Garmin Navigates into the Action Camera Market with new VIRB

Garmin Virb on Bike

garmin virb 9 garmin virb 4

There have certainly been some surprising moves in the wearable camera world recently. With the surprise closure of Contour, it looks like Garmin might be angling for their spot in the world of action cameras with the release of the all new VIRB and VIRB Elite. Built small like a Contour and feature packed like a GoPro Black, the Garmin VIRB looks to be a surprise contender in a market with new entries seemingly every week.

Packed with new features, and compatible with other Garmin devices, the VIRB may have you reconsidering your next camera purchase.

The VIRB will be offered in two varieties, the $299 VIRB, and $399 VIRB Elite. The Elite adds GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities for control from your smartphone while both cameras are ANT+ equipped so that they can receive info from heart rate straps, Garmin GPS units, etc. Using the GPS data, the Elite offers interesting filming modes like Ski mode – where the camera uses the GPS data to automatically record only when you’re going down hill, not up the lifts. That means it should work equally well for lift serviced downhill run. The Elite also features a built in accelerometer and Altimeter for even more functionality.

Garmin Virb 8

VIRB Specs:

Dimensions

  • Unit size (HxWxD): 32 mm x 53 mm x 111 mm
  • Display size: 1.4″ (205 x 148)
  • Unit weight:
    • Without battery and battery door: 4.40 oz
    • Without battery: 4.79 oz
    • With battery: 6.26 oz
    • With battery and cradle: 7.16 oz
    • With battery, cradle and flat mount assembly: 8.31 oz

Video

  • Image sensor: 16 MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • File Type: .mp4
  • 1080p HD video: 1920 × 1080; 30 fps
  • 960p HD video: 1280 × 960; 30,60 fps
  • 720p HD video: 1280 × 720; 30,60 fps
  • WVGA (slow motion): 854 × 480; 120,60 fps
  • Still photo resolution: 16 MP (4664*3496); 12 MP (4664*2632); 8 MP (3264*2448)
  • Photo burst: 6/s
  • Photo time lapse (seconds): 0.5,1,2,5,10,30,60

Audio

  • Internal microphone: Yes
  • External microphone: Optional USB to 3.5 mm stereo mic adapter

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth®: No
  • ANT+™ compatible: Yes (remote)
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • HDMI output: micro HDMI
  • Wi-Fi streaming: No

Miscellaneous

  • GPS: No
  • Temperature range: -15° to 60° C
  • Memory: microSD™ card (up to 64 GB); card not included
  • Accelerometer: No
  • Altimeter: No
  • Water resistant: IPX7 (1 m/30 min)
  • Image stabilization: Yes (digital)
  • Lens distortion correction: Yes

Battery

  • Battery type: Removable Li-ion
  • Battery capacity: 2000 mAh
  • Battery life: 1080p (30 fps), up to 3 hrs

    Garmin Virb 1

VIRB Elite Specs:

Dimensions

  • Unit size (HxWxD): 32 mm x 53 mm x 111 mm
  • Display size: 1.4″ (205 x 148)
  • Unit weight:
    • Without battery and battery door: 4.40 oz
    • Without battery: 4.79 oz
    • With battery: 6.26 oz
    • With battery and cradle: 7.16 oz
    • With battery, cradle and flat mount assembly: 8.31 oz

Video

  • Image sensor: 16 MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • File Type: .mp4
  • 1080p HD video: 1920 × 1080; 30 fps
  • 960p HD video: 1280 × 960; 30,60 fps
  • 720p HD video: 1280 × 720; 30,60 fps
  • WVGA (slow motion): 854 × 480; 120,60 fps
  • Still photo resolution: 16 MP (4664*3496); 12 MP (4664*2632); 8 MP (3264*2448)
  • Photo burst: 6/s
  • Photo time lapse (seconds): 0.5,1,2,5,10,30,60

Audio

  • Internal microphone: Yes
  • External microphone: Optional USB to 3.5 mm stereo mic adapter

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth®: No
  • ANT+™ compatible: Yes (remote & sensors)
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • HDMI output: micro HDMI
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 bgn

Miscellaneous

  • GPS: Yes
  • Temperature range: -15° to 60° C
  • Memory: microSD™ card (up to 64 GB); card not included
  • Accelerometer: Yes
  • Altimeter: Yes
  • Water resistant: IPX7 (1 m/30 min)
  • Image stabilization: Yes (digital)
  • Lens distortion correction: Yes

Battery

  • Battery type: Removable Li-ion
  • Battery capacity: 2000 mAh
  • Battery life: 1080p (30 fps); up to 3 hrs

Virb Bike MountsVirb Shoulder Mount

The VIRB will be compatible with a number of mounts including multiple bike mounts, a shoulder harness (camera mounts on the shoulder instead of GoPro’s Chesty), adhesive mounts, vented helmet, head, tripod, wrist, auto dash, and more. In addition, each camera includes adapters for other popular mounts so if you already have a bunch from another camera, you’re set.

Included in the box you will find the camera plus:

  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Cradle
  • Short link
  • Right angle link
  • Adapter to popular industry mounts
  • Flat surface mount
  • Curved surface mount
  • Removable flange base
  • Threaded collar
  • Knobs (3)
  • USB cable
  • Documentation

Virb StandardGarmin Virb 2

Much like the Contour, the VIRB uses an easy one action slide for recording. It also uses an interesting 1.4″ Chroma display that uses ambient light for illumination instead of the battery. We’re not sure how it will work in dark situations, but it is an interesting way to conserve battery life.

From Garmin:

OLATHE, Kan.–()–Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced VIRB, its first true HD 1080p action camera series. From action sports to family vacations, VIRB combines a unique feature set that makes it easier than ever to capture life’s memories. VIRB features a rugged and waterproof (IPX-7) housing, so there is no extra case necessary to withstand the elements. The unique 1.4-inch Chroma color display makes setup and playback a breeze and uses minimal power so VIRB can record up to three hours of true HD (1080p) video on one charge. On-board video enhancement features such as digital image stabilization and lens distortion correction ensure that footage recorded with VIRB will look great, even before editing. VIRB can capture high quality still photos while the video camera is recording. VIRB Elite incorporates all these features, plus has built-in WiFi, data sensors and a high-sensitivity GPS. Both VIRB and VIRB Elite feature ANT+™ connectivity for remote control functionality with other Garmin products, and for data transfer with other fitness sensors.

“Action cameras are growing rapidly in popularity, and VIRB has some game-changing key features—like a color display, extended battery life, optional GPS and compatibility with existing Garmin products—that set it apart from other cameras on the market,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Our customers already embrace an active lifestyle, whether they’re hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, trail runners, boaters, or pilots, so a Garmin action camera is a compelling option to them. With GPS and enhanced wireless capabilities in VIRB Elite, users can capture not only what they were doing, but also where they were and how they did it—and then share it with their friends and family.”

VIRB has a sleek, aerodynamic design that makes it fun and simple to record HD video- just move the slider forward to record. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery can record up to three hours of HD (1080p) video with one charge, and can be easily changed on the go. The WideVü lens captures all the action, and the high-resolution Chroma display makes it easy to change menu settings, set-up and playback shots, but has reflective technology so it doesn’t drain the battery. The 1.4-inch screen uses ambient light (instead of a battery-draining backlight) to illuminate the screen and make it easy to see in bright sunlight.

VIRB is durable enough to capture even the most extreme activities right out of the box. With the rugged external housing, VIRB has an IPX-7 waterproof rating (can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes), so it can record activities like skiing and kayaking without additional protection or fear of damage. An optional dive case is available for deep-sea adventures, as well as a wide variety of other rugged mounts to secure VIRB to handlebars, helmets, surfboards and more. VIRB easily snaps into the mounts, and the teeth linkages tightly secure VIRB in place to prevent drooping and sagging in high vibration environments. There is even an available industry standard mounting adapter, making it easy for existing action camera users to get started with VIRB.

Users don’t have to be professional cinematographers to get great footage with VIRB. Video enhancement features ensure quality footage, even before the editing process begins. The digital image stabilization technology corrects camera shakiness for smoother footage, and the lens distortion correction feature gives users the option to automatically remove the fish-eye look that is common with action cameras. In addition to high quality video, VIRB can take 16 megapixel stills with photo burst and time lapse options. VIRB can even take stills while recording video. VIRB also has a micro HDMI output for convenient video playback and a microSD slot that can hold up to 64GB card (64GB microSD card can hold over seven hours of 1080p video).

VIRB Elite incorporates all these features, as well as high-sensitivity GPS, accelerometer, altimeter and WiFi. WiFi capabilities allow users to connect to the free mobile applications for iPhone and Android. VIRB Elite comes equipped with specific activity profiles so users can track location, speed, elevation, heart rate (monitor sold separately) and more while recording. This data can be reviewed right on the device, or can be embedded into their video during the editing process.

Additionally, in Ski Mode, the VIRB Elite is able to recognize the difference between going down the mountain and going up the ski lift. In this setting, VIRB Elite automatically turns on and starts recording when going down the mountain, and then goes into standby mode once on the ski lift. This mode saves battery and memory space, and keeps the user from forgetting to record when going down the mountain. This allows VIRB Elite to record all the action while users focus on their activity.

VIRB allows many current Garmin customers to take advantage of the Garmin ecosystem. In addition to the optional accessory remote (available Q1 2014), the Edge® 810, fēnix™, quatix™, Oregon® 600 series, and many more can control VIRB allowing users to start and stop recording and take stills right on the device through ANT+ wireless communication (for the full list of device compatibility, visit garmin.com/virb). Also through ANT+, users are able to control several connected VIRB devices. Just move the slider forward to record on the master device, and all the other connected VIRB devices will record as well. VIRB Elite is compatible with other sensors with ANT+ connectivity such as the heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and tempe™ temperature sensor. This data can then be embedded into the video during the editing process, or viewed on the display of VIRB Elite.

To complement VIRB Elite, Garmin is launching a mobile application for preview, playback and remote functionality, along with a free desktop software application to edit and upload VIRB and VIRB Elite videos. With this software, users can easily edit their footage and embed sensor data in the video, then share with family and friends or upload to social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

VIRB and VIRB Elite will be widely available for purchase in September 2013. VIRB MRP is $299.99, and VIRB Elite MRP is $399.99. VIRB is the latest solution from Garmin’s outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether it’s golfing, hiking, hunting or geocaching, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. For more information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to garmin.com/outdoors, garmin.blogs.com and twitter.com/garmin.

 

Comments

PROEDGEBIKER.COM - 08/21/13 - 2:16pm

Any info on Wide Angle Degrees while recording @ 1080p? cant find it anywhere on their site.

Ryan - 08/21/13 - 2:29pm

Ahhh, this is refreshing and likely to take my top spot for birthday requests.

BT - 08/21/13 - 2:36pm

Shoulder mount looks cool…like being a mini-predator

zombinate - 08/21/13 - 2:57pm

too bad no 1080 at 60fps

bent - 08/21/13 - 3:03pm

the second half of the article starts, “From Contour:”. is that supposed to be “From Garmin:”, or is there some connection between garmin and contour?

PVR - 08/21/13 - 3:08pm

Concerned about the chroma display not working in low light?
I might not be.

Our eyes are way more light sensitive than the camera CCD.
If it’s too dark for you to read the display, odds are it’s too dark to film in.

typo - 08/21/13 - 3:23pm

*From Garmin:

Zach Overholt - 08/21/13 - 4:16pm

sorry, Bent, just my mind thinking Garmin as I wrote Contour. Simple mistake. No connection that I’m aware of.

Engineer - 08/21/13 - 5:59pm

haha the only connection is contour fails and garmin steps in!

I am stoked I think this is the perfect addition to their gps tracking. It was already top of the line and to add a camera onto that is something that people who carry both will be stoked on.

edge - 08/21/13 - 7:20pm

If this bring serious competition for the GoPro I’m all for it. I’ve had two Gopros freeze/not work/die/Wi-Fi not work. Hopefully this makes GoPro address their quality issues. If not, my next camera may be made by Garmin.

Mindless - 08/21/13 - 8:13pm

If it is anything like their GPS, they will have terrible usability.

bikeboi - 08/21/13 - 8:43pm

sony action cam still has slo-mo in 720p, def win in my books, water falling or whatever happening fast looks gorgeous in this mode. why it’s so difficult for them camera makers to built in a proper processor for slo-mo shooting in 2013?

PROEDGEBIKER.COM - 08/22/13 - 10:19am

@bikeboi, IMHO 60fps is good enough for any slo-mo.

Argh - 08/22/13 - 10:46am

fullhd 240fps, any ?

robert - 08/22/13 - 2:39pm

so does this have anything to do with contour closing its doors?

Larry - 08/22/13 - 3:54pm

Nice. Still looking for one with a rear and front camera. Rear view would be on a user set time loop and/or right to a display on the bike handlebars to serve as a high tech rear view mirror and to record license plate numbers of some of those good old boy pickup trucks that try to run me down in Texas. Front camera would be for regular stuff but would work at same time as rear view. Rear view could be much lower resolution.

mark - 07/11/14 - 9:23pm

got the elite back in the uk and i am very impressed with it love how it shows speed and other data when you play back. it also seems more durable than other cameras like the go pro with it not really needing a outer case for protection.
http://www.charleysbikeaccessories.co.uk/collections/garmin

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