THESE DAYS YOU’RE NAKED WITHOUT YOUR POV.
by John Schwirtlich in Spring 2012 issue
There’s only one way to describe shooting with a waterproof POV or helmet camera: fun and productive. For almost 10 years I’ve been staff photographer/videographer at the powder mecca of Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, in Blue River, B.C. I record skiers’ powder fantasies coming true and each year it’s done with fewer still photos and more digital video. This season, I’ve been shooting daily with both the Contour Roam POV and GoPro Hero 2 cameras.
GOPRO HERO 2
The latest version from GoPro, the new Hero 2 camera, has really raised the bar in terms of image quality. Both the stills and moving images are very sharp compared to the original GoPro. The footage looks great when edited into my much more expensive full-size camera sequences. You can shoot smooth-looking slow motion with the 720p at 60 fps (frames per second), or shoot even higher res 1080p at 30 fps. A big bonus is the new add-on LCD screen, which helps with hand-held composition. You might also want to add a second battery, which pushes the shooting time considerably. My favourite feature on this camera is the new menu. The larger icons in the display make it much easier to change your settings on the fly. The variety of mounts for GoPro cameras is vast and they will dramatically change your results. With a chest, pole or ski-tip mount, you’ll see your adventure from a totally different perspective. www.gopro.com GoPro Hero 2 Outdoor edition, $349
I started using the Contour Roam for the first time earlier this season. After a few audio issues (before I downloaded the firmware upgrade), this camera has been super-reliable and, more importantly, really easy to use. What I enjoy is the simple on and off switch on the Contour, even with big ski gloves. Just slide the switch on top of this sleek aluminum camera to start or stop filming. You never need to pester your mates about whether or not you’re capturing images. In mid-January it was -37 degrees and I used the Contour Roam selectively all day without the batteries quitting. As well, the mounts are easy to use on this camera. I bought a gorilla mini tripod and I can mount this camera almost anywhere. The Contour is very sleek and light, making it easy to stash when you’re not shooting. Overall, this camera is a solid, reliable performer in the POV market. More info (and more models) at: contour.ca. Contour Roam, $229
Some other options to consider in the POV camera market include:
The Drift HD170, which shoots 720p at 60 fps and has a built-in LCD screen and wrist-mount remote control. $289 www.driftinnovation.com
The six-element glass lens system in the VIO POV HD has a great field of view at 142 degrees while shooting 1080p at 30 fps. $599 www.vio-pov.com