Tested: Contour Roam 3 Camera

Words by Flow | Images by Flowtographer

The not-so-minor details

Product

Contour Roam 3

Contact

Contour Australia
www.contouraustralia.com.au

Price

AUD299.95

Positives

Low-profile.
Easy, one-button-to-record operation.
Waterproof without a case.
Easy to switch between video and photo modes.

Negatives

No screen or mobile connectivity to review footage/angles. Internal battery.

Contour are one of the older players in the wearable/helmet camera world, though it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. In 2013 the brand closed its doors, but with new management and vision, they’re back to challenge for a bigger chunk of this incredibly competitive market.

Contour Roam 3-1

The Roam 3 isn’t a huge departure from previous Contour cameras. It has the same cylindrical shape as earlier models, making it very low profile, so it’s ideal for helmet mounting. Alignment is achieved via laser beams (good in low light, but hard to see in bright sun) with a rotatable lens to ensure a flat horizon. The Roam 3 also gets the trademark Contour slide-to-record button that’s easy to use with gloved hands.

Contour Roam 3-5

The lens barrel is rotatable to keep the horizon correct, with a laser pointer indicating where the camera is pointing.

Where it does represent an improvement over previous versions is that it’s now waterproof to 30 feet, and you can switch to photo mode on-the-fly. There are two default video modes (720p @ 60fps, or 1080p @ 30fps), and you can select other resolutions if you plug it into your computer (which is unlikely, as 720p/1080p are the standards). Battery life is a claimed 3.5hrs, which is fine, but the battery isn’t removable so once it’s flat your recording fun is done till you get to a charger.

Contour Roam 3-4

The large slide button is very easy to use. Basic LED indicators give information about battery life and card space.

The Roam uses Contours own mounting system, which is a kind of rail arrangement, with the camera sliding into place. For helmet mounting, this system is low profile. There are stacks of other mounts available (including for a gun barrel – yep) but no chest mount option.

Contour Roam 3-10

The flip-down rear panel gives you access to the Micro SD card, USB port, and the switch to toggle between different resolutions.

The simplicity of the Roam is both its strength and weakness. Upsides: The big slide button both powers up the camera and starts recording all in one motion and is really easy to operate in a hurry, and switching to photo mode is just a matter of holding down the rear button for a few seconds. Downsides: Without a screen or mobile connectivity, you can’t check the camera angle, review footage, or make adjustments to the settings without a computer. Picture quality is fine, especially given the price point, with a super wide 170 degree lens. It doesn’t do so well in dappled light at high speed, but few helmet cameras do. There’s no built in stabiliser (ala the Sony Action Cam) so we recommend running it through your stabilisation software of choice, which is something we do as a matter of course for all wearable camera footage.

All up, the Roam 3 is solid offering that plays to the strengths of its simple design and ease of use of the trail and won’t break the bank.

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