts, outdoor mounts, roll bar mounts, surfboard mounts, pole mounts, headband mounts, hat mounts, and the list goes on. Basically, if you are moving and want to film it, there's a mount for that.
The mounts are pricey depending on the package, but they start at around $30 for something as basic as the headband mount and cost as much as $100, at the time of review, for the moto mounts. There is no official claim from Contour regarding sticky pad reusability, but it's fairly obvious that each new mountable object will require a new sticky pad.
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