Contour ROAM Review

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.

Advertisements

Cycle Video Day

 

Cycle Video Day 10th of October 2011

Magnatom has recently announced an idea called Cycle Video Day.

The basic idea is to get as many Video Camera Cyclists to submit some footage that was taken on that day, showing what ever they wanted, them being cut up, left hooked or passing loads of standstill traffic as they go about their travels. The main idea is to show our numbers!

I know loads of people who know about my self or a few other guys that film their cycle journeys. But in reality there are loads, across the world I know of nearly 400 but there are hundreds more who I have yet to discover or who don’t post online.

I’m already having ideas about what I want to try to do. With plenty of Londoners using cameras, I would like to try to get a few of us together and all do a short ride with each other. It would be great to see each other from different perspectives.

Magnatom has asked for anyone to input in the general ideas pot. There is nothing set in stone about how this is going to work or where this is going to do. All that is set is the date. If you want to give some input, head over to his blog and comment on one of the Cycle Video Day posts.

You’re Looking for Trouble

I’m often told that I’m looking for trouble when I go out on my bicycle. After all, anyone that videos their bicycle ride is quite clearly acting up to the camera!

Comments range from

I ride a bike everyday and have never been aggressed in any way, so do thousands of others. The reason why is we aren’t looking for it.

to

it looks to me like you are looking for trouble and antagonising people for the benefit of the camera.

These comments come from all kinds of people, even from cyclists. They base this opinion around a few videos and presume that because I cycle in a position which they think is incorrect or because I did something different to what they would have done then I am acting up to the camera.

There are a few things to consider before making the assumption that I am looking for trouble. Distance, time, location, vehicle interactions and limited view.

Distance

My commute is 17 miles each way and I cycle to work and back again 5 days a week. Totalling my weekly mileage at 170 miles and that is not including the miles I do on the weekends. I miss a few days because of illness, holiday and occasionally bad weather. So my yearly mileage is normally around 7,000 miles. Much higher than the average cyclist.

Time

I work the 9 to 5, so the time I’m on the road is at rush hour, 170 miles a week at rush hour! Lots of traffic trying to get to work as quickly as possible and a few of them not thinking about anyone else but themselves.

Location

I commute from Croydon to central London. Whilst Croydon isn’t as big as central London, there is still a large quantity of traffic and I’m sure we are all aware of the traffic in central . I also follow some of the busiest routes in south London, with lots of different kinds of traffic all trying to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

Vehicle Interactions

In a single day I will have nearly a thousand interactions with other vehicles, by that I mean them passing me or me passing them. So weekly it’s +5,000 interactions but I only upload maybe 10 videos a week. Why? Because I’m not looking for trouble and most people drive safely. There are a few videos where at the time I think it was bad but on reflection it doesn’t look so bad on the video, in this case I don’t bother to upload the video

Limited View

Most of my videos show bad drivers, so of course it might look like I’m out looking for them. I rarely post videos of good drivers, mainly because they don’t get many as many views and it’s hard to see how good a driver really is.

Conclusion

I bet it doesn’t look like I’m antagonizing drivers or looking for trouble 99% of the time, and that is because I’m not, the other 1% is just down to people’s perceptions of a minority of incidences where they think they would have done better.
Pedal 7,000 miles in my shoes, ride 170 miles a week on the same roads as me and see how you react.

Guide to Buying a Helmet Camera

Featured

Mark Schulze, a Director of Photography and ow...

Image via Wikipedia

The popularity of helmet cameras has exploded over the past few years, hundreds of cyclists across the world are using cameras to record and tell their stories. Thousands of road users are also doing the same.

So you are in the market for a helmet camera? But where to start? Follow this guide and hopefully you will be in a position to make a choice about which camera is best for you.

Budget!

Your budget will be the biggest factor in choosing which camera to go for. The general rule is that the more you spend the better quality camera you get. Be it HD, better mounts, better quality parts used and more features.

Quality?

The biggest decision is going to be quality. HD is a great thing to have but comes at a cost, greater than £100 for a good camera with a HD chip. HD isn’t everything, you can still get a good picture without HD by choosing a camera which uses a good quality sensor. HD does often give a clearly image and has a wider lens angle, all positives.

Lens Angle

The lens angle makes a huge difference to what is captured by the camera. A wider lens angle will pick up more footage but it has it’s downsides. Wide angle lenses often create a fish eye look and elements on the edge of the film will often be further away than they actually are (making close passes look further away than they really are). It also makes judging speed on film a little bit harder.
I use a 1080p camera but run it at 960p, why? Because the 1080p mode uses a smaller lens angle and zooms the image in. I would much rather have a wider lens angle and a taller image to get the most footage I can, it makes a huge difference.

Body Format

Helmet cameras come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from bullet to cubes. When choosing what you want it is wise to take into consideration where you are going to mount your camera (It doesn’t have to be on the helmet). Square cameras look a bit silly on a helmet when you compare them to bullet format cameras but the square cameras seem to look and fit better when fitted to the handle bars. Slimmer cameras, such as the veho muvi, can also fit into the vents of your helmet, making them a bit more discrete.

Mounting

It is a good idea to look at what mounting options there are with each camera you are considering. The more expensive cameras usually have more professional looking mounts and a wider selection. If there isn’t a specific helmet mount or if you choose to make your own then it is a good idea to take into consideration how secure it is going to be. The specific helmet mounts are designed with some sort of give in it, so if you are involved in a collision then the camera will come away from the helmet and not cause added damage to your head by causing the helmet to crush more than it should do. I would suggest not to zip tie your camera to your helmet.

If the camera comes with a 1/4″ screw thread then the possibilities for mounting are pretty much endless. RAM offer some amazing options which a few of us take advantage of and mount our cameras to various parts of our frames and handlebars.

What is in the box?

It’s a good idea to check what comes with the camera before you purchase it. The accessory that you want may be excluded or in the case of the Contour cameras the vented helmet mount is not included and i know this has caught a few buyers out. So it’s important that you check and factor any additional items in the total cost of the camera.

Memory Cards

Pretty much all cameras use some form of SD card, be that standard or Micro. Most cameras come with a memory card but often one small in size. You will probably need to get a bigger memory card, but how big depends on how long you want to ride between visits to a computer or a memory card swap.

Battery

Not all cameras have a removable battery, limiting your time on the road before you have to visit a computer or wall plug. Some of these can be modified to charge of a AA battery. Other units have removable batteries, so if you are on a long ride then you can swap out the battery when one dies and continue.

Features

Some models of cameras come with some added features which can be nice, from lasers and small screens to bluetooth and GPS. Some features can be handy to have where as others are just additions which you never use. Think about which ones you need and which ones you don’t as they do affect the cost of the cameras.

Reviews

It’s worth looking at reviews of the products and see what others thing about it. Just search the camera name + review in a search engine like google. Point Of View Cameras has reviews on all the major cameras and Magnatom has done a view of some cameras and compared them against each other. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Example Footage

Pretty much each camera type is already used by a cyclist online, so search for the camera on youtube and see if someone has some footage of it in use. This can make the difference in your choice. If you see another camera cyclist on youtube that has good footage, ask them what camera they use and they are more often that not happy to let you know what they use. Although it would be worthwhile looking on their channel and see if the information is displayed there or if someone else has already asked.

Where brands make good cameras?

  • Contour / Vholdr
  • GoPro
  • Veho
  • Drift Innovations
  • V.I.O POV

Where to buy cameras?

The popularity of cameras

I remember when I first started recording my cycle journeys. At that time there where only a handful of cyclists that where regularly using and uploading footage onto the Internet. But look at it now and the users are in the hundreds. But why has it become popular?

As more and more videos of dangerous driving get uploaded onto the internet and more cyclists view it, the appeal to record and upload your own experiences becomes larger, especially if you have a few close shaves with motorised vehicles.

Factor in the new availability of cheaper cameras, the veho muvi camera has had a massive effect on the affordability of it. When I first started you where looking at least £100 for a system and even then it wasn’t great. Now you can get a camera for less than £20!

I’ve noticed the most growth has been in London. I have nothing to back this up but I think the growth came about shortly after the launch of roadsafe London. Cyclists jumped on this and I believe most of the reports are from cyclists. Roadsafe London changed the way that cyclists could report drivers. Before it was an impossible task and mostly taken as your word against theirs, even if you had video footage, it’s only worth the process to yourself, the police and the CPS if it is seriously bad. Roadsafe London has made it dead simple. Put the car details in, add a description, some notes about what happened, include your video URL (if you have one) and that’s it.

Now the popularity has increased, we are selling more and more media coverage of cyclists using cameras, earlier this year several cyclists appeared on BBC news in a piece about cyclists catching dangerous road users and only a few weeks ago was a driver caught punching a cyclists on someones helmet camera.

Unfortunately I see the main reason for cameras is because we are not listened to, we use them to back up what happened and to prove to people that the person that knocked us off is in the wrong. In some cases it’s a real fighting battle to be a cyclist as a lot of people just don’t want to listen to what we have to say.

Try and ignore us now, together we record our tales on the road.

Video Camera Cyclists

Featured

Cyclists all over the world are taking to using video cameras as they go about there rides. Be them mounted on their helmets or on the bicycle, the cameras prove to be invaluable as they show what life is like as a cyclist across the globe.
Below i’ve listed all the video camera cyclists that I know of and which country and region them are from if known, not all video camera cyclists upload to youtube, so this is only a list of known video camera cyclists who upload.
See video camera cyclists from Austraila, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, FinlandGermany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America

Australia

  1. 2WheelsAndACamera
  2. 33iampaul
  3. Aushiker
  4. Boognoss
  5. chalinolobusmorio
  6. chungman212
  7. cyberwealth
  8. cycleAus
  9. eclessia
  10. evictorr – Melbourne
  11. georgeonhisbike
  12. HuggiesCycling
  13. KonaCommuter
  14. myforwik
  15. nitramluap
  16. OxfordYT
  17. Peddler2565
  18. rigidmount – NSW
  19. roadmonitoroz
  20. tony888vo
  21. triplejay
  22. waynohh
  23. whisperingwheels

Canada

  1. adventuresincycling
  2. alexwarrior1
  3. buddybradley2007 – Vancouver
  4. CaptainPreferences
  5. extreme2themax
  6. grindupBaker
  7. NoGo90
  8. RedRavick
  9. ryanz4
  10. torontocranks – Toronto

Czech Republic

  1. LiamAnderson1
  2. squish225

Denmark

  1. xliijoe

Finland

  1. timoohz

Germany

  1. BerlinCyclist
  2. Cuberadler
  3. krobnitz
  4. RadfahrerBT – Bayreuth
  5. rhein228
  6. speedbiker14

Hungary

  1. atomboy83 – Szeged
  2. errorkahun
  3. sajatzsiron – Budapest

Ireland

  1. betamonu
  2. CycleDub – Dublin
  3. dublincyclist – Dublin

Italy

  1. electriccyclist
  2. marcotosinurse
  3. TheItalianCyclist

Japan

  1. alexWiiDS

Netherlands

  1. AmCamBike
  2. beekie1982
  3. DavidHembrow
  4. DerkvanL
  5. dsiepman2000
  6. harwig
  7. markenlei
  8. metro2002
  9. pjotr320
  10. Quemo304
  11. twilwel
  12. xlnetwork

New Zealand

  1. abmannz
  2. BondMeisterbond
  3. ginganz13
  4. TheVexatiousLitigant
  5. WellingtonBikeCam01

Norway

  1. DelVeien – Oslo

Poland

  1. 7Prozak7

Russia

  1. DarlokA256
  2. tmpttt1

Switzerland

  1. systemexit

Thailand

  1. hipponokloo

Ukraine

  1. kievcyclist

United Kingdom

  1. 04smallmj – Essex
  2. 10936868
  3. 1970DGF
  4. 24690553 – Birmingham
  5. 2FlatErics
  6. 2rocship – Manchester
  7. 39stonecyclist
  8. 497103
  9. 4ChordsNoNet – Croydon, London
  10. ABikeCam
  11. adamjennison111
  12. adds21
  13. adysayswakeupffs
  14. agbell99 – London
  15. AldershotCyclist – Aldershot
  16. alexgreenbank
  17. amorfuss – Doncaster
  18. AnalogueAndy – Bath
  19. andi0kam – London
  20. andrewfowler1000
  21. Andrewrobinhood
  22. andyb0000
  23. andyjprice777
  24. AndyTrav1 – London
  25. Angelfishsolo
  26. antlaff69
  27. apreater – London
  28. arallsopp – London
  29. AsusP8Z68V – Norwich
  30. atacama82
  31. Athomack
  32. AyrshireBacn
  33. b0ngmanuk
  34. bada55ba55
  35. BadSwindoomRoadUsers – Swindon
  36. baggyattheknees
  37. baldyteacher
  38. bazk666
  39. bbborp – London
  40. benlovejoy
  41. benwhiteuk – Portsmouth
  42. betterbybikeonline
  43. bigbluemeanie
  44. bigguychappers – York
  45. bigsharnm – York
  46. BoringVideosInk
  47. BoroGrecian
  48. Bristolcyclista – Bristol
  49. BristolTraffic – Bristol
  50. brothersoulshine
  51. BrownhillsBob
  52. cabdav
  53. Camsplint
  54. cantankeroussquonk
  55. CapitalMover – London
  56. carsruleok – London
  57. ChrisCLondon
  58. citycycling
  59. cjashwell – London
  60. cognitivedissident
  61. CommutingWithCamera
  62. CountryOfTheBlind – London
  63. cr3ated
  64. crazy580
  65. CrispyCatCam – London
  66. cristapper84 – London
  67. Cunobelin
  68. cyclea2b
  69. CycleGaz – London
  70. cycletank
  71. cycleman8000
  72. cyclinginlondon – London
  73. cyclinginstructor – London
  74. cyclingmarcuu – York
  75. CyclingMikey – London
  76. cyclingpast – London
  77. CyclistDan
  78. CycloWaz
  79. cycopathifist
  80. d4rthpaul – Bristol
  81. DamoDoublemint – London
  82. Dangerousedinburgh – Edinburgh
  83. daniellepalmer
  84. dannyc73
  85. darreljameswhittle – Manchester
  86. dcurzon1973 – London
  87. DeathonWheels1969 – London
  88. definitelynotkwacker
  89. dexradio – Kent
  90. dezbez747 – London
  91. distoredmotion
  92. dominicgkerr – Taunton / Oxford
  93. downfader2
  94. Downwardi
  95. drsquirrel0
  96. DrumsBikesBrains
  97. drysuitdiver
  98. Dukinfieldcyclist
  99. EasySlowRider
  100. eddbike
  101. edinbiker – Edinburgh, Scotland
  102. edinburghcitycycler – Edinburgh, Scotland
  103. EdinburghFixed – Edinburgh, Scotland
  104. EMDcam
  105. EP88S
  106. EthelF
  107. Ewan Login
  108. EWSnotDBS – York
  109. exmouthroady – Exmouth
  110. fakestrat
  111. fardsmobile
  112. femtojt
  113. fenegroni
  114. fightbaddriving
  115. finbat
  116. finlab
  117. FixieFarquhar
  118. Fizzerdrix – London
  119. fossyant – Manchester
  120. fotoih
  121. FreewheelingUK
  122. Fuzz944
  123. gadgetmind – Leeds
  124. gaj104 – London
  125. galaxytourer1
  126. GeoffR1970
  127. germanicdogman – Liverpool
  128. giveamanabike
  129. givecyclistsroom
  130. GlasgowCycle – Glasgow
  131. gratedcarrot
  132. gregkiley
  133. GreyhairScout
  134. growingvegetable – Leeds
  135. H3r3D4nny
  136. HaloJUK – London
  137. halverde
  138. hawickrfc
  139. helmetcamroadtrip – Norwich
  140. HLaB75
  141. HorshamCyclist
  142. howiespencer
  143. hydrachem – Sheffield
  144. IAMABULLET1 – London
  145. ian154 – London
  146. idontpayroadtax
  147. IggyHT81S
  148. ilscozzese
  149. ismailzd
  150. iuckcan – London
  151. JameyCam – London
  152. JannieJumbo – Aberdeen
  153. jason40kim
  154. JezBike
  155. jibberish666 – London
  156. jthefishy
  157. jobysp
  158. JoeSoap76 – Glasgow
  159. jonah15 – London
  160. jonnygeez – London
  161. jonredhornet
  162. jonskids
  163. jssjmsvckry – London
  164. Julanikart
  165. julietmikealpha
  166. kalika101
  167. KarlOnSea
  168. Karmacycle1
  169. kiblams
  170. kie7077
  171. knoxieman
  172. kmcyc – London
  173. Kurako76 – London
  174. laplage73
  175. LeatonNick
  176. leedsbikecam1
  177. leedscyclist – Leeds
  178. leew21
  179. leighhunt
  180. LidCamMan
  181. lincstolondon – London
  182. LJ LJ – London
  183. loncycling – London
  184. londonepicurean
  185. Londonneur – London
  186. louear
  187. Lukeybloo
  188. m1mbz
  189. MadMarie2005 – London
  190. magnatom – Glasgow, Scotland
  191. maidstoneonbike
  192. mailpauljonescouk – Cambridge
  193. manchestercyclist – Manchester
  194. mancroady – Manchester
  195. mapryan
  196. markster2010 – London
  197. martint235 – London
  198. matthames
  199. matthew6476
  200. MaximumCube – Bristol
  201. mbails87 – West Midlands
  202. md451
  203. MegaStuke
  204. MelloVELO
  205. mercyclist
  206. mgbracken
  207. MiddleAgeCyclist
  208. miles210595
  209. mixymadman
  210. mjbeaker – Birmingham
  211. mmace – Leeds
  212. mmmmmrob
  213. monkeysnutscom
  214. moth757
  215. MrAnalogue1
  216. MrCasualCyclist
  217. mrcellophane99
  218. MrCyclesafe
  219. MrGrumpycyclist
  220. MrOrigamist – London
  221. MrTMaccabee
  222. MrTrickdem – London
  223. MTBE37
  224. mycommute
  225. mycommutetowork
  226. mycycleclips – London
  227. n325aej
  228. nebikene
  229. Nimtar100
  230. northyorksbaddrivers – York
  231. NottinghamCyclist – Nottingham
  232. notwhatucallanatural
  233. ontheroaduk2008
  234. OptimisticBiker – London
  235. panticle
  236. paulopadopa
  237. paulworthington53 – Liverpool
  238. PedalBikerUK – Alnwick
  239. PemboCycling
  240. PeowPeowPeowLasers
  241. peteaud1
  242. PeterCyclesTheWorld – Lancaster
  243. petertbbrett
  244. peterthewomble
  245. pminopoli
  246. PoliceMadAd – Derby
  247. pompeycommuter – Portsmouth
  248. PompeyCycle
  249. Prestwickuk
  250. prj45
  251. Pufftmw
  252. purpleduck375
  253. RadWagon1 – Cambridge
  254. redradiatorable
  255. redvee2002 – Bristol
  256. ReinhardvonHolst
  257. RhodeLong
  258. rhysjw1000
  259. rml380za – London
  260. roadieeeee
  261. robertjamesfrost
  262. robojimpip – Glasgow
  263. rogerhotuk – London
  264. rogerzilla
  265. ron611087 – London
  266. rosscbrowncycles – Scotland
  267. roverthehill
  268. rugfoot – London
  269. progcovers
  270. qnut007
  271. ruskythegreat
  272. s0m3bl0k3
  273. sallysaile
  274. SamNG41
  275. san0designs
  276. SbCyclist1
  277. schneil
  278. ScottishCyclist
  279. sh4rkybloke – Manchester
  280. SheffieldCyclist – Sheffield
  281. SheffieldTiger – Sheffield
  282. SkrzypczykBass – London
  283. smegheaddan – London
  284. SMIDSYagain
  285. smsm1986
  286. Sniggerme
  287. SonOfTheWind
  288. soolrider
  289. southlondoncycling34 – London
  290. Speshboy
  291. sponge342001
  292. sqrooloose
  293. StabiliserVideos – London
  294. starinthesky1
  295. steveloughranuk
  296. Steve Perkins – London
  297. sunburnspain
  298. SuperstompElite – London
  299. sw19cam – London
  300. swldxer
  301. taypet21 – Bristol
  302. TCTC68
  303. TesterAnimal1
  304. TheAddictfreak
  305. TheBikingExperience
  306. TheCWNT – Isle of Man
  307. TheCyclingEngineer
  308. TheEvangeist
  309. thefireuk
  310. TheLabRatt
  311. TheLondonCommuter – London
  312. TheMaka456
  313. thepoetcyclist – Northern Ireland
  314. TheSadcyclist
  315. TheSeLager – London
  316. TheScoobybike – Glasgow
  317. TheScottishJon – Cambridge
  318. thomase1
  319. timbaggs7 – Nottingham
  320. TiNuts – London
  321. tjdrico
  322. tom999uk – London
  323. tombikess
  324. Tr4veller
  325. Tradescant58
  326. trignflo
  327. trumpettom001
  328. Tuneaftertune
  329. twohat
  330. UKMarx
  331. UnclePhilP
  332. urbanmanc1 – Manchester
  333. Velocioman
  334. VeryMadMart – Stoke on Trent
  335. Vikeonabike
  336. vincealot
  337. vousden
  338. weekssj
  339. westcountrytim
  340. wheelygd
  341. WheelyGoodFun
  342. whitebait01 – London
  343. WokingTrafficSafety – Woking
  344. Wonkynees
  345. xdr5xdrf
  346. yangtse55
  347. YjvK8PX7er
  348. zenfarion
  349. ZiggyRob
  350. dustandpebbles

United States of America

  1. 1nterceptor
  2. animation508
  3. AviationMetalSmith – Long Island, New York
  4. BigSharnm
  5. bike42363
  6. Bikesafer – Milwaukee
  7. bikeologist
  8. blackbirdxxxxx
  9. bmwutonium
  10. bodybait
  11. Brendan61
  12. busog97641
  13. calvinymob
  14. carrigan88
  15. cambridgecyclist
  16. cbscott19
  17. chad2go
  18. ChainReactionBicycle
  19. chavezcycling
  20. computergeek3192
  21. CranksOnCam
  22. crazytraffic99
  23. criteriumcoaching
  24. cyclecitation – New York
  25. cyclingfun2
  26. cyclingintraffic – Boston
  27. CyclingJDK
  28. CyclistLorax
  29. CycleMan2200 – Ohio
  30. DanWuh – Los Angeles
  31. degnaw
  32. degnawBikeCam
  33. destro727 – Boston
  34. dou40006
  35. eoinocarroll – Boston
  36. Evan Wilder
  37. fake123
  38. fearlab
  39. freddotu
  40. frederickchim – Boston
  41. frizzleyfrozzle – NYC
  42. fuxujam
  43. ItParadyske
  44. jsallen1946 – Massachuetts
  45. Lucas Brunelle (website)
  46. lucaseq77
  47. luvmastertx
  48. Mcleod1370
  49. NaptownRoadkill
  50. ositoking
  51. papitooz
  52. pgallas
  53. seattlebikeblog – Seattle
  54. socomcorky
  55. Superhandydave
  56. sweixel
  57. swray2112
  58. themayocycle – Chicago
  59. theroosterblocker
  60. UrbanCyclist100
  61. USCyclist2000
  62. weshigh
  63. willie92708
  64. xchopp
Last updated: 18.03.12
List total: 491

Speed Cameras are Pointless

A GATSO speed camera

Image via Wikipedia

The GATSO camera, the most common in the UK, is the most pointless device for catching and dealing with speeding motorists. They only catch the idiots that don’t notice them and they only succeed at slowing down the traffic to the limit at their location.

In the middle of 2010, a few councils across the UK decided to announce they would switch their speed cameras off. Much to the pleasure of the motorist. Stats from Swindon’s shut down show very minimal decrease’s in casualties and seriously injured, but is this a good enough reason to scrap the speed cameras?

The main reason for the switch off is the government cuts to the Road Safety Grant, which funds the speed cameras. It seems that some small changes in road casualties are another reason but in reality we will need to see a stronger change over a period of time, rather than a small change over a year.

In the past week the BBC reported that most speed cameras in the England and Wales aren’t functional. A freedom of information request was put in by Which? magazine.

47% worked at any given moment in all 43 police authorities in England and Wales.

Its study also highlighted big regional differences, with all 60 cameras in Sussex working compared to just 10% of Lancashire’s 287 sites

Which? also did a survey of nearly 2,000 people and they were split as to whether speed cameras made the roads safer.

47% saying they did and 45% disagreeing.

Speed cameras make people think about their speed, but in doing so, they may be distracted from hazards in front of them.

The one time I notice all road users obeying the speed limits is through average speed check zones, these are most often found on motorways or busy/large A roads during road works. But why not apply these along roads where there is an issues with speeding in general?

Speeding on Britons roads is a big factor in crashes and casualties, we should kill our speed and not one another. Removing or keeping our common GATSO camera will not affect how the vast majority of motorists speed daily.

A Guide To Helmet Cameras

Helmet cameras are becoming popular with cyclists. For evidential purposes and down to videos of cyclists just having fun. With the increase in users and more people watching the videos, i get asked regularly about my set up and what cameras i recommend. It’s time for me to create a detailed list of what cameras are out there and which camera to buy.

There are lots of things to think about when buying a camera, the most important being how much you want to spend. But lets not forget about; video quality, size, weight, waterproofness, battery life, battery replacement and the list goes on.

Something which is often overlooked but very important is storage and editing of footage. If you choose to go with a HD camera, then you will want to make sure your computer is up to scratch with editing the footage. The company that make the cameras should be able to supply you with the information you require on minimum system specifications for their camera. Look at how much storage space you will require if you want to keep some of your videos. HD recordings will take up a lot of space.

My top 5 list of helmet cameras to buy.

  1. Veho Muvi
  2. ContourHD
  3. GoPro HD Hero
  4. Drift HD170
  5. VIO POV 1.5

Veho Muvi
The camera which came out a little over a year ago which has made helmet camera’s popular and affordable is the Veho Muvi. It can be picked up for around £60. You are limited to about 1h30m max on the battery and due to the size of the camera it can be very discreet. The camera it’s self isn’t waterproof, but a special case or good positioning can sort this issue out.

A copy of the muvi is the MD80, and can be picked up at a fraction of the price without losing much quality.
There are a few copies of the muvi, a few are good but most are bad. Look out for the switches on the side of the camera, if they are buttons then avoid the camera!

I have to put the Muvi at number one because of the sheer amount of cyclists that use it and its cheap price for great quality.

ContourHD
The ContourHD is my camera of choice, i have the old 720p model and a 1080p model. Both very much worth the money and hopefully my reasons for choosing it will be outlined below.

The ContourHD pretty much covers every base with what you need from your camera. Superb quality, good variety of mounts for all situations, water-resistant, replaceable battery, rotateable lens, two lasers to line up the perfect angle and a button configuration that is very easy to use without looking at the camera and using gloves.

Things to know about behind the scenes with the camera and the company, vholdr have set up a community where you can upload your videos and a decent forum where questions are answered by other users. Differently worth checking out. There is some software which is available to edit and upload your videos, and change the quality and various light settings.

A key thing for me, was how the camera looked when mounted on the helmet. The contourHD appears to be bullet like and fairly flat, with a red recording light that is visible from the front and the side. This was a big factor for me when choosing it over the gopro HD Hero.

GoPro HD Hero
This is definitely the best camera from a picture point of view. The features and accessories are similar to the ContourHD, in fact there isn’t much difference between the GoPro HD Hero and the ContourHD. They are both amazing cameras, offer great options, deliver great video and are easy to use.
The two downside’s for me with the GoPro are the shape of it and you’re not able to rotate the lens. It’s square and looks ridiculous when you put it on top of a helmet. Rotating the lens means that you can still get the perfect angle when recording but having the ability to mount the camera in strange positions and angles.

One way around this downside is to mount the camera somewhere on the bike, where other oddly shaped things are mounted. MrOrigamist on youtube has done just this, mounted on his stem i believe, it gives a really interesting perspective that no one else currently uses and it looks great. So it’s only downside may not be relevant if you’re not actually going to mount on your helmet.

Drift HD170
Another HD camera here with some different attributes. Similar to the ContourHD the HD170 lets you rotate the lens so that you can get the perfect angle where ever you are mounting it. But where it lacks in laser pointers, it makes up for it with a screen which you can use to watch playback and check your angle. It also comes with a little remote clicker which you can use to start and stop recording.

If I’m honest i think the screen and remote are gimmicky. In day-to-day use I wouldn’t use either of them. A big problem for me is the buttons and their spacing. Due to their close nature and quite small size, it would be hard to operate the camera whilst it is on your helmet with gloves on. This was the main decider for me no to get a Drift HD170.
Apart from that the camera is just as good as the ContourHD and GoPro HD.

Vio POV 1.5
The Vio POV is an expensive option for a helmet camera, but it’s a damn good one. I doubt it’s the camera for most people anyway. It’s a 2 piece unit, a camera and a recording unit (DVR) these are connected via a cable. You will need to find a place to store the DVR whilst you are cycling, this is easy if you have a back pack. The DVR has all the buttons you need and a screen to go with it. On the screen you can watch recordings or the live feed. This gives you an easy way to check the recording angle without taking the camera off or going back to your PC.

The VIO makes it onto my list due to the technology it uses, the better lens and CCD recording chip means the image quality (whilst not HD) is truly amazing. The camera will also be much better in low light when compared to the cameras listed above.
The ability to upgrade the camera or DVR separately is also something that is attractive, especially if one breaks.

Conclusion
The muvi is the best value for money and one of the most widely used cameras among commuters (including clones). The HD cameras in my opinion are the best way to go. The quality they provide means that number plates and actions of cars are clearly visible. But the price jump between the Muvi and the HD cameras is huge, and if you don’t want to spend that money but want better quality then don’t disapear, as there is a gap that the companies have filled.
GoPro, Drift and several other companies have cameras that are in the non-HD range and are of still good quality with good features. If you want one of these, then i will suggest checking out the footage of that camera on youtube or similar.

This is just a list of my top 5 cameras i would recommend. I will do a detailed list of all helmet cameras i know about.

Upgrade to camera system

Anyone that follows me on youtube will know that last week I tested out a mount for my ContourHD that would attach to the rear of my bike via the seat post. After the success of the test i decided that I would upgrade my camera set up and have my ContourHD as a rear view camera and a ContourHD 1080p camera on my helmet. Much like the setup of the New Zealand cyclist TheVexatiousLitigant. A really important thing for me was that the mount shouldn’t interfere with my legs when i pedalled. I have used a few brackets for rear lights that have rubbed on my leg and it gets very annoying rather quickly. Due to the slim nature of the part that is connected the seat post, this isn’t an issue.

The mount.
I’m using a 3 RAM parts and the universal adapter for the ContourHD. The RAM mounts are rail base with ball & zinc u-bolt, double socket arm for 1″ ball and  1″ ball with 1/4″-20 alum stud. The end result looks like this:



The reason I got this is A. i wanted to upgrade to the 1080p anyway and i thought i might as well as keep the camera i have and use it on the rear. B. I wanted a better camera for the rear, the muvi i had wasn’t giving me the quality i wanted and it kept on turning off randomly which seemed to be down to me using OS X and the spotlight files left on the card.