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  1. #1
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    Mtbr's Ultimate POV Camera Shootout



    We started bouncing around the idea for a serious POV camera shootout a while back. I had never seen anything I thought was a really effective comparison and I was sure we could do better. The suicide rig you see above is the result of my "thinking" about how to do a real POV camera test. Sure, it looks silly and it's making the rounds on the Web. But it works. I used it on a short ride to record video with the six top cameras at the same time and then put those videos together into one so you could watch them all at the same time. The cameras used were the GoPro Hero3 Black, Contour+ 2, JVC Adixxion, Drift HD Ghost, Replay XD1080, and the Sony Action Cam. Here's the POV camera shootout article:

    POV Action Cam Shootout – Which Camera Is The Best? >>

    Honestly, you guys are much more knowledgeable about POV cameras than I am. But I know cameras, image quality and how to do a proper test and review. I'm totally confident in my methods and the results. I'm sure some of you are going to disagree with me, though, and I know we can do better next time. So what do you think? Please post comments on the article page as well as here. Your opinions, experience and suggestions will make the shootout a more useful resource for people who are researching POV cameras.
    Back of the camera, back of the pack.

  2. #2
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    I'd have to disagree with a couple of your conclusions/opinions. First, I don't think the chest mount video is the best for mountain biking - the FOV makes people's arms look like ET's, which is kind of weird and distracting to me. And so many of the chest mount videos seem to be angled down so all you see is bike and trail going under the bike, not what's coming. And second, I wonder about your easiest to use choice. The Contour has a single slide switch to turn it on and off. It doesn't get more simple than that.

    No disagreement, though, on the best overall being the GoPro; the video it produces is pretty amazing. And I'm a Contour guy because I like the form factor better than the GoPro.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    I'd have to disagree with a couple of your conclusions/opinions. First, I don't think the chest mount video is the best for mountain biking - the FOV makes people's arms look like ET's, which is kind of weird and distracting to me. And so many of the chest mount videos seem to be angled down so all you see is bike and trail going under the bike, not what's coming. And second, I wonder about your easiest to use choice. The Contour has a single slide switch to turn it on and off. It doesn't get more simple than that.

    No disagreement, though, on the best overall being the GoPro; the video it produces is pretty amazing. And I'm a Contour guy because I like the form factor better than the GoPro.
    You make good points about the angle of the chest mount and about how easy the Contour is to use. I hadn't thought about it but you're right on about the Contour being super easy to record with. I am a Contour owner so I know. On the other hand - and this is why I didn't call the Contour easiest to use - if you need to change settings, the Contour is a huge pain in the ass. The new Bluetooth mobile app improves things but the GoPro and Sony's Wi-Fi apps work a lot better. I am glad you pointed that out, though. Because for people who aren't going to be messing with settings, you are absolutely right.

    Please post a comment on the article, too. I think what you've said here is really worth sharing and your comment will be good for the article.

    Thanks!
    Back of the camera, back of the pack.

  4. #4
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    Will do.

    Added a comment on mounting options, too, where I think Contour wins. But that can be a pretty subjective area, too.
    Last edited by skiahh; 03-14-2013 at 04:06 PM.
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  5. #5
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    I recorded video the last few years with my camcorder. Great HD footage with good clarity and color. However, I spend so much brain power trying to improve the bike helmet mount that I am seriously ready to use a POV camera.

    Unfortunately, all the POV videos I see pale in comparison to a camcorder. Even all the videos in the shootout seem a bit jumpy to me. Am I the only one that thinks these videos somewhat jumpy?

    It could be the craptastic flash player. Wish the videos were available for download. Then I might get a better feel for the true look and feel.

    Yes indeed. When I drop the quality the video smooths out.
    Last edited by dnoyeb; 03-14-2013 at 09:20 PM. Reason: new info
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnoyeb View Post
    I recorded video the last few years with my camcorder. Great HD footage with good clarity and color. However, I spend so much brain power trying to improve the bike helmet mount that I am seriously ready to use a POV camera.

    Unfortunately, all the POV videos I see pale in comparison to a camcorder. Even all the videos in the shootout seem a bit jumpy to me. Am I the only one that thinks these videos somewhat jumpy?

    It could be the craptastic flash player. Wish the videos were available for download. Then I might get a better feel for the true look and feel.

    Yes indeed. When I drop the quality the video smooths out.
    Yeah, I don't know what to do about player. And honestly, even on my fast computer the full-size videos choke. I shot and uploaded them at full HD because that's the new standard and it's what people want to see. But personally, I would only use and edit them in 720p on my own.

    As for the camcorder, I hear you. I've been thinking I should write a follow-up article about why everyone should carry a good point-and-shoot camera to complement their POV camera. POV cameras are no good for still photos and for a really good video, you need other angles besides POV. Current P&S cameras have full HD video, great optical zoom lenses, excellent still photo quality and some of them can even do really good high-speed video. POV cameras just aren't good all purpose capture devices.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    Added a comment on mounting options, too, where I think Contour wins. But that can be a pretty subjective area, too.
    Thanks! The comments really help the article. There's no way I can think of and cover everything
    Back of the camera, back of the pack.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    Thanks! The comments really help the article. There's no way I can think of and cover everything
    No problem. It's good to see someone putting them all side by side.

    And I agree with you on the P&S. I take mine with me on every ride, but don't always take the Contour. Oh, and I got my TG-2; it's pretty nice overall. Low light makes it default to high ISOs with noticeable noise, but you can override that and lower the ISO and still get good pictures. The super macro mode is very cool and a lot of fun! I just need a new pouch that will hold it well; it's just a bit bigger than most of the pouches are built to hold.
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  9. #9
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    I like both contour and sony action cam in terms of low profile. Mounting a go pro on the helmet looks it a GOOGLE CAR riding the trail .

    Is it really difficult to use the wifi of contour?

  10. #10
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    Good job! Great Reviews!

    I knew their were a few more competitors in the market aside from Gopro and Contour but I didn't know their were this many! Dig the contraption you made to film all at once. That really does work well for comparisons! The Sony really surprised me and looked the best in the tunnel. On the comparison chart you put No for GPS on the Contour. I believe the Contour has the GPS ability and that's definitely a nice feature. I usually have my Garmin for GPS use so that's not a big selling point but it sure is a great feature!

    A couple notes.

    On the gopro:
    The Hero 3 Black also has 4k and 2.7k resolution settings as well as Protune mode
    I don't see many people taking adavantage of these resolutions since most people only have 1080p monitors or TV's. I don't doubt that it has the best image quality overall but I'm not sure you'll notice too much of a difference unless you have a 4k LCD.

    On the Sony:
    The biggest issue for mountain bikers is Sony doesn’t make a helmet vent mounting harness for the Action Cam.
    Are you sure about this? I see one shown on their website. It shows one of the adhesive mounts on top of a bicycle helmet.

    Turning on the SteadyShot image stabilization limits the angle-of-view to 120-degrees, which probably makes it unusable for most mountain bike POV filming.
    The 120-degrees isn't very good for mountain biking? I'd hate to not use image stabilization since it's such a great feature for mountain biking.

    I'm pretty keen on the Sony with it's Lens technology but somewhat skeptical of 1st generation units. I read a few post where people mentioned the fast battery drain and some pixelation issue but your video made the Sony look great!

    On Sonys website it only shows a couple videos and they don't look very good. Especially when comparing them to the Videos I've seen for the Hero2 on Gopros website!

    The mounting issues are also somewhat limited and that's definitely where the Gopro shines!

    At first I thought the Sony only took their proprietary memory sticks which would suck since they are expensive but I watched your full review and notice it takes PNY branded Micro-SD which is great.

    I'm thinking I might pick the non wifi Sony version because that's an excellent price point. I don't have a fancy phone so the wifi isn't a big selling point for me. It's a cool feature but not something I'd use. Another big selling point is durability. It will be interesting to see how these hold up in comparison to the Gopro. I think the Contour looks really durable but not sure about these other ones.

    Thanks for the review and dig that shirt with Mojo on it.

  11. #11
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    GoPro is King GoPro is King GoPro is King GoPro is King


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mossyman34 View Post
    GoPro is King GoPro is King GoPro is King GoPro is King
    Phooooone hooome!
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  13. #13
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    I have the gopro hero 3 white. I always set it at 720 @ 60 fps with a side of the vented helmet mount with the adhesives. I love being able to see your hands, the handlebar and front tire, the front of your helmet and maybe your sweet shades, and the trail ahead. Also, the neck of your body is a GREAT suspension system if you didn't know. If the pov camera is in your chest, the bounces don't go through your neck and get smoothed out a little more. You can also see where you r going better and know how high you are when you jump. You can actually see the rocks you are bouncing on as you go over a rock garden. Long post I know.

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