ContourROAM – Interbike 2011

by Brian Mullin on September 20, 2011

The new ContourROAM is an interesting beast, and takes some of the great design benefits of their upper range video cameras, such as the ContourGPS and Contour+, and removes their complexities and some of their features, to get a basic camera, that is simple and easy to use. Call it dumbing down, just idiot proofing or Video Cameras for Idiots 101, but it has its merits. You just slide the record switch forward and the camera turns on and begins recording. Slide the switch backwards, and the recording stops and the camera turns off. Simple is as simple does.

The ContourROAM is a POV (point of view) high definition waterproof sports CMOS camera that has a 5MP sensor, and can record video footage in 1080p, 960p and 720p formats at 30fps and 25fps. Its FOV (field of view or camera angle) is 135° in 1080p, and 170° in 960p and 720p modes. It uses the H.264 video codec, AAC audio compression, and a .mov file type. It has an internal battery, and tripod mount, a USB port for connection to a computer (for downloading and setting of video resolutions), and uses their proprietary TRails mounting system and can take up to a 32GB microSD card for storage.

It misses some of its big brother’s grandiose features, like GPS, Bluetooth’s capabilities to communicate with a smart phone using the ConnectView, a replaceable battery, an external Mic jack and a HDMI TV interface. What you do get is a very tough and robust unit, and it’s their first waterproof camera, that is good down to 1 meter, but it might be better to call it very water resistant, although you could use it for surfing and kayaking without any ill effects. The lens is sealed and so is the camera back door, which has a nice rubber gasket to seal it up tight.

The door is more cumbersome to open, but that is because the seal and tightness mean it’s doing its job. The microSD card and USB port is inside the door, to interface to a computer and swap out cards if needed. The internal only battery lasts longer the other versions (up to three hours), since it isn’t having to do any GPS or Bluetooth connections, both, which can drain battery power. By default, it comes set up with a 720p video resolution, but it can be changed to any of the others or set into a continuous photo mode by configuring the camera from a computer using their Contour Storyteller software utility, connecting via the USB port. To level the lens, you push the button on the rear of the camera, which initiates their new laser sighting system, which has a leveling line (instead of the predecessor’s two dots), and you just make it horizontal and your good to go.

The camera might not appeal to the video aficionado, but it’s simplicity, and ease of use, and cheaper cost of $200 will certainly make it a winner.

ContourROAM Specs:

  • MSRP – $199.99
  • Built-in Battery
  • Built-in Tripod (1/4″ – 20) Mount
  • Flush Front Lens
  • Still Photo Mode
  • Laser Alignment
  • Low Profile Design
  • USB Output
  • Wide Angle Lens – 170°
  • Lens Type – Custom Six Element Glass
  • Lens Rotation – 270°
  • Weight 0- 5.1oz
  • Dimensions – 100 x 55 x 34mm
  • Included Mounts – Profile Mount, Rotating Surface Mount
  • Included Cables – USB

Video/Audio

  • Full HD – 1920 x 1080 @ 30/25fps
  • Tall HD – 1280 x 960 @ 30/25fps
  • Action HD – 1280 x 720 @ 30/25fps
  • Photo Mode: 1,3,5,10,30,60
  • 5MP Sensor
  • Codec – H.264/AAC / File Type – MOV
  • AAC Audio Compression
  • 32GB microSD Compatible
  • Battery Life: 3 hrs

Flex Strap
Another very trick item from Contour is their new Flex Strap mount. It uses their proprietary TRails system, which is attached to a slightly curved soft rubber mount, and has two prongs or hooks on opposite sides of the mount. You connect one end of the flexible strap to a hook, and it wraps around an object, and then completes the connection on the opposing hook. The most beneficial thing for mountain bikers, is that it can be attached to a frame, so you no longer need to use a stick-on mount or anything like that. The TRails mount can be rotated, and locked into position so that you can orient the camera for the required angle. It comes with two different lengths of straps, a 5.25″ and 9″, for various sized frames and objects. The system can be attached to down tubes, seat tubes and top tubes, and varying types of frame tubing, whether it’s the oddly shaped carbon fiber, or the rectangular aluminum hydroforming tubes.

I spent some time testing the Flex Strap on my Mojo HD frame, and I could fit and work it in quite a few spots, making some unique perspectives for shooting video, such as watching the front fork work, or rear wheel move through its travel. It will make video footage more interesting, and compilation a heck of a lot simpler, and it’s incredibly easy to set up and use, and you can stop and make minor or wholesale changes with a simple alteration, re-orientation or placement. This is an excellent, inexpensive product that will be highly functional for any Contour owner.

Flex Strap Specs:

  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Rotating Flat Mount
  • 9” long strap
  • 5.25” strap

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