What is a 360 camera?
A 360 camera allows you to take immersive, spherical photos or videos where every angle of the scene is recorded at the same time. This means it comes as either a rig that holds multiple cameras covering all angles, or a standalone camera with multiple camera lenses embedded in the device. 360 cameras come in two types: monoscopic and stereoscopic but most cameras are Monoscopic so I’ll focus on them. The term stereoscopic means it’s shooting 3D in 360 degrees. You all remember that 3D fad that died out recently.
The appeal of 360-degree cameras is the ability for the viewer to see (and often hear) not just what’s in front of you, but the entire visual sphere of that location. 360-degree images and videos enable the viewer to look around independently, either by dragging within the picture window in an app or on a computer screen, or by moving their body while holding a phone or tablet that can register its place in 3D space. When you wear an inexpensive pair of Google Cardboard goggles or a VR headset, the experience you record becomes very immersive.
What 360 cameras can I buy?
There are a whole range of cameras. I have listed them starting at consumer and going through to full professional.
Equipped with a resolution of up to 14.4 megapixels, two f/2.0 maximum aperture lenses that are specially designed for its enhanced and enlarged image sensor, and a new Manual shooting mode, the Ricoh 360 camera produces sharp, high-definition spherical images that offer a wealth of detail. It’s one of the best 360 cameras for low-light shooting, thanks to the camera’s manual control, which allows you to use long exposures using a shutter speed of up to one minute.
As for video, the Ricoh 360 can capture up to 25 minutes of full HD 1080p footage at 30fps.
Other features include a built-in internal memory of 8GB (which can store 160 full-resolution photos or approximately 65 minutes of video) and a new remote live view feature that enables you to preview your images on your smartphone.
Video live streaming is also possible through the Ricoh 360’s built-in HDMI type-D or micro USB port.
- Image resolution of 14.4MP
- Video resolution of up to 1080p Full HD at 30fps
- Two f/2 lenses
- Two 12MP 1/2.3″ sensors
- ISO sensitivity of 100 to 1600
- Shutter speed of 1/8000 to 60 seconds
- Auto, shutter priority, ISO priority modes for still images
- 8GB internal memory
- Built-in WiFi, HDMI D, micro USB, and USB 2.0
The Samsung Gear 360 gives you 15 MP photos and 4K video with four times the resolution of regular HD, and all in a design that fits in your pocket. Dual 180-degree lenses work in tandem to provide a seamless 360-degree picture. The ergonomically designed unit is easy to hold and is water resistant, making it perfect for the beach, road trips, outdoor festivals or anywhere you might want to take it. Seamless sharing with Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, you can upload your Gear 360 experiences straight to Facebook, YouTube, and Samsung VR.
When paired with the Samsung Gear VR, you’ll be immersed in the interactive experience!
- 15 MP 360 still image
- Dust and Water-resistant
- 4K Video
- Wifi Direct
- MicroSD card up to 256 GB
What sets the Kodak PIXPRO 360 degree camera apart from its contemporaries is that it has just one uniquely designed 360-degree lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. Along with a 16-megapixel MOS sensor, this camera produces crystal-clear HD photos and videos with vivid color and impressive clarity.
This 360 cam also has a handful of convenience features such as motion detection capability, which allows you to control the camera hands-free, and an easy access button that enables you to transcribe and upload your video to YouTube in an instant.
It also has a companion mobile app which allows you to control the device through tethering.
Though it comes with a clear external housing for added protection, the Kodak PIXPRO 360 camera is dustproof, freezeproof, shockproof, and water-resistant—which makes it ideal for content creators who need a rugged 360 camera that can withstand unpredictable conditions.
- Image resolution of 10MP
- Video resolution of up to 1080p Full HD at 30fps
- One 8.25mm f/2.8 214-degree lens
- One 17.52 MP 1/2.33″ MOS sensor
- Multiple viewing and shooting modes
- Built-in electronic image stabilization
- Built-in WiFi, NFC, HDMI D, and USB Micro-B
- Shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof, and splash-resistant
LG 360 Cam
This 360 cam from LG is ideal for beginners thanks to its simple controls and easy-to-navigate companion mobile app. It also offers the flexibility to shoot non-360 degree images.
Each of the two built-in lenses has an angle of view of 200 degrees to provide enough coverage for the creation of a spherical image. It can produce a 16-megapixel 360-degree image and a 2K resolution video.
Storage-wise, it can support up to 2TB microSD.
- Image resolution of 16MP
- Video resolution of up to 2K
- Two 13MP 200-degree wide-angle lenses
- Three microphones
- 5.1-channel surround-sound recording
- 9-axis inertial motion sensor
- Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth
The Nikon KeyMission 360 is an adventure camera with two 180-degree lenses that combine to capture all directions simultaneously in a stitched 360-degree image that can be played back and explored on a smartphone or tablet. It captures interactive 4K videos in camera, has electronic vibration reduction, and is waterproof to depths of 100 feet as well as shockproof and freeze-proof.
- 2 f/2.0 lenses
- 2 20mp CMOS sensors
- Auto in-camera photo and video stitching
- Stereo mic built in
- Electronic Vibration Reduction
- Waterproof to 98 ft, shockproof and freeze proof
- Remote access & control via iOS, Android
GARMIN VIRB 360
The Virb 360 is Garmin’s first 360 camera, but it gets almost everything right. The camera does a great job at stitching sharp and vivid 4K video, it’s waterproof to 30 feet, and it can be controlled using voice commands. Plus, data from built-in sensors (GPS, barometer, compass, etc.) can be overlaid into your videos, so you’ll know just how fast you were going when you wiped out.
With up to 5.7K/30p video, resolution is one of the top features. There is no other 360 camera out there that offers this sort of resolution at a consumer-friendly price. It is worth mentioning the two video streams are recorded at only 60Mbps each, so while the Garmin’s resolution is impressive, video quality may not be the best.
The Garmin VIRB 360 will offer in-camera stitching of its two lenses at up to 4K, with higher resolutions resulting in un-stitched video requiring further processing in post. Speaking of lenses, the camera features strengthened glass optics that can easily be replaced thanks to its tool-less design — a great feature on a camera of this kind.
In terms of audio, the Garmin VIRB 360 features four microphones that allow you to capture immersive 360-degree audio. In addition, the camera is compatible with Bluetooth microphones, as well as other accessories and sensors from Garmin to record all sorts of data related to your activity.
The free software also allow you to 1-click stabilise footage in up to 4K resolution, as well as edit and share to social media.
If you are professional photographer or videographer looking to get into 360 photography the 8K-resolution Insta360 Pro camera is designed for shooting 360 videos that can be displayed with virtual reality headsets. The camera can capture 3D images and videos and is also suitable for live streaming.
Insta360 Pro uses six independent high-definition lenses and captures 60-megapixel 360-degree 3D stills in both HDR and RAW formats. When recording 4K video, the camera supports up to 100 frames per second. In addition, the VR time-lapse mode adds a new dimension to videos, and the live preview function allows users to get the best angle before shooting
- 360 + 360 3D Imaging, 8K Ultra-High Definition
- Optical flow image stitching: seamless, dynamic, precise.
- 60% bandwidth reduction for smooth, efficient live-streaming.
- Using cube map projection and H.265 compression, creators can cut bandwidth needs by 60%.
- Stay steady with advanced real-time image stabilization.
- Capture Stunning slow-motion with 100fps High-Speed Shooting mode
- Lasting power: 5000 mAh removable battery. Shoot and charge simultaneously.
If you’re looking for the best 360 camera for live streaming, the Orah 4i Live is your best bet.
This premium camera was specially designed for the creation of superior quality VR content. It has four 8-element fisheye lenses with maximum apertures of f/2 along with four Sony EXMOR image sensors that allow you to capture 360 videos and images even in poor lighting conditions. The camera’s professional-grade optics also reduce lens flare and distortion, resulting in ultra-sharp output with the highest image quality and clarity.
In addition to recording both live and post-produced videos in 4K at 30fps, this 360 camera has built-in image stabilization and a unique Ambisonic 3D sound capture capability that gives viewers impressive content that is not just eye candy, but a feast for the senses as well.
The Orah 4i also has a thermally-efficient, all-metal body that allows you to use the 360 video camera for extended periods of time without overheating.
- Capture resolution of up to 4K UHD at 30fps (for each eye)
- Ambisonic 3D audio capture at B-format
- Four 8-element f/2 fisheye lenses
- Four Sony EXMOR image sensors
- Four high-frequency range microphones
- Equirectangular projection and FOV of 360-degree (full spherical)
- VahanaVR-based processing software and real-time video stitching box
- Built-in stabilization and horizon correction
- 120GB M.2 SSD internal storage
- Built-in Bluetooth, WiFi, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5 mm mic, and headset
GoPro’s Omni is a 360 camera rig designed for six GoPro cameras, it’s made out of aluminum and similar to the size of a Freedom 360 Explorer. Unlike other 360 GoPro camera systems, Omni has it’s own central control unit the cameras plug in to. All of the camera settings are slaved to one unit and, when you start recording, they all start synchronized and are genlock synced, eliminating the need for audio sync or motion sync in post, and making stitching (sometimes) easier due to the accurate sync. It also has a port for an external battery pack, the kit battery supplies up to 3 hours of runtime.
It’s also important to mention that the Omni is not waterproof, and offers no waterproof option.
- GoPro reliability
- you have to stitch in post
- designed to work seamlessly with Kolor
- You can buy the rig with or without cameras