With the advent of virtual reality and the rising interest in 360 video, it’s no surprise that 360-degree photography is becoming more popular. Anyone with an interest in photography has no doubt heard of the rise of the “VR camera,” a camera capable of taking photographs and stitching them together to create a 360-degree view.
Not only is this camera used to film and photograph environments for use in virtual reality, but can also be used to capture stunning vistas in brand-new ways. Here are some of the best VR cameras on the market, divided into three different price points.
GoPro Odyssey – $15,000
The GoPro Odyssey is a camera unlike any other. It combines 16 different HERO4 Black cameras into a single rig that’s capable of capturing 8K30 video. The video is then assembled together to deliver mind-blowing content. As of now, the Odyssey is only available to select professionals within the film industry. To apply for ownership, potential owners need to fill out a registration form on the website.
Nokia Ozo – $60,000
Not only does the Ozo capture input from a 360-degree field, but the cameraman is able to view the content in real-time through a virtual reality monitor. The included Digital Cartridges can record up to 45 minutes of content at a time and then saves all of the recordings in a single file, rather than scattered files that need to be combined later. Of course, with a $60,000 price tag, this camera is reserved for the top professionals in the field; a hobbyist doesn’t need as much power as the Ozo provides.
Bublcam – $800
One of the primary problems with early 360-degree cameras were the odd blind spots that would appear as a result of the lens orientation The Bublcam fixed this through its unique design. At just $800, the initial investment is slightly steep, but still affordable for the serious filmmaker. The Bublcam is controlled through a mobile app for iOS and Android, or directly through the camera itself. At just 3.14 inches in diameter and weighing less than a pound, the Bublcam is perfect for the photographer on the go. It’s lightweight portability makes it a great option for frequent travelers.
Vuze Camera – $799
The Vuze Camera claims to be the world’s first “3D 360 degree Spherical Virtual Reality Camera.” With 8 separate HD cameras inside a single interface, the Vuze does a phenomenal job of recording the content around it in up to 4K resolution. And at just 12x12x3 centimeters, the small size of the camera makes it easy to transport. Aesthetically speaking, the camera is seriously attractive and comes in several different color schemes. With the proprietary Vuze Studio software included in the bundle, the Vuze Camera automatically generates VR with the content it has captured. The Vuze is another mid-range camera comparable to the Bulbcam.
The LG 360 Cam is a great entry-level model in the world of VR cameras. While it won’t win awards for resolution (topping out at 2K video recording), the LG 360 can capture both 360- and 180-degree images with a single click. Two 13 MP wide-angle cameras allow the device to see the scene around it, and a 5.1-channel surround-sound system lets it capture audio accurately. The device is only $199.99, making it a great choice for someone trying to wade into the world of VR cameras.
Ricoh Theta S – $349.95
The Ricoh Theta S can live-stream HD video, record in full HD with up to 25 minutes of continuous shooting at 30 frames per second, and does all of this for less than $500. With its Live View technology, users can check the exposure and white balance in real time through the smartphone app. Long exposures are also possible, with a speed range from 1/6400 of a second to 60 seconds. With 8GB of internal memory, the Theta can record up to 175 minutes of video.
Every image taken through the Gear 360 VR is recorded in 3840×1920 resolution and 25.9 megapixels. Equipped with an F2.0 lens and built to withstand dust and splashes, the Gear 360 is one of the sturdiest cameras on the market, perfect for surviving the rigors of adventure photography. When used with a Galaxy smartphone, users can keep an eye on what their camera sees, transfer files, and more.
Kodak Pix Pro SP360 – $449
Given Kodak’s reputation as one of the oldest camera companies in America, it’s not surprise they too have stepped into the VR world. The SP360 offers a 16 MP sensor and can take 10 MP pictures with optional 10 FPS burst shooting. The camera is also resistant to 2-meter drops, freeze-proof to -10 Celsius, dustproof and water resistant. The SP360 is controlled wirelessly through iOS and Android devices.
V.360 – $449
VSN Mobil is a lesser-known company, but that’s only because the world has discovered the capabilities of their devices. With the ability to record at 30 FPS with a 60 degree FOV, the V.360 is an impressive camera. The resolution can be adjusted up to 6480×1080 HD. 360-degree images are recorded at 8 MP, and a panoramic shot an be had at just the touch of a button. Built-in time lapse capability allows users to easily create time lapses of up to 60 seconds in length. The V.360 also has another feature: the ability to double as a security camera when put into surveillance mode.
Giroptic 360cam – $499
Giroptic, like VSN Mobil, isn’t as popular a company as some of the brand names on this list. However, the 360cam records 2K video at 25-30 frames per second with ease. The camera was designed as an ‘everyday life’ 360 camera. It’s resistant to the abuse it may suffer inside someone’s bag — shock, water, etc. It also works seamlessly on a huge number of devices without the need for external processing software. The battery supports up to an hour of continuous recording. The frame of the 360cam is designed to work with regular camera accessories, meaning there is no need to purchase an additional tripod or strap. Placing the 360cam in VR mode allows Gear VR or Google Cardboard users to view the recording in real time.
What do you think of these 360 cameras? Without doubt, the ability to create content that is VR-ready is available to all users and for all budgets so do any of these take your fancy or is there one you think we’ve missed out? Let us know your comments below!