Choosing a camera to film rowing (part 2)

Quite a while ago I wrote a post about the best camera to use for rowing, since then there has been a lot of updates to the cameras, and even some new contenders have appeared, so I thought it would be worth writing an update post to talk about the best camera to use for filming rowing when attached to the boat


The big daddy of sports cameras. GoPro has essentially bulldozed itself into the position of the sports camera for people to now so they are everywhere, if you look carefully on the BBC you can often see that they use a GoPro in situations where a normal camera would get smashed, so you can be sure that they will be both durable and also have a good picture quality.

The current version of the GoPro (rev.03) comes in 3 forms, and the ones to go for are either the GoPro silver, which essentially has the same lens as the previous GoPro 2 but adds wifi (more on this later) and a slimmer case, or if money is no object then theGoPro black is the one to go for as it has a much improved lens with has better low light sensitivity, allows you to film 1080p at 60fps and even allows you to film 14k if you really want to (very very high resolution).


GoPro have left the mounts the same as previous generations, so again the GoPro suction mount is great for mounting the camera temporarily to your canvas if you don’t want to use the adhesive pads they provide

Contour has always been slightly in the shadow of GoPro, but has a strong following due to its somewhat more streamlined camera that looks a lot less rediculous than the GoPro brick .

Contour now has two models on the market, the top of the range Contour+2 and the Contour Roam 2. The Contour+2 is interesting as it includes a GPS which means as well as recording the video of the outing, it will also track the outing for you as well so using the software that Contour provide, you can review the route that you took. Its not ideal since the software is more aimed at cyclists/motor sports and doesn’t really show you the speed you are going at or allow you to convert it to 500m splits, but its certainly a good all in one solution for reviewing the outing and course taken


The Roam is the more basic model, but is still fully waterproofed and has the easy switch on and record switch and also the dual lasers that are good for levelling the camera, something contour made their name by providing

Sony Active Cam
An interesting new development in this market is Sony, already well known for a range of technological devices they have now entered the sports camera market with their active camera whose main stand out feature has to be the optical stabilisation that is built in. What is optical stabilisation? Well as anyone who has tried to video something using a camcorder or smartphone, you tend to wobble around quite a bit when recording, optical stabilisation iis a feature that helps to stop the video being recorded from wobbling which, in a camera that is going to be bouncing around like a crazy thing, is certainly a desirable feature


Smartphone apps
Now one new feature all of these new cameras include (GoPro 3 silver/black, Contour Roam, Sony action cam wifi) is either a wifi or bluetooth chip that allows you to connect the cameras to a smartphone. This is a really nice solution to the issue of not having a viewfinder, so you can set the angle of the camera and make sure you’ve got everything in shot before the outing, below are each of the apps




They are all much the same really, although the sony does have a great feature that allows you to transfer the video across directly from the camera to your smartphone, where you can analyse the video some more as discussed here, all without having to use a PC or camera connector, meaning you could really simply analyse your video straight after the outing before the athletes have gone home

So those are currently the big players in sports cameras, personally I think that the GoPro is still the best to go with (the mounts are excellent and it has a good balance between usability and a large number of features) but really all of the cameras here are solid choices, so go with the one that you like the best!


About stelph82

I am a rower who is a lot of a technology geek as well!
This entry was posted in Gadgets, Rowing Camera Mounts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Choosing a camera to film rowing (part 2)

  1. Hyndsight Vision Systems is coming out in the fall with its new camera and monitor system for rowers. The next version due early in 2014 will also have recording capability so not only will you be able to record your self rowing but you will be able to see where you are going without turning around!

    • stelph82 says:

      Thanks for the heads up, ill keep an eye out for the hyndsight as it certainly looks like a useful safety device on a busy river. I guess you could also use the set up for coaching if the coach had the camera off to the side of the boat and the athlete used the screen?

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