Garmin BC 30 back up camera review



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A comparison of the Garmin BC 30 back up camera connected to a Garmin Nuvi 65LM, and a couple of cheap chinese cameras connected to a cheap chinese monitor bought on eBay.

good morning my name is Ben Brown I live in Central Texas I'm a big Garmin fan but I'm pretty upset about this and so for the first time in my life I'm going to post a youtube video to review the Garmin BC 30 backup camera I paid a hundred and fifty dollars for this thing and then ended up having to pay another thirty dollars for an extension cable just to make it work and I'm going to show you the results of all that expense I try not to make too much fun of me but I've kind of got things rigged up this morning not exactly a professional looking operation but I've got the cameras rigged up where they're all showing pretty much the same thing and I'll show you the monitors my truck is a 2012 Ford f-150 and it didn't come with a backup camera so I decided I'd get on eBay and come up with a backup camera on my own this is a monitor that I bought off eBay it probably cost me I don't know maybe 10 bucks free shipping chinese-made and what you're seeing is video from a camera that's wired straight to this monitor and it isn't great but if you look closely just a little bit left to center you'll see a blue thing there which is my stock trailer this is video on the same monitor of another camera that I bought probably cost me four bucks free shipping it's a wireless camera the transmitter and the receiver are probably about two feet apart and nothing between them right now the little bit of interference in the picture I've got a little filter that I bought cost me another couple of bucks that sort of takes that out I don't have it hooked up right now the Sun is starting to get in the way of this picture just a little bit but as you can see that blue thing that you are looking at in the last picture is my stock trailer and on this camera you can see it better than you could on that wired camera now I'm a big Garmin fan I've got several movies I've had etrex handheld GPS is a colorada and I currently use an Oregon Garmin GPS for my geocaching I like dharman but they sure did me wrong here what you're looking at is my new V which is a 65 LM that has capability of a wireless camera with the BC 30 camera hooked up to it originally I couldn't get a very good picture out of it and the theory was that the transmitter and receiver weren't close enough together so what I did was I taped them together I figure that's pretty close when they're taped together with electricians tape and if you look to the left of center that blue thing back there is my stock trailer now the monitor that I showed you before cost me maybe 10 bucks and the two cameras together might have cost another 15 free shipping and instead what I've got is a new V I don't know what the retail prices are on them is I bought mine at a pawn shop for 50 bucks and I've got a hundred and eighty dollars worth of backup camera here and you can't see anything on this damn thing now I'm going to attempt to zoom in here a little bit and getting focused so that you can see the pixelation on this BC 30 camera there's nothing moving here the truck isn't even running so let me see if I can zoom in and get a close-up of the pixels if I can hold this steady enough in the cold if you look just a little bit right of Center watch those pixels they're large they're moving around in the end result is I can't even recognize my own dog standing behind my truck and for that I paid a hundred and eighty bucks and got a pretty good deal I bought this stuff from Crutchfield and I can't say enough about how good they have been to me on this matter I haven't been a crust Crutchfield customer since we were all listening to cassette tapes but I bought this camera from them and then ended up buying the extension cable from them and they treated me like I've been buying something from them every day since 1970 there's not enough I can say about what a good job they've done and this is not their fault they didn't make this camera they only sell it it's garmin's fault for selling junk so when you read the reviews you'll find some people like this camera and some people have problems with it but I'm showing you what happened and if you think I just got a bad camera what I just showed you on that picture is the replacement camera I got when Crutchfield sent me a new one because the first one had all that pixelation going on this is a brand new camera straight out of the box so my percentage on getting bad Garmin BC 30 wireless cameras is 100% if you buy one and you're happy with it good for you but if you watch this review and still buy it you're going to get exactly what I tell you what you're going to get I'll bet you good luck and bye bye

38 thoughts on “Garmin BC 30 back up camera review

  1. Got the garmin gmt 61d and love it and was thinking of adding a back up camera. I’ll look elsewhere. The reviews on Amazon are spotty too. It sounds like a mess. Better to use your rear view mirror then this. Haha
    Thanks for your review.
    Go Texas!!!!!

  2. cool another geocacher friend, I loved your video, we use car garmins too, new models with the capeability to display wireless video, I just like to have one as a backup cam, I like the idea of not installing any more screens, it is perfect to use the navigation garmin as backup screen, since when you go back, I dont really need the navigation at the same time. just too bad it is that insane expensive. how about to sell me the extra one for cheaps 🙂

  3. ok it has been 2 years since you posted your review
    and sadly the garmin has not improved their camera. . .
    well shucks – I too like the garmin and have an old nuvi56LMT [which is compatible] but limited and will not give even an acceptable backup view of more than 10 to 15 feet [no that is not acceptable as the garmin cost is way too high for what you see]
    yes I have seen it paired with high end garmin gps and it is better, but still not acceptable for the cost it should show a nice view at least 20 to 30 feet back and a nice wide view without blind spots.
    thanks for your review for us to see the BC 30 is the same as the one you showed us two years ago. bummer
    I also expected better as even the $141. cost should be better than those that are priced below $30.
    the "only" advantage is you can use the garmin monitor – which is not enough incentive to buy the over priced bc 30 that should only cost $30 as that is all it might be worth.
    even the pyle looks to be better [yes it will be worth it to add another monitor as I do enjoy my garmin gps as it works ok]

  4. The resolution is VGA 640×480 with a wide 160 degree angle so the image quality is poor when compared to a modern 4K dash cam or smart phone but you can see a car behind you.

  5. I thing Ben is absolutely correct. Today HD cameras are dirt cheap and to use old standard VGA cameras with their product is a shame for a company that have good reputation. Thank you Ben.

  6. A backup camera has a different purpose then video camera.

    The first camera is showing a closeup image so you can see things nearby. That is a backup camera.

    The second camera is showing the stock trailer, but is not showing the kid playing on the ground two feet behind your rear bumper. That is a normal camera.

    The two serve different purposes. If you want to record the behavior of a guy behind you, the normal camera is what you would use. If you want to watch your toad (Vehicle towed behind an RV) or back up without hitting things you want a backup camera.

    I think the difference is the type of lens they use for each purpose. I wouldn't expect much resolution at a distance from a backup camera.

    I bought a BC-30 and the image is reversed left to right. It is opposite to what my RV camera shows.

  7. hey that all being said i have a backup cam and the monitor. but i dont have the transmitter. will any trinsmitter work with the cam and monitor or dose it have to be a specific kind?

  8. the camera lens may need the focus adjusted some you may have to crack it open to do it. but you can do it. i like how it dont seem to be zoomed in like the other 2 that right there makes a good back up came. dont need to see 10 feet away just what in my blind spots

  9. It is a backup camera after all — no one is expecting any amount of HD quality images — just enough to let you know that you could be driving into something, or some, mostly little, person(s).

  10. I just installed a Garmin big money 7" Drivesmart GPS and a BC30 wireless camera and it works great in my 2006 Miata , I have a clear bright picture . It turns on within 2 seconds upon shifting into reverse .

  11. The biggest difference I see is that the one cheapo camera has a narrower field of view so it's more zoomed in – so to speak – on that trailer, you don't want that on a back up camera anyway, you want that wider FOV so you can see what's immediately behind you and off slightly to the sides. That said, it really does do what it's supposed to do. Admittedly, the image quality suffers more but you're not using it for professional video it's just a back up camera. I would blame much of that on the fact that it's wireless, the price you pay for the convenience of not having to run a cable all the way through your truck. I will agree though, for what it is it's way over priced, I'm betting they could sell it for $40 and still double their money. It surprises me that Garmin doesn't offer these units with an RCA plug like everything else so you could just plug your $4 camera in…but I guess that would defeat their monopoly.

  12. Ben, thanks for a well thought out video. You have kinda put my frustration into words. I have a Magellan and as a GPS its great but it will not accept an aftermarket camera. So i am looking at Garmin and it seems like two well known and respected GPS makers are selling crap cameras. Don't understand it because it diminishes their product overall. Kinda wondering if its possible to use the wiring layout but swop the actual camera and get a better result. investigations continue, Thanks again, honesty is good =)

  13. Some pins from the adapter are to charger the device some other to give the traffic signal and the rest should be for video signal .I will try it my own when I receive the driveluxe because I have already wired backup camera .At the begging it was wireless but quality and image delay was not ideal for my use

  14. The poor quality of garmin is because of wireless transmission.Can you connect the camera signal directly to the mini USB port that powers up the gps device? This USB adapter use 2 pins for power and I believe another 2 pins for video.

  15. Thanks Ben. You just saved me from buying more GPS than I need (much more expensive RV type) so I could have an input for a trailer camera. Both together would be about triple the price of a regular good Garmin, and for crap. Thanks again.

  16. sensational video. I love garmin but like many big brand name companies sometimes they sell low quality product still expecting high prices becasue of their name alone. I am going to skip this purchase since your set up with the three cameras was a sensational comparison. Now I agree the garmin camera may outlast the cheap ones, but you could also just buy 10 of the cheap ones for each time they may break and you'd STILL be richer in the end. And the quality was pittyful. I'm not looking for 1080p vision, but if those other cameras could create a nice clear picture, albeit too zoomed in for what the purpose of a back-up camera is, then why cant Garmin use the higher quality lens with their wide angle?

  17. This is a BACKUP CAMERA, not a 4k dash cam. The Garmin seems to have a wider field of view too. And which do you think has the better chance of lasting more than six months? The best thing about the Garmin is integration with your GPS, one less cable at your dash and one less field-of-view-blocking device. I'm surprised more GPS makers haven't added cams yet, seems like the market is primed and ready.

  18. If you bought a Nuvi rear cam at a pawn shop for $50, then wouldn't it be fair to say that something was wrong with it in the first place … hence the person taking it in to a pawn shop?

  19. Thank you, Sir. I also like Garmin. Even picked this Garmin camera up off the shelf today, thought about the price and just how much I need it, then put it back on the shelf and thought I better do more homework and thought. You've been a great and unbiased help.

  20. I bought a Garmin Nuvi 2689 LMT six inch GPS which accepts the Garmin wireless camera BC 30. I did this in order to have one screen on the dash. This is really disappointing that it's a proprietary camera for the GPS because there is no hard wire option to mount an off market camera. a lot of money for low quality. This Video was helpful.

  21. Thanks for sharing your experience, but I am a bit confused. It's not cheap and the picture is low resolution, but it does seem to be good enough to see if you are going to hit anything backing up no? At the end of the day that is all I want to accomplish with this thing. Do we need super fine high resolution just for backing up? I get that it is overpriced for the picture quality, but if you already have the GPS and don't want another screen on your dash, perhaps it is worth it no?
    I have a Garmin that is bc30 capable and was just about to buy it so I started researching. There are several videos showing installation and demoing the camera like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAQS7mr1pfM , on this one it seemed the picture was certainly good enough to see the dogs and allow anyone to backup safely.
    So despite the cost and subpar picture, it seems like it would work well enough for my needs and for the convenience, I think I will probably go this route despite the shortcomings. I will adjust my expectations accordingly and let you know. Thanks again for sharing.

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