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What’s the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30?
The VIRB Ultra 30 may be the new flagship action camera from Garmin. Just like the VIRB XE, it runs on the GoPro-like form factor. But where in fact the XE maxed out at 1,440p resolution, the Ultra 30 finally reaches 4K. Get amazing black friday deals at your screen.
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This isn’t the only enhancement over the prior model, in addition to the camera retains the G-Metrix features that gave Garmin’s action cameras something unique when compared to competition. Could this be Garmin’s best action camera yet, and may it dismount the GoPro Hero 5 Black?
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – Features and Battery Life
The VIRB Ultra 30 includes a waterproof case that may keep carefully the action camera dry to a depth of 40m, because of a double-locking mechanism. There are no IP ratings quoted, but that is a commendable depth, although just a little significantly less than the 50m of the XE. It even includes anti-fog packs to avoid condensation inside.
Unlike the XE, however, the Ultra 30 isn’t permanently fixed inside its casing. Instead, like the majority of other action cameras, the casing is removable.
This is very good news if you wish to employ a different housing, or don’t desire a robust outer casing. However, a case or caddy will be needed, for the reason that action camera itself doesn’t have any sort of mounting point built-in. On the plus side, the battery continues to be removable, and is continuing to grow to at least one 1,250mAh from the prior model’s 980mAh.
The bigger battery means the VIRB Ultra 30 is specified to last 2hrs 15mins when shooting Full HD, just a little longer compared to the XE. This still isn’t up to the three hours of the initial VIRB, and duration drops by one hour in 4K. There’s also no chance to attach external capacity to the Ultra 30 when it’s inside its waterproof casing, unlike the XE.
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The Ultra 30 is tiny when it’s out of its housing. There are ports for micro-HDMI and micro-USB, and a mysterious trio of contacts on underneath of the camera that are allegedly for as-yet unreleased accessories. The microphone includes a special pass-through port that connects to the outer casing, potentially providing better audio tracks than most action cameras when inside waterproof housings.
Another bit of very good news is that the LCD panel returns. The menu could be operated set up camera is inside its case, using two buttons at the top. But the display can be a touchscreen, so obviously this won’t function through the casing, despite the fact that it’s transparent and you will still see what’s going on. Accessing the menu functions is not too difficult using the touchscreen.
However, this isn’t the only method of control; voice activation system is available too. That is similar in function to the GoPro Hero 5 Black. Simply say “OK Garmin” and tell these devices to “Have a picture”, “Start recording”, “Stop recording” or “Understand that” (to mark a online video as a highlight).
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – Shooting Options and Specification
Garmin hasn’t improved the specifications of the sensor in the Ultra 30 over the XE, with an identical 12-megapixel resolution and sizeable 1/2.3-inch sensor. However the signal processing sees significant enhancement. The headline act is that, finally, you can shoot in 4K with a Garmin action camera – and at the entire 30 frames/sec too.
There are also some very nice high-speed options at lesser resolutions. You can shoot 2.7K at 60 frames/sec, 1080p at 120 frames/sec, 720p at 240 frames/sec, and 480p at 300 frames/sec. Smooth slow motion is easily available even at Full HD, too, which is useful to use it videography. These broadly match the GoPro Hero 5 Black’s most significant options, although the latter includes a bewildering selection of resolutions in between.
The utmost data rate is 60Mbits/sec in 4K mode, although that is compressed to around 35Mbits/sec when you add the G-Metrix overlay. That is a little low because of this resolution, equal to shooting Full HD at 8.75Mbits/sec. Footage is recorded to microSD, with the slot rather hidden next to the battery under the key unit cover. A 16GB card will hold just 35 minutes of 4K footage.
The Ultra 30, just like the XE, offers image stabilisation – but since this uses pixel-shifting on the sensor, it doesn’t work in 4K because there aren’t enough spare. It only operates at up to at least one 1,440p at 60 frames/sec or 2.7K at 30 frames/sec. Still, it’s a three-axis system even though it’s no match for optical image stabilisation as observed in Sony’s recent FDR-X3000 Action Cam, it’s on the other hand worth having. Optical systems may also have an extremely hard time with extreme action.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – Mounting Options and Settings
There’s a decent collection of mountings contained in the box. The waterproof case screws onto a mount, with flat and curved adhesive options included. Additionally, there are standard and vertical mount adapters, plus both short and long extension arms.
If this isn’t enough, Garmin includes a healthy selection of accessories available. I was sent the bike mount and a rotating ball mount. The bike mount were for the VIRB XE, but used the same pieces as the other kit, therefore i was able to hook up the Ultra 30 to my bike’s handlebars. The waterproof mount can be appropriate for GoPro accessories, so you will have a huge selection of options both from GoPro and third parties.
Apart from the plethora of shooting resolutions, there’s an expert mode that delivers greater configuration of the settings. THE COLOUR Curve could be set to either Vivid or Flat, and white balance to auto mode or five presets between 2,800K and 7,500K. There are three degrees of sharpness, and ISO limit from 100 to 800.
While there’s no direct control over shutter or iris , there’s an Exposure Bias with 13 steps between -2 and +2 EV. There’s also an area meter that takes good thing about the LCD touchscreen to pinpoint what you would like to be the reference point. Again, this mostly matches the GoPro Protune options.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – Sensor Connectivity
One of the great benefits of all VIRBs has been the capability to record additional information alongside the video, in order that the facts of your activity could be displayed embedded in the frame. The Ultra 30 itself includes a built-in GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, and compass. Garmin calls this G-Metrix. That is already a lot more than the GoPro Hero5 Black provides.
It ought to be noted here that the altimeter won’t work properly when the Ultra 30 is inside its waterproof casing, so Garmin gives a second door that isn’t waterproof. Instead, that is merely IPX7 rated, this means it could handle a 1m depth for thirty minutes. A rain storm ought to be fine.
Beyond the built-in G-Metrix, the Ultra 30 will hook up to a incredible selection of external sensors, via ANT+ and Bluetooth. There are several heartrate monitors, bike sensors, ELM327 OBD2 car interfaces, and even aircraft and boat sensors. Not absolutely all of the information sources could be superimposed on the frame, however the data could be collected alongside the video.
There’s Wi-Fi, too, allowing a smartphone to be utilized for control, employing the most common system of turning the action camera into an access point. The VIRB iphone app then offers a full suite of configuration options and control.
Also you can use your smartphone’s mobile data for YouTube streaming. Simply sign into Google and the program sets everything up for you personally, and next email a YouTube short connect to your viewers. This worked perfectly when I tried it.
The application can be convenient for viewing the G-Metrix that’s been captured alongside the video and embedding it when you share the footage. Once you’ve signed into Google, you can transfer files from the Ultra 30 to your Drive account, that is a pretty useful method of burning video when on the road, albeit more likely to pound your mobile data contract. However, 4K is reduced to 35Mbits/sec in this process.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – Image Quality
Among our biggest criticisms of the VIRB XE was its insufficient 4K. The Ultra 30 is currently up with the very best action cameras from other manufacturers with regards to resolution, and the image quality is commendable too. The 4K footage looks crisp and detailed, with great colour fidelity. Image erformance is on a par with the GoPro Hero 5 Black but it’s worth noting that music quality is negatively influenced by the necessity to use a case.
Here’s some sample 4K footage from the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, and the same Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 footage without the overlay (so that it gets the full 60Mbits/sec data rate).
Should I choose the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30?
The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 can be an extremely accomplished action camera. GoPro will be pretty hard to knock off its pedestal, however the Ultra 30 has almost all of the key top features of the GoPro Hero 5 Black for an identical price, alongside an abundance of sensor connectivity functions that the latter doesn’t offer.
Garmin now has among the finest action cameras out there in the condition of the VIRB Ultra 30, particularly for extreme sports because of each of the extra telemetry data. The VIRB Ultra 30 produces a solid option to the GoPro Hero 5 Black.
The VIRB Ultra 30 is a good action camera from Garmin yet, losing none of what made previous models special whilst addin