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Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
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Life time member
Getting a camera on my bike is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time. I wanted something that had adequate picture quality so it could be used as a black box recorder for routine rides and also good picture quality to be able to record those more scenic rides.

The choice and price range of Point of View (POV) cameras is huge - but for use on a bike it needs to be weather and vibration resistant. Thanks to 88KE's recent post on his new camera, I finally was spurred into action and finally got myself a new toy.

After much indecision, I opted for the Garmin Virb Elite. My main reason was because it had a built in GPS receiver which allows speed and location data to be captured in the footage (fairly important for black box evidence). Another thing that attracted me to the Virb was the fact that it is standalone and, subject to buying the right mounts, can be fitted to the bike, the car or to me (although I didn't buy the shoulder mount as it had poor reviews) and therefore can be used anywhere (surfing, skiing, biking, skydiving.....). It has a number of video modes: 1080HD at 30fps, Fast HD at 60 fps, Slow motion, Super Slow Motion HD at 120 fps and Time Lapse. Of course, I probably won't really use most of those settings - not on the bike anyway.

Quite pricey though - the recommended retail price is £349.99 (I got mine from Amazon for £275) and the accessories (extra mounts, mains charger, spare battery etc.) don't come cheap either. Doesn't come with a memory card - but takes class 10  micro SD cards up to 64GB. Memory cards (at UK prices) seem to about £1 per 1GB - I have a 16GB card which gives about 1.5 hours worth of 1080 HD 30fps recording. The battery life is claimed to be about 3 hours at this setting - so I guess the optimum card size would be 32GB. Charging is via a micro USB port so it can plug into computer, USB port on bike (I have one that plugs into my 12V power socket) - I believe it can charge and record at the same time - or by removing battery and charging in mains charger.

I have now used mine in the car (additional windscreen mount) and the bike (self adhesive mount stuck to inside of screen) with quite promising results. In both cases I had to mount the Virb upside down - but there is an advanced option that allows for this in the camera settings "flip camera" which is quite neat and easy to do. The camera is best set up before use as the set up buttons are small and the display screen quite dim. However, once set up and mounted in it's cradle it is a breeze to operate - a big fat glove friendly slide switch turns it on, gets the GPS position and starts recording. Sliding the switch back, stops recording, saves the file automatically and turns it off. An indicator light on the front of the unit shows green when on, orange when charging and flashes red when recording - this can be turned off to save power and/or provide for stealth mode recording. Driving at night, I found the flashing red light annoying so turned it off.   

Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7111  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7112

Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7113

Other features - there is an image stabilisation setting which is quite useful and seems to add to the quality of the recording, particularly when mounted on the bike. The unit has an inbuilt microphone, but can be attached to an external mic if desired. The internal mic is fine, but mounted on the bike (behind the screen), the engine noise sounds a bit tinny - I guess the hard core option would be to put an external mic down near the exhaust muffler, if you want to hear the throaty roar (and nothing else!). You can even buy external sensors from Garmin (e.g. temperature) that will wirelessly talk to the device.

I mounted my camera on the inside of the screen (just above my GPS). This is unobtrusive to my vision of the road, but gives a "near-riders eye" view point. This position gives me easy access to the device, keeps the camera fairly covert and also allows me to plug it into the USB charging point if needed. The down side - as shown on the second video clip is that the picture is affected by water or sunlight on the screen (you could argue that it is a true "through-visor" riders eye view) and also can get unwanted reflections. It is also subject to any shaking of the screen/fairing due to road imperfections - however, this is mostly not too bad and gives that riding feel of juddering over potholes etc. I am going to try mounting the camera so that it either looks though a hole in the screen (if I can get the courage to chop a hole in my perfectly good screen) of mount it on the front of the screen. My concern with the latter option is that it will stand out like a dogs parts, will not be easily accessible when riding and the audio recording may get drowned out with wind noise. Other options are to mount it below the headlight (as 88KE did) - a remote control is available as an accessory, or go for a on-body mount. I guess a chest mount would give the "full" rider view experience - with everything on show (instruments, GPS, screen etc.). The third video clip shows the lens quality - gives a good sharp image.

The software/editing software is user friendly and allows for an endless variety of "instruments" to be added to the playback. The video clips can be split easily - this is handy for turning the instrument overlay off if you don't want to show your speed for a particular section (I don't know if you could be prosecuted for speeding by uploading a video that shows time & speed onto YouTube - but I know the police are increasingly using such sites to catch the unwary, so wouldn't want to tempt fate. For some reason, the map section of the file does not show on the saved file version - this is a shame because, this is an especially neat feature. A google type map can be opened at the side of the video picture and this shows the route being followed along with position on that route - a great feature for identifying where you were.

   Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7114

Anyway enough of my waffle - have a look at the three videos and see what you think.
Incidentally, the longest clip is from a run down through Cheddar Gorge in Somerset (the home of the original cheddar cheese and a few wayward goats).







Having waited hours for the clips to upload onto You Tube - they are much grainier than expected. The original footage is very sharp and clear enough to read number plates, road signs and even the small print black sign on the back of the scrap man's van ("I work hard because people on benefits depend on me" LoL!).



Last edited by PaulLipscomb on Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : This forum is so great - it even teaches numpties like me how to use the internet properly! Hopefully the You Tube clips are viewable now)


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

88

88
Life time member
Life time member
Those video's are coming up "marked as private" and won't run Paul. Looking forward to seeing your results. I know what you mean about the upload being grainey. I'm getting a bit of that with you tube. YouTube prefers 30fps I read on one of their pages.

I experimented with a screen mounted position on an earlier cam. The higher you go the more shake you get. Tried the helmet mount. I'm going to try it on mine but with an opening face helmet I just have to figure out how!


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Ir-log1188....May contain nuts!Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Ir-log11

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine from 1600 years ago & still true!

Bike: K100LT 1988. 0172363. AKA the Bullion Brick! Mods: k1100 screen and stands.
K1: 1990. 6374189. Custom Stealth Black paint.
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
88KE wrote:Those video's are coming up "marked as private" and won't run Paul. Looking forward to seeing your results. I know what you mean about the upload being grainey. I'm getting a bit of that with you tube. YouTube prefers 30fps I read on one of their pages.

I experimented with a screen mounted position on an earlier cam. The higher you go the more shake you get. Tried the helmet mount. I'm going to try it on mine but with an opening face helmet I just have to figure out how!

Thanks Will - hopefully I have now made the clips public so they can actually be seen. All mine were filmed at 30fps (1080HD) which maybe is why they took so long to upload.

I think the shake thing will always be an issue on a bike - severe road surface judder transmits throughout the bike and rider, although the rider will act as something of a damper. I got a helmet mount with the camera, but have not used it (yet) as I am concerned that it will affect the helmet integrity and I haven't found a suitable place to mount it - on top is no good as it fouls the visor.


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Comberjohn

Comberjohn
Life time member
Life time member
Interesting project. Something would like to dabble with myself.
Do you think that you might be losing much picture quality by shooting through the screen? Old, grainy Perspex isn't a good medium plus it's possibly affecting the auto focus.


__________________________________________________
Life is not a rehearsal.
2010 VFR 1200F DCT 
2010 R1200GS(gone)
1986 K100 Silver(gone)
2012 K1600GT(gone)
1984 K100RT Madison Silver(gone)
1989 K100LT Stratus Grey(gone)
1984 K100 Red(gone)
http://www.johnsdrivingschool.co
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
@Comberjohn wrote:Interesting project. Something would like to dabble with myself.
Do you think that you might be losing much picture quality by shooting through the screen? Old, grainy Perspex isn't a good medium plus it's possibly affecting the auto focus.
Hi Comberjohn,

I like gadgets so it was only a matter of time before I succumbed. I justified the cost on the grounds that it was less than my compulsory insurance excess and could make the difference between proving a no fault claim and accepting a bump for bump claim (incurring payment of excess and loss of no claims discount etc.).

The picture quality on the You Tube video really does not do justice to the actual footage which was clear and sharp. Since I don't intend to be filling You Tube with footage, my playback will be on my laptop or TV where the picture quality is good.

The only problems I had with shooting through the screen was rain/spray (especially the annoying droplets that ran up the front of the screen, tipped over and dribbled down the inside of the screen to hang about in front of the camera lens) and the bright sunlight. A camera anywhere is always going to suffer from rain/spray, although locating in a higher wind affected area might help keep the lens clearer. The perspex screen kind of adds that through visor sense of realism to the footage! Sunlight, however, is going to bring out the worst in any perspex screen - as seen on the footage - scratches, marks and discolouration with ageing all will significantly affect the picture quality. Mounting the camera so that it doesn't peer through the screen will certainly give the best picture results - the question is where is the optimum place? The experiment continues! 

As for the auto focus - I think the camera is fixed focus (the quality of the lens is paramount for these applications), so effectively looks through the screen and whatever is on it. As usual, there is scant information on technical specs (who cares what it weighs without the battery! I'd rather know the focal length etc.). It looks like about 40mm to infinity. 

So far, I am very happy with the Garmin Virb Elite, but experimenting and dabbling is the name of the game to get the very best out of it.


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Comberjohn

Comberjohn
Life time member
Life time member
Hi Paul.
I recently bought a 500ml spray bottle of stuff from Asda in the car section. The idea is to spray a coat onto your car windscreen every now and again and the rain forms into droplets and blows away. Anyone remember Rainex?
I bought it for my helmet visor and it is very effective. Might help your screen on a wet day.


__________________________________________________
Life is not a rehearsal.
2010 VFR 1200F DCT 
2010 R1200GS(gone)
1986 K100 Silver(gone)
2012 K1600GT(gone)
1984 K100RT Madison Silver(gone)
1989 K100LT Stratus Grey(gone)
1984 K100 Red(gone)
http://www.johnsdrivingschool.co
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
@Comberjohn wrote:Hi Paul.
I recently bought a 500ml spray bottle of stuff from Asda in the car section. The idea is to spray a coat onto your car windscreen every now and again and the rain forms into droplets and blows away. Anyone remember Rainex?
I bought it for my helmet visor and it is very effective. Might help your screen on a wet day.
Comberjohn,

I had figured that a silicon spray would help prevent the water sticking to the screen and was looking for just such a product - my local Tesco didn't have anything suitable, so thanks for your tip off - I'll try my nearest Asda. What was the stuff called?

Another cunning idea I woke up with this morning was cutting a hole through the screen, but rather than leaving a gapping hole, I'd stick a standard 50mm camera filter into the gap (clear silicon sealant is probably the best "glue" as it remains flexible and is UV resistant). Camera UV filters are cheap, available and obviously have optical grade glass in them - I could even go posher and put a polarising filter in there instead and that might help cut out the sun/headlight glare too. 

I love a project that gets the old grey cells going!


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Comberjohn

Comberjohn
Life time member
Life time member
Hi Paul. Was just checking.
It's called 'Rain-X Weatherbeater' and it was about £4 for a 500ml spray bottle.
Don't see it on their website though.


__________________________________________________
Life is not a rehearsal.
2010 VFR 1200F DCT 
2010 R1200GS(gone)
1986 K100 Silver(gone)
2012 K1600GT(gone)
1984 K100RT Madison Silver(gone)
1989 K100LT Stratus Grey(gone)
1984 K100 Red(gone)
http://www.johnsdrivingschool.co
    

88

88
Life time member
Life time member
I'm impressed with that quality Paul, I like the speedo too. On the gorge clip (superb road btw!) did you have to preprogrammed your route to get that detail in bottom right? 

Your screen is steadier than mine by the looks of it.


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Ir-log1188....May contain nuts!Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Ir-log11

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine from 1600 years ago & still true!

Bike: K100LT 1988. 0172363. AKA the Bullion Brick! Mods: k1100 screen and stands.
K1: 1990. 6374189. Custom Stealth Black paint.
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
88KE wrote:I'm impressed with that quality Paul, I like the speedo too. On the gorge clip (superb road btw!) did you have to preprogrammed your route to get that detail in bottom right? 

Your screen is steadier than mine by the looks of it.
Hi 88KE,

Yeah, I reckon it is pretty good quality - I just wish that the uploaded clips would show just how clear it really is.

It was the speedo that really sold it to me - but it is really screwing up my riding now.....suddenly it has made me hyperconscious of speed limits! Around town, I guess that's not a bad thing. It also makes you very aware of gear changes and keeping them smooth!

The route bit is really clever, you don't tell it anything - it logs your GPS position continuously and then when you come play it back, it puts the section of the route in the display automatically. At a click of a icon, you can get the route displayed on a google map, which shows your position as you proceed along that route - fully zoomable terrain map, complete with road names, or even a google earth type satellite map view.

Cheddar Gorge is only about 25 minutes ride from me and is great for some twisting turns. It is best ridden before the cyclists appear or the hoards of tourists start crawling up the road. On a dry clear road it can be quite an exciting ride, but you have to be wary of goats or random rock falls that can surprise you half way through a tight corner.

I had a play with the camera again yesterday and definitely need to do something to avoid or improve the view through the screen - it is good enough, but could be much better. Nearly went for the helmet mount, but frankly it looks stupid with this great lump on top or even worse stuck out to one side.


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
@Comberjohn wrote:Hi Paul. Was just checking.
It's called 'Rain-X Weatherbeater' and it was about £4 for a 500ml spray bottle.
Don't see it on their website though.
CJ,

Thanks for that - I shall look out for it and give it a try.Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Icon_biggrin


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Comberjohn

Comberjohn
Life time member
Life time member
Was in our local Asda today (sad, I know) and they still have it in stock.


__________________________________________________
Life is not a rehearsal.
2010 VFR 1200F DCT 
2010 R1200GS(gone)
1986 K100 Silver(gone)
2012 K1600GT(gone)
1984 K100RT Madison Silver(gone)
1989 K100LT Stratus Grey(gone)
1984 K100 Red(gone)
http://www.johnsdrivingschool.co
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
Ok, so a few months have gone by since my initial post on the Garmin Virb Elite action camera.

In that time, I have repositioned the camera a couple of times:


  • Attached to screen (original location) - easily accessible, but does suffer from screen wobble and affected by screen clarity (I improved this by setting a sheet of clear welding helmet glass into the screen). Unobtrusive location.
  • Attached to RAM mount fixed to dashboard - similar results to when it was attached to the screen, but even more camera shake (which was surprising - I thought it would be more stable). Unobtrusive location.
  • Attached to RAM mount fixed to front of fairing, above headlight - not accessible while riding but not affected by screen clarity, however, huge amount of camera wobble - I guess this is down to the length of the RAM mount which, while dampening vibration, does exacerbate camera movement. Very obtrusive location.
  • Attached to RAM mount on fairing, under headlight - not accessible while riding and too little clearance between camera and front fender (mudguard), normal fork movement or hard breaking would cause contact between camera and fender.
  • Attached to standard Garmin mount on fairing, under headlight - not accessible while riding, but much greater clearance from fender (possibly would make contact under extreme breaking/fork compression). However, very stable picture and fairly unobtrusive. This is the option that I have continued to use (and was in use during the Irish Eccentric Northern Ireland gathering back in September.)


Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7411

Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7412

While the camera is IP rated as water proof to 1m submersion, I am fairly sceptical about such claims and, with it's exposed location on the bike, I decided to buy a dive housing to mount the camera in. These Garmin accessories are fairly cheap and attach to the standard Garmin mounts without making the set up too bulky. I leave the dive housing mounted on the bike and just open the front to remove the camera when I park up. Before riding I simply turn the camera on (on standby) and insert into the housing. 

The battery life gives about 3 hours of constant recording and I bought a spare battery to give me enough power for a decent day's riding. However, I also decided to bodge the dive housing to inset a micro USB lead into the rear of the housing. This took a little setting up, but once glued into position, restores the water tightness of the housing (obviously it would be no good for diving anymore with the USB cable hanging out the back!) and allows me to plug the camera into my USB power outlet on the bike (via 12V power socket on the dash). The USB cable is routed up through the fairing and either plugged in to the power socket or it is stowed away in the left hand glovebox. I had to remove the rubber cover (protects the USB ports) from the rear of the camera to allow it to fit in the housing and connect with the USB plug. On the first test ride in this configuration, I did have excessive noise caused by the slight vibration of the camera in the housing, but resolved this by  sticking a thin sheet of self adhesive rubber inside the housing which now makes the camera a snug fit. With the camera plugged into the USB power supply, I can ride all day without draining the camera battery - this has meant that I have had to upgrade the camera memory card (micro SD card) to a whopping 64Gbytes, which gives about 6 hours recording time.

Obviously, the down side of the current camera location is that it can't be reached while riding and is therefore has to be either on or off. This is far from ideal, however, Garmin do offer a remote control accessory which could easily be mounted within reach of the rider to allow wireless operation of the camera while riding. Alternatively, if you're feeling flush, then the Garmin Zumo 590LM bike GPS provides this remote control functionality over the camera - start/stop recording (with red "light" to show when recording) and the ability to take still photos. The GPS and camera talk to each other wirelessly once paired and this set up works very well for me.

Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_7410

As an additional gizmo, I also bought a temperature sensor which constantly sends temperature data to the camera. Unfortunately, this gizmo does not talk at all to my Zumo GPS (that was disappointing as I had hoped to both record temperature on the camera and have it displayed on the GPS) but I do get temperature data on the camera video output.

With the camera set up in this way, I initially ran it on USB power. However, I did find that after several trips the GPS and temperature data recorded was becoming intermittent. This was not good - the main attraction of the Virb Elite over other quality cameras, like the GoPro range, was the ability to record and display speed and location information. This problem got steadily worse, culminating in getting back from a 6 hour ride (225 miles) only to find that, while the picture was good throughout, I only had speed, location and temperature data for the last 5 miles! I would have suspected problems with receiving the GPS signal, but the lack of temperature data as well, suggested something else was the issue. 

I then discovered, when the camera was on the bike on USB power, that it appeared to record and function correctly, but when it was on its own battery it would no longer record properly. I found this out by using the camera in the car - during a 20 mile drive the camera kept starting and stopping recording and I ended up with 250 individual files (the camera saves the current recording every 25 minutes and again on stopping recording) all with zero content!

Eventually, I rang Garmin for advice and, after the usual IT type support "have you tried rebooting" (why do they always do that?) tried a couple of their suggestions but to no avail. While on the phone to Garmin, I had a sudden thought - try a different battery. The battery installed in the camera showed that it was fully charged, but as soon as I replaced it with another battery, all the problems went away and the camera immediately began working properly, including uploading GPS and temperature data. Obviously, this all pointed to a battery problem and I noted that the suspect battery was very slightly swollen which probably indicates that it has failed in some way (over charged?). 

As an experiment, I then removed the battery completely and installed the camera in the housing taking power via the USB supply. To my surprise I was able to operate the camera and record video and was beginning to think about using the camera without it's battery at all. However, it dawned on me that any interruption to the power supply, without the battery back up, would cause instantaneous camera shut down and any unsaved footage would be lost - this would be particularly annoying in the event of an accident....with the event and the moments leading up to the event probably being lost. I also discovered that, without the camera battery installed, the GPS and temperature data did not upload. This almost certainly was the reason why I was having issues recording GPS and temperature information - I guess the slight swelling of the battery was enough to cause an open circuit in the battery cell or the distortion affected the electrical contacts in some way. Clearly the GPS and other data functions need the internal battery to be able to work and do not function on external power alone - very odd!

I think the problem comes down to constant/overcharging of the battery via the USB port when installed in my non-standard set up. My short term solution is to run the camera on it's own battery for my daily commute rides and leave the USB power supply disconnected. I have enough battery power for the 2.5 hour round trip. For longer rides, I will probably run for a couple of hours on battery power before plugging in the USB power supply. I need to work out how long it takes to charge the battery again....so I can unplug the USB power supply again to prevent over charging and damaging another battery. 

Anyway, if all that hasn't put you off....and the reason I was spurred into writing this update, I noted on Amazon.uk today that the price for the Garmin Virb Elite (it has to be the "elite" version to have the GPS function) is down to £199.99 (normal price £349.99). The dive housing is also reduced £22.19 rather than the usual price of £34.99.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garmin-Elite-Action-Camera-Wi-Fi/dp/B00EQ36ZY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416826242&sr=8-1&keywords=garmin+virb+elite

Using the Virb editing software, video clips can be merged and edited to create a video - clips can be trimmed, joined, sped up, slowed down, data overlays included (like speed, time, date, temperature, elevation, acceleration etc.) and then the finished product exported as a MP4 file or shared direct to Youtube. For some reason, the Youtube export converts the file to 25fps (from 30fps original) and it takes a very long time to upload even a short clip at 1080 resolution. 



As mentioned previously, you can also take still pictures directly with the camera (using the remote control) or at a later date using the virb edit software. This means you can focus on riding and enjoying the day out, leaving the camera to do it's thing and then, at a later date, enjoy it all over again if you wish.

Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Portaf11

Mostly, I use my camera as a crash cam - recording my daily commute to and from work. You never know when that footage just might become valuable. If the ride is uneventful, then I don't even bother downloading the clips to my computer - I just use the camera to delete the footage and I'm ready to go again. Long may the ride continue to be uneventful!!

So, if you hanker after an action camera for your bike...and with Christmas coming....perhaps this is too good an offer to miss. I don't know how long the price drop will last for or what the shipping charges are like outside the UK though!!


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Comberjohn

Comberjohn
Life time member
Life time member
Have you tried a suction mount or helmet mount, Paul?
I've tried both with my gopro hero 3+ black with reasonable results.
Been struggling with editing more but getting the hang of using the gopro Studio software. Gotta do something on the dark nights.
If using a suction mount, go for a small diameter sucker or else the surface needs to very flat. Smaller diameter will work better on a curved surface.
Can stick to lots of areas on the fairing or even the pannier lids if they're painted.
I always use a security cord though. I use the nylon cord that you can buy for about a pound for keeping your glasses around your neck.
Have you looked at Vimeo as an alternative to you tube?
I find it easier to use and better quality, but there is a cost.
Have a look at this link if you haven't seen it already.
https://vimeo.com/111782906?utm_source=email&utm_medium=clip-transcode_complete-finished-20120100&utm_campaign=7701&email_id=Y2xpcF90cmFuc2NvZGVkfGYwNmJiNTI2ZTYyMzA1OTNmMzAxM2ZmMzM4YWI3MjAyNDIyfDM0NDA3NzY5fDE0MTU5MTQ2MTl8NzcwMQ%3D%3D
I was using the helmet mount and this road was seriously bumpy but the camera was well isolated by my supple, young body!
Starting to favour the helmet mount more.
Advantages are that the camera is isolated from much of the vibration and bumps on the road by your body.
Another advantage is that it tapes where you are looking. 
It's probably better mounted for using it for commuting.
As a driving instructor, I just don't trust anybody anyway!!
Did think of using it in the car for lessons, but couldn't be bothered fiddling about with it. Just scanning all the time.
Did make it tax deductible, though, as I bought it for lessons of course.Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 652573
The gopro comes with a waterproof box with swappable back doors.
Supposed to be waterproof to 197 feet. Ho ho ho.
The other back door is called a skeleton door and is used to pick up the exhaust note up to 100mph. Above that, you use the solid door.Twisted Evil
And of course, if it's raining.
Hoping to get a lot more use out of it next year. I've bought myself a
Canon eos dSLR on eBay and going to try to improve on those skills while doing the Irish Photo Rally next year. Starts next February again. 
Not big money, so if I don't like it, I think I can get most of my money back again.


__________________________________________________
Life is not a rehearsal.
2010 VFR 1200F DCT 
2010 R1200GS(gone)
1986 K100 Silver(gone)
2012 K1600GT(gone)
1984 K100RT Madison Silver(gone)
1989 K100LT Stratus Grey(gone)
1984 K100 Red(gone)
http://www.johnsdrivingschool.co
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
Hi Comberjohn,

Thanks for your comments. I do really like the GoPro Hero range, but I wanted the GPS function offered by the Garmin Virb Elite. The normal price of the two cameras is pretty much the same - although the Garmin is substantially reduced right now (in fact it is down to £189.99 now which is £10 cheaper than it was on Monday (2 days ago)!! I'm almost tempted to get a second Virb Elite at that price.

I haven't tried a helmet mount yet. I have self adhesive mounts (both flat and curved base profile), but have not plucked up courage to go and stick it on my helmet - the mounts are pretty permanent once stuck in place (at worst, if I didn't like the camera on the helmet, I guess I'd just have the base mount left there for posterity).  Maybe if I did buy a second camera, I could have the best of both worlds - one bike mount and one helmet?!

There are definite pros and cons to a helmet mount:

Pros - as you point out, your body takes most of the vibration away from the camera and you get to tape where you're looking. There were several times (especially during my Irish excursions) where the winning view is off to one side but my camera mounted on the fairing missed it, as it was looking ahead only. The other minor issue I had was associated with the relative low level of the camera - it doesn't take much of a roadside wall or hedgerow to completely hide the view to the sides, so that the camera footage looks very different from the the view that you see while riding (with a much higher eye level). An additional pro, as shown in your Conor pass footage, you get a real bike ride feel to the video - because the front of the bike features in the video. Having the bike dashboard included in the video is also quite useful in the crash-cam role - it could provide valuable proof if you were indicating or not (e.g. if someone pulls out of a side road and causes an accident and then claim that they pulled out because you were indicating that you were turning off).

Cons - most footage will include the front of the bike which might not be wanted in all your pictures. There is a danger of spoiling the footage by excessive head wobble or too much looking around (ending up with a video resembling a scene from "Cloverfield" (without the monster, hopefully)). A camera mounted on the helmet is not very discrete and can look dorky! I am also slightly concerned about a possible degradation to the protection afforded by the crash helmet by having a big spigot on the side or top which could focus any impact force over a much smaller area.

On balance, I think I might give the helmet mount a go though....

As for suction mount - I have a suction mount for use in the car which works well on a windscreen, but as you say, to be effective for mounting on a fairing or other curved surface, the suction pad is much too large to achieve a decent seal. I did have a smaller suction pad which I used to use to mount my GPS on the bike screen - mostly it was quite successful, but there were several occasions when it detached - while the device was tethered to the bike to prevent loss, it is more than a little distracting having it bouncing around until you are able to find a safe place to pull over.

I haven't tried Vimeo - but being able to upload footage and keep the same fps would be a definite advantage to final video quality (the degradation of quality is one thing I certainly do not like about YouTube). Which option do you use (i.e. Basic, Vimeo pro etc.)? I guess much comes down to the amount of footage you want to upload - but the basic (free) package only allows 500MBytes upload (per week?) which is not much when you consider the size of even a relatively short duration video.
I would be very interested to know what sort of time it takes to upload your footage to Vimeo - the 2 min 30sec video clip I uploaded in my recent post (Portaferry Road) took over an hour to upload, other bigger uploads have taken several hours. I know a lot will come down to broadband connection speed (mine is about 16Mb/s download and 1Mb/s upload).

Waterproofness-wise, the Garmin Virb Elite can never match the rating of the GoPro in it's housing! The IPX7 rating claims the Virb Elite, with rear rubber cover in place, is good for 30 minutes at 1m submersion. Inside it's (non-bodged) dive housing it is allegedly good down to 50m. Sadly, I don't scuba dive any more (enjoyed that for about 25 years), so I'm unlikely to test this claim...and certainly would not while riding my trusty K. If I ride though any puddles that are that deep, I reckon I have bigger problems to worry about than filming my adventures!

I also have a Canon EOS DSLR....excellent for very high resolution off-bike photographs but quite bulky to carry around (but does fit neatly in the left or right glove boxes on the K100 though).


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Avenger GT

Avenger GT
Life time member
Life time member
I would be very reluctant to mount a camera on my helmet. Consider falling on the camera in a crash. You are looking at a concentrated point of impact, which the helmet is not designed to take.

    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
@Avenger GT wrote:I would be very reluctant to mount a camera on my helmet. Consider falling on the camera in a crash. You are looking at a concentrated point of impact, which the helmet is not designed to take.
That is precisely my worry Avenger....and why I keep talking myself out of trying the helmet mount.


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

Comberjohn

Comberjohn
Life time member
Life time member
I was a bit worried about whether the camera mount tab would stay on the helmet at the start.
Trust me, it isn't going anywhere. It would be hard to remove.
Regarding the integrity of the helmet, I think we're back to the old 'texting near water' syndrome.
Providing you don't put it on the top of your helmet like a dork, I think the likelihood of injury is minimal. The 'dork' position is way too high in my opinion. Makes me feel ill watching one.
The mount tab on mine is just below ear level and in the event of an accident, my shoulder would be well whacked before my helmet.
If the camera is on the helmet, and we are talking about maybe less than 5% of the time, the plastic bracketry has snapped long before any potential injury. 
Unless the mounting on the Garmin is MASSIVE. The go pro one is less than the size of a 50p piece, curved and about 3mm thick 
Lighten up, guys. Motorcycling is dangerous enough without looking for insignificant risks.
I'm sure that we have Schumacher in mind, but he was wearing a ski helmet which would be a lot lighter than a bike helmet. Some sources are saying that it wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't been wearing the camera as he hit so hard. Have to make up your own mind.
As I said, Paul, for commuting I think your mount is ideal. I'm thinking more of that run out and you want to capture some footage for those winter evenings.
Being able to see the dash info could bite you on the bum if you were being, ahem, naughty just before a crash. Some things are best kept to yourself.
Agree about moving the head. On the Conor Pass video I spotted a guy on a red K100RT and nodded just as I passed him. Missed him! Have learned that it would be better to wave and look at him.
A matter of changing your thinking a bit.

I tried a larger suction pad thinking it would stick better. Think the K16 must be more curvy than the RT/LT fairing. Wouldn't stick anywhere. Smaller pad, no problem.

I'm paying for the Vimeo. Find it so much better than you tube.
I uploaded the Conor Pass video (13 minutes) in about 30 minutes and a bit longer to process it. The paid option is quicker to upload.
I think the go pro Studio software did compress it as well though.
I have fibre optic broadband but think it only helps download speed. Don't think the upload rate is much different to yours.

That's one thing I miss with the K16. Those glove pockets. Could fit plenty into them including my camera. The K16 has a couple of locking compartments at your feet but you can't get much into them.
If I'm going out for the day and don't want bother with the panniers, I use a tail pack for waterproofs, cameras, etc.


__________________________________________________
Life is not a rehearsal.
2010 VFR 1200F DCT 
2010 R1200GS(gone)
1986 K100 Silver(gone)
2012 K1600GT(gone)
1984 K100RT Madison Silver(gone)
1989 K100LT Stratus Grey(gone)
1984 K100 Red(gone)
http://www.johnsdrivingschool.co
    

Crazy Frog

Crazy Frog
admin
admin
Thanks for this very thorough review. Now I feel like to put the camera on my Santa's wish list.
 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Santa-10


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Frog15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Logo2101986 k75, 1985 K100rt, 1985 K100rt/EML sidecar.
    

Born Again Eccentric

Born Again Eccentric
Life time member
Life time member
Comberjohn,

An interesting dilema! I agree a side mount is preferable to the dork look (safety wise and aesthetically) and avoids interference with the visor. I hear what you say about whacking your shoulder long before the helmet and the likelihood that the camera mount would break before transmitting any serious force to the skull. Every accident is different and the additional risk posed by a camera mount is probably minimal, however, for the record, in my crash last November....

Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Img_6810

....the side of the helmet, at lug-hole level, was exactly where I whacked my head on the road after landing on my right shoulder and busting my collarbone!! In this case, the helmet did it's job and I didn't even know I'd bashed my head at all until I saw the helmet damage. That was with an old kevlar composite helmet - my current helmet has a polycarb moulded shell and would be far less forgiving (I couldn't stretch to getting another kevlar helmet as a replacement).

The Garmin base mount is about the same size as the GoPro mount - and has a flat or curved option with a powerful 3M adhesive pad. Once fixed - it will never come off.

I was amused by your "nodded and missed him" anecdote. Some things we just learn the hard way, but that's all part of the fun and the reason why we have to get out and ride more! Practice makes perfect grand days out. Very Happy

I think I'll give the Vimeo site a try. If I upload the same video to Vimeo as I just uploaded on Youtube - I'll see if I can spot the difference in upload time & picture quality. Watch this space...there might be a comparison test coming to this forum some time soon.


__________________________________________________
Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Uk-log10 Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Sco-lo15Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera Eu-log10
                              Paul  Garmin Virb Elite - Point Of View Action Camera 905546712

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donor" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

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