I've been a fan of Garmin products for many years. I've trusted their GPS to get me to my destinations safely on foot, in my car, and on my bike. Last year I had the pleasure of testing the Virb XE 1080p camera and instantly fell in love with it! As much as I loved the camera, I had a lot of feedback and feature requests for the Garmin team, and I'm happy to say the VIRB Ultra 30 addressed a lot of what I was wishing for.
The Virb Ultra 30 is capable of acquiring video in 4k at up to 30fps. It's also capable of capturing up to 240fps at 720p and 12MP stills. Garmin understands its target audience and where they'll be using this camera. One of the key benefits is the cameras smooth 3-axis image stabilization that maintains steady footage regardless of the terrain. The high sensitivity microphone is intended to capture audio in our out of the included waterproof enclosure.
Operating the camera is a breeze using the LCD color touchscreen. The touchscreen also works when enclosed in the waterproof case and allows you to adjust the cameras settings quickly and easily view what you're recording. The free Garmin Virb app also allows you to remotely set up the camera and functions as a live output and gives you the option of real time live streaming to YouTube all from your phone. As if those weren't enough options to control the camera already, Garmin added a voice control feature to the camera so you can maintain focus on the activity at hand. Users can speak commands such as "OK Garmin, start recording," or "OK Garmin, remember that," to tag specific sections of your activity to review later.
Being an editor by trade, what really caught my eye about the Garmin cameras is the free Garmin VIRB Edit software. The software is available for both windows and mac and can take all the moments you captured and intelligently "auto-create" videos for you so it's super simple to use for the novice. For the control freaks among us, the app allows you to create a timeline and add transitions and titles. I have access to every possible editing software all the way back to 1994, but I found myself using this application instead of going to my preferred toolset for one big reason. Garmin records a sidecar file that includes metadata from the camera that they call G-Metrix. The Virb Edit software reads this metadata and allows you to overlay it on your video in real time providing a really clean looking heads up display "H.U.D" effect. I'll load some footage up in the near future of how this changed my flying style a bit when using Garmin cameras to capture the moment.
The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is available now on Amazon for $499.99. You may find it slightly higher priced than other action cameras, but there aren't many that compare to VIRB Ultra 30's unique feature set. I'll have a more in depth review and sample footage in the near future. For now, you can learn more about it on the Garmin Website.