The 5 Best Virtual Reality 360 Cameras 2017
If you’ve never seen a 360 video, you should. If you have, then you know how awesome it looks. Combine a 360 video with a VR headset, and you’ve got yourself a pretty rad experience. If you want to capture that experience and share it with your family, friends or even clients, then you’ll need a specially designed 360 camera.
Note: 360 and Virtual Reality (VR) is sometimes used interchangeably within the 360 industry.
If you’re ready to buy your first 360 camera then you’ve come to the right place. Below we unveil the five five 360 cameras currently available on the market, starting with the most popular 360 camera the Theta S Digital Camera by Ricoh.
Simplicity is beauty, and that is certainly what Rioh thinks when they made their Theta S 360 digital camera. With very basic functions and sleek design with matte black finish, Theta S is one of the more elegant devices on the market.
But Theta S is not only a pretty face. This camera is capable of shooting 14MP 360 panoramic photos, and films in full HD. The camera has very simple functions, but they can be expanded once you install the proper apps on your phone (iPhone or Android, Theta is compatible with both). The apps let you do a long exposure footage, and you can set your ISO and shutter speed as well.
The camera can also be used to live stream the videos if you connect it to the phone using a USB or HDMI cord. If used without the phone, Theta S has a very good internal memory that will allow you to store 8 GB worth of data on it.
- Simple, light, elegant.
- Good internal memory.
- Solid photo quality.
- Can live stream.
- Compatible with iOS and Android.
- Compatible with Google Street View app.
- Worse video quality than the other cams on the list.
Coming for the most competent VR specialist on the market, we have the Samsung Gear 360 camera. This billiard ball-sized eyeball is one of the most powerful and ubiquitous devices for creating 360 footage on the market. It doesn’t come cheap, but it is more than worth the money you will invest in it.
Samsung Gear is a stellar camera. It shoots 30MP photos with its twin 195-degree fish-eye lenses, and makes nearly 4k quality footage. With this little device, you can make the 360 video, then connect to your Galaxy S7, crop it, edit it, and immediately send it off on its merry way to Facebook, Youtube or wherever else you like. The camera also offers a few modes like time-lapse or looping videos.
The only remarks we could find about this device is that it is a bit heavy, so we advise you use it with the miniature tripod that also doubles as a grip. The camera is also compatible only with S7, although you can use it with earlier models.
- Beautiful 30 MP photos and nearly 4k videos.
- Instantly edit videos on your S7 phone.
- Sturdy, water and dust resistant.
- Heavy and bulky.
- Only compatible with S7 (although you can use it with some other Galaxy phones).
Our first item is this extremely elegant LG 360 CAM. Originally a part of LG G5 phone “friend” pack, the LG 360 cam is able to be used with iOS or Android phones.
So what can you expect from this camera? This is one of the more affordable such cams on the market, but this does not mean that it is of lower quality. LG 360 cam is one of the most reliable cameras on the market, and one of the most amazing.
The camera offers two solid 12 MP lenses. The lenses have a very wide viewing angle, rated to 200 degrees, which is more than enough to account for a 360-degree shot. The camera can take stills as well by pressing the button, and it starts filming if you hold it. It films in 2k, which is still very good, and the picture will be crisp and clean. LG 360 also captures amazing quality sound, 5.1 channel surround.
The camera can also be used with LG’s VR headset. The footage you make will be stored in the device’s 4GB internal memory, and you can have a microSD card in it as well. The memory card is not provided.
The device is also able to upload the footage to Youtube360 where you can view it, and edit it for the VR headset.
- Relatively affordable.
- Good quality video and sound.
- Compatible with iOS and Android phones.
- Compatible with VR headsets.
- Does not come with a microSD.
- Occasional software glitches.
Next up, it’s the Insta 360 Nano camera. This device has been dubbed the smallest 360 camera on the market today, and we have to agree with that moniker. The camera is but an appendage to the iPhone 7, 7+ and iPhone 6 series, and it is really rad. It captures stunning photos, and, because it is attached directly to your phone, you can upload the photos directly and immediately.
The Insta Nano 360 also sports two lenses, with an even broader view than LG 360 (210 degrees), and shoots in higher quality (3k). Naturally, the footage made by this camera can be used in conjunction with Oculus Rift and other VR headsets. Like we said, the camera is compatible with iOS, but the bad thing is that it is compatible only with iOS, and you can’t use this device with your Android phone. In addition to the camera being used with the phone, you can use it on its own, in which case you can use a microSD card to store your footage.
- 3k quality video.
- Excellent dual 210-degree fish lenses.
- Compatible with VR headsets.
- Very small and easy to use.
- Can take on a microSD card.
- Does not come with memory card.
- Only compatible with iOS.
Our final product for today is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 camera. Canon is a well-established manufacturer of great photo gear, and PowerShot is no exception.
The camera has very slender and minimalistic design. It is rather small and light, making it a great portable camera. The device has a single wide-angle lens, and, using the panoramic shooting mode, you can create 360-degree footage. PowersShot 360 isn’t a 360-degree camera per se, but its great wide lens is more than capable of performing the task.
The device can take 20MP stills, and features the DIGIC 4+ image processing technology, delivering clear and vivid footage. The camera’s video mode isn’t as great, as it shoots only in 1920×1080 resolution. Even so, the video you will shoot is very clear and crisp.
Canon PowerShot 360 also features Wi-Fi, and it can connect to both iOS and Android.
- Small and lightweight.
- Uses DIGIC 4+ image processor.
- 20.2 MP stills.
- Compatible with iOS and Android.
- Relatively low-quality video.
All in all, what you have here is a few very decent 360 cameras. If you’re thinking about making such videos, now is the time to act – look through these beauties and select the one that’s most appealing you and the most attuned to your style, and you won’t regret it.
If you're on desktop, click and drag your mouse around the video screen. If you're on a phone or tablet, move the device around you. For the best experience view with the official Youtube app, plug in some headphones and watch on Google Cardboard!