“You wouldn’t believe how this went down…” Famous words from training days and tactical hog hunts, but usually lacking the supporting evidence. Who hasn’t wanted to mount a camera on their gun and capture the intensity of training or the drama of a hunt gone right? I’m not talking about National Geographic work and the budget to do it with. I’m talking about regular guys who want to do something cool, perhaps instructive, with a weapon mounted camera.
Case in point: A few years ago I wanted to kill a hog with a 5.7 round sent from a PS90, and prove it happened. I clamped a heavy professional camera mount to the right side rail, then attached a multi-jointed articulating tripod head to it, and a JVC camcorder to that. It was ridiculously heavy and unwieldy. But it did work.
Since then, I went on a quest to find something that would work a lot more simply. Daniel Defense beat me to it, bringing the Countour brand of cameras into their line up. Initially, I was excited to get these just because I figured if it’s good enough for them to use and sell, it’s good enough for me.
After using them, and looking around again what other options are available, I’ve got to say I honestly love these things. I work hard to provide SHWAT™ images of gear and events worth looking at, and these cameras are real assets at doing just that. While the 1080P models I got from Daniel Defense aren’t for still photography, they were meant to the be go to camera when you want a weapon mounted solution. At least, that’s my opinion. Take a look at my review video included here to get an idea of how you might use these cameras. It’s all of two minutes long.
Here are the vitals on the Contour 1080P. It’s small. You can see how small in the pictures in this article. At roughly four inches long, and weighing essentially the same as an Insight M6X weapon light/laser, it’s right at home on your rifle’s rail.
True to it’s name, it’s shoots true high definition video. You can scale back to 960 or 720P. 720P gets exciting because you can bump your frame rate up from the standard 30 frames per second to 60. Slow that back to normal, and you can have clear slow motion playback.
If you’ve never used a POV (point of view) camera before, you might be surprised that there’s no screen on these to show you what you’re recording, or to review it when you’re done. It’s the price you pay in size and weight. To aid in pointing, Countour added dual laser pointers as indicators. They tell you where the camera pointed, and it’s orientation.
The ability to change the orientation of the camera is another huge plus. In most of the accompanying video, I ran the camera mounted vertically on the right side rail. But in the clip of shooting at hogs, I ran the camera horizontally, mounted on the top rail. You just rotate the front lens to get a horizontal movie recorded. Easy.
Speaking of easy, here’s how you record: Slide the record switch forward. Ready to stop? Slide it backwards. None of those, “Did I push that button to start or not??” moments. The switch is large and textured, making it easy to use with or without gloves. An audible beep lets you know when you start recording, and a double beep says you’ve stopped. You can also run in a silent mode.
Now for the hard part. Once you figure out how to read what the camera is telling you, it’s pretty intuitive, but the stark nature of it’s sparse controls can be a bit frustrating. What did that color light mean? A quick check of the instruction manual, and a palm to the forehead, and you’ll be fine.
With a 135 degree field of view, this is a wide angle lens for sure. Objects in video may appear further away than in real life. It also makes you feel more a part of any action that occurs.
The 1080P comes with a flat surface and goggle mount, which would be great to attach to your helmet or goggles for a true “point of view” hands free camera. With zero image stabilization, without some serious forethought your image recordings might remind you how the Blair Witch Project was recorded. Artistic for them? Maybe, but not so good for our purposes.
In my case, I want a clear picture of what’s going on down range, so the optional picatinny mount is what I got. Positioned correctly on the rail, not only does this provide a very cool video down range, it can be mounted as a rear facing option as well. Want to have some real fun? Mount one in each direction!
The camera’s exposure, contrast and microphone volume (yes, it records mono audio) can all be adjusted via downloaded free Contour software. You can also use the sofware to edit and share some videos, but it’s pretty rudimentary.
So, for a couple hundred bucks, what’s not to like? For assessing tactical shooting or recording your hunt, this thing in great. It’s not hard to figure out that you can get the Contour from a vast array of vendors on the internet, so why do I bring up Daniel Defense? Simple – they support shooters and hunters and SHWAT™, and we don’t have to wonder if their profits are headed for some cause to restrict the exercise of our rights. So get one yourself, and post some videos to our Facebook page. We can’t wait to see them.