The Best 360-Degree Camera
A 360-degree camera is great camera to use and if you want to capture the full view f summit on the Half Dome or you take in all of the surroundings architecture in the Piazza San Marco in Venice and share your experience on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube so that your friends can pan around a scene and fully be there in the moment and after reaching the best 360 degree camera for 2 days testing four top contenders we think Ricoh Theta S is the best and affordable for you and its user-friendly entry point into the rapidly developing new category of photography.
The best 360-degree camera for most people
The Theta S is very comfortable and handheld design, simple operation, and dual lenses for full 360-degree coverage make the Theta S a great all-around choice.
The Ricoh Theta S is one of the easier to use the 360 degree cameras in the market thanks to its clear status icons and comfortable feel which make it capable of more advanced shooting modes but the most important part is using it is literally as simple as just pointing and shooting with the big button in the middle of the device. Sharing your images and videos is easy than ever before in this 360 camera the WIFI connectivity lets you to adjust the capture settings and trigger the camera remotely from iOS or Android device which let you using straight forward apps. While its two ultra-wide-angle lenses cannot be shoot in 4K resolution and they do capture a great looking still video with a better color accuracy than rivals
2. 4K video and built for the outdoors
A single-lens design limits the 360fly to a 240-degree vertical view, but this compact and water-resistant camera shoots 4K video and stores GPS data.
If you are willing to spend more for 4K video along with dust and water resistance to go with your all weather outdoor lifestyle than we suggest you 360fly 4K with additional upgrades comes over our top picks to include a built in accelerometer ,electronic compass, gyroscope and non-assisted GPS and with the eight times more internal memory. Its single lens design only to capture 240 degree of vertical visibility which means that resulting video and image will either be missing a chunk of the sky or ground which is also annoying that the capture button only works for starting the video recording and shooting still photo requires the opening the app.
For Samsung owners
You’ll need a recent Samsung phone to get the most out of it, but the Gear 360 offers very good image quality and the best external controls of the models we tested.
The Samsung Gear 360 would have been our top pick and if not for its limited compatibility it works with only a handful of recent Samsung phones which the Gear 360 offers better image resolution than the Ricoh Theta S which compact a two lens design that lets you to change the setting and shooting modes directly without connected smartphones. A removable battery and memory means you can swap in spares as needed and then included tripods/handgrip which is more useful and well designed. In May Samsung released a redesigned Gear 360 with support for iOS device
4.Giroptic iO 360-Degree Camera
The Gitoptic iO 360 degree camera is an compact pick which work by attaching to your smartphone and its available with an iPhone- and iPad also with friendly lightining connector as well as USB-Cor micro USB connectivity. The gadget canalso capture the 2K vdideo at 30 fps via a duo sensors which sitting behind ultra wide, 195-degree lenses with bright f/1.8 aperture and there is also an option to take the 4K photos as well as stream and easily connect to Faceook, Youtube and Twitter
5.Insta360 Air 360-Degree Camera
This new Insta 360 Air camera is easily affordable and has been designed to work with the latest Android smartphones via USB-C connection and with a lightweight compact device which can capture 2K video via a duo of sensors with 210 degree fisheye lenses.There is also the option to capture the 369 degree photo with 4K resolution the content can capture easily and shareable on Facebook, Youtube and other major platform
Table of contents
- Why you should trust me
- Who should buy this
- How we picked
- How we tested
- Our pick
- Who else likes it
- Flaws but not dealbreakersA 4K upgrade
- Also great, for iPhones: Insta360 One
Why you should trust me
I have written articles and blog about photography for nearly 5 years and about video editing and technology in general for longer than that and outlets including The settle times and other venture also i have written titles in the snapshot series and many other titles to take control books which include the two volumes to take control of your digital photos on a mac.
Who should buy this?
Much photography is a documentary a visual way to say that ” I was there and here’s a small slice of what i saw and you can show an incredibly beautiful slice which you can easily capture several slice which gives the viewer the impression of what that scene was like and it’s not the same as experiencing the entire moment.
The appeal of 360-degree camera is the ability for the viewer to see not to just what’s in front of them but the entire visual sphere of that location . 360-degree cameras images and videos are enable the viewer to have a look around independently ,whether that’s by dragging within the picture window in an app or an computer screen or by moving it to their body while holding the phone or some tablet which can registered the place in 3D space.
When you wear an inexpensive Google cardboard Google’s or more advanced VR gear the experienced you recorded become fairly immersive.
This type of recordings is not the new that strapped into nine motion picture film cameras together in the 1950s to create the circle version 360 but the technology is allowing you to do this with a device that fits in the palm of your hand and ways to use 360-degree cameras are still evolving but here are some of scenarios which lend themselves to this kind of shooting
As an action camera. First-person video is thrilling when the camera is strapped to someone crazier than you. GoPro clips of acrobatic snowboarders, surfers, or fighter pilots gives viewers a peek into situations they’d never try themselves. Video footage from a 360-degree camera expands that adrenaline rush even more dramatically.
As a mounted camera. Attaching a 360-degree camera to a tripod, monopod, or selfie stick lets you capture a sense of place in a way that traditional devices can’t. Hike to the top of a mountain and let viewers behold the landscape’s splendor, or set up the camera and leave it running at an event amid a lot of activity.
As a POV camera. One of the big differences between shooting with a 360-degree camera and a traditional camera is that you’re almost always going to be in the shot. You can’t hide behind the camera when everything around it is recorded. This situation presents plenty of point-of-view options for people who actively want to be the star of their show. It’s a hyper-modern reinterpretation of the selfie.
How we picked
The Best 360-Degree Camera
How we tested
We look the camera on vacations to Disneyland and we used them on everyday in and around seattle and in addition to the testing which ease of use and image quality viewing results on computers mobile devices and the cardboard VR viewers which we looked at the post to capture process and editing the using dedicated apps to share on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and other outlets that support 360-degree viewing.
To break out from that pipeline however we introduces complication. Editing an image in an external application like photography or cutting together all multiple video clips into one movie which can remove the metadata which identifies the media aas 360 so it display as flat image rather than a sphere which necessitating an external step to reintroduce it and you cannot assume that every outlet knows what to do with the end results .Facebook displays the image correctly for example but as of this waiting, Facebook owned Instagaram does not.
The best 360-degree camera for most people
Ricoh Theta S
We think the Ricoh Theta S is the best all-around choice for 360 degree camera its two lens capture a true 360 degree sphere which view with the good colors flfelity sharp image quality in still photos and to pleasing the video quality which is limited to 1080p resolutions.
The camera is comfortable in the hand and easy to carry and use on its own but it can also be controlled from a smartphone app and editing and sharing clips is so easy to understand by a simple process something we could not say for some of its rival. The Ricoh Theta S was the camera we reached for first when going out to shoot footage.
The Theta S uses two 12 megapixel sensor which paired with ultra wide 240 degree lenses and in order to create 360 degree footage both the horizontal and vertical axes. It grabs nearly all of that image and hiding only the camera itself and splices the captures from each lenses into one seamless 14 megapixel image or 1080p video
.The result of the camera is technically still a flat image but when viewed in the Theta S app or in some outlets such as Facebook, YouTube can effect like you are standing where the photographer stood. Why look out over vista when you can see every view from the top of the mountain
In the daily use we find that Ricoh Theta S delivered the good color reproduction which is in range of lightening conditions images and as well as the video shot in low light setting look pretty good. In fact wen especially viewed on mobile screens or browsers window actually we preferred the overall image quality of the Theta S 360-degree over its high resolution rivals.
For more challenging conditions when shooting still the photo the Theta S app on your mobile offers exposure compensation adjustment which shutter the speed and ISO priority modes which fully manual the mode to control the settings directly.
Several white balanced presets are available to tweak the scene’s color temperature. Each video can be continues playing for 25 minutes.
Our under-appreciated aspect of any photography is the tool how it feels in the hand and which apply to 360-degree cameras too. The Theta S is around a half and as wide as an iPhone and twice thick and 5.2 inch tall with 1.7 inches wide screen which is small enough to act as secondary camera while on the vacations without getting into the way and its slightly grippe under the surface and shape of rectangular which is very easily to grab and operate. And while the Theta S is not designed as an action camera it can attached to any mount that has a standard tripod screw.
The Ricoh Theta s buttons layout which lets you to shoot either still or video without having to fire up its app from your phone with our upgrade pick, capturing a still image can be only done via the app and there are also buttons for activating the Wi-Faradic to turn it on or off. The LED indictors on the Theta s face tell you at a glance which mode you were in and whether the Wi-Fi is enabled which is very helpful.
The Ricoh Theta does not provide an industry standard CIPA battery rating life but it estimates that you will get 260 exposures before the Theta S which need to be recharged that take a little saying breakfast will last for eight pancakes without knowing how big they are or how fast you eat and when the shooting mostly tills we found that battery power was usually not an issue which is being out and about during the day.
Using this app to direct action will cut into the battery life, though because it’s using the Wi-Fi radio extensively .Shooting is stills from your phone which presents a low-resolution live preview of the scene which can drain your mobile phone’s battery more quick and the battery life is much more limited when you are shooting a video. We have got about an hour’s worth of footage on a single charge.
The nature of Theta 360-degree imagery means that some of the post-capture steps is needed to be taken in order for the results to be viewed properly. The shots themselves are just JPEG and Mp4 files which sprinkled with a little metadata which identifies them as 360-degree videos which needed to be handled in a special way by an app or social media site
First of all you need to get the footage off the camera. The Theta’s mobile app transfer data over the WIFI and for videos this can take some more time which consumes a lot of storage and tie up your phone for the duration because this app ask you not switch away from it during transfer.
Copying a 1 minutes, 10 seconds video over the Wi-Fi to an iPhone 7 took 3 minutes and 46 seconds and you can also plug the camera into a computer via USB and copy all the files there
Wi-Fi setup is straightforward using an iPhone and after pressing the Theta’s WIFI button and selecting the Theta in the phone setting menu.
We were asked to enter the password which is the camera serial number that is printed on the bottom of the Theta and no poking through documentation which is looking for an admin password and then you can change the password in the app if you want.
During the testing we had no troubles to connect the camera wireless network using the Wi-Fi controls.
By viewing photos and videos in the app gives you the immersive experience of being in the scene either by swiping to explore the 360-degree or relying on your phone accelerometer to pan the scene in the direction you move from the phone.
If you want to edit the footage separate the Theta+ and Theta+ video app which let you to add the filters and sticker and the text for still image or filter and music for the videos. You can trim the video footage as well. In both app you can create the cropped shots which change how the image is wrapped
Since the still photos are just flat images they can also be adjusted in any editor by editing video can sometimes trickier. If you want to cut the several video clips together into a sequence you need to take it to an outside video application .Adobe premiere pro and Apple final cut pro is now recognize 360-degree footage which can be accommodated so you are not working with a stretched rectangle which contains the entire image while editing.
Who else likes it?
Flaws but not deal breakersA 4K upgrade
Flaws but not deal breakers
The most of the obvious limitation of Theta S is its lack of 4k video and a feature which users are coming to expect or any type of camera they can buy and keep in mind however the way most viewers are going to experience your footage we compressed in a browser window or viewed on a mobile device which rather than watched on 65-invh 4K TV which includes the 8GB of memory which holds about 1600 still photos or an hour of video footage which would be nice to have more overhead or a slot to use interchangeable memory cards.
The 360fly 4K for example is loaded with 64 GB of memory and the Nikon key mission 36o, The Samsung Gear 360 and Insta 360nano which all accept the micro SD cards that you can swap out when they fll up and another benefit if this camera is the removable cards which you can also transfer the image much faster than your WI-FI by using a compatible card reader which connect to the mobile devices or to computer via USB.
A snag can arise when expiring the finished work and some apps strip information from the file which identifies it as 3600degree clip to service such as youtube,facebook and many other sites and after the black and white image above we edited in photos for Mac ,Facebook identified it correctly as 360-degree image but the Flickr displayed it only as a flay scene.
When that happens have to use third party utilities which write about of specialized metadata to the fire so the clip will also display properly. In this case the black and white shot needed to identifies its projection type attributes as equirectangular before the Flicker would rendered it properly by adding that data was not difficult but it was still another step that had to be taken
Also great, for iPhones: Insta360 One
Fantastic editing features and software for iOS
This offers software with a bunch of clever tricks not found in our other picks, but image quality isn’t quite as good, there’s no Wi-Fi, and it’s ions-only.
If you have any recent tablet or Apple phone with a Lightning connector: the insta360one offer you many cool features over the Theta V and its about 30 percent cheaper. Like Ricoh Theta has additional photo resolution:6912*346 vs 5376*2688.
It also add image stabilization video mode bullet time and the same clever editing software as the high-end 360 camera which let you to make 1080p video by using the best part of your spherical capture.
The image quality is very good and decent overall , but colors are a bot less noisier and vibrant when compared with what Theta V produces. The stabilization is a huge plus to this camera.
Stabilization works for photos too and you can hoof the iPhone at any angle. And it wills adjust automatically so photo is level. Its handy trick. The bullet time feature is pretty neat as well by recording the videos at 120 frames per second. You can slow the normal motion down significantly.
Attach a string or lanyard to the one and spin it around your head and it look like the camera is sweeping around Neo as he dodges bullets in the Matrix, sort of it. It takes a few tries to get the right and we doubt you will use it much, but it’s cool when it works.