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24

Dec

2010

ContourHD 1080p Camera review
Written by Jason Elliot   
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HD1_ThumbThe nest of wires behind your TV stand or hiding behind some of the drywall in your home can be a convoluted mess. If your hi-tech entertainment center is working, you're fine. One misplaced or disconnected cord can take you to the edge of frustration.

Contour has embraced the advantage of simplicity with the ContourHD 1080p wearable action camera. It's easy enough for even the brainless to record your outdoor mischief in HD.

Looking at the technical mumbo-jumbo, the ContourHD records in 1080p (1920 x1080 @ 30 fps) and three added setting gives choices. This allows you to pick a setting that serves your needs whether it's memory conservation or for activities that view better in a taller image. The wide angle lens is set at 110 degrees when recording in 1080p and at 135 degrees at 720p.

The ContourHD is equipped with a 2GB micro SD card and is expandable to handle a 32GB. Contour says the camera will record for more than eight hours. An omni-directional microphone on the underbelly of the camera brings it closer to you and your buddy's loud mouths to capture the lively audio. The microphone features AAC Audio Compression.

Contour keeps the cameras operation simple. The ContourHD has one external button for powering up the camera. A textured large button slides to start and stop recording. It makes it easy to know whether the camera is recording.

The button can easily be operated with bulky snow gloves. A light on the camera's front toggles from green to orange to show the camera is recording. And the Contour HD will beep once it starts to record. Sliding the record button to the off position will cause the camera to emit a dual beep indicating recording has stopped. The series of beeps is helpful when the ContourHD is helmet mounted and the indicator lights can't be seen.

The video quality meets the expectation for 1080p HD. And the low $279.99 suggested retail price needs to be considered when assessing the quality. The lens captures a large swath of activity especially if recording in standard definition – SD allows for a wider angle. There's slight distortion at the edge of the picture in both HD and SD modes. Overcast days and shadowy spots can cause high contrast and shows the ContourHD at its worst point.

Even at its worst, the ContourHD performance meets the standard for a consumer grade hi-def action camera. If you want higher quality, you will need to step up to a professional grade camera that can be double in price.

The audio comes through clear considering it's packed into the design of the Contour HD. It captures all the sounds in several feet from the whipping wind while skiing and your nearby buddy's f-bombs biffing it on an ice packed mogul.

Contour offers several mounting accessories for the ContourHD. It includes a goggle mount and a flat-surface mount with adhesive backing that can be stuck to the top or side of a helmet. A waterproof enclosure and mounting accessories for bikes, surfboards, helmets and a car dashboard can be bought separately. Most ContourHD mounts run from $20 to $40.

Contour has an online community for its camera owners to join and upload their action footage shot on their cameras. It gives the advantage of your videos being part of an outdoor-inspired video community. Your high-adventure videos won't be lost in the YouTube double rainbow riffraff.

Contour LogoThe ContourHD is similar to other consumer-grade wearable HD cameras in features and video quality. It differentiates itself with a slimmer design and dummy-proof controls. Contour has done without an LCD display typical even in competitors' wearable HR cameras. (MSRP $249.99)



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Jason Elliot

JElliotJason Elliot is the Editor and Publisher of OutdoorInformer.com. Elliot has established a respected following with the top industry professionals and gearheads for his nonbiased reviews of outdoor gear and apparel. Elliot is a regular contributor to Examiner.com, Trails.com and other publications on top of his editorial and writing role with OutdoorInformer.com.

Elliot left a successful fifteen-plus year management career that he worked at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies to pursue his passion for writing about the outdoors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from La Roche College.

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