Samsung Gear 360 4K Camera
Vuze 3D 360 4K VR Camera
LG G5 360 Camera
Capture everything around you, craft killer content, and push the boundaries of new-age VR and 360 video/imagery capture. 360 cameras are a full little tool to begin an amateur filmmaking career with, and some folks even use them as security cameras. The sky’s the limit: the world of 360 cameras is still young and yet to be majorly influenced. Picking one of the top eleven models on our list, you’ll be equipped to don the halls of history for 360 video capture and art: are you up to the task?
The Best 360 Cameras
Insta360 One 4K Video 360 Camera
The reigning champ of our list comes with the capability to take 7K stills, and 4K video. Insta360 took the cake on various accounts, bringing together an all-around value that nobody else was able to beat. Thanks to certain cinematic add-on features, you’re able to feel like a real-deal movie director. Utilize certain features, such as FlowState, to keep an even and balanced shot, even when you’re travelling on a bumpy road or hilly terrain. It comes with a few picadillos; for one, the app that works as a third method of photo and video capture, is essentially useless. It’s really lacking.
You’re not able to remove view from it, either, nor from the camera itself. You can connect via Bluetooth or directly from your phone, giving you a few different ways to play around with this. Give the appearance that your camera has been floating, taking all the shots from a birds-eye view, with the invisible selfie stick method. There’s a blind spot along the bottom of the camera, allowing you to utilize this lapse to create better cinegraphic images and videos. From price to execution, Insta360 stole our hearts, and delivered an epicly good time.
FlowState stabilization for consistent quality during movements
Supports the invisible selfie stick method
Three different ways to record: Bluetooth, phone connection, or manual
- Weight8 ounces
Excellent price for the level of quality
Includes multiple cinematic add-ons, such as SmartTrack, and more
Phone app support is severely lacking
No remote viewing; must plug in to review footage/photos
GoPro Fusion 360 Camera
You didn’t think we could do this list without GoPro, did you? The initial brand that got you up off the chair, and out in the sun with the perfect video capture program is at it again. Thanks to this little beauty, you get to instantly review your footage on your smartphone by using the Fusion app. Edit or share immediately, and get right back into the thick of it. Video quality allows for up to 5.2K, with 18MP dedicated for still shots. On top of it, you playback is immediately VR ready.
We talk more about the necessities of video cards in the buying guide below, but GoPro made their Fusion a little high maintenance in this department. You need two seriously high quality microSDHC cards just to get it to record anything, which can cost a pretty penny as an additional charge. On top of that, you’ll also see a voice control function that’s marketed online and on the box. In our experience, it’s basically useless. You’ll be using this in high-octane environments, and it can’t properly hear you. It works if you’re stationary, but then, there’s really no point, is there? Thanks to some of the editing features, you are able to take your 360 stills and pop them into flat shots, making them more user-friendly for your friends who aren’t into VR yet. Love this product? Check out our review of the best GoPro accessories to go with your camera.
Takes spherical 360 videos in 5.2K definition
Allows you to turn 360 stills into flat photos
Phone app allows instant playback; works well as a controller for on-the-spot editing
- Weight8 ounces
Allows playback in VR on the spot
Takes up to 18MP photographs
Needs two microSDHC cards at a time in order to function at all
Voice control function is essentially useless, especially in outdoor, high-octane situations
Ricoh Theta V 360 Camera
It may sound like a foreign land you’ve never heard of, but in fact, it’s the bronze medal recipient on our extensive list. The Theta V comes with a serious file compression system that allows for longer videos, or less high-functioning space on your microSD card. Either way, you’re earning value, or saving money. We’re a big fan of the on-the-spot remote playback function, allowing you to immediately see your shots without having to review them on a laptop or at home before you edit. Nobody wants to find out they travelled somewhere, got a shot, and it was garbage.
We love the video capabilities in 4K resolution, but still images are surprisingly low quality for the hype. Based on the higher cost, we were looking for a few group photos, but they ended up looking like a standard, low-grade smartphone photo. We personally recommend grabbing the underwater case if you’re into watersports or scuba diving, which still allows your four-channel microphone to pick up sound in a rich, evenly balanced way. The bottom line: it’s not fit for photographs, but produces voluptuous videos. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best waterproof cameras on the market.
4K video capture
Four-channel microphone for immersive sound capture
Qualcomm Snapdragon processor equalizes harsh/low lighting
- ModelRicoh Theta V
- Weight4.3 ounces
On-the-spot remote playback (the first camera to do so)
Uses less microSD data at only 50mpbs (we’ll explain later, but that’s low for 360 cameras)
High initial cost
Takes below-par still images; better off as a video-only camera
YI 360 VR Camera
Dual lens 360 cameras are among the most common used by outdoor enthusiasts, and YI 360 VR Camera is a shining example of why. Outfitted with the capability to record up to 5.7K video, this magnificent dual lens camera wipes away the competition. The built-in stabilizer function gives you immense control, even in a hairy situation, so you get the best shot every single time. The in-camera stitching feature supports up to 30fps, so you’re not missing a beat when you kick it on the playback setting. This was one brand to actually get the app aspect right, but it didn’t quite make up for the fact that the live streaming option is a bust.
It works half the time, and while live streaming still has many improvements to make before it’s fully viable (for common-use, non professional-grade items), we had hoped for a better touch on this function. Apart from that, you are looking at a slightly higher price than average, but don’t let that get you down; this camera is worth every penny, especially due to the high-density case with superior shock absorption, and protection from the elements. YI definitely earned an eternal spot on our watchlist, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Be sure to also check out our list of the best web cams for more great items like this.
In-camera stitching supports up to 30fps
Built-in advanced stabilizer system for clear, no-wobble shots
Useful YI 360 app for control
- Weight5.9 ounces
Ultra clear dual lenses; simple to keep clean, so you don’t see smudges on your playback
Stunning 5.7K resolution; you couldn’t ask for more
Live streaming feature is very taxing on the camera
High price tag
360Fly 4K VR Capable Action Camera
They’re not called 360Fly for nothing. This camera comes a lot smaller than you’d expect by looking at the cover image, but packs a serious punch that you won’t see coming. This camera’s built tough with a hard external shell, and a high-quality 4K video capture camera along the top. To be honest, the price shocked us; we had slightly lower expectations when it arrived, and were blown back by this little marvel. 360Fly even threw in some professional video settings right into the unit, including time-lapse, and some motion/audio activation settings.
All was going well, until we looked for the SD slot: it doesn’t have one. You’re limited to the internal storage, so you’ll have to frequently film and dump the data onto an external HDD or laptop storage, and pick up where you left off. On top of that, it is a bit light sensitive, meaning you’ll need ample lighting to get a clear, quality playback when all is said and done. It’s an excellent value for the price, and also has a waterproof case available for additional purchase (which we recommend). Our handy guide to the best GoPro alternatives features more great action cameras like this.
Capture 4K video up to 30fps
Professional ingrained video features, such as time-lapse, and more
Motion and audio-activated setting
- Model360Fly 4K
- Weight1.3 pounds
Excellent price; better quality than expected
Fantastically durable exterior shell
Does not come with SD slot; you’re limited to the internal storage
Requires ample lighting to give positive feedback
Kodak Premier Pack VR Camera
Kodak never went anywhere, they just stepped back from the disposable film business. They’ve put their heads together to develop a seriously stunning 360 camera – Kodak Premier Pack VR, giving you the best of both world, and a few added bonuses. For one, you get PIXPRO digital editing software, allowing you to expertly clip and snip your videos, while retaining a professional, expert vibe about your files. Low memory usage ensures longer film times, so you won’t be quite so restricted by switching out SD cards on a constant basis.
While the playback in 4K is excellent, you’re not able to view the 360 degree angle in the app-based preview; you have to look at the two separate 180 degree lenses at a time. Speaking of those lenses, they are fairly easy to scratch, which was a bit of a bummer for us. When we called Kodak, we were pretty shocked at how quickly the call was answered, and how top notch they were in customer support. From the useful app to the fair price, Kodak’s got everything taken care of. Point, shoot, and you’re good to rock and roll.
PIXPRO digital video editing software included with purchase
Stunning 4K video capture
Kodak wireless app works well for remote use
- ModelSP360 4K-BK3
- Weight3.68 ounces
Possibly one of the best customer support desks on the planet
Low memory usage (less than 80mbps)
Delicate; easy to scratch lenses
Awkward battery and SD card access when used with a tripod
Samsung Gear 360 4K Camera
Samsung is hailed as one of the best electronic companies across the globe, so when we saw this for the price, we had to dig to make sure it was for real. Samsung Gear 360 4K Camera captures in 4K quality, but in an odd turn of events, it does a better job with still shots than it does with video, capturing those in up to 15MP. You’re able to upload these videos directly to your Samsung VR, and enjoy the experience. This is especially nice if you’re sending video to a friend or family member back home, so they can join-in on your experience as soon as you upload it. And it is a great alternative to any travel camera out there.
Alternatively, the battery life on this is nothing to gloat about. It doesn’t come with a removable battery (due to the IPS3 waterproof rating), but does allow you to take a preview and even edit your footage in the all-inclusive Samsung app. This is an excellent 360 camera for beginners looking to get the hang of how to shoot in VR, while getting their feet wet to upgrade at some point in the near future. As a first generation product, Samsung has improved with higher-grade, more expensive models, but none that we found acceptable for this price range.
IPS3 water resistance rating
Preview/edit on the inclusive app
Dual 180 degree lenses w/ 15MP still shot capability
- Weight4.6 ounces
We couldn’t believe that any Samsung product would be this inexpensive; blown away
Upload these videos directly to Samsung VR and enjoy them immediately
Only 60 to 90 minutes of battery per session
Very slow transfer rate
LG G5 360 Camera
LG went out on a limb and provided an ultra inexpensive buy, just like the Samsung we talked about earlier. We’re near the end of the list, so the shortcomings will rise a bit; let’s get those out of the way first. There’s a resolution drop: you can only record in 2K, which doesn’t meet the standard that the competition has been setting. Apart from that, you won’t even be able to test the LG G5 360 Camera out unless your high-speed microSD card is inserted. For the lowest cost on our entire list, they’re a few issues you can weed-out of your day with proper planning.
On the plus side, you get near-perfect image cutting. Take a 360 image and split it into a flat, non-VR format to share with friends on social media, with relative ease. With a quick charge time of forty minutes, and excellent audio capture in 5.1 surround sound, you get an excellent look into the fascinating world of 360 cameras, giving you ample training for an eventual upgrade. LG’s customer support is, as always, on-point and ultra helpful.
5.1 channel surround sound video capture
Only takes forty minutes to charge
Take 13MP still images
- Weight2.72 ounces
Rock bottom cost
Super simple to split/lay images flat for non-VR or 360 viewing
Only records in 2K video; not meeting the bar set by the competition
Can’t even be activated unless there’s a powerful external memory card inserted
Ricoh Theta SC 360 Camera
Ricoh’s on the radar after reviewing the previous Theta model, so we decided to give the SC 360 a go – we were not disappointed. Thanks to the Theta app, you’re able to view and minorly edit your photos and videos on-the-go. Nobody likes looking to the playback, only to find that they never actually recorded anything; with the LED indicator light, you’ll know you’re good to go. On the internal memory side of things, it only comes with 8GB to get you going, but does respond pretty well to median-grade microSD cards, leaving plenty of space after initial five-minute recording segments.
One major issue that most 360 cameras face is lighting. Ricoh wanted to take care of that worry, so they added the F2.0 lens to give you more power in conditions that aren’t normally what you want to be recording in. For the cost, it’s a good value, although the power button does have some issues responding when the battery is low, which can be quite aggravating if you’re trying to get in one more shot before the battery bites the dust. But keep your portable power bank handy and you won’t have any issue.
Included app for on-the-go image and video editing
Bright F2.0 lens gives you more power in less-than-desirable lighting
Increased focus on still images
- ModelTheta SC – Blue
- Weight3.52 ounces
Decent file compression leaves more room on your microSD card
Helpful LED status light so you don’t think you’re recording, only to find nothing on the playback
Only comes with 8GB of internal memory
Difficulty with power button when power is below 30%
Vuze 3D 360 4K VR Camera
We wanted to explore a stereoscopic 360 camera that would live up to the standards, and Vuza didn’t disappoint. Their 360 4K video camera comes loaded with a friendly user interface, and an included VR editing, albeit it with the high associated cost. Any time you cross over from dual lens into stereoscopic, you’re going to run into a major price gap between the two. They placed top-grade stitching technology in this little beauty, keeping everything smooth and seamless from start to finish.
Vuze gives you access to an app for remote control and playback access, but it’s relatively useless. On either Android or iOS, it crashed multiple times before getting any real use out of it. It’s more frustrating than anything, leaving us in the dark a little bit, but ultimately, getting back to the desk to edit showed us nothing but excellent footage. The excellent thing with this is, you don’t have to be a Hollywood cameraman to make it work; point, grab your video, and you’re on your way.
3D 360 stereoscopic 4K video capture
Immediately VR compatible with popular online platforms
Top-grade stitching technology
- Weight1.1 pounds
Vuze VR Studio comes with the purchase; super easy to edit videos with
User-friendly interface makes it ready right out of the package
Very high cost
Included app is relatively useless
Detu Twin 360 Degree VR Camera
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but we wanted to leave you with one last epic camera to remember us by. Detu Twin isn’t widely known, but we believe that’ll change very soon. As one of the least expensive and portable options on our list, this travel-friendly model is the perfect hybrid between professional use, and user-friendly vacation video capture. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use this, and it comes with a fairly easy way to share your 360 videos with friends and family, allowing them to step into the same experience you just encountered.
On the flip side, you’ll need additional storage; it eats up memory very quickly. Photos on the sales page show attaching this to a DJI Spark drone, but that’s the last thing we recommend. It’s durable enough to withstand light drops, but nothing more. If you’re still not sure what you want in a 360 camera, continue reading through our comprehensive buying guide for more information on how to narrow down your selection, and get the 360 camera that’s perfect for you.
Ultra lightweight camera at barely over three ounces
Quick charging lithium-metal battery
Works as a live in-office video streaming device (ideal for virtual tours)
- Weight3.2 ounces
Automatic stitching through the app (one of the few decent 360 camera apps)
Instant share allows you to put your family/friends right into the moment, as if they were in your footsteps
Uses very high amounts of storage (88mbps+)
Thin case; not ideal for all image-marketed activities
360 Camera Buying Guide and FAQ
We had a lot of fun using all of these, but in the end, it gave us far more insight than we initially expected. We’re about to break down everything that makes these magnificent devices so valuable and viable, and discuss general practice and standard/common use. It’s Gear Hungry - you know we’re going to cover everything possible.
How We Chose Our Selection of 360 Cameras
There’s a lot to look at, but we broke this down after using these cameras, reading books on the matter, and attending some online classes on the technology behind the lens, and how to properly use it. There’s more than meets the eye, so this is how we narrowed it all down:
- Initial cost and life expectancy
- Brand reputation for strength
- Warranty information and policies
- Maximum resolution
- Stability while moving
- Size and weight
- Level of waterproofing
- Battery life
- File compression/time to download
- Number of lenses
Depending on these factors, as well as some features to look out for in the purchase process (which we’ll cover next), you’ll be able to pinpoint the perfect 360 camera for each one of your needs.
Features to Look For in 360 Cameras
Resolution - You’re going to see a lot of these in 4K or better. 360 cameras are designed to handle VR and high-resolution imagery, because you’re transcending an experience. Nobody wants to see low-res imagery in the most immersive digital media viewing experience to date.
Battery Life - These use up a lot of energy to fuel all the lenses, as well as any additional features it may have. Battery life will also impact how often and where you take it out that isn’t within the reach of an extension cable. If you’re planning on taking this hiking for a few days, you could always check out our guide on portable solar chargers to keep it going even when there’s no outlet in sight.
Design - We’re not talking about style; is it two lenses, or a wheel-style of lenses? Are these designed to take high-motion pictures during physical activities, or not? Consider all the possible shots and reasons, and ensure that the design lines up with your wants and needs.
Size - If it’s too bulky, it’s got to sit on a tripod. If it’s too small, you won’t be able to let it be sedentary. Figure out what your main reason behind getting a 360 camera is, and base the size you want off of that.
Weight - If you’re going to use it to capture anything physical, like parkour, skating, watersports, parasailing, and things of that nature, you’re going to want a weight that’s not going to fly off in the wind, but won’t tire-out your arm while you’re carrying out your task.
Waterproofness - 360 cameras are an adrenaline enthusiasts’ dream come true. If you’re going to hook this along for the ride on watersports or a killer white water rafting session, you’re going to need some stellar waterproofing. Users enjoy 360 camera angles on adventures to recap every little aspect of it later on.
Compatibility - They need to be able to take multiple memory formats. MicroSD and SD cards, possible USB flash drives, and more. Making them compatible with multiple devices (if the camera offs a remote control from the app), as well as numerous video editing programs and formats, will make your life a lot easier in the long run.
Added Features - Clipping into the phone or coming with enhanced sound equipment that’s apart from the norm, are all excellent little add-ons. While they’re not necessary so long as the primary camera function works properly, it’s still a nice way to upgrade your 360 camera.
Portability - Most of these models on our list are fairly portable, but there are older, bulkier models that raise some issues. Apart from that, you’ll want to think about how fragile it is, and how much you’re going to have to protect it during transit.
Tips When Using a 360 Camera
The insider scoop, tricks from the masters - whatever you want to call it, there’s a lot more that goes into shooting with a 360 degree camera than you’d think. These are some of the top tips to keep in mind to get the right panorama video shots, and killer photography that’s bound to look amazing.
360 Camera Tip #1: Never Enough Memory
It sounds more like a cautionary tale, but just understand that you can never have enough memory space for your 360 camera. Most models film in 90mbps or higher, since a lot of them come in 4K definition and above. If your microSD card or memory stick isn’t moving fast enough, your camera will simply stop recording after a few seconds.
360 Camera Tip #2: The Invisible Stand
If you don’t necessarily want to be holding the camera the whole time, you’re able to make it float like magic (at least, on the camera footage). Tripods won’t do the trick here. Instead, you have to get a stick-straight media stand, effectively hiding it in the camera’s one-and-only blindspot: directly beneath it.
360 Camera Tip #3: Pack Cleaning Cloths
The lowest amount of lenses you’re going to see is two; do you know how awkward it would be to see a smudge over half of the entire 360 scope? It happens more often than you think. Bring cleaning lenses, especially if you’ve gone with a wheel-design that has an absolute ton of lenses. When you’re working in 4K and above, every little detail is going to show.
360 Camera Tip #4: Distancing Yourself
The biggest mistake we see in 360-produced videos, is having objects or personnel way too close to the lenses. Nothing should be closer than two feet apart, otherwise VR users are going to have one hell of a time twisting and bending their necks, making the experience less enjoyable, and more constraining.
360 Camera Tip 5: Lighting is Everything
If you’re going for a professional caliber photo or video, the last thing you want is dark patches where you’re supposed to be showcasing whatever it is you’re trying to capture. Lighting is everything, but it’s also difficult if you’re trying to keep some movie magic going. If you notice, most of these 360 videos are taken in broad daylight, removing the need for artificial lighting and difficult setups.
Q: What is a 360 Camera?
A: These allow you to capture 360 degrees of video, giving the viewer the feeling that they’re actually right there with you. While advances in this technology field are still being produced every day, at the time of writing this, there are a few different models, some of which sport a collection of lenses on a wheel, while others stick to just a few in a cutting-edge way. 360 cameras are used in VR development, and in some cases, video game motion capture.
Q: Why do You Need a 360 Camera?
A: There’s an ever-emerging video platform online, and as it gets saturated, old content can be used again in a different format. 360 cameras offer a facelift to the video content community, which carves out a spot for you, if you’re keen enough to take it. 360 cameras are the next step in consistent video content.
If you’re getting this for more personal reasons than to be a content creator, you can still reap the benefits of this inspired tech. To get personal for a minute, it’s truly excellent to use these cameras, like it ignites your inner-child. They’re the next step for multiple reasons, but one that we’re truly stoked about is the ability to transfer experiences to someone else. Let us explain:
VR and 360 camera capture allows you to head on your next trip to a foreign land, or endure an event where someone else can’t be there (think wedding or something of the sort), and give them as much of a firsthand account experience as possible. It’s like putting the internet on steroids: we can all connect, we have been able to for a while, but now, we can share our experiences in the most cutting-edge way possible.
360 Cameras for Marketing
Since it’s still a newer technology and not fully integrated into the mainstream way that we view media as of yet, 360 cameras are a powerful marketing tool. While the world is getting saturated in video content for an ever-growing population of internet users, the clickthrough rating on 360 media is far higher than standard pictures and video.
It gives you a unique marketing opportunity to organically draw-in views, without having to push so heavily on advertisements and paid-for posts on social media platforms. There are still hundreds of millions of people who’ve yet to experience VR or 360 shots, making it a promised land for marketing videos and commercials. You have an opportunity to hop on the next digital media train; don’t let someone else take your seat.
The IP Waterproof Rating System Explained
We’ve covered IPX ratings in our portable Bluetooth speaker guide, but an IPS or standard IP rating is a bit different. We wanted to take a minute to shell it out, and explain the differences between them. As always, it’s best to get an underwater case for your 360 camera if you’re planning on capturing footage under the murky depths, but it’s also good to know what your camera can hold on its own.
- IP1: This will only protect your device from light water dripping from above
- IP2: See IP1, add 15 degree vertical tilt to device
- IP3: Water spray protection up to a 60 degree angle
- IP4: Simple protection from spray/splashes of water from any direction
- IP5: Decent protection against lightly pressurized water
- IP6: Slightly more protection from higher-pressured water
- IP7: Protects device when submerged up to three feet for a maximum of one half-hour
- IP8: Protects device beyond three feet of submersion for a maximum number of time specified by the manufacturer
Q: Why Are Some Products IP67 or IP68?
A: There’s an alternative IP system that measures dust resistance, on a scale of one through six. When you see a rating blend into IP67, for example, the first number (the six) is the highest grade of dust resistance available, while the eight registers the IP8 waterproof rating. It’s essentially stating that the device in question is super protected against both high levels of dust that could be harmful to your device, and the highest grade of waterproofing as well. It’s not indestructible, but pretty damn close.