June 28, 2012
Sony Crashes GoPro/Contour Party
Well, we knew it was coming; the only question was when. Sony has announced a helmet cam to be available fall 2012. The design appears to hybridize both GoPro and Contour concepts: the camera chassis is upright, ala Contour, and comes with a (presumably) waterproof housing. Note that it has a Zeiss lens, and image stabilization. So, how is Sony's new helmet cam likely to compare to a GoPro or Contour?
I'll put on my speculation hat and say with 98.7% confidence that this is going to be a body blow at least to both companies. With its 2012 consumer cameras, Sony has demonstrated the ability and willingness to offer formidable imaging tools at end-user prices. It's not necessarily going to be an either-or as far as quality versus price here—Sony may well be offering vastly better image quality at a highly competitive price.
GoPro seems to me to be best positioned to weather the storm, due to inherent advantages in their design, particularly concerning mount options. Contour, which currently offers the best picture quality in HD helmet cams, looks the most vulnerable. The combination of a stabilized Zeiss lens and a modern Sony sensor plus Sony's vast professional imaging experience should have would-be POV stars salivating across the globe.
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