Contour is well-known in the extreme sports camera market, and their latest camera is certainly something to consider.
It’s boasted as being an easy to use camera and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. With features taken from Contour’s top of the range + model, the ROAM builds on top of the solid base that Contour has built over the years with their various cameras. The ROAM takes it a step further by making it waterproof to 1 meter, having a single use power/record slider and auto adjusting exposure settings.
The ROAM keeps the same form figure as the other Contour cameras but it is slightly longer and slightly taller than the others. This is due to the battery being built-in and not removable. This does have its draw backs as the camera no longer fits in some of the mounts, such as the windshield mount.
The 270 degree rotational lens allows you to record at any rotation and the new single laser allows you to make sure your picture will be level. This new laser isn’t quite as powerful as the older style but is much better at making sure your picture is level. The lens is also flush in this version so it is much easier to clean and it doesn’t pick up dirt in the ridge.
The one slide power and record switch is great, no need to check that it is powered on first before you record and the button is slightly larger and protruding from the camera body, making it easy to turn on and off with a thick glove. Note that the on and off time is slightly longer than other cameras, meaning if you manually tag you videos by turning the camera off and on again, it does take a longer time.
The lens is taken from the Contour +, as previously stated this rotates 270 degrees allowing you to get the horizontal image from any angle. The 170 degree wide-angle lens is only available if you choose the 960p or 720p option, the 1080p option offers a slightly smaller 135 degrees which does look a little bit zoomed in comparison. My personal preference is the 960p mode to get all the information you require.
One of the biggest issues that people have noted is the lack of 60fps recording, the ROAM only offers 30fps in all of its modes and is something that can really sway people’s opinions on if it is the right camera for them. Add in the built-in battery which is not removable and some people have lost interest straight away, the battery can last for around 3 hours depending on the settings, anything longer than that and you will need to stop and charge it before doing any more filming.
The ROAM is the first Contour camera to include a 1/4 thread in the body, this allows the camera to be attached to camera accessories such as tripods and allows the use of 3rd party mounts from the likes of RAM. A welcome addition in my books and something I hope they continue in other iterations of all their line ups.
The camera has been waterproofed and is rated at up to 1 meter, this may not seem like much but it makes a huge difference if being used in the rain, previous cameras would require you to add the external case which reduced sound quality and was bulky! The waterproofing has affected the sound, as the camera comes in the box the sound quality is noticeably different to the previous Contour cameras but with Contours latest firmware update for the ROAM it has improved the sound levels and quality but quite a bit!
All in all the Contour is a great camera and fits nicely into their current range. It is a very easy camera to use and really is a point and shoot video camera. There are a few downsides which should be taken into consideration before you buy this camera, the lack of 60fps and an in-built battery will be big decision factors but so will the auto adjusting exposure settings which have really made the difference to my experience of using the Contour Camera.