Garmin launches action cameras

Garmin, the US company best known for satellite navigation systems, has decided to enter the crowded “action camera” market – the compact, portable cameras used for filming sports or “point of view” images.

They’re launching with two versions of what it’s branding “VIRB” cameras. Each features a 1.4 inch colour display, an IPX-7 rated waterproof housing (immersion in water to 1m depth for up to 30 minutes), 1080p video recording with up to three hours from a single charge, and image stabilisation. The more expensive model also gets WiFi connectivity and (naturally) a GPS. Unusually, both can be controlled from other Garmin devices.

Garmin Virb camera

Garmin Virb camera

A full dive housing is available for deeper water adventures along with various mounts for bicycles, helmets, surfboards and so on. The cameras can also do 16Mpixel stills, which can be made into a timelapse if required. Storage is via a microSD card up to 64GB (7 hours of best quality footage).

One nifty feature is “Ski Mode” in which the camera realises if it’s going uphill – on a ski lift – or downhill – actually skiing, and turns recording on or off accordingly.

Garmin Virb Elite

Garmin Virb Elite

Prices are $299.99 and $399.99 USD with no indication yet of a UK launch.

With Contour shutting up shop recently, and GoPro, Drift and others all slugging it out massively, it should be interesting to see what impact Garmin can make on the market.

The full press release is at http://garmin.blogs.com/pr/2013/08/garmin-enters-the-action-camera-market-with-compact-waterproof-easy-to-use-hd-cameras-virb-and-virb-.html#.UhzxVedJOYw

And they have a promotional video too:

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