LAST YEAR GARMIN made one of my favorite action cams, the Virb Ultra 30. It’s a voice-controlled 4K shooter with great image quality and the ability to layer data like speed and location over your extreme human tricks.
Today, Garmin is taking the lid off its first entry into the 360-degree action cam space, the Virb 360. I got to spend a few days testing out this new camera, and overall I came away pretty impressed.
The Virb 360 shoots spherical, VR-compatible video at a resolution of 5.7K, and it does it at 30 frames per second. That sounds solid, but even a high-quality 5.7K image looks very pixelated when you spread it over a full sphere. The video isn’t nearly as sharp as a traditional 16:9 frame of 4K. But the Garmin has enough resolution to beat most other 360 cameras out there, which typically top out at 4K spheres.
The camera makes a spherical image by using two fisheye lenses facing opposite directions. Images from the dual cameras are stitched into a sphere automatically, making your video instantly ready to share. The camera generally does a very nice stitching job, though the seams are certainly visible when nearby objects pass over them.