There are now a whole host of 360 degree cameras that won’t damage your wallet to much should you want to buy one. Here’s a list of the best out there starting with the cheapest:
LG 360 CAM
The LG 360 CAM is one of the most affordable cameras on the market. It has two 13MP, 200-degree wide angle cameras, more than several of its competitors. It shoots 2K video, has a 1,200mAh battery with 4GB internal memory, which can be increased with a microSD card and a 5.1 surround sound channel recording through three microphones. A waterproof housing is available.
The LG 360 Cam makes it easy and relatively inexpensive to capture 360 photos and video, but it only has simple editing and not many sharing options, plus It requires a microSD card that’s not included to work.
Samsung Gear 360
The Gear 360 2017’s older brother still one of the best affordable cameras you can buy. It can capture images at a massive 30MP via two 15MP sensors with fisheye lenses. Expandable memory, Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity are also among the camera’s key features. The Gear 360 is dust and splashproof. It does require you to have a Samsung smartphone of S6 or newer in order to work.
For the price you can now pick this camera up, its by far the best option for beginners. It still shoots the best quality still images of any of the affordable cameras. It’s easy to use and to transfer straight from the camera to phone and onto social media. It is a little on the bulky side though, so it’s not really pocketable if your looking at carrying it everywhere. The battery is replaceable, so you wont need to carry a bulky battery pack if your out all day, just a couple small spare batteries in your pocket.
With the Insta360 you actually have two options: The Air that works with Android devices via either USB-C or Micro-USB. While the flatter Nano is built for iPhones via Lightning. Both of them are built to quickly and easily create 360 videos to share and livestream on the social networks of your choice.
This is one of the most portable & convenient on the market. It’s a clever design and most importantly, it just works. You plug it in, take photos, upload, done. The quality of the output isn’t all that great though and the app is poor. If your concerned about image quality then the LG has the edge over this one. I have been impressed with the developers at insta listening and talking to owners and updating, adding new features via firmware on a consistent basis.
Two 190 degree ultra-wide angle fish-eye lense can shoot 23.88 megapixels, video at 3.5k (nearly 4k). Supports QC2.0 quick charge. It has IP67 rating for water resistance, which is splash proof. Built in 6-axis anti-shake stabilization. Being quite slim should mean it has very good stitching, though it does not have in-camera stitching. Instead, the stitching is via its app which is android & iOS compatible.
Available from Gearbest
This was a surprise out of the blue camera and with its specs, capabilities and developers support has become my current favourite. It’s not the easiest to use, but with it’s regular firmware updates, the developers have ironed out almost all of its floors.
The Giroptic iO 360 camera is an excellent compact camera that works by attaching to your phone. It is available with an iPhone and iPad-friendly Lightning connector, as well as Android USB-C or micro USB connectivity. It can capture 2K video, sitting behind ultra wide, 195-degree lenses with bright f/1.8 aperture. There’s also the option to take 4K photos, as well as livestream straight to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
It is compact, ridiculously easy to use, and affordable. There are 360 cameras out there with better resolution, bigger batteries, and more features. It looks to me like a koala hugging your phone. The Giroptic iO makes 360 video production effortless, affordable and perhaps most importantly, fun.
Ricoh Theta SC
Ricoh was probably the market leader for 360 degree cameras with the release of this. The Theta SC model lets you shoot 14 megapixels, video in 1920×1080 30 fps. You can also livestream your videos and transfer footage to a mobile without connecting to a PC. You can also buy a waterproof housing to shoot underwater.
I would however hold off if you were looking at buying this, as Ricoh have announced the release of an all new 4K version. The price of this model should then drop.
Samsung Gear 360 (2017)
Samsung’s new 360 camera and it’s actually cheaper than last year’s model was on its release. It has a grippable body, dual fisheye lenses up the 4K shooting resolution to 4096 x 2048. It can also shoot up to 15MP 360 images. The main feature though is it’s capable of livestreaming letting you beam your real time videos on Facebook or YouTube. You do need to have a compatible phone and there are functional limitations when using with iOS devices. You can get this camera at a reduced price when bought with the Galaxy S8.
My current number one choice. Now compact, easy to slip in your pocket and very easy to use. This is a great all rounder. The only thing missing for me is the ability to lengthen the shutter speeds for long exposures. For Android users, it only works on Samsung phones, while the 2017 camera works with the S6, if you use the S6 to stitch your videos, the resolution will be downgraded to 2K. A S7 or newer is needed to get 4K stitching on the phone. The IOS compatibility is still limited, but this has been improved with updates and i’m sure there’s more to come.
Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K
This one is splash proof and can record UHD content at 30FPS via an ultra wide 235-degree lens. They claim it can survive a 2m drop (with a drop cover) and extreme temperatures. You have the option to pair two PIXPRO SP360 4K cameras together for fully spherical content capture. A mobile app and stitching software come bundled with the camera.
The Kodak PIXPRO SP360 is cheaper option if you don’t mind sacrificing 4K quality.
I would hold off if you were looking at buying this, as Kodak have announced the release of an all new 4KVR360 version. The price of this model should then drop. In my opinion looking at the due specs on there website, I think this might already be out of date by the time it’s released. Let’s wait and see.
Nikon KeyMission 360
The KeyMission 360 is the first in what will be a line of action cams from the company. The camera has two lenses with 20MP sensors that can record footage in 4K with electronic stabilization. All stitching is done in camera, it’s waterproof to 98 feet, shockproof up to 6.6 feet and can be operated in temperatures as cold as -10c, 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are a few flaws, from accidental recordings, an unreliable app and poor stitching on the images. Video quality isn’t great either. For that price I wouldn’t look twice at it. Entry level 360 cameras do a much better job.
Garmin VIRB 360
This one has all the bells and whistles. It’s as rugged, waterproof to 10 meters and capable of withstanding high temperatures and comes with four built-in mics so you get spacial sound too. Shoots 5.7K/30fps unstitched, but the in-camera stitching will only stitch at 4K for now. 4K spherical stabilization ensures a smooth video regardless of camera movement. Built-in sensors provide G-Metrix data overlays in 360 degree augmented reality. They claim you can constantly record for more than an hour on one charge without overheating and of course you can livestream. You can even control it with your voice “OK Garmin, start recording”. It does come at a price though.
After seeing the specs and price of the forth coming Yi 360, I can’t justify the Garmins price tag. As much as I’d like one, i’m not paying that.
3 Coming soon I’M excited About
YI 360 VR
The first high-end, live VR camera for everyone, features professional-grade video quality at up to 5.7K/30fps in 360 degrees and 2.5k livestreaming check out www.yitechnology.com. It’s due for release in September
Price: $399 (£310)
They say it’s pocketable and easy to carry around, though to me it looks bulky compared to a Ricoh Theta.
Ricoh Theta 4K
Price: I expect it to be in the £250-£300 bracket.
This is the next camera i’m really eagerly awaiting in anticipation, If you can hang on and don’t mind spending around the £300 mark then I would hold out for this to be released. Probably in the autumn.
GoPro have been quiet since the announcement, releasing this sample footage.
Price: Im expecting this to be around £300-£500.
VRDL360 is set to be the first 360 camera that shoots 7K photos. The video is only listed as 3K which I think is a mistake. 4K should be the least spec of any new release from now on. Sample shots can be seen here, but they don’t look to be in 7k to me. A successful indiegogo project, but it remains to be seen if it can beat the likes of Ricoh or Xiaomi. They recently announced it won’t be supporting live streaming yet, which is another fail in my opinion. What was looking to be promising, now seems to be sinking and falling behind in the 360 race already. They have a lot of work ahead of them to compete and be worth the estimated price tag. It’s due out in September.
My number one choice to buy right now would be the Xiaomi Mi Sphere, this is by far the best all rounder currently out there and the developers are listening to feedback and adding new features all the time.
If you can hang on and wait though, then the new Ricoh should be up there with the Xiaomi.