I feel very inadequate when it comes to techno goodies like cameras. Lucky for me testing the new VholdR ContourHD
proved an easy affair thanks to its idiot simple operation. Slap in the rechargeable battery and micro SD card, press the on button and then slide the large record switch forward. Viola, you’re recording, and in high-def no less!
Those of sound mind, or even questionable mind, should be able to work the VholdR Contour HD camera.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on the VholdR
H-D, one reason it’s so user friendly. Hold down the on/off switch and it turns on with a beep, hold it down again and a double beep signifies off. The record function gives the same auditory signals, plus a red light on the front of the camera and the big red “REC” displaying when the record button slides forward ensures zero confusion as to whether you’re rolling or not.
This last feature may sound like an idiot-proof mechanism, and it is – one we’re grateful for. Ask MCUSA video editors how many times I’ve returned with awesome action takes of my mug in front of the camera turning it off instead of on. Or in the case of some of our past on-board devices, downloading still photos instead of video because the wrong button got bumped.
Another great feature on the Contour, which sets it apart, it shoots out a pair of lazer beams to help line up shots. No more guessing what the lense is aiming at. Users can also fine-tune the angle with the rotating lense.
The ContourHD lithium-ion battery lasts up to three hours, recharged via USB port or accessory charger with a claimed average charge time of four hours. The 2GB card, which comes standard with the camera (along with accessory goggle mount), captures up to an hour of HD footage (2 hours SD). However, the 2G card can be swapped out for up to 16GB – delivering a whole lot of HD footage.
The flat mount (pictured) and goggle mount come standard with purchase, but motorcycle riders will want to invest in some of the accessory mounting options.
As for SD and HD, the two settings toggle via switch located under the rear cover – where the USB port and memory card are also accessed. HD shoots 720p at 30 fps, with SD set at WVGA 60 fps. Those who actually understand what that terminology means can upgrade to the ContourHD 1080
($329.99), which provides way more setting options but requires more technical knowhow. VholdR themselves sent us the regular ContourHD because it’s more computer friendly – probably the best option for the amateur.
Video and audio quality from footage gathered impressed our video department. Another big user-friendly plus, downloading raw recordings via USB is drag-and-drop simple. Literally, plug and play within seconds.
As far as fit and finish, VholdR promises the black anodized aluminum body construction is water, shock and vibration resistant. It seems fairly sturdy, but doesn’t strike us and sturdy enough to drop it on the pavement intentionally. We’ve lost enough on-board cameras to know the accessory waterproof protective case would be worth the extra $40.
The late POV video pioneer Dave Barrymore demonstrates how far onboard camera technology has come (VholdR dedicates one of its POV Awards to the ski filmaker). The current VholdR weighs 4.3 ounces and records up to 8 hours of HD footage which can be dowloaded and played within seconds.
We’d also spring for some of the accessory mounting options. The standard goggle mount probably works great for snowboarders, skiers and other helmeted action sports, one of VholdR’s obvious targeted markets. However, we found limited use for it during our motorcycle street rides. A windshield and handlebar mount are available and we are eager to test them, as the variable mounting options are one of the highlights of VholdR rival GoPro (which we also use at MotoUSA). VholdR have since sent some more mounting options – stay tuned for an update to this review.
Another plus for the VholdR, the company sports a vibrant online community at its website: http://www.vholdr.com/videolist
. The firm even came out with awards in support of its user-generated content – the VholdR POV Awards
All told the ContourHD’s ease of use and quality footage makes for a great match to the everyman rider who just wants to plug in and grab some great action video.
||720p: 1280 x 720
WVGA: 848 x 480
|1080p: 1920 x 1080
960p: 1280 x 960
720p: 1280 x 720
WVGA: 848 x 480
| 30fps: 1080p, 960p, 720p
60fps: 720p, WVGA