Sports Action camcorders: GoPRO / Contour / Sony / JVC etc. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-15-2012, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Dedicated thread to the POV wearable action sports camera / camcorders.

In the past there were only one or two manufacturers for these types of cameras. What was being offered left a lot to be desired. Now it looks like other manufacturers are starting to make their own variations, which is a welcome change.

Here is a brief list of the main ones so far:

GoPRO – http://gopro.com/

Lots of peripherals, even a double 3D housing, addons include LCD, wifi, Bluetooth etc.

Current Models:
HD Hero3
HD Hero2 etc.

Contour - http://contour.com/

A bullet style wearable camcorder, with different models and lots of peripherals.

Current Models:
ContourROAM2
Contour+ 2

Sony - http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&identifier=S_Sony_Action_Cam

New addition, limited peripherals, but has Carl Zeiss lens, Exmor R Sensor, Steadyshot image stabilization.

Current Models:
Action Cam with Wifi
Action Cam (no wifi)

JVC - http://newsroom.jvc.com/press-releases/camcorder/new-jvc-adixxion-camcorder-ready-for-action/

Also new to the market, built in LCD, wifi , digital image stabilizer, HDMI etc.

Current Model:
ADIXXION
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-15-2012, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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My mini review of the ContourROAM:

I picked up this POV a few weeks ago. I chose the Waterproof kit that included the ContourROAM camera as well as a surfboard watermount, plus some adhesive strips and the dedicated ROAM waterproof housing. My wife and I are going on an extended trip and we needed a wearable diving camera that was rugged and not too bulky.

I liked the form factor- a smaller bullet type camcorder with the standard ¼-20 thread for tripod mounts. It has a Micro SD card reader to record videos and a mini USB to charge and transfer videos as well as to update the software settings of the camera. Access these by sliding the little lock open and pushing the round back up, which then flips down. The camera body itself is a sealed unit so the battery is not changeable and this makes it waterproof and rugged up to 1m / 3ft. The battery does last 3+ hrs in my testing.

The lens can be rotated 180 degrees to capture various angles depending on how you mount the camera. Just remember that the 0 degree setting is “Top” or “Up” – especially when using something like the Windshield mount. I have forgotten to rotate it several times and it’s a good thing my video editor allows me to flip it right side up when viewing.

To help with setting the correct lens angle level there is a built in laser level. The button at the back once pressed shoots out the laser for a few second and you can use it to level the camera. The camera has two backlit icons on the top. When you press the button it also does a brief colour code check to tell you what the battery level and memory card level is. Green for good, yellow for halfway and red for low. There is also a reset behind the battery door- use a strong papclip if you ever have a lockup or need to reset the camera.

Note:

When using 1080p mode the field of view is reduced to 135 degress

I use the 720p mode to get a wider 170 degrees FOV.

It records up to 30fps and you need a laptop to view / change the settings using the Storyteller software.

Also the sound is not the best- very low at the initial default setting. Thankfully you can jack up the sensitivity. I have mine currently set to 32. At 36+ it introduces a lot of hissing and background noise. So play with the levels until you find a good compromise. The future versions definitely need a better mic.

There is no built in image stabilization so make sure to mount it securely.

Peripherals:

Included in the kit as stated is the dedicated Contour ROAM Waterproof housing. This makes the camera waterproof down to a listed 60m / 180ft. (Though if you convert 60m it is actually 196+ft, so again beware the marketing hype. We will be testing this claim by doing various dives at different depths in the coming months.) I also picked up the Goggle clip mount that can be used with snorkel, ski, paintball masks etc.

Windshield Mount:

The windshield mount was a sort of impulse buy play with on the car. You can also use it to mount on the outside of the vehicle.
It is a universal type that you can use to mount any other camera / camcorder. The box comes with the dedicated Contour rectangular metal clip, that you put on the mount and then slide the Contour camera into it. I have been having fun recording my drives and even had a couple guys ask me what the heck the camera was as I was stopped at the lights waiting to drive off.
So far I have filmed all kinds of reckless drivers and even a pedestrian yapping away on her cell phone totally oblivious to the 5 lanes of oncoming traffic about to run her over. I slowed down and yelled: “Get off the Phone!”

(I believe in some parts of Europe these types of in car cameras are either mandatory or else you get a discount from the Insurance companies for having one in your car. Not too sure on the specifics. But I can see the day car manufacturers here in North America will have such cameras installed … we’ll need another thread dedicate to the pros and cons of that idea.) 

But it is fun reviewing the twisting turns and scenery after a nice relaxing boot out in the country side. I will be using this the next time I am at the racetrack. I’ll probably pick up a couple more to mount them in various positions on the car to get a 360 view as I burn gas around the track.

The Windshield mount locks solidly to the windshield and even when going over bumps the camera stayed put and the video was steady and sharp when reviewing the video.

Headband Mount:

I also used the Headband mount for a good 44+ minute walk in the park and it works. It’s light weight enough that I didn’t notice it too much, though the clip was digging into my ear which was irritating. (I found out after wards I was wearing the darn clip upside down! Argh.)

Note:

Because there is no image stabilization, reviewing the footage was a bit nauseating on a big screen… either that or I walk funny. Which to tell the truth I probably do.
For making close up how to videos while working on the car or else outdoor shots where I need both hands and don’t have a tripod, the Headband mount will do in a pinch. Just learn to keep you head steady and do not swing your head too fast from side to side. (If you really want a vomit inducing experience- strap this to kids head and tell them to go play outside and then invite a group of people over to watch on the big screen… fun times!)

Conclusion:

I really would have liked a built in wifi as well as an LCD so I can view the video and change camera settings. The upgraded Contour+ model which has wifi was way too expensive- especially with no built in LCD and not as rugged. So I chose the ROAM.

A few weeks after I got the ROAM, wouldn’t you know they came out with the cheaper and better Contour +2 version! The only difference that I can see is that the new Contour +2 is not waterproof by itself so it requires a waterproof housing. (The waterproof housing is included in the package.) Also it has a changeable battery- which the ROAM does not have. (Because as stated above it’s a sealed unit hence the waterproof to 1m / 3 ft by itself without the dedicate ROAM waterproof housing.) The Contour+2 also has wifi and built in GPS which can come in very handy if you travel to various locals.

All in all, I am happy with the ROAM.

I am now very interested in the new JVC ADIXXION though- (Pronounced Addiction – get it?) It seems to have all the upgraded features I would want in this type of camera.
After the ROAM dies or else I give it away I might switch to the JVC model. Will see what the reviews are- so if anyone wants to grab one and put up a mini review then go for it.

Rob
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-15-2012, 10:36 AM
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Casio made a giant breakthrough in 2008 by offering the first high performance, affordable, high speed video camera, the Ex -F1. Casio followed with the FH20, FH25 and the FH100 (in 2010). The market did not appreciated these cameras with manual shutter speed control to minimize motion blur and instead purchased high speed video cameras with high frame rates but none of the other powerful performance features. The Casio advertising was not technically attuned to communicate the superior features of these cameras. Now, to my knowledge, no manufacturer is offering an affordable high performance HS video camera with MANUAL exposure control. Those offered have AUTO exposure control, often only record for short times in high speed video mode, have more Jello Effect, etc.

Sports action? I analyze tennis strokes with a Casio FH100.

If you want to video rapid sports motions, tennis strokes, golf swings, etc. for stop action frame-by-frame analysis, I'd suggest that you find one of the above Casio models used.

If you want to do entertaining high speed videos, where stop action analysis is not important, then the AUTO exposure control cameras that might have more Jello Effect distortions but record attractive HD may do well for your application.

Links

Kinovea
Basic High Speed Video Considerations and Cameras
http://www.kinovea.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?id=435&p=1

dpreview
Casio Talk Forum
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1015

TW
GoPro comparison discussion
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=431983&highlight=GoPro

GoPro on a tennis racket-
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=428809&highlight=gopro+hero

High Speed Videos with Casio FH100-
https://vimeo.com/user6237669
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-16-2012, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the links Chas.

Good to know the history of some of this technology. Eadweard James Muybridge would be proud.
As I get into the various aspects of the hobby I will definitely keep these in mind.

The cameras / camcorders listed are really lacking when it comes to doing the sort of super slow motion work you are interested in.

However, I think we are getting away from the intent of this thread. Not to disregard what you are saying but my intent for POV- Point of View wearable, action / sports camcorders are light weight equipment that people can strap onto themselves or their mode of transport; to film what they are seeing and then playback for entertainment or to analyze things like terrain etc.

The type of action / sports can range from a stroll thought the park, trail jumping on a BMX type bike. Hunting, strapping one onto a bow, or paintball marker, surfboard, snowboard, scuba diving etc.

From a firefight in Afghanistan to jumping out of a plane, from leisure to adrenaline junkie sports- this is the intent of these types of recording devices.

I will be using them on my car when I am racing around the racetrack and my wife will use hers when she does dives like the Great Barrier Reef.
The type of things you can do is only limited to the imagination.

Rob
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-21-2012, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAC View Post

................................................................
The cameras / camcorders listed are really lacking when it comes to doing the sort of super slow motion work you are interested in.
However, I think we are getting away from the intent of this thread. Not to disregard what you are saying but my intent for POV- Point of View wearable, action / sports camcorders are light weight equipment that people can strap onto themselves or their mode of transport; to film what they are seeing and then playback for entertainment or to analyze things like terrain etc.
The type of action / sports can range from a stroll thought the park, trail jumping on a BMX type bike. Hunting, strapping one onto a bow, or paintball marker, surfboard, snowboard, scuba diving etc.
From a firefight in Afghanistan to jumping out of a plane, from leisure to adrenaline junkie sports- this is the intent of these types of recording devices.
I will be using them on my car when I am racing around the racetrack and my wife will use hers when she does dives like the Great Barrier Reef.
The type of things you can do is only limited to the imagination.
Rob

RobAC, You are correct and my reply for high speed video applications is off topic. Please excuse.

Thanks for the Muybridge reference, his work goes back to the interesting origins of motion analysis.
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-15-2012, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Got some great footage while diving & snorkeling off Tahiti / Bora Bora and the Great Barrier in Australia.
When I have time I will post the footage.

The waterproof case for the ContourROAM held up really well. No leaks or issues.
The only thing is at such depths you really need a Red Filter to capture the colours.
Unfortunately as of this writing, Contour does not offer such a filter.

On another note- glad to see the different manufacturers are stepping up with updated POV Sports Action Camcorders.
The more choices the better.

Rob
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-01-2013, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, at long last here is the footage of the Contour ROAM using the underwater housing.
Sony PJ710 also used for additional shots- note at this point I had just started playing with the Sony so the settings were a bit off.

Enjoy:
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-03-2013, 08:54 AM
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Great looking video from the Contour, Rob! It's relatively free of the 720P fishbowl distortions I get from my Veho Muvi HD10 (which I reviewed last summer on this forum). Did you shoot anything in 1080P?
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Gary,

thanks- ask and ye shall receive.
Driving vid in 1080p. I am using the Contour windshield mount.
Excuse the dirty windshield, and also the mount was a bit loose so you will hear vibration / rattling in some parts.

The video looks much better in the native .mov format.

I have one of me walking using the head mount strap in 1080p.
That one was pretty decent. I'll put that on here later.

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-24-2013, 09:05 AM
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Sorry for the delayed response. I looked at it right after you posted, and I'm impressed by the quality, dirty windshield notwithstanding. Do you know the frame rate? It's quite smooth in any case, with a nice wide angle that doesn't suffer from terrible "fishbowl" distortion (bowing).
Quote:
The video looks much better in the native .mov format.

Same with the Veho Muvi clips I posted. Youtube looks very nice in 1080P, but the processing diminishes the quality, no question. (I'm also curious why some footage shot in HD doesn't process above 480p on Youtube in some cases... I haven't had that problem, but my cousin has that issue with a family function video he's sharing).
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-24-2013, 09:26 AM
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Sony Action Cam Video mounted outside the car - with comparison to regular camcorder inside behind windshield





Select 1080p.
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-14-2013, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary miller View Post

Sorry for the delayed response. I looked at it right after you posted, and I'm impressed by the quality, dirty windshield notwithstanding. Do you know the frame rate? It's quite smooth in any case, with a nice wide angle that doesn't suffer from terrible "fishbowl" distortion (bowing).
..

The frame rate is 29fps.
I had converted the larger .mov file to a smaller mp4 before uploading to Youtube- much smaller file and my crappy 1 mb upload rate is pathetic, takes forever to upload a video files.
So what you are seeing is the compressed .mp4 which is then again compressed via youtubes magic and streamed to you... heh.

( For some silly reason I deleted my original.mov file when I was setting up my new laptop- argh!)

Anyway, I originally had the Roam set at 1080 but "downgraded" it to 720p on since it gives a much wider 170 degree field of view.

Rob
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-14-2013, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Mark very nice.

Makes me want to jump in my car and go for drive.

What mount are you using for the outside of the car? The stock Sony mount? It looks just like the Contour mount btw.
What settings are you using to record?

Rob
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-14-2013, 09:45 AM
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Yes, the Sony mount. I used the 108030p setting.
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