What is life without a 360-deg camera? In this multi-product review, we review & compare some of the best panoramic VR Cameras choices available in 2018.
Funbot 360 Degree Camera
The Funbot is at the lower price range for 360 degree panoramic cameras. With a 210° fisheye lens, it’s quite impressive, considering that it shoots full HD (1080p) video at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps. It also shoots 4MP spherical images.
There are three video modes, in fact: panoramic, flat and VR. Video can be uploaded to VR headset for a true 3D effect. It also has the option of timer shooting.
Battery life is good. The makers say “up to” 1.5 hours. We found it in the region of 75 minutes. The battery is 1400 mAh. But the device doesn’t come with a memory card. You have to buy one as well obviously. The good news is that it supports up to 128 GB (Micro SD Type 6 or higher).
It is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems and has built-in WiFi and sharing using SNS. It also features a noise-cancelling microphone. On the front, in addition to the camera is a shutter button and light for the shutter, WiFi, photo and video - so you know the state of play at all times.
The camera can be mounted onto a selfie stick via a ¼ inch screw hole. Connectivity is achieved through a Mini HDMI or Wifi, while charging is done through a micro USB. It comes with a charger and carry case.
VERDICT: Good piece of kit and excellent value for money.
Samsung Gear 360
Although designed for use with the Samsung Gear, this 360 degree video camera is compatible with iOS. It shoots 4K 360° video. Content can be live-streamed with Gear 360 and can be converted to standard video or photo format (five different viewing modes).
The kit comes with a Type C USB cable, strap, pouch, quick start guide and of course the camera itself. Battery capacity is 1160 mAh. As mentioned above, it is compatible with Android 5 or higher and iOS 10.0 or later. It works with a variety of memory cards.
The video and audio quality are good, and it is easy to use, a very shallow and short learning curve. It can even be used for night-time photography, using the time-lapse feature.
VERDICT: Very versatile, a big brand name
Richoh Theta V 360 Degree Spherical Camera
This 360° camera has similar specs to the Samsung Gear 360: e.g. 4K and live streaming. It also has both bluetooth and wireless LAN communication. Equipped with Three axis gyro sensors and three axis acceleration sensors, it can track its position on motion with ease. It also has "360°spatial audio" for greater audio realism.
Those familiar with the THETA S, will notice a marked improvement in the specs. Transfer speed is 2½ times faster for video and 3.2 times faster for still images.
Several things make this product stand out from the crowd somewhat. One is a remote playback function. Another is the 12-megapixel resolution. A third is its ability to record images in low lighting conditions. And yet another is the fact that the lenses are close together, ensuring that the “dead zone” is kept small. It’s ability to sense its own motion and orientation is another strength. And when using the time-lapse facility, it takes a picture every four seconds instead of the more usual seven. It comes with a carry case
The battery is charged by USB and can handle high-amp as well as low-amp connections without overheating. On the down side, it can only record for 25 minutes and you can’t add an SD card. Also, it has no image stabilization, despite having gyro and motion sensors. At this price it really ought to.
VERDICT: Left us wanting for more especially at the price it comes at.
Insta360 Nano Compact Mini Panoramic Camera
This 360 VR camera has one-touch sharing and live-streaming. There’s no need for separate export or manual stitching of images. The whole process is automatic
It is compatible with iPhone 6 up and clips neatly onto your iPhone (connecting via the lightning connector) to turn it into a 360-degree VR camera. When it is running the Insta 360 App while attached to the iPhone it shows you a preview of the live image and gives you total control of settings and modes.
However, it doesn’t have to be connected to the iPhone. It can be used as a standalone camera. When used in standalone mode, everything is controlled by a single button. A single press of the button switches it on. Pressing again (after two seconds) takes a still photo. If you want to record a video you press twice in rapid succession. And to stop the video recording, you just press again. Finally, if you want to take a picture with a 10 second timer, you press the button three times without pausing in between.
The resolution is impressive: 3040 x 1520 both for still images and for video at 30 fps. It has a MicroSD expansion slot that can take up to a 64GB memory card.