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New Contour Camera 'ROAM'

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey forum, i do camera reviews and provide info. Happy to join you guys, and hope i can be of some help for you if questions arise, tech oriented or otherwise... FIRST POST WOO!


Introducing the 'Contour Roam' ---> http://contour.com/products/contour-roam

With the ousting of the price point Contour HD 1080p mid august, the industry has been buzzing with rumours and speculation of what would replace their entry-level camera. With Contour shouting the release off of mountaintops earlier today, we are happy to finally be able to share with you the ‘ContourROAM’.

Much like its’ predecessor, the Contour ROAM comes out as a stripped down version of Contour’s much loved GPS and PLUS models, rounding out the Contour line with their staple features fusing seamlessly with some newly introduced attributes.

What is Carrying Over?

Their new camera doesn’t ROAM too far from home, adopting many of the popular features from the top of the line Contour PLUS. The Contour ROAM incorporates the same 170 degree ‘Custom 6 element glass’ flush front lens from it’s big brother, and allows for extensive angle tweaking with 270 degrees of lens rotation. Moreover, its’ older siblings also shared some staple features with the ROAM, like laser alignment, an adjustable internal multidirectional microphone, 5MP sensor for still photo mode, and of course Contour’s signature low profile shape.

What’s Different / New?

While upholding many features of Contour’s current line of cameras, the Contour ROAM also brings a few new additions to the table.

Firstly, they changed the functionality of their signature sliding recording switch to not only start / stop filming, but also power the camera on and off. This new ‘instant on-record switch’ means you can start capturing the action just 2 seconds after sliding it into the on position, saving battery and memory card space for when you really need it.

Secondly, until the Contour ROAM no camera has boasted full waterproofing without a housing. The ContourROAM however is claimed to be fully submersible ‘up to 1 meter‘ thanks to some new sealed gaskets protecting the camera’s insides. You will still need a waterproof case though to get really deep, and if history has taught us anything about waterproofing, it is that testing the limits is a good way to end up with Contour’s (top notch) support team.

Lastly, there have been a couple notable changes to the physical design of the camera itself. The Contour ROAM is the first from the brand to have an integrated non-removable battery, as well as a built-in ¼’’ tripod mount. The camera is also a touch longer and lighter than the rest of its’ family members, and the new battery will also yield about 30% longer life.


However, contour also scrapped the 60 FPS option and you can't change the presets anymore, so you're stuck with whatever settings you go out with at the beginning of the day.

What This All Means?!?!

The Contour ROAM is basically stepping up the lower end of the helmet cam game, with a pretty huge jump. By incorporating many key features from the ‘prosumer’ level Contour PLUS, it packs a lot in for an ‘entry level’ camera. Likewise, the increased waterproofing and ‘instant on-record switch’ offer hands-free and more importantly, stress-free filming. This will be a good camera for you if you're sort of hard on gear, and value durability and simplicity over tech features. Should be interesting to see how it fares especially with the snowsports crowd.

post #2 of 8

Have you gotten your hands on this unit yet? I have been strongly considering a contour+ to replace my GoproHD that I lost on the mountain last year. However, the plus has a lot of features I'll never use, like the iphone/android integration and GPS. The main reason I wanted the plus was for the image quality. However, with the 170* lens, it seems as though the roam has a lot in common with the plus in terms of optics (and maybe image quality?).


So, any idea on the image quality? Mainly, the white levels (gopro made bumps look flat, very little contrast between snow).


edit: also battery life, how is it?

post #3 of 8

I'm definitely interested to get some feedback from anyone who has tried it out - I am thinking of buying it.  Thanks.



post #4 of 8

There are some very good side-by-side comparisons on YouTube that show the ROAM's image quality, compared to the GoPro and the Contour+, for example.


I must admit I'm very impressed by the ROAM.  No offense, but the Contour was kinda crappy.  The ROAM looks like a big improvement.  Well done.


I'm seriously considering buying it for myself as a Christmas present.

post #5 of 8


I have the ROAM. I got one after I made a grip for a friend's Contour 1080 HD with waterproof (WP) housing to film from his kitesurf kite in Puerto Rico. I like the simplicity of use compared to my GoPro Wide.  The ROAM is 5.3oz vs 8.4oz for the HD in the housing. (my GoPro w/housing is 4.9oz) The WP housing also makes the HD a fair bit larger.  


The screams were not long in coming about the ROAM .. it does not record in 60 fps, and the onboard mike is very weak.  Mostly, the complaints were from people who absolutely 'had-to-have' that magic, 60 fps. Contour's ROAM help forum was flash mobbed by customers and "prospects".. some of which may have been agents provocateurs.   I have not used the ROAM a lot - with no local snow and cold surf, everything is pretty much on hold. 



post #6 of 8

Here's a quick video I took using the Roam a few weeks ago.  Video looks good.. skiing not so much :)




post #7 of 8


CJO .. Good for you. 'Actually pretty impressive.   The camera handled the low light in the shed quite well .. my instant reaction was it was better inside than outside for the first few seconds.  I like the lens being Wide without getting goofy about it also.   Anyone seeing this should get a free Vimeo account, then view this in full frame HD to get a better idea of the quality.


The fact that you can see the edge of your helmet on the LH side was not annoying, in fact, it seemed to provide a frame of reference.  Random camera pointing is often w/o logic.  Maybe if you wore one of those foam neck braces, you would not pan/tilt your head so quickly, but it looked as if you were making a effort to keep it quiet. 


You could see you 'step it up' when that guy in the Maroon jacket got out in front of you...  Fun.





If you're willing to test an arm band for the ROAM, send me a PM. 

post #8 of 8

I was pretty impressed with the camera as well.  I actually didn't take any pains to change my skiing at all. 


There are definitely areas that I can improve- I think it would be better to point it down some more so that you can see the ski tips, which would give you a better cue as to what is happening.  I would also try to lessen my head movements, but I would still have to look uphill when coming into another trail.  I probably still have a neck brace around from when I broke my neck a while back, but I think my wife would laugh me off the hill if I tried to put it on :)


An arm band sounds interesting, but I'm wondering how well it would work for skiing.  I would think that there would be a fair amount of movement from pole plants, though I guess that they aren't really necessary.



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