This isn’t a camera review. It’s a report. Dougie (20) and me (57) were looking for a sport we could do together. He suggested Rugby. I suggested Golf. We compromised on motorsport. So, with no experience and a very limited budget we bought a 20 year old Toyota MR2 for £600 and spent 8 months re-building and preparing it for sprints and hill-climbs. We were pretty pleased with our work and wanted to record car and driver performance. We wanted a camera that would be easy to set up, produce a solid picture in a high vibration environment and was a good price. After a quick scan of the Web we decided on a Contour Roam2.
So.. what’s the report?
At 1am the night before we unpacked the camera, put it on charge, formatted a Micro SD card and turned in. We had not time to test it. Next day our class was first on so we were at the track at 07:15 for inspection and paperwork. Then we went straight to the line-up. While we were queuing we stuck the helmet mount to the centre console of the MR2, attached the camera and turned it on. We used the laser to line up what we thought would be a view of the dashboard, driver and track. Over the next 9 hours we posed as racing drivers and did seven timed runs around a 1 mile circuit - the “Dimanche Sprint”, Aldershot, Hampshire, England.
Our routine was the same for each run. We turned on the camera at the start line and turned it off in the paddock. We had no idea whether it was working, or how to get the files onto a laptop. We wanted a good record so that we had a baseline for future development, but we also wanted to capture a great day out. It was a first time event, first for the car, first for the driver. The folks at Contour couldn’t spoil our day but if things worked well, they would give us a permanent and highly treasured memory.
The sprint went to plan. No car faults, improvements in time for the first six runs and a minor driver error on the last run. We made a lot of new friends and learnt from some awesome cars and drivers (ancient and modern). But did the camera work?
When we got home we connected it to a laptop and without any ceremony it transferred seven files. Every one was crystal clear in sound and vision, giving a wide angle, shake free view and a sound track that even picked up some loose screws rattling around in the glove box. To operate the camera the only thing we had to master was “On” and “Off”. That’s 10 out of 10 for performance – with an extra mark for value for money to make it up to the full 11. We can’t fault it. Judge for yourself. Doug inserted some longshots to give an idea of the setting but the bulk is from the Contour.
Our priority was a high quality result without wasting time learning about hardware or systems. For this the Contour Roam2 gets our unreserved respect. It couldn’t have been simpler or better. Next time out we are going for a multi-camera set up. We might even splash out on the Contour Roam Plus 2 with GPS for telemetry (location and speed). Nothing beats the thrill of the ride but watching the replays comes close. Good luck to the revived Contour.