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Contour sports cameras go semi-pro with new Contour+

Contour is adding an upper tier to its line of sports cameras with the Contour+, a prosumer level HD camera.

Contour+ HD camera

The ContourHD and ContourGPS sports cameras are compact, rugged, and (most importantly) inexpensive action cameras that are great for recording epic videos of extreme sports. We use a few of them (along with the competing GoPro HD Hero cam) to record segments for our Car Tech videos and we see them all of the time at motorsports events suctioned to the hoods and roofs of high-powered race cars and auto enthusiasts' daily drivers. Not to rest on its laurels, Contour is adding an upper tier to its line of sports cameras with the Contour+, a prosumer level HD camera that hopefully offers better video and audio quality than the previous units, as well as a few more connectivity options.

Most obviously, the Contour+ steps up over the ContourGPS and ContourHD with its silver metallic chassis. At the business end, the Contour+ also gets a wider 170-degree angle lens (up from the 135-degree lenses of the previous units) with better quality glass. It appears that Contour's trademark dual-alignment lasers for the rotating lens have gone missing--apparently, bumped out by the larger lens--and have been replaced by angle markers etched into the lens' bezel. It may seem that newer Contour+ would be more difficult to aim as a result of this omission, but Contour has a few tricks for the pro user to solve that issue.

At the tail end of the Contour+, the camera's mini-USB port and microSD card slot are joined by an assortment of new connections. An HDMI output allows for instant replaying of video captured to the SD card on an external monitor. A Bluetooth wireless antenna and Connect View card (which made their debut on the ContourGPS model) allows for a smartphone to be used as an external display for framing shots much more accurately than the alignment lasers could. On the bottom edge of the unit, near the internal microphone's pinhole inlet, is a 2.5mm jack for connecting an external microphone, great for capturing dialog and reducing wind noise while recording.

Like all Contour cameras the Contour+ is water-resistant, ruggedly constructed, and features the Trail mount system with optional adapters for mounting the camera to everything from a helmet to a car's windshield to an assault rifle. Also like the ContourGPS model that came before it, the Contour+ features a GPS receiver with the ability to embed global position, elevation, and speed in its metadata, all of which can be overlaid on the recorded video using Contour's Storyteller video editing software.

What's the price you'll pay for Contour's prosumer sports camera? The Contour+ goes for an MSRP of $499.99 and is available now.