Last week Contour sent out a press release announcing their new Roam3. We got in touch with a local DeLand jumper – Steve Hubbard – who has been a loyal Contour fan for his take on the new toy.
Hi, my name is Steve and I’m a techaholic.
When I (finally) reached the 200 jumps required to start flying with a video camera on my helmet, I did quite a bit of research. I took in to account everything that I think a skydiver should – quality of video, picture capability, and maybe most importantly, the potential snag hazard that I was introducing to my setup. That was a major factor in my decision to purchase a Contour Roam instead of a GoPro. Not to mention, the ease of use that the Contour gave me over the GoPro – I never had to ask anyone if my camera was on – it was either on or off – probably one of my favorite features of the Contour cameras.
I loved my old Roam – it wasn’t necessarily state of the art, but I was willing to sacrifice some of the quality for the small footprint and side-mounting option for my Cookie G3 – I didn’t want a big thing sticking off the top of my head. I had my Roam for maybe a year, and then a riser slap sacrificed it to SkyGod and it was never seen again.
Well, it was time to buy another camera, and seeing as I was pretty happy with the Roam, and the Roam 2 had just been released, I decided to stick with Contour and picked up a shiny new Roam 2. No big deal – got the camera and it simply replaced the Roam – same helmet mount and everything, so I stayed pretty pleased with the camera.
Fast-forward to August of 2013 and the big buzz was that Contour had shut down. I, for one, was pretty disappointed – I had been pretty pleased with their cameras for 2 years or so – sure, it wasn’t the best, but it suited my needs just fine. A few months later, I decided to see if I could find a deal on the Contour +2 (their highest-end product) and lo and behold, I found one for less than what I paid for the Roam 2. I decided to buy it and give my Roam 2 to my girlfriend, since she was getting close to the 200 jump mark and wanted a camera. Easy decision and one I certainly don’t regret. The upgraded +2 camera was a pretty nice upgrade – gave me slightly better resolution/frame rate options, gave me the option to easily switch from video to picture mode (even though I’ve never used it as a picture-only camera), had HDMI output, had replaceable batteries (the Roams both had internal batteries) … so I was even happier – got a great deal on a better camera.
Fast-forward to 2014 and Contour announced that they are back in business! Again, having jumped nothing but Contour cameras, I was pretty happy to hear this and excited to see what they would come out with. Well, months and months went by and we heard nothing from the Contour camp. Then the fateful day came. A funneled 4-way exit sacrificed my beloved Contour +2 (and I hadn’t dumped the videos in a while – so I lost those, too. Bummer.) It was time to start looking at what else is out there so I could replace it. Looked at a bunch of different cameras and options and WAIT! Contour’s releasing a new camera! The Roam3! I must take a look at that. And this is where my love for Contour stopped. As you’ll see in the specs below, the difference in what really matters – VIDEO QUALITY – was non-existent. And now it’s up against the likes of the GoPro Hero 4 and the Sony AS100V – both SIGNIFICANTLY better cameras, and with the Sony, you get an even smaller footprint than the Contour. The only difference is the price point, but in this case, you definitely are getting what you pay for.
Here’s my question – how can a company who’s competing against the biggest names in the POV camera industry go out of business, come back, and have their first product release be something that not even someone who’s owned the last 3 versions of their product would be willing to buy?
I, for one, am majorly disappointed in Contour – I expected much, much more from them.
About the Author:
Steve Hubbard is a DeLand jumper with just over a 1000 jumps. He’s a wingsuiter, 4-way jumper and occasionally gets on a big-way. In his spare time, he likes to geek out and do all kinds of nerdy stuff. To balance out the geekyness, his girlfriend makes him pick up heavy things and put them back down.