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VIRB Blog 22nd April


General first impressions of the Garmin VIRB

SailRacer have been trialling the Garmin VIRB Elite for a few weeks now and getting to grips with the many features it has.  The GPS function within the VIRB Elite, together with the integration with other Garmin range products means you can produce fantastic quality, high definition videos with overlays of GPS track, heart rate and speeds - the ultimate training tool.

The Garmin VIRB Elite has so many features we are still learning more about it every time we take it out. The GPS function is obviously a huge bonus, with the overlay track of your course automatically being added to the video when you edit using the VIRB editing suite. It was also quite straightforward to pick up the GPS data and merge it with the tracks we had collected from the SailTracker units fitted to other boats when we filmed using the VIRB Elite at the Tiger Trophy.

With this great little Garmin action camera you can produce things like this too - see the complete Tiger Trophy video featuring Charlie Cumbley here.

Being waterproof for accidental immersion the whole menu is available when setting up on the boat, when not using the dive case. The viewfinder screen means we can set the perfect angle and use the one-touch record button to switch on and off throughout the session.

The HD quality is much in line with other similar cameras, but the fact it doesn't always have to be in the dive case is a definite bonus and we've noticed that the wide-angle image suffers far less distortion than we have seen before - no fish-eyed booms or curving masts passing by in the background, and a very true horizon and perspective.

The dive case is a light but sturdy plastic case which still enables the one touch record on and off function to be used. Although the waterproof rating means the VIRB is fine mounted around deck-level for an accidental capsize, on high risk days we've been using the dive case and the difference in picture quality is barely noticeable.

Integrated with many other Garmin products the VIRB Elite can be set on the mast head (in the dive case of course, just in case) and switched on and off remotely from a Garmin Edge 800 (cycle computer) which we've had since before the VIRB was introduced. An app can be downloaded for Android or iPhone which does the same thing if you have no other Garmin tech.

The VIRB editing suite is really easy to use and stores all your clips conveniently. As you put the clips together the data from the camera can be displayed in a variety of ways on the screen. Speedo, course heading, course track, heart rate ... though the altimeter doesn't make for as interesting viewing as it does on the bike ;)

We love the time lapse feature - set the camera on time lapse, one touch record and the time-lapse video downloads ready made (no need to stitch together a file of stills). Even in sync with the speeded up tracking image.

Having the VIRB Elite on the boat is the ultimate motivator in training sessions - there is no place to hide, the analysis spelling out where improvements can be made. And of course it also catches all the action for entertainment, sharing and, with the speedo in particular, unquestionable bragging!


22/4/2014 13:43


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