Author Topic: Garmin Virb Basic camera  (Read 2972 times)

Garmin Virb Basic camera
« on: August 26, 2015, 07:05:08 pm »
A few months back I bought a VIRB Basic bundle (bike mount & extra battery) for <£110

Updated immediately to v4 firmware, using Garmin Express. Installed 32Gb Class10 mSD.

Uses:
Time lapse recording of rides.
Video on bike commutes, events & walks.
Still images (16MP), doubles as rain-proof camera, and easy to detach from mount.  Still images are a little on the warm colour temp side - easy to adjust in photo software of choice.

Time-lapse video.
e.g.
'Cotswolds Ride time lapse' (June)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQAjEcaBUt8   (Select 720p & see description for location time links)
Static TL Scarborough:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWAOi34CpsI

Well implemented.  The unit auto-compiles mp4 TL video.  So far I've mounted the unit on the handlebars, and done a range of recordings on rides. Quality is good, though rough road surfaces in low light can be prone to some blur, but not a huge issue. I've tried both (very) wide and ultra-zoom settings, both seem good; wide may tend include edges of handlebars/levers more easily.  TL files are quite large e.g. my 24 min TL video of 100km Audax was 6Gb with 1080p/25fps.  'Handbrake' (free) is useful for downsizing; though for Youtube - it seems finding a reasonably fast upload link/ doing overnight with at least full 720p vids gives much better quality online. 

Battery
Replaceable - so no dwindling capacity over time, to eventually cripple the unit.  Set to1080p, 0.5s TL capture - probably get ~2.5hrs on a fully charged (replaceable) battery.  However now for longer rides, one can start with a fully charged internal battery and an Anker 5600mAh USB pack attached. This works well for timelapse, though standard video can't be captured using battery pack for power. Having the spare battery and ability to time lapse record with USB battery pack attached is excellent.

Video
PAL or NTSC.  I've now tried ride video on a range of the modes including:1080/25, 720 60fps, slow-mo, etc. -  tend to stick with 1080p 30fps. 

Video quality is arguably better from a bike helmet mounted camera (more shock absorbency through the body) and the cam 'sees' where you look, BUT lets face it, even if you wear a helmet you're unlikely to want to stick a VIRB (or Go-Pro) onit, which is also on the heavy side too.  That said there are some fairly small cams one could helmet mount. A bar mounted camera will be subject to much more vibration so video quality depends on how good any image stabilisation is, mount stability, tyre type/pressure, road surface etc.

With VIRB mounted on on handlebars and with 23mm tyres/UK roads, the image stabilisation has arguably too much vibration to cope with. Results are not bad,  the 60fps perhaps does better than the image stabilisation itself.  With my steel bike with 28mm tyres, the unit is inverted & below the handlebars, with video capture set to 'flipped'; results better.

Adding/syncing gpx
Having not gone for the 'Elite' with built-in GPS, being able to manually add gpx tracks is a great feature of the free "VIRB edit" software.  I've overlaid my Etrex captured gpx onto the timelapse video with the simple manual alignment feature, and it's spot on. Good range of speed/altitude/heading/route progress etc indicators & gauges.  IIRC the VIRB Elite cannot use gps only, and requires video too(?)

Issues?
The mini-B USB cable was faulty out of the box, but fortunately my Etrex mini-B cables work fine.  Garmin sent a new cable.
New batteries seem to need to be first discharged, and then fully charged - preferably overnight first off.  Initially I had had an issue with the unit battery level indicator not registering battery discharge accurately  i.e. running out of charge before the low battery warning. This was fine after the full discharge and charge overnight. - no issues since.
Clean the front lens before use, as it attracts smudges.
VIRB Edit software needs a newer DirectX than on my elderly Dell Precision.

In the wet...
Hours in rain - no problem.  The unit is supposed be able to be immersed at 1M depth for several minutes - not going to test this.  On  a recent 100 mile ride  I captured the whole ride (~6:45hrs moving) on 0.5s time lapse using the virb powered by a USB battery in my tribag. I ran the virb for quite a few hours with the USB lead attached in light drizzle conditions - the rubber flap is such that even when open it's not bad at keeping some rain out.  For the last 30km the rain ranged from torrential to biblical, and I just pulled the lead out and ran the unit on battery.
Rain drops on the lens don't do much for video quality.  So if using post-rain shower, best to dry off lens.

Other
Single slider switch for on/off.  Takes around 12s from on to record start.

So all in all a good buy. I've also bought a tripod mount (~£5) so it can sit on a camera mini pod. 

Mostly carry around an ex-camera pouch to put unit in when not needed. Prices may come down again once the new Virb XE has be out a while...

YMMV  :) 

DC Rainmaker review:  http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/12/garmin-depth-review.html
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2015, 05:42:08 pm »
In case anyone is interested - some video from a recent 'road bike off-roading' excursion in the Berkshire downs... I think showing that the Virb Image stabilisation is not too shabby*, if not quite up there with the Sony cameras...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p1r8Jla8qk

* even though Youtube pipes up - "We detected your video may be shaky. Would you like us to stabilise it?"  ;)




Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2015, 05:08:19 pm »
I bought one loosely based on your review  :thumbsup: I love the fact I have a remote control in my edge 800.

I haven't used it in anger yet.
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Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2015, 05:28:09 pm »
It's a great camera, but best out of the mount as I find the bar mount transmits far too much vibration.

This is my most recent film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbDjrl5ox7E )which I think I have posted somewhere already but in a different thread).

Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2015, 06:15:14 pm »
One good thing about the Virb, is that it's really easy to operate the slider switch to start recording, with one hand.  Even with the unit powered off the slider starts recording when pushed forward - no pfaffing about with a separate power button.  May try the unit off-mount/ on-bike to record interesting bits of rides sometime...  The stills function is decent, so virb doubles as a (wideangle) waterproof camera.  Back in Sept I used the Virb for video at a wedding - results were pretty good.

As the Virb/Elite has been replaced by the X/XE, some of the accessories e.g. cradle mount, seem to have disappeared from the usual websites...  I notice the new units have lost the small live view LCD screen - which I find quite useful.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

ElyDave

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Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2015, 10:08:25 pm »
I think I saw it for £75 the other day, seriously thinking about it as I can trigger it from my 920xt.
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Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2016, 04:50:13 pm »
It's a great camera, but best out of the mount as I find the bar mount transmits far too much vibration.

This is my most recent film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbDjrl5ox7E )which I think I have posted somewhere already but in a different thread).

I've recently been trying the VIRB on a long DIY lanyard around shoulder to jersey pocket for storing / taking still images (16MP) and short video clips, on the go.    Works well and having only to wake up the unit (though this takes a few secs), and press one button to take the pic.  Also means one can  pan the video etc. 
The wideangle settings are good for clouds too...

VIRB0102 by ao, on Flickr

VIRB0003-002 by ao, on Flickr

ps. bought teh dive case for ~£25 to test out in Cornwall later in the summer.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2020, 06:44:41 pm »
So five+ years on...

'Equipment is only as good as the weakest bit of plastic' and all that...

The VIRB is a good piece of kit, but the rubber power on/off cover of the microswitch has perished.

ETA.  Bodged  a bit of pencil rubber (narrow enough not to stick) to put under some gorilla tape.  Seems to work OK


IMG_virb1 by a oxon, on Flickr

The rubber bit which presses down onto the microswitch, stuck on some tape - my first failed attempt for a fix.  The microswitch is recessed bout 4mm deep.

IMG_virb2 by a oxon, on Flickr
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

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Re: Garmin Virb Basic camera
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2020, 06:06:04 pm »
Sugru?
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.