Garmin released a new action video camera a few months back, and it has been very popular among the pilot community. The official name of the camera is VIRB Elite, and it is in many ways similar to the popular GoPro Hero action cam. While they both shoot production-quality high-definition video, the Garmin VIRB goes a step further and integrates a GPS receiver into the camera. This allows the you to record both video and GPS position data simultaneously during your flight, making for a more exciting review of your trips when back on the ground. Furthermore, the camera incorporates an accelerometer and barometric altimeter, with options to display groundspeed and altitude right alongside your video.
As expected, Garmin recently released the companion app for the camera that allows you to control it from an iPhone, iPad or Android device. While it’s much easier to adjust settings directly on the Garmin VIRB compared to the GoPro, you’ll find it even easier to use the app’s interface to make changes. The app allows you to start and stop recording remotely, and also offers a live video preview to help frame your shots on the iPad’s large screen. While there is hardly any lag noticeable in this preview, it is unfortunately not available once you start recording.
In order to use the app with your Garmin VIRB you must first update the camera’s firmware, which is very easy using Garmin’s WebUpdater software. Once your camera is up to date, you can go here to download the free app:
We’ve been flying with the Garmin VIRB camera for about 2 months now, and have been very impressed with its performance so far. Here is a review of the camera from a pilot’s perspective, and a some sample video clips shot in both high and low light conditions: