2nd look at my Garmin Virb: Photos and portability

It has been more than 6 months since I started using my Virb. In January I wrote a post  about my first experiences, and I believe that it is time to summarize my experiences since then. This post will focus on the portability  and photos. Experiences with recordings and their editing will be covered in a 3rd post, as this one is long enough already as it is.

Portability and usage

When choosing my action camera, a very important aspect for me was how comfortably I can carry it with myself during my runs, how easy I can fit it into my pocket, etc. Next to its low price, this was one of the key reasons for choosing Virb for me. I really like how it fits into my hand, and using that big slider button, it is really easy to record videos even while having the gloves on.  When I don't want to take pictures or record anything, I just put the camera into a simple silk case and then stash it into one of the front pockets on my Kalenji bagpack.

Some tips:
  • The device needs a couple of seconds to turn on before recording when using the big slider button. Have that in mind, and wait for the led to turn red.
  • For the above reason, keep the device turned on if You don't go for a very long run, and the battery can easily last. The camera will put itself in standby mode if not used, but the recording will immediately start. (The camera will, however, emit some heat, so don't stash it away somewhere where it can get really hot.)
  • If You don't want to keep the camera turned on, but want to take a picture, it is often easier to start a recording, and take a picture during that. This is especially true in winter conditions with the gloves on, when it is difficult to find and press the power on/off button. Obviously, this will result in some rubbish video clips, but You can delete them afterwards.

Battery life and storage

I am very satisfied with the battery life. Even if the camera is constantly turned on, it lasted a couple of hours. And even when it indicated a completely drained battery, it still had enough juice for 30-40 minutes. Regarding storage, I have put a 16 GB card into my Virb. Obviously, the video is not stored in the most compressed format, so that is enough for something like 90 minutes of full HD recording. That's usually enough for me on a week long trip. In the beginning, I was not so sure about this, but when You start to edit  ~3 minute compilations from 60 minutes of raw recordings and hundreds of pictures, You realize, that most of the recordings were unnecessary.  Or at least that is the case for me. 


The Virb can take amazing pictures, even the selfies look ok.  Obviously, the quality (sharpness) of the photo will be better if You stop for a second. So that is highly recommended. That's especially true in case of dim light conditions. The small display is a nice way to position Your photo, however, it has a 4:3 display, so if You are taking 16:9 photos, the result will be a bit different, but it is showed after that take for a few seconds. That's it, here are some examples of the photos I made in different conditions. Luckily, in this 6 months I had the luck to test my Virb in a wide variety of situations: from snowy forest through warm sea coast to hot desert. 

No clouds, towards the sun, fix camera, changing object

No clouds,  not towards the sun, moving camera, moving object
Cloudy sky, fix camera, close and distant non-moving objects

No clouds, noon, selfie, fix camera and objects 
Towards the sun that is behind clouds, fix camera and objects

No clouds, camera towards the sun, but in a shadow, selfie with moving camera and objects
No clouds, sun from behind, moving objects, still camera

Cloudy sky, little rain, moving objects and camera

Fix camera in shade, non-moving object 
Indoor picture, still camera

Timed capture, still camera and non-moving object, weak accidental light 
Dim lights at dusk, fix camera

Same as above but with moving, shaking camera 
No clouds, sun at the edge of photo, fix camera, non-moving objects
midnight in Iceland

That's all, soon I'll be back with the review on the recordings of my Virb.

And as always: Thanks for reading! Sharing, comments and +1s are always appreciated. You can follow the blog on Google+Twitter, and Facebook. The embedded videos (and others) are collected in the RunnerMate playlist on youtube, and quick running related photos are sshared on my Instagram.


About Unknown

Amateur fun runner, geek, hiker.


Write comments
October 19, 2017 at 2:44 AM delete

i am a fan of photography and i love trying out new gadgets. i was thinking that maybe it is an analogue camera. that you for the thorough introduction to the piece

October 19, 2017 at 2:51 AM delete

Hey! I'm really dumb to photography, that's why I think that a very good camera wouldn't really make such a big difference, as I have no idea how to use it. I'm sorry, I couldn't fully get what You meant by the last sentence, and which camera was analogue?

July 30, 2021 at 1:22 PM delete

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