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Best 360 Camera [2019]

Best 360 Camera [2019]

Best Overall: Insta360 One X
The One X from Insta360 tops our list as the best overall pick. While not 8K, it still packs a punch with 5.7K video quality and 18MP image quality. Plus, they packed in so many extra features like FlowState stabilization, TimeShift, and DriftMode that it’s hard to look anywhere else. And finally, it’s priced right!

Budget Pick: Ricoh Theta SC
While the Ricoh Theta SC doesn’t boast 4K video resolutions, it still produces a quality video. However, it’s best suited for image still and can capture stills at an amazing 14.4MP resolution. If you’re more interested in still captures, this is the absolute best option at a GREAT price.

Best 360 Action Cam: GoPro Fusion
Everything GoPro is like gold … not really, but GoPro has done a great job of creating action cameras. Most of them aren’t 360-degree cameras, but this is their 360 option. While it can’t reach above 30 FPS, it’ll capture most action sequences with crisp clarity and minimized seamlines.

How We Picked

A picture is worth a thousand words, but most pictures are only facing one direction. What if you could take a picture and/or video of everything around you including behind you?

360-degree cameras have greatly increased in popularity over the past few years, almost becoming the norm. And while they’ll never truly replace front-facing cameras, they do have a special niche. Now, they are definitely a niche product, but they can produce amazing panoramic shots and other special effects. In fact, they’re being accepted so much, that professionals such as realtors, automotive manufacturers, and even virtual reality creators have jumped on board.

Image and video platforms (i.e. Facebook and YouTube) have even started embracing 360 videos. So, what’s holding you back from buying one?

There are a TON of 360-degree cameras on the market right now, and trying to figure out which one is worth your money and which one isn’t can be hard. But today, that’s going to change. We’ve put together a list of the ten best 360 cameras that we could find. All of these have high ratings and users have loved them more than they’ve hated them. And to help you understand what we’re looking at, we’ve even included a buyer’s guide below and answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

So, are you ready to see the top ten best 360 cameras for 2019?
The Top 10 Best 360 Cameras For 2019

#1 Insta360 One X

Insta360 One X

Specs:

  • 5.7K Video Resolution
  • 18MP Image Resolution
  • FlowState Image/Video Stabilization
  • Dual Lens System

We’re going to start our list off today with the “Best Overall” pick.

The Insta360 One X has two lenses (one front / one rear) that give you a truly immersive 360-degree experience. Combined, these two lenses record in 5.7K video resolution and can still take 18MP images too. The stitching lines are almost invisible (you REALLY have to look for them).

Insta360 One X invisible selfie stick

The video quality is amazing, with very little blur even in FAST scenes due in part to the 50 FPS record-rate in 5.7K video quality. You can actually get 100 FPS record-rates in 3K video quality which is absurd!

Insta360 One X unboxed

Where the Insta360 One X shines is the added features such as FlowState, TimeShift, and DriftShot. The FlowState stabilization feature keeps everything focused without all the jittering and bounce that you see on other action cameras. Next, the TimeShift feature allows you to use slo-mo recording with standard speed movements to create unique, motion perspectives that are unreal. And finally, the DriftShot feature allows this to be used in motion shots while being thrown and/or dropped without fear of breaking. Where before you had to use a drone, now you can use the One X to do some of the same features (for a LOT less).

Insta360 One X App

What We Like

For starters, the One X is more than just a camera … the DriftShot feature actually takes the camera out of your hand and allows you to capture scenes from any angle (it’s a mini-drone). Next, when paired with the selfie-stick from Insta360, it becomes invisible. The camera lenses are high up on the camera, and the selfie-stick mounts at the very bottom – it’s a great design and makes the selfie-stick literally disappear.

Overall

The Insta360 One X is a full-featured 360-degree camera that packs a PUNCH! The video quality is astounding at 5.7K at 50 FPS while you can still take 18MP still when needed. Where the One X really separates itself is with the 6-axis, FlowState video stabilization that is on par with more expensive cameras with fewer features. For the price, the One X is nearly unmatchable.

Insta360 One X

Insta360 One X

  • FlowState Stabilization
  • TimeShift Video Manipulation
  • DriftShot Video Capture for Unreal Scenes From A Camera

#2 Samsung Gear 360

Samsung Gear 360

Specs:

  • 4K Video Resolution
  • 15MP Image Resolution
  • 180-Degree Dual Lens System

Next up, we’re going to discuss the Samsung Gear 360. Samsung has been working with VR headsets and 360-video captures for several years now, and they’ve become a force to be reckoned with.

Getting started, the Gear 360 is another hand-held camera that is easy to hold. It’s not very big at all, measuring in at 3.9 inches tall, by 1.8 inches width/height (round). And it only weighs 4.6 ounces (barely more than one-quarter of a pound). The bottom of the camera has a screw-type base for easy mount and/or tripod options.

The Gear 360 is IP53 rated which means it’ll work in the rain, but it should not be submersed EVER. The camera has a sealed battery which is charged by using the supplied USB-C charging cable. The battery tends to last for up to 90 minutes when recording in 4K (if you lower the resolution the battery life will be longer).

Samsung Gear 360 without stand

Video quality is 4K (4096 x 2048) at 24 frames per second (there are no other FPS options in 4K mode). If you want more high-speed, action shots, you’ll need a camera with a higher FPS rate. Because of the 180-degree, dual-lenses, stitching is greatly reduced with almost seamless transitions between images. If you want to make the stitchlines disappear, then you’ll need to use the desktop software from Samsung as it has more resources to work with. And finally, you can live stream (Facebook Live and YouTube) your video when paired with the Gear 360 app from Samsung. One thing we want to point out is that when you use the live stream option, the video quality cuts down from 4096 x 2048 at 24 FPS to 1920 x 960 at 15 FPS.

What We Like

The 4K video resolution, paired with the dual-lens system looks great. Stitching is still visible, but not by much. It’s small and lightweight, making it easy to hold for long periods of time and it’s fairly unobtrusive so it’ll look good in most any decor (when used inside).

Overall

The Samsung Gear 360 is a high-quality, affordable option that works great with Samsung products well. And while the Gear 360 is designed to work with the Samsung app, it can be used on its own too. However, it does lack the FPS rate for action scenes and it’s not waterproof, but for the price, you could get a protective case/cover if needed.

Samsung Gear 360

Samsung Gear 360

  • Small and Lightweight
  • Supports Live Stream Options
  • 15MP Still Image Quality And 4K Video Quality

#3 GoPro Fusion

GoPro Fusion

Specs:

  • 5.2K Video Resolution
  • 18MP Image Resolution
  • 180-Degree Dual Lens System
  • Gimbal Image Stabilization

GoPro has been around for quite some time, especially in the action-capture circuit. They’ve created a plethora of products that are durable and produce amazing results. So, we’re not surprised that they made the cut.

Starting out, the Fusion is a wider, hand-held camera measuring out at 3.5 inches high, by 3.0 inches wide, and 1.0 inch deep. It weighs in at 8.0 ounces or one-half of a pound. The Fusion has a tabbed base that allows for an ultra-secure mounting platform that’s built for lots of G’s and abuse.

GoPro Fusion outdoors

The Fusion is waterproof up to 5 meters or 16 feet in total. And even though the unit is submersible, the battery can still be removed; and there’s plenty of power from the included Lithium-Ion 2620mAh battery. Under full load, you should expect about 90 minutes on a single charge.

Video quality is 5.2K (5228 x 2624) at 30 frames per second NTSC or 25 frames per second in PAL mode. This can be used in high-speed, action shots, but will still have some fluidity issues with ultra-high speed action modes. The camera uses dual-offset lenses to create the 360-degree experience, but the offset design actually helps with stitchline issues. One thing that we want to point out is that this requires two memory cards (one for each lens). As such, you’ll need to make sure that they are Class 10 or UHS-II/III rated so they can keep up with the data read/write requirements of the Fusion.

GoPro Fusion example shot of kayak in ice cave

One feature that the Fusion has that’s absolutely mind-boggling is the OverCapture feature. OverCapture works by letting you record the video without focusing in on ANY target. Then, when the recording is complete, you can use your phone and/or software to refocus the target as if you were recording it in person. Now, you don’t have to have someone else with you to keep everything in frame and in focus.

For the action shots, the Fusion uses a gimbal-designed image stabilization system that’s similar to the technology found on drones and other high-end cameras. It does a great job of keeping everything in place, no matter how bad the bumps get.

What We Like

The OverCapture feature looks like a gimmick at first glance, but it absolutely makes this worth the money. You don’t have to bring your friends out to keep up with you as you try your latest adventure, and if you fall out of the frame, you can easily adjust the video so that everything is back in frame and in focus.

Overall

The GoPro Fusion is a worthy competitor, especially with the high 5.2K video quality and durable body design. If you have the computer for it, you can definitely create some eye-popping videos that’ll impress everyone. The added OverCapture feature makes this one you can’t skip over, especially if you like seeing everything after the fact.

GoPro Fusion

GoPro Fusion

  • Small and Lightweight
  • OverCapture Video System
  • Dual Lens + Dual Memory Card System

#4 Kodak PixPro SP360 4K

Kodak PixPro SP360 4K

Specs:

  • 4K Video Resolution
  • 235-Degree Field of View System

Kodak has been around since … FOREVER! And they even designed one of the first 360-degree video cameras. And now, they’ve got a 4K option that we’re sure you’ll appreciate.

The SP360 measures out at a paltry 1.9 inches high, by 2.0 inches wide, by 2.1 inches deep; basically, it’s a cube with a half-globe on top. It’s extremely lightweight at only 4.5 ounces and it can be set on any flat surface. It does have the standard tripod screw-mount system located on the bottom of the unit for easy compatibility with most mounts and/or tripods.

The SP360 is not waterproof on its own but requires an additional case to protect it from falls and water. If you choose to use the protective case, you’ll be able to submerge the camera up to 30 meters! Also, the battery is removable and can last around 55 minutes on a single charge.

Kodak PixPro SP360 4K On table

Video quality is 4K (3840 x 1920) at 30 frames per second, but its native video resolution is 2880 x 2880 at 30 frames per second. If you need a higher FPS rate, you’ll have to lower the resolution down to 1440 x 1440 (effectively 2K). The image is stretched out to meet the 4K numbers reported above (this does create some odd stitchlines). Part of this can be attributed to the 235-degree single camera lens system. Kodak does offer an option where you can put another SP360 back-to-back to create a true 360-degree camera, but again, you still have some odd artifacts that show up in the stitchlines. Plus, you can live stream your 360 videos using the smartphone control app for both Android and iOS.

Kodak PixPro SP360 4K accessories

What We Like

While it doesn’t produce a true 360-degree experience (up/down + left/right), it does a great job of capturing everything surrounding the subject of focus. The 235-degree lens captures a lot of detail for a single-lens system.

Overall

Kodak knows the camera market better than most, and the PixPro 360 4K is a step in the right direction. While they aren’t keeping up with Insta360 and GoPro, they’ve got a great camera that can definitely handle most of your 360-degree needs. If you don’t need the spherical 360-degree camera angles, this is a great choice.

Kodak PixPro SP360 4K

Kodak PixPro SP360 4K

  • 235-Degree Camera Lens
  • WiFi + NFC Connection Options
  • Back-to-Back Mounting System For Dual-Camera / Dual-Lens System

#5 Nikon KeyMission 360

Nikon KeyMission 360

Specs:

  • 4K Video Resolution
  • 30MP Image Resolution
  • 180-Degree Dual Lens System
  • Electronic Image Stabilization

Here’s another company that’s been around FOREVER. As such, they should know how to create a camera that captures amazing images. And the KeyMission 360 can definitely produce some stunning video captures.

The KeyMission 360 measures out a 2.4 inches high, by 2.4 inches wide, by 2.6 inches deep (it’s a box). It weighs in at 7.0 ounces or a little less than one-half of a pound. However, it is durable, able to withstand a drop of 6 feet using the included protective rubber cover. And, it can even be submerged up to 100 feet without failure. The mounting system is built into the bottom of the camera and uses the standard threaded-base for mounts and/or tripods. The battery is removable and lasts for about 50 minutes on a single charge. Access to the microSD card and the HDMI/USB ports are behind the same door that protects the battery.

Nikon KeyMission 360 on rock

Video quality is 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24 frames per second NTSC and PAL. While this is good, for high-speed action videos, this might struggle to produce a fluid video. Image quality is a staggering 30MP (7744 x 3872). The camera does seem to produce some overexposed (overblown) videos when in heavy-lighting situations. Even so, the image quality is amazing with similar results from other cameras like the GoPro Fusion and Insta360 One X. While the camera does have electronic image stabilization, it’s not near as effective as gimbal and/or multi-axis gyro systems. It’ll reduce some jitters, but constant jitters will show up in the video.

Nikon KeyMission 360 side

The biggest plus for the KeyMission 360 is the fact that everything is pre-stitched before it comes off of the camera. You don’t have to use additional software to create stitched videos. Instead, you can download/upload the video to your desired source and it’s ready to go. As such, the video files are MASSIVE so make sure you have a BIG memory card.

What We Like

If you want a camera that makes 360-degree capture easy, then you’ll love the KeyMission 360. It’s almost a point-and-record solution. With the built-in pre-stitching software, everything is done before you do anything.

Overall

For a beginner, this is a great option. It takes all the overhead and guesswork out and lets you focus more on capturing the moment. When you’re done recording, just save it or upload it where you want it and it’s ready. It’s very durable and waterproof so you can drop it a few times without freaking out and if it starts raining, you’ll be good.

Sale

Nikon KeyMission 360

Nikon KeyMission 360

  • Protected Dual Lenses
  • Waterproof Up To 100 Feet
  • Web-Ready Pre-Stitched Videos

#6 Ricoh Theta SC

Ricoh Theta SC

Specs:

  • 1080p Video Resolution
  • 14.4MP Image Resolution
  • 180-Degree Dual Lens System

The Theta SC measures out a 5.1 inches in height, 1.8 inches in width, and 1.9 inches in depth; similar in size to a Wii controller. It’s extremely light, weighing in at 3.6 ounces. It comes in four different colors (white, pink, blue, and beige). Ricoh doesn’t claim any type of waterproof rating for the Theta SC so don’t get it wet. Also, it’s not designed for drops and will dent and/or crack if not handled carefully. It uses the standard threaded-base mounting system for tripods, mounts, and/or selfie sticks. The battery and memory are both internal and non-removable.

Ricoh Theta SC without stand

Video quality is 1080p or 1K, so it’s fairly basic. And when stretched out to 1920 x 960, there’s a definite distortion on the edges and stitching. However, more effort was put into the image capturing system as it has a 14.4MP rating.

Ricoh Theta SC on stand

The Theta SC is great for selfie shots and surround photos, but not everyone wants a selfie. For those who want to disconnect a little, you can use the Theta S app which gives you the ability to control the Theta SC remotely. You can see what the camera sees from the smartphone or tablet and even move around the frame before taking the PERFECT picture. One caveat, the internal memory is only 16GB which equates to around 1,000 pictures.

Ricoh Theta SC packaging

What We Like

The photo quality is great for the price. 14.4MP is crazy when you consider how inexpensive this 360-degree camera is. It’s extremely lightweight and it looks great.

Overall

For the budget minded, this is a great option. For videos, this isn’t that great, but for stills it’s awesome! Unfortunately, it only has 16GB of internal memory (not expandable) so it’s not going to take a lot of high-quality videos before running out of space. Again, if you wanted to get a great 360-degree still camera, this is a great option at a budget-friendly price.

Ricoh Theta SC

Ricoh Theta SC

  • Candy Bar Design
  • Multiple Color Options
  • Budget-Friendly Pricing

#7 Ricoh Theta V 4K

Ricoh Theta V 4K

Specs:

  • 4K Video Resolution
  • 14.5MP Image Resolution
  • 180-Degree Dual Lens System

The last Ricoh was a little basic, but here’s the upgraded version that’ll definitely do more to please the video purists.

The Theta V is almost the same size as the Theta SC measuring in a 5.1 inches high, by 1.8 inches wide, by 0.9 inches. However, it does gain a little weight at 4.3 ounces versus 3.6 ounces for the Theta SC. Again, the Theta V is not waterproof on its own but can become waterproof by using the TW-1 protective case which is sold separately. With the protective case, it can be dropped once or twice without any MAJOR damage (still, don’t drop it). The mounting system is the same as the Theta SC with the threaded-base located at the bottom of the Theta V.

Ricoh Theta V 4K in pocket

Video quality gets a BIG improvement from the Theta SC, going from 1K (1080p) to 4K (3840 x 1920) at 30 frames per second. However, image quality is almost identical moving from 14.4MP to 14.5MP. For videos, the 4K resolution will work to create good, non-production videos. During video recording, there’s no image stabilization system so you’ll need to be still if you want it to look great. Also, it should be noted that the Theta SC stops all video clips after five minutes of use. If you want longer videos, you’ll need to restart another capture or use a different device altogether.

One major caveat is that the Theta V still uses non-removable batteries and memory. And the memory is capped at 19GB which isn’t that much. The battery will last around 80 minutes on a single charge. And recordings in 4K will fill up the memory in about 40 minutes (tops).

What We Like

It’s extremely compact and easy to hold. The upgraded 4K video quality is definitely an improvement from the Theta SC. It records at 30 frames per second, which adds to a nice, fluid video output.

Overall

Price wise, this is not for a beginner, but it’s built more for the beginner and/or novice. Everything is built-in so you don’t have to buy too many extras (just a waterproof case). It’s slim, compact, and lightweight with more than enough features to keep most 360’ers happy.

Sale

Ricoh Theta V 4K

Ricoh Theta V 4K

  • Added 4K Video Quality
  • External Microphone Support
  • WiFi and Bluetooth Connections

#8 Rylo 360 5.8K

Rylo 360 5.8K

Specs:

  • 5.8K Video Resolution
  • 180-Degree Dual Lens System

The Rylo 360 measures in at 2.9 inches high, by 1.7 inches wide, by 1.4 inches deep. It only weighs 3.84 ounces. While it’s not waterproof itself, it does come with a waterproof housing that can be used to give some protection. The selfie-stick wraps around the unit and that’s how you can carry it as it’s extremely small (easy to cover the lens when holding it without the selfie-stick).

Rylo 360 5.8K unboxed

The Rylo 360 is all about video and can record in 5.8K resolution. We’re not sure of the frames per second rating as it isn’t mentioned on the manufacturer’s website. Panoramic photos can be taken at up to 6.0K resolution. And, the Rylo 360 has a built-in image stabilization system (where they put it …?) for clear video and/or pictures. Plus, they include the 16GB storage card so you won’t have to buy anything to get started.

Rylo 360 5.8K on mount

After your video has been recorded, you can use their Dynamic Speed Control to alter the speed up to 16x to create unique, time-lapse videos. And, their app gives you even more editing controls such as contrast, cropping, motion effects, and more so you’ll be able to create a masterpiece after all the recording has stopped.

Rylo 360 5.8K close-up for lense

What We Like

It’s so small! The Rylo 360 packs a serious punch with the ability to take 5.8K videos with image stabilization. Being that it’s so small, you’ll need the image stabilization system too.

Overall

The Rylo 360 5.8K camera is built to be a true spherical 360-degree camera. It comes with everything you’ll need to get started, to edit and manipulate, and even push out to the web. It’s so small, you’ll forget you have it with you if you aren’t careful.

Sale

Rylo 360 5.8K

Rylo 360 5.8K

  • Everyday Essentials Package
  • Included Editing Software
  • Image Stabilization

#9 Vuze 3D 4K VR 360-Degree Camera

Vuze 3D 4K VR 360-Degree Camera

Specs:

  • 4K Video Resolution
  • Multiple Color Options
  • 360-Degree Eight Lens System

Vuze 3D 4K VR 360-Degree Camera on stand

The Vuze measures in at 1.2 inches high, by 4.7 inches wide, by 4.7 inches deep and it weighs 14.4 ounces (almost one pound). It does have some waterproofing and dust protection (not much; it’ll handle raindrops). It can be mounted on a tripod with the standard thread-base located on the bottom of the unit.

Vuze 3D 4K VR 360-Degree Camera smartphone setup

What We Like

8 cameras are COOL! It’s a unique product that will definitely get everyone’s attention. It does a good job of capturing 360 views, but it still leaves some heavy seamlines.

Overall

For someone looking to step up to a production quality camera, this could be a good option. Though it would have been better if the quality was closer to the 5.8K+ range.

#10 YI 360 VR Camera

YI 360 VR Camera

Specs:

  • 5.7K Video Resolution
  • 4K Live Streaming

The YI 360 measures in at 4.0 inches high, by 2.1 inches wide, by 1.2 inches deep and only weighs 6 ounces. It does not come with any waterproof ratings so keep it dry (including the rain).

YI 360 VR Camera close-up

It can be mounted on a tripod using the standard thread-base mounting system located at the bottom of the camera (some other similar cameras don’t offer this).

YI 360 VR Camera next to window

Video quality is great at 5.7K (5760 x 2880) and 4K (3840 x 1920) at 30 frames per second. The 5.7K resolution makes it easy to cut the video down to the preferred 16:9 aspect ratio without sacrificing quality. If you want to live stream, you can use the 4K recording option as this will handle all the stitching in real time.

YI 360 VR Camera display

What We Like

The video quality is great, but the live streaming in true 4K is awesome. There aren’t many cameras that offer 4K live streaming.

Overall

The YI 360 is a great camera that can record up to 5.7K video resolutions. While it can’t handle the stitching on camera above 4K, it’s a great camera that’ll impress. For the price, it’s hard to beat, especially for what you get.

Buyer’s Guide To Find The Best 360 Camera

Not sure where to start?

Here are the most important factors to consider when purchasing a 360 camera.

Image And Video Quality/Resolution

Cameras have long been judged simply on their ability to pack in the megapixels. And while the best “stills” can be taken with an ultra-high resolution, they take up a LOT of space. In most cases, a camera that can take 4K (3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160) is more than enough. For reference, almost all of the 360 cameras we’re looking at are 4K-capable.

But there is a LOT more to image and video quality when it comes to 360 cameras. For instance, the number of lenses that are being used, the dynamic range of the lenses and/or the camera itself, and even the stitching software can affect the final output dramatically.

Features like HDR (High-Dynamic Range) can alter the final output from MEH to WOW! HDR helps to fix errors such as washed out images and/or images that are too dark to be seen. It does this by taking multiple images using different light settings and then overlaying them together (that’s the basic premise; it’s a lot more complicated than that). And that’s just ONE feature. As a matter of fact, we’ll discuss another feature a little further down that really affects the quality of your recording.

While most companies tout 4K as the “be-all and end-all” for image resolution, there are other cameras that are pushing out 8K+ resolutions. If resolution we’re the ONLY thing that matters, this would be all that you would need to consider; but it isn’t. Image resolution is a great start, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that you consider.

Let’s look at some of the other factors you need to consider when purchasing a 360 camera.

Field Of View

The field of view (FOV) is what you see in front of a camera. For still-imaging cameras, this was not an issue as it was focused on ONE point. However, 360 cameras aren’t focused on one point only, but many points at ALL times. That being said, 360 cameras with a wide field of view tend to perform better than those with a lower field of view.

A wider field of view can be manipulated based on a number of factors, but the most important being the number of lenses in use at one time. To give you an example, look at the room your in right now. Focus on a picture on the wall. Now, close one eye but stay focused on the picture. Did you notice that some of the room “disappeared” when you closed one of your eyes? Your field of view was diminished. The same principle works with 360 cameras; the more lenses it has, the greater the field of view.

But why does a wider field of view matter? Well, if you wanted to stitch all the different images together to make one 360 image, a wider field of view would leave fewer stitch lines to work with. For instance, if you had a field of view of 90 degrees, you would need FOUR images to make ONE picture. If the field of view was 180 degrees, you would only need TWO images to make ONE picture. Stitching two images together make it easier to avoid “stitch-line distortion” which can affect your video output.

Video Stabilization

Next, some cameras have video stabilization built into them. Video stabilization helps to reduce the “bounce” that you see in videos. That bounce can literally cause motion sickness to the viewer if it’s bad enough.

Video stabilization can be accomplished both mechanically and through special software (either built-in or through an editor). Mechanical video stabilization is done by suspending the camera lens so that it doesn’t respond to jitter and/or shaking as much as if it were directly attached to the frame of the camera. Software video stabilization uses special algorithms to “reduce” the shake by altering the video itself. Used in conjunction, this can help to make amateur videos like “professional” and help to keep the focus on the subject rather than the poor video quality.

As most 360 cameras are used in motion capture situations, video stabilization is absolutely necessary. If a camera doesn’t have some form of video stabilization in it, then you need to look elsewhere. Simply put, this is almost more important than image quality and/or resolution.

Stitching

So, we’ve already touched on stitching briefly, but what exactly is stitching and why does it matter?

Image stitching is where multiple photos are taken and then “stitched” or merged together where the images are “the same”. Going back to the field of view, the wider the field of view, the less the need for stitching. In the early days of 360 cameras, it wasn’t uncommon to see nine or more images to create one image. The equipment costs were astronomical and the quality was lackluster.

Now, we have better cameras with wider FOVs that makes stitching a whole lot simpler. Not to mention, the software we use is more intuitive and has better algorithms to reduce distortion and/or skewing.

Some cameras actually handle the stitching themselves (internally) while others allow you to manage the stitching using specialized software. Is one better than the other? Software tends to have more resources to work with so handling it onboard isn’t always the best. But, with the advancements we’ve made over the years, even a video that has been stitched together on the camera itself will still look great; the biggest difference would be production quality versus viewing quality.

If you’re doing this for a professional situation (i.e. real estate, production video), then use software to handle the stitching.

Cost

And finally, we can’t leave out the cost aspect. We won’t stay here long, but you need to figure out your budget upfront. Some cameras can be bought for less than $100 and some cameras can be bought for a LOT more than $1000.

Depending on your needs and/or application of the camera, you can adjust your budget accordingly. One thing we really want to point out is … be willing to adjust up if necessary to get ALL of the features that you need and want. Purchasing a 360 camera is most likely going to be a one-time purchase. Therefore, don’t skimp on the quality and/or features only to be upset with the final product.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is 4K resolution?
A: 4K resolution generally represents either 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall (4K UHD) or 4096 pixels by 2160 pixels tall (DCI 4K). Both are considered 4K resolutions as they are “close” to the 4000 pixels wide mark.

Q: What is 5.7K resolution?
A: 5.7K resolution generally represents 5760 pixels wide by 2880 pixels tall. Again, the resolution number refers to the width of the image more than the height of the image.

Q: What is 8K resolution?
A: 8K resolution generally represents 7680 pixels wide by 4320 pixels tall.

Q: With 8K resolution being the best, why aren’t all cameras equipped to record in 8K?
A: Cost! The best equipment ALWAYS costs the most. Right now, 8K is the “gold standard” when it comes to image and/or video capture. But, it also requires higher quality lenses and components. As such, it will cost more until a newer, better technology replaces it.

Even so, most 4K images and/or videos will be more than sufficient for your needs. If you can afford a higher resolution such as a 5.7K or even an 8K device, then get it.

Q: What is FPS?
A: FPS stands for frames per second. A higher FPS (framerate) helps to reduce the time between the video images. Most television broadcasts have an FPS of 24. However, some broadcasts are sent out using a higher FPS which helps the video look more natural and flowing. Some cameras are capable of recording at 100+ FPS.

A higher FPS is more likely to be used for slow-motion capture as it can be slowed down without degrading the video quality. In this case, a 100 FPS video could be slowed down up to four times without causing any lagging or glitching issues.

Q: What is an “invisible selfie-stick”?
A: No, it’s not actually invisible. Instead, it’s a selfie-stick that is small enough to fit between the lenses of your 360 camera. In some instances, this is VERY small, which means you’ll need a super-strong, but thin selfie stick. Otherwise, the stick will show up in the video which takes away from the 360 effect somewhat.

Q: Why are some of my videos “laggy”?
A: This could be for a number of reasons, but most of the time it is because your computer does not have the resources necessary to handle the size of the images and/or videos. Another issue could be the quality of your memory card. If your memory card is not designed for high-transfer speeds, it could be the actual bottleneck.

Most of the time, lagging issues are from a bottleneck that is created from a lack of resources and/or an inability to match the speed required for the transfer (i.e. USB 1.0, USB 2.0, Older Memory Cards).

Q: How much video can be recorded on a 360 camera?
A: This depends on your record quality, your framerate, and the amount of memory that you have to work with. In order to maximize your record time, you would need to adjust the recording quality to the lowest acceptable setting, the framerate to the lowest acceptable setting, and buy the biggest (fastest) memory card that you can find for your device.

  • Note: The lowest acceptable rate is where you are still happy with the output of the image and/or video.
  • Q: Couldn’t I just use a normal camera with the right software to make 360 videos?
    A: You could … But, it requires a lot more work, effort, time, and specialized software. Not to mention, you have to have everything “near perfect” for it to work. A 360 camera is built to record everything properly so that there aren’t any issues with stitching so that the imaging looks crisp and fluid.

    Conclusion

    There are PLENTY of 360 cameras on the market, but not all of them are worth your time and/or money. Today, we’ve given you ten cameras that we feel are the best based on price, image and/or video quality, durability, ease of use, and other minor factors. Hopefully, we helped you find the perfect 360 camera. If not, you can use the buyer’s guide to help you narrow down your search time.

    360 cameras can be used for SO MANY different purposes. What used to be a gimmick is now a worthwhile feature. Realtors use it for 3D and full-home video walkthroughs. Automotive manufacturers use it for in-car viewing to help sell their cars. Virtual reality companies use it to help immerse the viewer deeper into the scenes. And home users can use it to show off their vacation on a completely different level. There’s no end to what a 360 camera can be used for.

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