Top 8 360-Degree Cameras to Purchase

Top 8 360-Degree Cameras to Purchase

Since the introduction of Virtual Reality headsets, there has been a surge in 360-degree camera production. While headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR are impressive, they lack sufficient content. This is where 360-degree cameras come in. These cameras, equipped with multiple lenses, capture footage in all directions, hence the name. With them, you can create high-quality VR content independently. If you already own a VR headset and want to experience your own content in Virtual Reality, a 360-degree camera is essential. Without further delay, let’s explore the 8 best 360-degree cameras:

1. 360 Fly 4K

The 360 Fly 4K could be one of the simplest 360-degree cameras to handle. It’s dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof (up to 1m), ensuring durability. The single lens provides 360-degree horizontal and 240-degree vertical field-of-view.

The 360 Fly 4K records square videos at a 2880 x 2880 resolution with 30 fps, allowing zoom into a 16:9 aspect ratio. The company claims an hour and a half battery life for continuous recording. With the 360 Fly app, you can edit and share 360-degree videos directly to social networking sites from your smartphone. Currently available on Amazon for under $320, a significant drop from its $499 launch price.

Buy from Amazon: ($319.99)

2. Nikon KeyMission 360

A 360-degree camera from a popular DSLR manufacturer is highly anticipated and delivers on expectations. The KeyMission 360 is primarily an action camera, being shockproof (up to 2m), waterproof (up to 30m), and freezeproof. It features two 21 MP sensors with an f/2.0 aperture on each side to capture a full 360 x 360 image.

The KeyMission 360 shoots 30 MP stills and 4K UHD video at 24 fps, sufficient for most users. However, its battery lasts only about an hour during 4K recording and it tends to overheat at this resolution. Available on Amazon for under 500 dollars, it’s relatively pricey compared to other options.

3. Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K

This camera resembles the SP360 but offers 4K video recording and improved field-of-view. Unlike the KeyMission 360, the SP360 4K features a single lens capturing a 360-degree horizontal view and 235-degree vertical view. However, to capture a full 360-degrees, you need the SP360 4K Dual Pro pack, priced at around $900. The standalone Pixpro SP360 4K costs $450. The Dual Pro pack also includes a mount for easy full 360-degree shooting.

The Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K camera features a 12.4 MP CMOS sensor capable of capturing high-quality stills and 4K footage at 30 fps. When recording at 4K resolution continuously, the battery should last for about an hour. Therefore, consider carrying extra batteries for longer sessions. Kodak aims to compete with other high-end 360-degree cameras like the Nikon KeyMission 360, though the latter’s pricing may attract more buyers.

Buy from Amazon: (Starting at $450)

4. Samsung Gear 360

While the Galaxy S8 stole the spotlight at Samsung Unpacked 2017, it wasn’t the sole revelation. The South Korean giant also updated the Gear 360, a 360-degree camera, now capable of shooting in 4K resolution and supporting livestreams. It will be compatible with various third-party accessories and mounts, as per Samsung’s claims.

The new Gear 360 is compatible with newer iOS devices, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE, as well as the existing range of Galaxy smartphones. It packs a pair of 8.4 MP sensors with an aperture of f/2.2, allowing 4K footage at 24 fps. The 1160 mAh battery is a slight downgrade from the predecessor. Nonetheless, the Gear 360 offers a tempting deal for a VR camera, now available on Amazon for under $300.

Buy from Amazon: ($299)

5. Insta360 4K

Top 8 360-Degree Cameras to Purchase

This cylindrical 360° camera features twin 230° fisheye lenses, enabling shooting in 4K resolution (4096 x 2048) at approximately 25 fps. Each fisheye lens on the Insta360 4K captures 8.4 MP stills, totaling 16.8 MP for a full 360° image.

The Insta360 distinguishes itself from most other 360-degree cameras by livestreaming content directly to YouTube, stitching images together in real-time. While the Gear 360 offers similar capabilities, many other options lack this feature. The Insta360 4K boasts a robust 5000 mAh battery, providing approximately an hour of continuous 360-degree 4K recording. However, its pricing is steep, currently listed on Amazon for nearly $700, significantly higher than the official price of $560. At this price point, superior alternatives abound.

Buy from Amazon: ($699)

6. Ricoh Theta S

This Ricoh 360-degree camera is incredibly compact, fitting comfortably in your pocket. It features dual 12 MP CMOS sensors enabling 360-degree stills at 5376 x 2688 resolution. The f/2.0 aperture lens utilizes folded optics for a lengthened optical path. Notably, still images from the Ricoh Theta S surpass the quality of its video footage.

Regrettably, the Ricoh Theta S doesn’t record at 4K resolution. Nevertheless, it offers Full HD 1080p recording and livestreaming at 30 fps, adequate for novices. The Theta S battery lasts about an hour with continuous recording. Its price is comparable to the Gear 360 4K camera, approximately $300.

Available on Amazon: ($299.99)

7. LG G5 Friends 360 Cam

The LG G5 Friends 360 Cam is among the most affordable 360-degree cameras listed. It’s compact and user-friendly, capable of shooting 360-degree videos at 2K resolution (2560 x 1280). The absence of 4K recording is acceptable given its price. It features 13 MP cameras on both the front and back to capture 360-degree footage, each lens offering a 200-degree field-of-view.

To operate the device, a microSD card is required, as it’s not included. Downloading pictures and videos to your phone or computer is necessary for viewing. The LG G5 Friends 360 camera includes a 1200 mAh battery, providing approximately 80 minutes of continuous recording. At $155, this 360-degree camera is a steal for those on a tight budget.

Buy from Amazon: ($155)

8. GoPro Fusion

The GoPro Fusion, an upcoming 360-degree camera, is set to launch in limited quantities by year’s end. It offers video recording at 5.2K resolution with a 30 fps frame rate. GoPro targets professionals with the Fusion, so affordability isn’t on the table. The company claims it’s like having six GoPro cameras in one. Details like pricing are scarce, but a Pilot program allows content creators to register as early adopters.

Bonus: Facebook Surround 360 Cameras

We’ve included Facebook’s x24 and x6 surround 360 cameras as a bonus because they’re unavailable for purchase elsewhere. Recently launched at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, these 360-degree cameras, named x24 and x6, respectively, pack 24 and 6 cameras. The company designed them to create a professional-grade end-to-end system for capturing, editing, and rendering high-quality 3D-360 videos. Instead of selling these cameras, Facebook plans to license the x24 and x6 designs to a select group of commercial partners.

Your First 360-degree Camera?

That’s our list of the best 360-degree cameras available this year for creating your own Virtual Reality content. None of these cameras are mediocre; each has its own fair share of negatives. Are you in the market for your first 360-degree camera? Let us know which one you’re going for and share your thoughts on these cameras in the comments below.