A short weekend at home testing action cams…in the rain.

Ahh yes, with October behind us the last tattered threads of summer weather are most definitely gone.  Welcome the rain. And the cold. And the wind. All at once. Nonstop.

The other problem is lack of sunlight.  Not because I don’t enjoy the dark, but rather because it significantly cuts down on the amount of time I can do product review shots – especially on weekdays by time I finish up work stuff it’s generally dark.

So my weekends end up being a bit of a game of catch-up.  A space the size of the kitchen-table was covered in an orderly pile of boxes to get unboxed for upcoming/eventual/hopeful reviews.  Each section subdivided into device type to allow for establishing the same flow of unboxing and then comparison shots for the units.  This was one section’s worth moved from the floor to the unboxing shelf for photos earlier in the week.


Of course, you can’t do a product review from inside – outside time is required.  Add to that the whole training for a marathon thing, and I find myself outside running just shy of 20 miles on Saturday.

I wasn’t exactly feeling awesome by the time I started my run. I delayed a bit hoping I’d feel a bit better.  Not sick per se, just sluggish. I think I got too much sleep (seriously).  I took off across town for a large park area (Longchamp).  My thinking being that I’d go get lost in there for a while – away from the temptation of turning back towards home sooner or simply jumping on the Metro (subway).

Along the way they were shooting a movie on Le Berges:


Beyond that, the water’s been running pretty high as well. I suspect if the tourist boats haven’t stopped already, they’ll have to for a few days here shortly.  It seems to happen in the fall and spring when the rains increase and the water rises.


I ran past Roland Garros, home to the French Open.  There’s actually a bit of a pedestrian cut-through open most days as well, so you can run through the tennis courts. The same tennis courts we saw a slew of superstars playing on back in June.



From there it was into the park.  On the weekends the vast majority of the roads are closed off to traffic, so it just becomes a nice quiet giant running playground.  Given it was generally sucky with a side of sucky out, I was pretty much by myself the vast majority of the time:



And of course, this being France – it’s also a bit of a horse playground as well:


I ended up wandering around sections of the park I hadn’t seen before, slugging through muddy paths and the occasional in-accurate depth of a puddle.



I was testing only two watches this time. I was trying out the Garmin FR620 live tracking pieces after the app was released on Thursday.  The results of that will be added into the previous FR620/FR220 reviews.  In both cases, I had e-mailed my Coach the link, and he was tracking along from home – thousands of miles away.

photo 1

And then I was also continuing my testing of the Adidas miCoach GPS running watch:


My pace was a bit slower, and my heart-rates a bit lower.  But that’s OK, it was mostly focused on getting the miles in on the legs for my last legit long-run before the marathon in two weeks.  I’d finish up back near Roland Garros and jump into the subway station there for the (cold) 20-minute train-ride home.


After getting home and hanging out in the nice warm shower for about 3 hours, I tackled a bit more on the unboxing front before I lost all natural light for the day.  As part of that I spent a bit of time trying to get my bike all setup to do some action cam tests across a multitude of action cams.  Four, to be precise.  I tried fitting five on there, but the mounts I had handy weren’t enough to make it work.


I had these K-Edge mounts sitting on my desk since Interbike, and finally got around to using them.  As I Tweeted out on Saturday, I’ve always sorta been of the opinion that they’re overpriced (because they are).  However, I will say that they’re without question the most sturdy mount I’ve ever seen.  Beast-like.  It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain until you see it on a bike compared to a regular GoPro mount.  No fluctuation, just like someone molded a steel beam to your bike.


This worked extremely well for the Sony Cam, because the mount was technically designed for it using the tripod attachment mount.  Unfortunately, I only had one on-hand.  I tried to order a second in time from Amazon.fr, but as usual, Amazon.fr never actually delivers products when they say they will.

The weak-spot here in my arrangement however was that I only had some many little parts to work with (specifically, tripod attachment style mounts), and so the additional Virb components to make this Tetris game work introduced a bit of unnecessary wobble on the front camera.


At any rate, I did two rides. One night ride on Friday night just trying to figure everything out with a few cameras and views.


And then one ride again early Sunday morning prior to my flight.  I was sitting there waiting like a kid on Christmas morning for the sun to rise.


The Virb’s are controlled by an Edge 810 that I’ve set to automatically start all the Virb cameras (front and back) instantly when I start recording on my Edge.  And to pause when I pause.  It’s really damn slick (and, not quite yet released).


After I download the data to the Virb software it’ll add in my various ANT+ pieces automatically from my Edge (or any Garmin device):


The only challenge with the multi-cam scenario and Virb Edit is that I can’t easily swap between multiple cameras in edit mode.  It’s a nightmare of trying to lineup all the camera views.


In addition to the Virb & Virb Elite, I also had the latest JVC and Sony Action Cams, as well as the $99 Pyle HD Action Cam that just came out.

Upon returning home from the above ride I rushed to clean up and get out the door, arriving a cool 45 minutes before my flight to London for my connection.  It was a rare beautiful sunny day in London:


Then, onwards to Mexico City, where I sit now on a Boeing 747-400 at 30,000ft (rather low, but we’ll continue to climb as we burn off fuel) with just over 10 hours remaining on my 11hr and 25min flight.

With that, thanks for reading!  Have a great week ahead all!

Oh, wait. I have a picture I took that clearly needs to be shared. It was just a quick collection of goods from grocery store for Saturday night. Total cost: About $12.  Gotta love cheap meats and cheeses here!


Ok, now you can have a great week!


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  1. Chris G

    Great post – love the ‘sucky with a side of sucky’, been getting that a lot round here (UK). One thing, $120 for a bit of meat and cheese seems a bit steep!

  2. Mikael Klingbjer


    Will it be possible to control the Virb Elite using the new Edge Touring?

  3. Jordan Trump

    I REALLY can’t wait to see more of the Virb/Virb Elite! It seems like nobody has done a thorough review yet! Any idea if the 910XT will ever have the ability to interact with the camera? I imagine the bike units are higher priority, but you’d think an expensive multisport watch would see some love!

    • I wouldn’t expect to see it in the FR910XT. I would expect though that we’ll see it whenever a new version of the 910XT gets released (i.e. next year).

      It has been added though to a surprising number of devices, mostly on the Outdoor/Hiking handheld side. I was looking at the list yesterday. Interesting stuff.

  4. Mark

    “Eek! Fixed! That’d be some special meat!”

    That’s what she said!

  5. Emil

    Will it be possible to control Virb Elite with Edge 510?

  6. Ben

    Do you know if the VIRB Elite has the capability to capture power data? I’m guessing that the photo you posted was using data pulled from the Edge unit and imported into the VIRB Edit tool. I really like that autostart/autopause feature with the Edge unit, do you know if they’ll be bringing that to the Edge 800?

    • It doesn’t natively. As you guessed, you have to blend it.

      Honestly, that piece irks me a bit. The reason is that it’d be relatively trivial for them to add it, and countless YouTube videos shows people want/include power data today using various 3rd party tools.

      While the Virb Edit tool blends well for a single ride, the theory falls apart a bit where I want to record various ride segments (i.e. minutes 10-15, 30-35, etc…). In that case it quickly becomes a mess to deal with. I wish they’d just record the power data like the HR and SPD/CAD data. I do get that it’s a bit harder because you have to deal with calibration – but just take the same stance that Timex did and say calibration is out of band (done by another head unit). Problem solved.

  7. Jan

    Hi Ray, how did you get remote to your Edge 810? I tried Edge 800, 510 both did not work… thanx Jan

    • They sent me over a beta firmware (more like RC). It should be released shortly. The Virb Elite’s hit this past week, and you’ll see everything come together like the FR220/FR620 where things took a few days until it was all available online.

    • heatwave23

      Can you point me to the instructions that you used to add the power data with Virb edit?

    • I just bumbled through the app. But in short:

      1) Import your video like normal.
      2) Add your Garmin file from your ride with the power data.
      3) It’ll merge the two, and then power will show up.

      The unit doesn’t capture the power data natively, so you still have to have the Garmin sport device file.

  8. yevgenis

    Hi ray ,what about a new polar?You get it?

    • The Polar Loop? Yup, check out the Polar section. I’ll have an in-depth review of it up perhaps late this week, Monday at the worst (just trying to get the battery to die so I can figure out how long it really goes).

    • yevgenis

      Not a Loop
      I received information on the new watch which is due out in January
      Do you know something about?:)

    • heatwave23

      Thanks! just noticed the replace gps button and it worked like you said… I guess I just had it in my mind that the elite would sync everything automatically. With that said do you have any news since you posted this on whether or not the Virb will detect Vector/other power meter just like it currently does a HR monitor?

    • No, I’ve been pushing for them to just connect to (ANT+ PM’s). Nothing fancy, no calibration or the like – let your head unit do that for you. Just read the data stream (similar to what Timex does for example). I’d have to imagine the overlap between potential Virb users is far greater with power meter users than Tempe users….

  9. Drew W.

    Great post. I always wonder how you find time to do everything you do. I have a hard enough time with work, 2 kids, and just getting out to run!

  10. Ramsey

    Love the information. Good work.

  11. Todd

    Forgive me, but what is the point of an action cam?

    Is it just first person perspective photo/video, or does it somehow integrate with the other data being collected?

    • In the case of the VIRB, it actually integrates. You can see in the screenshot the data automatically being tied together (the VIRB Elite does some of the collection, otherwise the app does the blend post-video).

      Action Cam’s have become a multi-billion dollar business, mostly led by GoPro (in fact, there was a great 60-minutes piece on them last night, but I haven’t finished watching it yet). You can be first person, 3rd person, multi-cam, etc…

  12. Your running route is very similar to my old commute into work in Puteaux by bike.

    I look forward to your actioncam review. I’ve just bought the Sony after having a Chinese action cam (did you check out the Mobius?) but am still working on the bike mount options.

    • I haven’t checked out Mobius. I’ll poke around. The $99 Pyle is interesting, but definitely feels increda-cheap. Like, I was afraid I’d break it during the unboxing cheap.

      I like the Sony in some areas. The bike mount they have is actually really well thought-out (Sony one). The K-Edge forward bike mount for it is great too, since it has a little notch custom-designed for the Sony unit to keep it locked in place. I don’t like the fact that it simply doesn’t work underwater. It can’t focus on objects correctly. For example, while in Greece underwater all the shots came out fuzzy (and there was no condensation on case). Above water, perfectly fine. Close UW, fine. But distant underwater (i.e. more than 2-3 meters), fuzzy. :(

    • hollyoak

      Hopefully you’ll get notified of my follow-up comment/question here ;-) I’ve been wanting to document my runs/races with an action cam and had first looked at the Mobius but it doesn’t seem like it would be too easy to use while running (might still get it for the bike/car). The Sony (AS15 or AS30) on the other hand seems like it could be easily handheld with just the lens sticking out. The optical stabilization (120 angle only but not bad anyway) possibly helping quite a bit. Did you try that? It doesn’t have a photo burst mode though.

      I see they have a headband mount but I doubt that would work too well for running as it could get heavy and wobbly in any case.

    • Yeah, it’s tough (running). I’m going to poke around a bit at options there.

      Personally, I’ve found running with VIRB one of the best overall solutions. The only messiness with running with the Sony cam is that the button is directly on the back of the unit. So it’s an awkward finger/hand movement to hit the button for a photo.

    • hollyoak

      That would be great since you have access to all these little gadgets ;-) I’ll have to take another look at your Virb running video again.

      AFAIK the Sony AS15/AS30 is the only one with stabilization, digital not optical though, but it seems to do a decent job on the vids I’ve seen. The AS30 looks interesting with its built-in GPS to make sure there are no synch issues (that you could have using an external GPS track). Their “PlayMemories” software doesn’t look great though but I think you mentioned that Kinomap handled the AS30 directly.

    • hollyoak

      So I ran the Houilles 10k with the Sony AS30 in my right hand last week, recording everything as it is indeed impossible to operate the shutter button while running. It’s pretty “interesting” but as you said for one of your Virb videos running with the harness, it’s hard for a sane person to watch for very long ;-)

      At some times I remembered I had it in my right hand so I tried to keep it steady and the results were pretty good. The final km is pretty crazy though as you’d expect ;-) Still it brings back memories of the race that would otherwise be lost to the “stress” of the moment. I’ll try to get a hold of a Virb for the 10k in Vincennes in early Frebruary. The top button will come in handy for the occasion pic. Although I suppose it’s just a “video screenshot” that you can do while reviewing the video anyway.

    • Which 10K in February? Got a link?

    • hollyoak

      There you go : link to sportpassionorganisation.com – they have an “elite” 10k for sub 50 runners so that should thin out the crowd somewhat…will try to improve on my best time over there as I’m told it’s quite a fast race!

  13. Oh my, for the price of the K-edge mount, I’d just get a RAM mount instead! Though the K-edge is most certainly going to be lighter…. link to rammount.com

  14. Richard C.

    Hi Ray,

    Like an previous poster, I am amazed that you can work, travel, exercise AND maintain such an incredibly detailed and helpful blog. One post that I would be interested in would be a “typical” week in the life of DC Rainmaker.


  15. Victor Hugo

    Call me ignorant, but is the Virb/Virb Elite be able to work from a mobile phone app?

  16. Aali Alikoski

    Is the Pyle HD any good compared to GoPro or Sony? I.e. what do I miss if I get Pyle instead of GoPro?

    • It’s mixed. I only shot certain sections with the Pyle – all while moving. The video clearly isn’t as crisp at the same settings (there aren’t many settings at all btw, only a single screen worth). It might work well in situations where you want to cheaply station a ‘throw-away’ camera somewhere. But based on what I’m seeing thus far, for fast moving action it’s not so awesome.

      (RE: Pyle)

  17. Drew

    image #21 is pretty sweet with metrics. Thanks as usual!

  18. Ray

    Review the lunch food too next time.

  19. Bikesharer

    Oh no!!! Your blog is lovely in almost every way. Please don’t get any deeper into the tilt-shift filters.

  20. Fred

    I would be interested in a review of the Drift HD Ghost if you have a chance.
    link to canada.store.driftinnovation.com

    • Yeah, I’ve seen their stuff before. My only concern is that looking at the market landscape a bit, they’re kinda coming up short feature-wise when you look at stuff like GPS for example, compared to other units at that same price point (Sony, JVC, VIRB). But, I may poke at them down the road.

  21. DC:

    A simplistic question so please forgive me.. I am mostly a runner so if using the VIRB with a head strap mount and using the new Garmin 620 if the 620 is collecting data from the premium HRM can the virb connect to the same HRM?

    • Yes, ANT+ allows you to connect more than one device to the sensors without issue. In this case, the Virb was connected to my HRM-Run strap, along with the Edge 810, and, I had a Fenix in the mix too.

  22. Jan

    Hi Ray, could you get some recommendation for mounts you have for Garmin Virb? Thanx for info fo Edge 510 and its compatibility…

    • I’m still working through that a bit to be honest. The default Virb mounts are actually better than I expected. Though, there are things I’m not as big of a fan on with them around tightening (for example, you can’t use a screwdriver like the GoPro mounts). I used the K-Edge mount’s both forward and aft the second day, and that worked well, but I need to get rid of the extra mount pieces in there (I just didn’t have quite the right components to make the forward one work as well there).

  23. champ

    Hi Rey,

    Great post so far. I can’t wait for some in depth review. That “Garmin Vibe” water mark on the video, is that on by default or did you put that on? Can that be removed?


    • As long as you have video from the Virb, then it won’t show. I had video, but I had copied/pasted, which meant that it showed. Which may just be a temporary thing – I’ve gotta poke at it some more.

  24. richard

    if you have an 810, is it worth the extra to get the elite?

    • It depends. It in theory gives you more data without the requirement of the Edge, but, as you imply, there’s a bit of overlap if you already have the Edge. I haven’t quite decided there yet to be honest…

    • Steve

      Using the Elite, the GPS and ANT+ data recorded by Elite to GPX file should be synced up automatically with the video in VIRB Edit.

      If using your edge 510 / 810, there is far more data available, but you would have to add that data feed manually in VIRB Edit and I guess sync it up yourself – don’t know if the auto start / stop / remote functionality would keep it all in line?

    • Steve

      Just did a quick test with Edge 510 and Virb Remote (in 2.80 update).

      Selecting auto timer, will indeed start / stop camera when starting / stopping an activity on the Edge which is good … but I have auto pause configured on my Edge (helps me keep my average speed up when stopped at lights and eating mars bars :-) ) , when auto pause kicks in on the Edge the camera keeps recording. So don’t think they are going to work well together with Edge auto pause because going to be difficult to sync up any GPX track later.

      So I am thinking manual / start stop on Edge with the VIRB remote set to timer is way to go if you want to have VIRB and Edge files you can combine later.

      The other is to keep them separate, use the Edge for training as normal. And just manually record the Videos on the Edge Elite and use data recorded on Elite for videos.

      There are so many combinations – going to be a lot of trial and error me thinks, and I have not looked at the auto pause on the VIRB Elite yet – which will also auto stop / stop video with movement – maybe in the future the auto / stop start of both devices could sync up, or is that just crazy talk??

    • Yes, the start at the same time option on the Edge is great – but it’s only great if you plan to basically record (video) the entire ride. For me, I’d like to be able to use the Edge record functionality to record piece of the ride (which, I can do today). But what I can’t then do is easily piece back together the other Edge data (i.e. power) from the whole ride. I have to then play the timeline lineup game.

      That’s why I really want the Virb Elite to simply consume that ANT+ data – as it would instantly make this scenario simple: Video + GPS + PWR + CAD + SPD + HR = Donezo, no extra Edge files needed (just use Edge for control).

  25. Frank

    Hey Ray, Have been following your reviews and enjoy them very much. Any idea if the Garmin Virb will (with it’s GPS capability) connect to the Wahoo Kcker and automatically change resistence while watching the video you recorded on TV? I think that would be an amazing break through in this realm!

    • Frank,

      I think you need to use an outside app to accomplish this. I know Kinomap supports this and is creating special virb integration.


    • Correct, nothing out of the box today. I’d expect we may see integration on the Edge from down the line once the ANT+ trainer profile is finalized.

      Kinomap and/or Virtual Trainer is your best bet here.

  26. Matt

    Hopefully the tests will Include reading license plates at a distance day and nighttime (yes I did back the Rideye kickstarter).

    These are all quite big cams. Some small ones I’ve seen are the tachyon and the Braun (which has a nifty usp, I takes Nokia cellphone batteries)

    Might be worth looking at these smaller form factors.

  27. PaulB

    The Virb looks huge and large enough to have a GPS in it. If the Virb gets down to the size of a Contour, Evo Pro or GoPro then maybe I could mount it to something.

    • PaulB

      OK, I was looking on sites and the Virb looks smaller than the Virb Elite and has a GPS. I would still need a helmet mount for mountain biking. A bar mount would be a jittery mess.

    • Ben

      On garmin’s site (link to buy.garmin.com and link to buy.garmin.com), on the specs tab they list the size of both as such: “Unit size (HxWxD): 32 mm x 53 mm x 111 mm” They don’t appear to be different in size at all.

      My Virb Elite showed up yesterday and I’m still tinkering with it. I have a MTB ride or two this weekend so I’ll be able to get a bit of testing then, but I’m still not sure how to best mount it. The k-edge handlebar GoPro mount I currently have is nice (and decent for road) but it’s definitely going to shake too much. In the past I’ve used the GoPro chest mount, but Garmin’s equivalent is a harness that places the camera on the shoulder which is unlikely to work well with a hydration pack. I’m going to try to get the Virb on the GoPro chest mount, but I’m not sure if the extra weight and the longer dimensions will work well, but I guess we’ll just have to see!

    • Correct, they’re the same size units.

  28. Roman

    i admire you and your time management and for sure your blog! every morning during my breakfast i enjoy one of your reviews, or if there is nothing new i hang around at your week in review!
    fantastic research and a great know how – i am sure, that in the future one of the big sport tech companys would hire you ;-)
    go ahead and thanks for all your time and work!

  29. cc

    I appreciate if you or someone on the post can provide some clarification.
    1. Is the standard Virb has the auto pause / auto start function?
    2. Can the Edge 800 control the standard Virb functions?
    3. Can you turn-off the GPS function on the Virb Elite?
    Thank you in advance

    • 1) Yes, via the Edge 510 or 810.
      2) No, only the Edge 510/810, there are no plans for Edge 800.
      3) Yes, you can set it to “On”, “When Recording”, and “Off”.

    • cc

      Thank you Ray for your prompt response.
      I have the Edge 800. It seems the way it is set-up now, in other to get the most of the Virb functions, Garmin is focusing on the Virb paring with Edge 810 and 510. I wish Garmin focus on the Edge 800 as well. Both the Edge 800 and 810 have similar functions. I did not get the Edge 810 because I am not interested on the ‘live tracking’ application and it was $50 less.
      However, I am interested to be able to control the Virb with my Edge 800. I think is a simple solution for Garmin to provide software update for Edge 800.

    • It’s sorta interesting. On their Outdoor/Handheld unit side they actually went a fair ways back in supporting older units. However, from what I’m hearing on the cycling side, it’s less likely (read: not likely) that they’ll support the Edge 500/800.

      I’m personally surprised they aren’t going to update the new FR220/FR620 – since I’d have to believe there’s more overlap there than a number of the hiking-type units they’ve added support to.

  30. FYI/FWIW: Garmin released an update for the Edge 800 (yes, the 800) adding in VIRB support. Very nice to see a change of heart there. link to www8.garmin.com

    • cc

      Thank you for the update. I am glad that Garmin had a change of heart. The Edge 800 is fairly recent product and very similar to Edge 810. I hope Garmin continues supporting it with the latest applications and updates.

  31. Dan

    Hello DCRainmaker, love your site and always check it out when I am on the market for new gadgets! Question for you, I just snagged up the VIRB elite and was having issues pairing to the garmin speed/cadence sensor (GSC-10) to the VIRB. Low and behold when I called them up I found out that there is indeed a problem connecting the two together. The Garmin engineers are in the process of figuring it out and will release a new firmware. I was just curious if you got the two to work together, or are you using a different cadence than the Garmin one?

    • I’m using different ANT+ one (Bontrager), however, they all work the same from a protocol standpoint. That said, my VIRB Elite is also on a slightly newer firmware due out any day now…

  32. nick m

    I may have missed it… Since the elite version has a GPS, the editing software should be able match device data with video using GPS timing… Regardless if you record entire activity or not. True?

  33. Jason N

    Hi Ray,

    I love your reviews and have my past few GPS purchases went through Clever Training because of them. :)

    The only reason I would get a VIRB (or any other type of camera) is to layer all the data with the video (power, speed, elevation, HR, etc). Power is a must for me, and like you, I’m not really interested in taking long clips. Maybe just 1-20 minute clips here and there. I have not worked am above average when it comes to working with PCs, but have not worked with video before or dissecting a .fit file. So two questions.

    1. Lets say I set up a VIRB (or any other camera) on my stem, with my computer out in front of my stem (using an out in front mount). I turn on the VIRB and set it to record, then hit the lap button on my Edge 500. Will I easily be able to mesh the two files knowing exactly when on the video I hit the lap button (the video would show my hand pushing the button and maybe even pick up the sound) and would I also easily be able to find that moment on the .fit file since I pushed the lap button?

    2. Is there any plan for Garmin to update the VIRB so that pushing the lap button on the 510/810/800 (I know the 500 isn’t supported) can at least send the VIRB a signal to mark the video file with a “lap indicator.” Wouldn’t that make it 100x easier to mesh the files up.


    • Thanks for the support!

      1) No, there’s no recording of lap functions within the Virb today.

      2) None that I’m aware of. In some ways, I’d think that a better place for that might really be the Virb Edit software. I think that software shows a lot of promise, but there’s a ton of little items I wish it had (and lap is one I hadn’t thought of, but completely agree with for a sports-focused data-driven video the likes of which Virb would produce).

    • Jason N

      Sorry if my first question was unclear. Even if there isn’t a lap function within the VIRB, would it at least be easy to mesh the files (I have no experience with this) if I can see on the video when I pushed the lap button on my Edge.

      For example, I’m recording video on the VIRB, and when watching the video, I notice at the 2:41 mark I hit the lap button (the VIRB is mounted in such a way that it can see me pressing the lap button). Knowing this, would I easily be able to edit the video to delete the first 2:40, and then sync up the .fit file data from my Edge at that lap point.

      I have read other people say that syncing up the .fit files with video is a real PITA…but I was wondering if you know what the exact reference point is for the video and the .fit file…does that ease the process. Or is there something I’m missing that still makes the process difficult?

      Thanks again.

  34. aeaust12

    Hello legend, What length is your stem pictured above with the Garmin Edge 810? My stem length is only 80 mm and I am wondering if the 810 will fit an sit nicely on my stem… Cheers!!!