A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Friday, 15 November 2013

Contour Plus 2 Camera Review - Part 1 - Out of the Box

I recently purchased a Contour 2+ helmet camera, and thought I'd review impartially, and in detail how it fares. I'm going to do this in a couple of parts, first of all talking about what you get for your money, and then in part 2 after a bit more use, I'll look at the software, and some results from using it.

First of all, you need to know that Contour have gone bust. This is a great shame, and its probably bad news for anyone who brought a camera recently, and needs support. Parts of their website  are still up, but there are no official links available to download the "storyteller" software (which does not come with the device in it's packaging - more on that in a  minute) and there is also no support available on their website.

Contour devices are still being sold however! And consumers need to be aware that there some risk with buying one of these - if it breaks, you'll have to negotiate with the store you brought it from with regards to a refund. On the plus side, these camera's have dropped in price if you shop around, and you can get a quality product for a bargain. So first of all, here's what you get for your money.

Opening the box

It's an impressively tidy package, and the build quality of everything seems pretty good:

The Contour 2+ Comes with:

  • Waterproof case: Looks solid & genuinely waterproof with a good seal - though I haven't tested it underwater yet. The case adds quite a bit of weight and if you were mounting it on the side of a cycle helmet, I think it would pull your head to the side too much. I'm not going to use this on my helmet.
  • USB 2.0 cable
  • Rubber lens cap
  • Gigastone 4gb MircoSD card + SD Adaptor. It;s worth mentioning 4GB won't last you long (maybe 1 hour of full HD video recording). I purchased an additional 32GB micro SD separately.
  • 2 adhesive mounting points + 1 spare adhesive pad for the rotating mount (see below)
  • 1 Safety cord
  • The Camera


Out of the box you only get 2 mounts. The mounts are basically just rubber sliders with an adhesive back (made by 3M) that you stick to your helmet. I'm not sure I totally trust the adhesive backing to hold for long, and especially not if the the camera is in the waterproof case. The problem is that bike helmets don't actually have any fully flat surfaces on them. The mount does flex a bit, but I can still see a few small air pockets after attaching mine (and waiting overnight before use to let the seal form, as recommended).

The mount pictured above rotates so you can adjust the camera angle, and so far this rotation hasn't "slipped" on me. The Safety strap however, is not long enough to attach to the helmet (It's designed for goggles) but I'll make my own which will be easy. Note also the safety strap that comes "out of the box" only fits the adjustable mount pictured above. On its own, it looks like this:

Although its an additional $AUD 65-100, it's probably worth buying the bike mount kit. I cant see the mounts that come out of the box lasting forever, and if its wet, I'd mount the camera on the handlebars in the heavier case. Here's what you get with the separate bike mount kit:

Finally, a few useful links.

To the owners of contour, if you want these removed I will do so immediately on request. But it seems unfair to consumers, that the products are still on sale, yet your can't download the software. or even read the instruction manual, from your own support web site. The software (Contour Storyteller) is essential for configuring the device. For video editing, you can use either contour software, or any other video editing software. I will post more information about the software soon...

You can download both the instruction manual, and windows installer for Contour Storyteller from dropbox here .This is not my own link...it was found with a search engine and I take no responsibility for the content on there!

All in all, I'm enjoying using this so far. I immediately have noticed a difference in driver behaviour as well...if a motorist notices the camera, they tend to be more likely to behave with their driving.

I'll follow up with "Part 2" soon.

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