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Major social networks like Facebook and YouTube support 360-degree content. These images let viewers look into any direction and not just a single, fixed point. Besides, YouTube now supports 4K live streaming for 360-degree videos. A sign that this format is poised to grow.
But you don’t need professional multi-camera rigs and spend thousands of dollars to shoot your own 360-degree images. There are a lot of 360-degree video cameras for everyday consumers in the market, and more is about to come. We picked some of the best consumer friendly and affordable ones.
These cameras can easily fit into your bag or even in your pocket. They connect to your smartphone via a Wi-Fi hotspot and use your phone’s display as a viewfinder.
Just pick yours and start shooting your world in 360-degrees. Use them to promote your business, such as real estate and tourism or simply share your moments with friends and family, like you’ve never seen before.
Insta360 Nano is a clip-on video camera that can be attached to an iPhone via the lightning connector to record 360-degree photos and videos. It features two 210-degree f/2.0 fish-eye lenses that allow you to capture a full 360-degree view. The camera is not great for low-light conditions but live streaming capability is a great advantage for this price.
Insta360 Nano is compatible with iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 6 and 6 Plus. In order to fit it into your phone, you’ll need to take off any protective case. Currently with a $199 price tag, it is one of the most cost effective solutions in the market for iPhone owners.
Kodak PIXPRO SP360 is an ultracompact, dust-proof and water-resistant camera that can shoot 360-degree horizontal panoramas. It has a 16-megapixel sensor and a 214-degree ultra-wide-angle f/2.8 lens. It can record video up to Full HD 1080 at 30 frames per second (fps) however the Full HD resolution is not available in 360 panoramas.
LG G5 360 CAM is an easy to use, simple camera that can shoot 360-degree images with two lenses. The lenses each have an angle of view of 200 degrees and offer 2K video resolution. The camera can be controlled via the mobile app 360 Cam Manager, which is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones. You need an extra MicroSD card to shoot and record your images. It is compatible with most high-end smartphones.
Ricoh Theta SC is a a more affordable version of Theta S model, offering twin spherical lenses with 14MP sensors, f/2.0 maximum aperture, 8GB of built-in memory and $50 cheaper price tag. However, unlike the Theta S model, Theta SC has a five minute limit on Full HD video capture (1920 x 1080 recorded pixels, 30 frames per second) and doesn’t have HDMI port. The controls and use are simple and its compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones.
If you own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and a Gear VR headset, then Samsung Gear 360 is the 360-degree camera you should look for. It is part of Samsung’s Gear VR ecosystem and designed to ‘only’ work with Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge models.
Gear 360 uses two fisheye lenses on either side of the camera. Optionally, you can also use one lens for a 180-degree shot. The camera can shoot 30-megapixel 360-degree photos or 3840 x 1920 video. It is easy to use, dust/water-resistant and offers a small design to handle. It also comes with a miniature tripod attachment.
Ricoh Theta S is one of the most refined 360-degree cameras in the market. It is compatible with iPhone and Android smartphones, offering a very simple use with a portable design. It can shoot 14-megapixel photos, Full HD videos and has live-streaming capability. Just like the Theta SC model, it doesn’t have an LCD on board, but it can be controlled via an app.
The internal 8GB memory can store up to 65 minutes of video or to 1,600 photos at 5,376 x 2,688 resolution. The battery life is rated for 260 photos or 25 minutes of video recording. With its $350 price tag, Ricoh Theta S is one of the best choices for budget friendly and quality 360-degree cameras in the market.
360fly 4K is a camera that comes with 16 megapixel image sensor, 2880 x 2880 pixel resolution, 64 GB internal storage and app-based controls. It is controlled over a mobile app that is compatible with iPhone and Android smartphones. It promises resistance to dust, shock, and water up to 1 meter depth. Since the camera has only one lens the 360 video is not fully spherical and has 360 x 240 degree field of view. It comes with a built-in GPS, an altimeter and an accelerometer.
Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K offers improved quality of images over the first version of Kodak’s 360 degree camera, bumping the overall resolution to 4K. The camera is rated IP6X which means that it’s dust and water splash proof, it can record up to 60 minutes with a full battery charge. Similar to SP360, this camera doesn’t capture a fully immersive sphere, instead it offers 360 x 235 degree field of view. For this reason you’ll notice a black, empty spot when using a single camera. There is also a dual pack for full sphere recordings.
Insta360 4K is a 4K camera with two ultra-wide angle fisheye lenses, that stands out from the other cameras on our list. Insta360 4K can stitch images in real time, it doesn’t require any processing time. It is capable of live streaming 360 degree videos on YouTube in 4K resolution. Maximum video recording time is 100 minutes. The camera fits easily in one hand and features small LCD screen located on the base of the camera.