Garmin VIRB “action” camera, also great on a slow boat

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

17 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    PS One way to get Garmin to make Virb Edit more boater friendly is to make some noise about it here on Panbo.
    Would anyone else like to have (and share) some boat videos like even my early attempts?
    Let’s also note that other manufacturers like Raymarine — which has already enabled video recording and playback on their MFDs using IP boat cams — might be able to match those recordings to boat data files.
    It wouldn’t seem fair to use Raymarine video and data files in Virb Edit but can any other video edit software integrate them?

  2. Jeff says:

    Any Live feed?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sort of, assuming you mean by WiFi from the Virb Elite to one of the apps. You see what the camera sees when it’s not recording, with very little lag, but the picture stops when you hit record. I suspect that will change, and also hope that video capture on the phone or tablet becomes possible.
    I know when I first tried the WiFi back and app for the GoPro Hero2 (six months after it was supposed to come out!) the long lag made it almost unusable. But I gather that’s fixed now with the newer Hero models.

  4. Tom says:

    Nice review Ben. The VIRB should be an intriguing device for boaters and anglers. I think they can succeed if they have a more reliable device than their competition.
    A quick search will reveal many, many frustrated GoPro owners, myself included. My issues included overheating, a short battery life, and one day my Hero2 decided it wasn’t going to take a charge or power on anymore (to be fair they replaced it under warranty).
    Anyways, if Garmin can put enough marketing money towards the VIRB, and if they have a reliable device, I think they can do very well with it.

  5. Ben,
    here are two clips I’ve made with Virb (standard) tied to my byboat paddle, used as remote stick for changing recordinc angle.
    Underwater segments was made without dive case. Note how the lens coating drive away water easily when getting back on surface…
    Day clip was made on Danube, night one on Sava river in Belgrade, Serbia…

  6. Ben – Your blog today has a bunch of blank spaces, where I think are supposed to be screenshot links to video files? Not sure if others are having this issue – I’m using IE10 and haven’t had this problem before with Panbo. The VIRB seems really affordable for all it can do!

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Grant, the blanks you’re seeing are probably the YouTube videos embedded in those spaces. They show up fine on the two PC’s I’ve tried and you’re the first complaint. Suggest you try another browser?

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Embedded YouTube videos (which use iFrames) working on iPad at Miami airport.
    I’m almost at Navico press event in Keys. 12 demo boats I hear 😉

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Ben,
    Looking for a camera that I can troll behind my boat and have hooked into my Simrad NSS12 so that I can watch what’s underwater chasing my lures….at real time…. many applications for Go Pro, Contour or Sony via Troll Pro… but all via SD card, post-production so to speak.… Looking for a waterproof, strain proof HDMI connection… Wifi on GO pro does not work underwater from what I’ve been told… this seems like a nice design.
    thanks Ben,

  10. Peter C. says:

    Jeff ,
    There are waterproof video cameras with long cables ,plug right into the back of my NSE,standard composite output RCA jack.
    Available out of China.
    Designed to hang down but you could devise a sled for it.
    See Security Cameras 2000.

  11. Jeff says:

    thanks pete

  12. Bill Large says:

    We’ve been using video on our boat for years, probably because we’re in the video business. We began with some fairly old equipment and slowly graduated to forward- (bridge mounted) and aft-facing cams that are really the equivalent of “point & shoot” level equipment. We use RAM railing mounts and Sima Quickonnects (See Amazon) that allow us to remove the cams when not in use or for downloading the video to our workstation.
    To make the boat video really attractive, you do need some editing software and there is lots of inexpensive stuff available. Being able to dissolve between shots (useful to shorten a no wake zone to keep it interesting) and fading to black (which tells the viewer that some time or the location has changed) also can make a boat video look very professional.
    To make the investment worthwhile, we’ve found that we have to edit the video files fairly soon after shooting it to avoid building up an seemingly impossible backlog. Besides, it’s fun to look at and can’t be beat for viewing on long winter afternoons here in New England.
    A word about background music. You Tube can get cranky about using copyrighted music. An easy work-around is to download from the You Tube Audio Library. It has a good and growing selection of high quality music and it is rights-free.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Bill! I enjoyed some time on your blog and may try the Sima Quickonnect. I’ll be more careful about background music too 😉

  14. Bill says:

    I am very disappointed to discover the display is not backlit. Very difficult/impossible to read in anything but bright light.

  15. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry about your disappointment, Bill, and guess I wasn’t much help in my review. But the DCRainmaker review I suggested for more detail is very clear about the limits of the VIRB “Chroma” display. It is not bright or color rich.
    I do find the menus and bold data screens readable in most daylight conditions and the live video view can usually be used at least to see if the camera is aimed correctly. And for people like me who began with a GoPro, the Virb screen at virtually no extra dollar or battery cost is a serious upgrade.

  16. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Garmin is running something called the VIRB Ultimate Adventure Contest with some serious travel prizes. The emphasis is on “heart-stopping action” (though I think the camera is also great at slow cruising) and the final voting will done by the public.
    Only a week to enter:

  17. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Nice! Garmin’s excellent Homeport software for PC and Mac just became a free download:
    (Thanks to Brent B for tip!)

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