Video camera recommendations?

by Paul J   February 2, 2014  

A couple of encounters this year with *very* nasty taxi drivers this year - one of which almost certainly'd deserve police action, if only there was evidence - I'm thinking of getting a video camera for my commutes. Ideally handle-bar mounted. What cameras can people recommend?

18 user comments

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I recently picked up a Veho Muvi Atom for just over £20 on e-bay- it is tiny- the pic on their website is nearly life size- and while not broadcast quality HD it is still good quality. Although maybe small cameras are not the way forward- if drivers knew their moves were being recorded it might get them to wind their necks in a bit!

Otis Bragg's picture

posted by Otis Bragg [130 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 17:33

112 Likes

Now that Contour are back in the market, I would get a Contour

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9038 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 17:50

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£20? You can't really go wrong with that, can you? Smile Will look into them. The ones I've heard about before are Contour, Bullet and Go Pro. Though, they're all a tad pricey (and Go Pro seems bulky).

posted by Paul J [678 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 22:16

113 Likes

If handlebar mounted then look into a bar mount and big memory card for your mobile instead? I have a bikeconsole mount for my S4. I guess the downside is that you can't phone plod and film at the same time...

I'd helmet mount if it's for evidence - no vibes and arguably gives a better view of any subsequent interaction you may have, and shows how good your observation and lifesavers were prior to the incident!

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 22:22

114 Likes

I've got a Contour Roam on my helmet. It's on the top as it makes the helmet sit squint if I have it on the side. This does look a bit daft.

However, it gives good video and it very easy to use with gloves. Just slide the big slider forward to record (beeps once), and slide it back to stop (beeps twice).

posted by Bikebikebike [95 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 11:59

114 Likes

I'd echo Allez Neg's comment about helmet mounting.

For vibration, my Oregon Scientific could barely put two frames of the same subject together when mounted on the bars, even at low speed on smooth road.

The helmet mount gave much better results.

+1 also for the comment about it letting you record how much effort _you_ put in into maintaining awareness of surroundings.

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posted by neildmoss [210 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 12:34

111 Likes

Contour Roam 2, £115 on Amazon, £15 for the helmet mount, £20 for a decent size mem card. Set to HD. Red light on the side means a few drivers have clocked it when alongside me. Great footage. It even came with a really sturdy diving case for when I go underwater on holiday.

Bar mount means no useful footage when someone is playing silly buggers while driving alongside you.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3468 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 13:02

114 Likes

I commute with 2 cameras - both Contours. The HD is in a waterproof mount on my rear rack, pointing backwards, and I have a Roam mounted on my helmet. To be honest, the Roam is a bit heavy for helmet mounting, but the weather-resistance (Scottish weather can be pretty unpredictable) is very useful.

This combo has already been useful in getting a Lothian bus driver sent back for retraining, and the rear camera footage was sent to the police for a driver that followed me through a 'No Entry (except buses, taxis and cycles)' sign - don't know if any action followed that, though. Another about to be sent to them.

However, be aware that camera set-ups like these are of limited use as evidence when presented to the Police - they can't/won't do anything about punishment passing, for example, because the camera does not unambiguously show the distance away from you (funnily enough, they *would* be good enough, AIUI, as evidence of a punishment pass on someone else, because the scale becomes obvious). They are good for recording verbal threats and physical assault, though. Also, if you slap a vehicle (not that I'm condoning this), that can be used to show that they were too close; I believe that there has been a ruling that close enough to touch is too close (can't find the case now - van driver in London was prosecuted, I think).

Oh, and one last thing: I'm pretty certain that they modify driver behaviour - I feel like I get a lot more random flak when I don't have the camera on, and I've had people wind down the window, start up with abuse, spot the camera and shut up...

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posted by adamthekiwi [61 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 13:39

114 Likes

I did have this camera for a short while.

http://www.hedcamz.com/bullethd3-explorer-303

Sadly i had to return it because of a fault with it. It was slightly heavier and bigger than I expected. My main reason for posting was to say how helpful the two guys were at hedcamz. Superb service and if I get another camera then that is where am going.

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur, happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr

posted by Izaak30 [88 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 14:18

111 Likes

Interesting. Good few comments in favour of the Contour Roam there, so sounds like that's the one to go for!

Helmet mount comments are interesting too. My commute is where I get the most aggro and want the video for. That commute is pretty short, and through low-speed city streets, so I usually don't wear a helmet. Hence why I was thinking bar-mount. By the sounds of it, that wouldn't be much use? I noticed some helmetcam bloggers have additional stay-mounted rear-facing cameras, and the quality doesn't seem terrible on them, but no doubt not as good as the helmet cam.

What other options are there for mounting?

posted by Paul J [678 posts]
4th February 2014 - 11:55

107 Likes

Well you can get chest mounts I think, but I figure these are more for the go-pro kind of shape - the contour is too long and thin for wearing on the chest. If you managed to somehow rig it up on your shoulder, you wouldn't be able to 'look' at vehicles as they overtake. You would, however, look like the Predator.

"That's just it. It ain't no man. We're all gonna die."

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3468 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:09

106 Likes

Definitely support the Contour Roam... it works well as a headcam, it's a bit chunky (not a proper bullet cam), but still fairly flush to a helmet... not like a Go Pro that stands up proud (and risks getting taken off by branches).
Take a look at my Vimeo videos, all shot with a Contour (with the exception of the skiing vid)... the link here ends up with a wipeout that destroyed a brand new Giro Xar, and put me in A&E for five hours, with 32 stitches in my chin... but the Contour survived.
http://vimeo.com/81799411

www.mombee.com - Muddy bikes, Road bikes and Family rides in Malmesbury and the South West

posted by Mombee [58 posts]
4th February 2014 - 13:14

106 Likes

Link please! Also i use a contourHD 1080p - helmet mounted.

posted by dave2041 [22 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:29

109 Likes

I use the Hereo3 White Edition mounted on my helmet with the cheapest mount I could find.
On full 1080p, the picture is clear and number plates are legible.
Though, you do notice the weight on your head. I would echo others comments about putting on the helmet rather than the handle bars owing to vibrations.
I am very happy with it, though there are issues with the GoPro software and Windows8, which is a bit frustrating.
Anecdotally, I have found that with my camera in such a prominent location that I seem to be getting that extra few inches when I am passed, but who knows if it is real, or just my perception thinking I have more.

posted by Wolfshade [112 posts]
4th February 2014 - 16:24

105 Likes

Didn't contour cease trading resulting in no one being able to download the operating software rendering new users with kit they can't use?

Or is someone saying they have been resurrected?

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [670 posts]
5th February 2014 - 21:40

94 Likes

Hi guys reading some of the comments I thought I tell you about mine, its a HyVID sport 1080 I bought this cam some few years ago and usually have the lens part mounted on my helmet with zip ties (it can be bar mounted).

The batteries sit in the main box which goes in my jersey/jacket pocket, Company claims two and a half hours running time (I change every two), 32GB card, oh and yes there is a bin/memory wipe button on the main body.

It gives exceptional quality film No. plates are easily readable etc etc only trouble now is getting the police to do something when you do report bad driving.

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
9th February 2014 - 17:17

74 Likes

There's a tempting Polaroid camera on Amazon as well, and the Monoprice one looks good.

I'm using a ContourRoam2 as well, and the quality is great. On the helmet, and yes it's heavy.

The comments above about drivers giving you less hassle and seem to give you more room: Most definitely true at least in London.

posted by jacknorell [571 posts]
10th February 2014 - 14:34

72 Likes

So the 1st thing if getting a camera is to ditch my 'quality lightweight' helmet Smile for an actual quality lightweight one.

Any ideas of a camera under £100???

posted by gr3g0ree [63 posts]
25th March 2014 - 23:21

9 Likes