If you are looking for a simple to use, high-quality, action camcorder – be sure to look at the Garmin VIRB. This bullet shaped, rugged little camera takes great 1080p HD video or 16MP stills and is extremely easy to operate.
Load it with a micro SD card of your choice, charge the battery and start shooting. The small LCD screen lets you pick from a menu of selections but I find that mine all stay the same each time I use it with one exception.
You have the option of shooting normally or upside down, and that’s the one thing I change. When using the tripod mount, I obviously use the normal mode. When biking, kayaking and the like, I have the helmet mount attached to the side of my helmet to get it to eyelevel. In that case, the camera hangs upside down and the menu reverses the video. No need to worry about a little rain, the unit is water resistant (IPX7).
The operation couldn’t be simpler. You can turn it on with the power button, check the menu and then start shooting, or you can simply slide the “record” slide forward and it turns on the camera and starts shooting within seconds.
Want to control it remotely? With the free Garmin VIRB app, you can do most everything you can do from the onboard menu, and maybe quicker. You can also get a live view of what the camera is seeing until you press the Record button. The only thing that didn’t seem to work for me was the “point of view” setting. It always stayed in Wide Angle using the remote control.
The 1.4” chroma display on the unit actually lets you see what you will be shooting and lets you replay the action immediately after filming. No more waiting to get back to see what you shot.
The 2000mAh rechargeable litium-ion battery can last up to 3 hours while recording at full HD in 1080p. With a 32 GB micro SD card, you should be able to almost fill it in 3 hours. The camera will work with up to a 64GB card for over 7 hours of recording time. Just swap out the battery and keep shooting.
Give the VIRB a look at their website: http://sites.garmin.com/virb/?lang=en&country=US
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new photography topics across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. To see his travel photo collection, see BardwellPhotography.com.