Contour+2 HD vs GoPro Hero2 HD
Over the past few years there has been an undeniable increase in the use of digital media devices in sports, specifically extremely sports. With the ever evolving development of smaller, lighter and yet vastly better quality media devices coupled with the increased use of social networking websites, it is only natural that they would become almost common-place in many adventure seekers lives. Whether you're looking to helmet mount a video camera, hand hold or otherwise, the options have become increasingly vast and the results, constantly evolving.
When it comes to scuba diving and in particular underwater photography, this has always been a venture that one either needed a hefty sum of bills at their disposal, or to resort to very average results, while this still holds somewhat true for underwater still photography, things have completely changed for underwater videography. Both Contour and GoPro are well known names in the world of adventure, both companies having been started in 2004. Contour originally seemed a popular choice, especially among skydivers, offering fairly small and lightweight helmet mounted devices. GoPro wasn't far behind though and was too soon offering small, lightweight and affordable mountable devices, and it wasn't long before many of Contour's once dominant areas were being taken over by GoPro.
Below are the two main high quality mountable devices currently, the Counter+2 HD and the GoPro HD Hero 2. We will take a look at the specs of these two cameras and see just where Counter now stands with their new release.
First let us take a look at what is included in each product. The Contour+2 comes with a memory card, while the GoPro does not, though this is a minor cost and does not really make that much of a different at all. When it comes to mounts and straps, this is definitely where the GoPro starts to show why it's the most popular mounted media recording devices, where the Contour+2 comes with the basic profile and flat surface mounts, the GoPro offers far more uses for the camera by providing a vented helmet strap, head strap, 2 curved surface adhesive mounts and 2 flat surface adhesive mounts. The head strap mount is extremely useful and while the Contour+2 has this feature as an extra for a price of $20, the fact that the cheaper GoPro comes with it in the package is most certainly a plus. For scuba diving in particular, where a helmet is not really typically used, the head strap is a must for first person perspective videos.
The inclusion of a Mini HDMI to HDMI cable from the Contour+2 is a nice touch, this is an accessory which can also be purchased as an extra for the GoPro, but at a price of $30. The Contour also provides a mic cable with it's package.
Probably one of the most important aspects of these cameras for scuba diving is their waterproof housings, both of these cameras come with stock waterproof cases, but there are naturally limitations with these standard cases. Both are waterproof to 60m and both can provide adequate underwater recording and images, but the GoPro has an optional 'Dive Housing' extra for $50 which removes vignetting and increases sharpness and clarity to the images, designed to provide a more professional underwater system. For us divers, this is naturally of high importance, assuming we're wanting to get the best out of our recorded dives. The Contour+2 does not seem to offer a similar product, but still provides some good quality video underwater with the standard housing, as does the GoPro.
Upon original release of the Contour+2 a few heads were turned by it's then exclusive feature of 120fps slow motion video, where the HD Hero 2 was only offering 60fps, but GoPro was quick to jump back into the game by releasing a firmware update that also offers 120fps slow motion recording on the HD Hero 2, a feature that will certainly be used a lot in adventure sport film making. There are a few fps option differences between the Contour+2 and the GoPro HD Hero 2, but overall they offer mostly similar resolution video options.
Both cameras reportedly use USB 2 for data connectivity, and use the same codec compression methods and audio codecs on both devices. The Contour+2 uses microSD while the GoPro HD Hero 2 uses SDHC cards, both of which are quite affordable methods of storage these days.
The sensor is one area in which the GoPro is just flat out dominant, sporting an impressive 11 megapixel CMOS sensor, while the contour+2 uses a 5 megapixel sensor. The GoPro also offers some very cool still photography options, there is the option for 1/2 second interval time lapse (requires class 10 card), 10 image burst fire and self-timer.
In conclusion, make no mistake the new Contour+2 HD camera is definitely an improvement of its previous models and offers a good quality video camera, but with that said, it's rather steeply priced and for around the same price you could pick up the GoPro HD Hero 2 with the optional extras such as the underwater dive housing. And if you're looking for the best quality still and video footage, the GoPro would be the way to go. While the Contour manages to put in a good fight, we don't think it'll be enough to dethrone the GoPro at this point.