Virb Ultra 30 – Garmin New Action Camera
In the saturated world of action cameras, it is easy to assume that there are two broad categories: those that are made by GoPro and those that are not. While this was true at one point, it is simply no longer the case. Garmin, the GPS navigation powerhouse turned wearable tech company, is out to prove itself with the new Virb Ultra 30, which was one of the most full-featured action cameras on the market when it launched on November 31.
Proof of What You Did
Your thrilling trip down the mountain deserves
intense stats — such as speed, rotations in air and wind chill
— that help recreate the moment.
Relive your time on the water by viewing boat drift,
water depth and wind speed.
Fitness + Cycling
Just how much power are you putting to the pedal?
Rec + Outdoor
Viewing your hang time, elevation and heart
rate onscreen lets your footage do the bragging for you.
Every jump deserves the stats to prove it. Capture your jump height, altitude, speed and more.
Give more context to your ride by viewing speed, heart rate and even RPM.
VIDEO FEATURES AND QUALITY
While ease of use is one of the most important aspects of a good action camera, video quality can’t be ignored. The Virb Ultra 30 is the first Garmin action camera to shoot in 4K Ultra HD, and the footage does indeed look good.
We were pleased to see that Garmin included a swath of advanced settings, as well, including three different levels of sharpness, a high bitrate mode that records at 60 megabits per second, and the option for a flat color profile that maintains greater dynamic range, but may require a bit more production work. Exposure compensation and ISO limit can also be set, which was particularly important as we found the Ultra 30 tended to overexpose images, at least when using the flat color profile. (Flat profiles often produce more noise, so overexposure could be intentional to limit the noise by letting more light into the shadows. On a bright day, however, this will blow out the highlights. We found an exposure compensation of -1EV was just about right, but this could be different depending on the situation.)
Any action cam captures your crash, but Garmin's Virb knows how hard you fell
- Intuitive and simple controls
- Comprehensive G-Metrix sensor data
- Built-in touchscreen
- YouTube live streaming via mobile app
- 3-axis electronic image stabilization
- 4K mode lacks stabilization, other features
- USB 2 interface is painfully slow
- Touchscreen doesn’t work well if case is scratched