Best 360 Degree Cameras to Buy in 2016
Today’s markets are flooded with a multitude of cameras to choose from. The 360-Degree cameras are the latest in-thing after the recent introduction of the virtual reality concept. Two types of 360-degree cameras currently prevail the market; the single-lens and the dual-lens.
The most striking feature of these cameras is their beautiful structure which makes them stand out. Now, you can shoot your own 360-Degree videos, capturing details from every angle and create amazing in-depth videos.
We have shortlisted nine of the top 360-degree cameras in the markets. Let’s look into each’s specifics and see which one sparks your interest:
Best Best 360 Cameras in 2017
|Picture||360-Degree Camera Model||Brand||Price||Our Rating|
|Ricoh Theta S Digital Camera||Ricoh||$$||5|
|LG G5 Friends 360 Cam||LG||$$||4.9|
|Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K VR Camera||Kodak||$$||4.8|
|Samsung Gear 360 Real 360°||Samsung||$$||4.7|
|360fly 4k 360 Degree Camera||360fly||$$||4.6|
|Kodak PIXPRO SP360 Action Cam||Kodak||$$||4.5|
|ALLie Home 360 Degree Camera||ALLie||$$||4.4|
|Nikon Keymission 360||Nikon||$$||4.3|
Buying Guide – 360-Degree Cameras
With a variety of cameras to choose from, the toughest decision would be choosing the right one for all your needs. There’s an ever increasing range of 360-degree cameras in the market, with the business going so strong in today’ economy.
These are available in a wide price bracket, and range from an easy on the pocket $199 and go up to the premium price of $5000!
Each camera has its unique design and functionality. Some make use of two all-round lenses for capturing the complete area without missing out on any blind spots or corners. While others come fitted with a single wide lens, and a round mirror to capture the entire area.
The strength and built of the camera are a very important point to consider too if you want it for outdoor photography.
Nowadays, these come with certain additional protective features which keep them safe from dust, water and damage due to fall.
Almost all these cameras include a tripod stand for easy mounting. They may also be used along with the selfie-sticks, other types of mounts and even remote controlled drones!
Plus, most of these cameras come with an app, for connecting with your smartphone, via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This enables users to easily edit, view and upload them on social networking websites like YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Types of Cameras
There are two main types of 360-Degree cameras:
The most widely used360-Degree cameras. These create a complete view by using several cameras for capturing various angles of the scene, whereby shooting the actual video through a single camera. The final image is stitched together combining all the camera views and the actual video to produce a complete all round video.
Usually, such a camera makes use of six cameras focusing on six different angles of the same field to create a 360-Degree image/video.
This type makes use of two cameras, i.e. it functions as the basic human two eye structure. It enables 3D viewing of the scene and based on what each ‘eye’ sees, it yields a complete 360-Degree view.
However, the monoscopic camera has a much better resolution and is most preferred by the photographers.
The Need of a Good 360-Degree Camera
Up until last year, people used to employ heavy, expensive and extremely professional cameras along with various software and computers to create impactful panoramic videos.
Since the markets got flooded with smartphones, all their features,apps, and hardware were made to fit the human palm. Furthermore, they became so affordable that everyone could finally own a smartphone. The same thing happened with these 360-degree cameras. Now, they are entrenching the markets so fast, that owning one is and will not be an issue at all in the future.
Now you don’t have to employ expensive photographers for your son’s birthday or a friend’s wedding. These small, compact yet amazing cameras have it all! Their results are not just photographs or videos, but they give the ultimate experience of the virtual reality. You can actually be a part of the whole event and relive whole the moment.
However, an important aspect to keep in mind is that these cameras give a horizontal 360-Degree panoramic view of the surrounding. The vertical areas are still left uncaptured. But, they can be catered for too; a camera which enables 360 * 180-degree view and image capture, can easily cover that.
However, the industry is still in the evolving phase, and new and better versions and models are coming up every month. Most of the work is also being carried forth in the movie making industry, where they are trying to give the viewer the best virtual reality experience possible with the best of technology.
What basic elements make a good Panoramic camera?
The main essential feature of any camera is the quality of the pictures/videos it yields. So, the first thing when deciding on an all around camera is the picture quality in terms of clarity, sharpness, and accuracy of the complete surrounding area.
Then, with today’s interconnected world, the next thing we want to do, is to share it with our friends and family. So, look for those cameras which offer ease of uploading, or connect with your phone and let you share pictures and videos on social sites like Facebook, YouTube, etc. quickly and with ease.
Here we discuss a few important points to keep in mind before buying a Panoramic camera.
- Image quality
The final image resolution is one of the key points to consider before deciding on a 360-Degree camera. The number of pixels usually determine the image quality of a particular camera. Higher the pixels, the more refined and sharp the image results.
Same goes for the video, the higher the resolution the camera offers, the better the video quality is deemed to be.
- Camera Lens
A very important factor. In order to judge how well the camera will be able to work with you and your creative shots, it is the best to know about the lens first. There are usually two lenses in a particular all around camera.
However, the more the lenses it uses the better the quality, as each lens has to work less hard.
You need to check the range as well as the shutter time and diaphragm to know how well it can adjust to your photography.
- Internal Storage
The capacity of the camera determines the number of photos or videos that can be saved on it. As with the cellular phones, the best 360-Degree cameras come with greater internal storage capacities.
A strong determinant of the storage is the quality of the camera; better quality images or videos occupy more space.
However, it may increase the overall costs of the camera. A good option is once which comes with the microSD card slots. These enhance the storage through the external memory cards.
- FPS (Frames Per Second)
The top class cameras are able to capture about 50 frames per second or even more. The best-suited cameras for you should be able to capture about 30 frames per second at least in order to shoot smooth, and good quality videos.
The lower tiered cameras could produce a stuttering or lagging video quality. These may have a frame capture of 15 seconds or less, which is a bit too low.
- Battery Life
Due to the heavy mechanism and processing, the Panoramic cameras consume the batteries much faster than the ordinary cameras. Go through all the battery specifications and evaluate your requirements before deciding on a camera.
A battery which lasts for about an hour, is the best option, though that may be a bit of an expense, but the convenience is worth it.
- Camera Size/Weight
Another factor is the size and weight of the camera. The more portable and compact the camera, the easily it can be carried around.
But always keep a check on the quality; never compromise on the quality of the camera for weight. It all actually depends on what you need it for.
If you are a frequent traveler and a heavier camera would actually lead to being burdensome for you then it’s better to go for the compact versions. However, if you use a tripod stand, the weight or size doesn’t matter. Again, if you are a mountaineer or an explorer of the rough terrains, then the shock and weather resistant cameras are the best choice.
However, since the newer technology is all about portability, most of these are fist sized and easily fit your hand.
To get the most out of your 360-degree cameras, learn about some pro tips and tricks here.
The all around camera enables you to capture the top quality spherical images. The main things to focus on is that the results should be clear, crisp, good quality, and should overall look amazing and give a great all around experience. Plus, ease of sharing on social networks, is an add-on to their features.
The following are a few terms which will help you get acquainted with these cameras and their functionality:
The basic mechanics employed in the functioning of the 360-Degree cameras is stitching. Two or more images, taken by each lens focusing on the scene at different angles, are stitched together within the camera or the smartphone application.
The better the quality of stitching the better the image quality. Images produced by poor quality or cheaper cameras could have apparent lines in the final photograph showing where the images were joined.
The more sturdy and rugged the camera manufacturing is, the better suited it is for the outdoors. Good quality, made for outdoor photography 360-Degree cameras have water, dust proof exterior, and lenses, to provide better protection.
- The 360-Degrees
Although these cameras are labeled as 360-Degree cameras, but some may have a limited view of the field. They may have the technology to take panoramic views but could be missing out on a few blind spots and of course, the space directly above or below the camera.
So, always check and even test the cameras to know how well they function, before making the final purchase.
Cameras for Different Categories:
- Beginner level
For starters or first-time users, it is the best to buy the lower cost models. These may cost a few hundred dollars but can be great for getting started on.
For instance, from the top 9 models, the Ricoh Theta and Samsung gear 360 are the best for a novel photographer.
- For advanced use
This includes the mid-ranged cameras. These are easily available in the market at around $600 and come with the 4K technology. It produces clear, crisp images and beautiful videos at a reasonable cost and includes other important features. For example, the Kodak PIXPRO SP360 is great for advanced level users.
- For Professionals
For all professional photography, the higher end Panoramic cameras are the best. Equipped with various features and water, dust and shock resistant, these cameras have the best of all features, including storage, image and video quality, and functionality, but at a higher cost. However, if you are a pro, and can explore all its options, you get good value for all the money spent.
Why should you buy a 360-Degree camera?
The following are a few points to consider, to know how an all around camera can be useful for you:
- Virtual Reality Technology: On your cell phones, PlayStation, the oculus rift, etc. the VR technology is so prevalent these days, that everyone is adopting it for various uses and content all over the world.
- Online uploads: Various websites are now using this technology as the latest and unique form of videos. You can shoot and share these unique videos, on all video hosting websites, such as the YouTube, etc.
- Cinematic projects: Since movie makers are looking for new and creative ways to showcase their cinematography skills, these latest cameras are the trend these days. Various new movie Directors across Hollywood are making full use of these cameras in their latest projects too.
- 360-Degree capture: Photographers who need an edge to their photography skills are now using these cameras to create a complete experience for the viewers. With these, they can capture a complete picture without missing out on any key details of the area.
How Long should the battery last?
If you want to use your 360-Degree camera for longer periods of time, for instance for a complete function or event, 24/7 surveillance, field motion video capturing, etc. having the battery dying is the most pestering thing to happen.
Battery life determines the actual number of shots or the video length that can be shot before a recharge is required.
The battery life is a very important consideration when buying the camera. Most of the options discussed above can last about an hour on the video mode. Some, however, are designed for surveillance or live streaming purposes. If you want a 360 camera as a monitor or to work for you for longer durations, a good option will be the Allie cam discussed above.
Can the 360-Degree cameras be used for surveillance purposes?
The panoramic cameras have gained importance for being a good option to act as surveillance cameras. They are the easiest to install, maintain and yield the best quality results. The resulting videos, give the broader perspective of the area, without missing out on any spot.
This has led to several traditional surveillance cameras being replaced with the 360-Degree cameras all over the markets. A single all around camera works better and costs much lesser than 3-4 cameras fixed at a spot for surveillance.
The best way to yield the maximum benefit from these cameras for surveillance purposes is to use these for the wide area surveillance. Whereas for the other areas below the camera or for getting the details such as facial features, number plate, etc., a few single lensed normal surveillance cameras should be installed to cover the whole area in a greater detail.
The camera industry is evolving and coming with a variety of options and newer, improved, versions on a daily basis.
Buyers now have a vast variety of cameras to choose from and look for the best of features, and functionality at the most reasonable price.
Virtual Reality Videos are the most in thing these days, and make use of various techniques and camera features. Now be it sports, day to day security, underwater videos or covering a wedding/birthday, these 360-Degree cameras add a unique touch and help build all around memories, making you relive the priceless moments time and again.
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