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Best 360 Camera [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 18/02/2021

For nearly as long as there has been photography, photographers have tried to make 360 degree images. While the finished products look amazing, it can be a struggle to accomplish without one of the best 360 cameras

However, there is a new breed of cameras available that can get the same results without all the work. With a simple click of a button, the 360 degrees camera will get your image for you. 

That being said, not all 360 cameras are the same. We’ve gone ahead and taken a look at the top editions to help you decide which suits your needs best. After all, with how many are available on the market, it can be tough to know where to start your search.

Which 360 Cameras on the Market are the Best?

When looking for a 360 degree camera, you want to know what you need before you make a purchase. For instance, you may need a camera that offers the best 360 video while someone else wants to focus on one with a high resolution. 

Some photographers may want a 360 camera that shoots in slow motion, and others don’t need that feature but want to know they’ll have good stability if they take their camera on a rugged journey.

Take a look at the specs of each of the best 360 cameras on the list to see what suits your specific needs the best.

Brand
Best Overall
GoPro Max
Best Compact Camera
Insta360 ONE X
Best Hybrid Camera
Vuze XR
Product
GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera...
Insta360 ONE X Action Camera 360 Degree 5.7K 18MP...
Vuze XR 5.7K 3D VR & 360 Camera - Black
Video Capture Resolution
5K
5.7K
5.7K
Special Features
Has four digital lenses
210° Ultra-wide fisheye lenses
Using two Sony 12MP IMX-378 image sensors, in parallel, combined with 2x F/2.4 210⁰ fisheye lenses
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
GoPro Max
Product
GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera...
Video Capture Resolution
5K
Special Features
Has four digital lenses
Rating
Price
Best Compact Camera
Brand
Insta360 ONE X
Product
Insta360 ONE X Action Camera 360 Degree 5.7K 18MP...
Video Capture Resolution
5.7K
Special Features
210° Ultra-wide fisheye lenses
Rating
Price
Best Hybrid Camera
Brand
Vuze XR
Product
Vuze XR 5.7K 3D VR & 360 Camera - Black
Video Capture Resolution
5.7K
Special Features
Using two Sony 12MP IMX-378 image sensors, in parallel, combined with 2x F/2.4 210⁰ fisheye lenses
Rating
Price

GoPro Max

Meet the successor to the GoPro Fusion - the GoPro Max, one of the best 360 cameras on the market.

GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera...

At first glance, the GoPro Max might seem to be the reserve of professionals. However, it offers intuitive functionality.

You can start recording with the press of a button, ensuring that the GoPro Max won’t miss out on any sudden action. Better still, you can easily edit recordings within the GoPro Max’s native app.

In terms of resolution, the GoPro Max offers 6K (5.6K when stitched) video quality and 16.6mp for stills.

As with most GoPros, it’s water-resistant up to 5 ATM and has a projected battery life of 78 minutes at 5.6K. 

Pros: 

  • Shoots full 360 video
  • Easy to record
  • Has HyperSmooth image stabilization technology
  • In-app footage editing
  • Can reframe video for different outputs

Cons: 

  • Lacks PC editing app software
  • May require a powerful computer to make effective footage edits
  • Steep price compared to other competitors
GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera...
  • Traditional GoPro Capture + 360 Capture: Maximize your creative freedom.
  • Max HyperSmooth: MAX gives you unbreakable stabilization by using 360 capture as the ultimate...
  • PowerPano: Pano without the pan.

Kandao QooCam 8K 360

The Kandao QooCam 8K 360 is a compact 360 camera that delivers cinematic quality photos and video as one of the best 360 cameras available.

KANDAO QooCam 8K Full View Camera Digital Camera...

Thanks to a 1/1.7 inch CMOS sensor, the Kandao QooCam delivers 8K video quality footage at 30fps and 4K at 120fps. Stills have a resolution of 29.5mp.

All of this comes in 10-bit color, meaning that the Kandao QooCam’s images and videos feature plenty of detail and contrast.

Alongside “SuperSteady” stabilization and the ability to live stream in 4K 360, the Kandao QooCam offers a lot of versatility. However, though it is a rugged design, the Kandao QooCam can overheat, and it is not waterproof. 

Pros: 

  • Slow-motion footage at 4K 120fps
  • 8K 360 video
  • 1/1.7 CMOS sensor
  • 10-bit video
  • Robust design

Cons:

  • Limited battery life and non-removable battery
  • Not waterproof without additional housing
  • Loud fan
KANDAO QooCam 8K Full View Camera Digital Camera...
  • > KANDAO QooCam 8K appropriated full view photography such as video, photo and live on 8K, 5.7K, 4K....
  • > Protablity and conveniency. One of the most surpriority of Pocket camera in full view application...
  • > Digital camera for outdoor like sport action, travel, camping, and indoor like live streaming,...

Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition

Let’s introduce the Insta360, a camera that offers both 4K and 360 functionality thanks to its dual lenses.

Insta360 ONE R 4K Edition – 4K 60fps Sports...

The Insta360 One R Twin Edition offers both 4K action camera functionality and 360 video recording. This is achieved through Insta360's two separate lens modules. These can be slotted into place but does require the battery to be disconnected first.

The Insta360’s 4K video resolution is supported by “FlowState” stabilization technology. Additionally, it uses AI software to support its recording modes, including “Auto Frame.”

This allows you to track an object during and after shooting footage. It has a durable build and is waterproof upwards to five meters. Fortunately, this can be extended by equipping additional housing. 

Pros:

  • 4k action camera and 360 degree lens modules
  • Auto frame mode lets you track objects when using 360 degree video
  • Excellent portability
  • 100mbps video capability

Cons: 

  • Small touchscreen 
  • Have to disconnect the battery to switch out lens modules 
  • Lacks dedicated microphone output
Sale
Insta360 ONE R 4K Edition – 4K 60fps Sports...
  • 4K Wide Angle: Capture crisp, vibrant, stabilized shots at 4K 60fps or up to 8x slow motion, no...
  • FlowState Stabilization: FlowState achieves gimbal-like image stabilization without the gimbal....
  • IPX8 Waterproof: Whether you're poolside or on a rainy-day ride, this waterproof action camera can...

Insta360 ONE X

The Insta360 ONE X is a compact camera that can fit inside your shirt pocket.

Insta360 ONE X Action Camera 360 Degree 5.7K 18MP...

With a pocket design, the Insta360 ONE X emphasizes portability. But it’s small size does not come at the expense of features or Insta360’s “FlowState” stabilization technology.

The Insta360 ONE X’s camera features a 6-axis gyro system and can shoot 5.7K resolution footage at 30fps. In addition, it records 4K quality at 50fps and 3K at 100fps. The Insta360 ONE X takes stills at 18mp.

Its small size allows for it to be easily fitted to a helmet or handlebar. However, the Insta360 ONE X does need housing to be waterproof.

Pros:

  • ONE X comes with “FlowState” stabilization technology 
  • High-resolution image and 360 video quality
  • ONE X is highly portable and can fit within a shirt pocket 

Cons: 

  • ONE X has limited battery life 
  • The app is heavy with promotional content
Insta360 ONE X Action Camera 360 Degree 5.7K 18MP...
  • LEADING IMAGE QUALITY --- Shoot stunning 5.7K video or 18MP photo.
  • IMPOSSIBLE STABILIZATION --- FlowState keeps shots steady, be it while jumping out of a plane, or...
  • CONTROL TIME & PERSPECTIVE --- Reframe your shots after the fact. Then control the speed of playback...

Vuze XR

One of the best 360 degree cameras, the Vuze XR also is a hybrid that has dual capture shooting modes.

Vuze XR 5.7K 3D VR & 360 Camera - Black

The Vuze XR is a hybrid video camera with the ability to switch between 360 degree or 180 degree shooting modes. Its dual-use sensors are 12MP and capture 5.7k resolution footage at 30fps.

Elsewhere, you can record 4K at 60fps, and take still images of up to 18MP. The video camera is sturdy and features a convenient handheld grip.

Together with live stream capability and in-camera stitching, this can make the Vuze XR advantageous for vlogging. Unfortunately, it does lack waterproof resistance without an additional case.   

Pros: 

  • Dual capture design
  • Intuitive switching between 360 and 180 degree modes
  • Integrated GPS
  • Handheld grip  

Cons: 

  • Might require a desktop for 5.7K editing
  • The design may make action shots challenging
Sale
Vuze XR 5.7K 3D VR & 360 Camera - Black
  • Shoot with Confidence Using in-App Video Stabilization
  • Record videos with the resolution of 5.7K@30 fps, 4K@60 fps and 4K@30 fps. Records as MP4 with H.264...
  • Take DNG and JPG photos at 18 MP resolution. Giving you the ability to professionally edit your...

Garmin VIRB 360

If you're looking for a 360 camera that can do it all, go anywhere through all conditions, then the Garmin VIRB 360 may be what you need.

Garmin VIRB 360, Waterproof 360-degree Camera,...

It's waterproof up to 10 meters, with stills resolution at 15MP and video resolution up to 5.7K, and a battery life of 65 minutes.

This camera is a rugged action camera and can mount on a tripod or GoPro mount. You can use it through an app or on the camera itself.

The images you'll get are sharp, with little bleeding and excellent stitching. It also comes with plenty of bonus features to keep you happy, including HyperFrame Director to add camera pans and view changes. Plus, it allows you to overlay the image with data, like GPS information.

Pros:

  • Waterproof up to 10M
  • Efficient editing software
  • Rugged action camera

Cons:

  • Need to use a computer to stitch images over 4K
  • Only about an hour of battery life
Garmin VIRB 360, Waterproof 360-degree Camera,...
  • Resolution up to 5.7K/30fps with desktop stitching; 4K/30fps auto-stitched in-camera
  • Up to 15-megapixel resolution provides high-quality, spherical photos
  • HyperFrame Director Mode gives you the editing power to easily reframe content after filming —...

Ricoh Theta V

The Ricoh Theta V is a simple solution for those who don't need to strap their 360 camera to their bicycle helmet and take it on a bumpy ride.

Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera

This 360 camera offers 14MP for photo resolution and 4K for video resolution. It can be mounted with a tripod and is incredibly easy to use. Even better, there's no app to control the camera. Instead, there is a shutter-release button that you can switch between video or stills.

Transferring the photos to the accompanying app is equally easy on the Ricoh Theta V, and it automatically deletes the image from the 360 camera itself, freeing up memory. The app even allows you to view your content as VR.

Unfortunately, the memory is only 19GB, and it's not expandable. This can be limiting, but because it is simple to transfer content, it's not a deal breaker.

Pros:

  • The Theta V has a great accompanying app
  • VR-capable
  • Easy to use and edit content

Cons:

  • Not waterproof
  • Only 4K video resolution
  • The Theta V has a limited memory at only 19GB
Sale
Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera
  • Theta V shoots hi-def smooth 360 Degree video at 30 fps @ 3840 x 1920 pixels or 4K. It supports the...
  • Hi-res 360 Degree spherical stills & video with improvements to the image quality. New Qualcomm...
  • Theta has a 4-channel microphone that supports 360 Degree spatial audio recording built in...

GoPro Fusion

A classic for any photographer, the GoPro Fusion is one of the best 360 cameras available. It's lightweight and small; therefore, it's portable and a great choice when you're on the move.

GoPro Camera Fusion - 360 Waterproof Digital VR...

It has a photograph resolution of 18MP, with a video resolution of 5.2K. That's not too shabby, and it's one of the most affordable options out there.

As far as action cameras go, it will do a job, but it may not be the best. However, it does offer voice commands to operate, as well as a QuickCapture button.

All that being said, you will need to use two microSD cards, which can create bumps in the road when transferring data. It's also been discontinued, but that's what makes it an affordable action camera.

Pros:

  • 5.2K video resolution
  • Lightweight and portable
  • QuickCapture
  • Voice commands

Cons:

  • Discontinued
  • Dual microSD (one for each lens)
  • Troublesome to transfer content
Sale
GoPro Camera Fusion - 360 Waterproof Digital VR...
  • Spherical video + photos capture incredible 5.2k videos and 18MP photos of everything around you by...
  • Over capture : Turn 5.2k spherical videos into traditional 1080P videos from any angle right on your...
  • Transform spherical photos into traditional shots crop 18MP spherical photos any way you want to...

What are 360 Cameras?

360 shot of a sports stadium

Before we get into which is the best 360 camera, let’s take a closer look at what exactly they are and how they work. 

Also called omnidirectional cameras, these cameras can capture an entire sphere on a horizontal plane. That means what you can see when you turn around completely in place is laid out on a single image without you needing to spend hours retouching in photoshop. 

Not only is a camera 360 fantastic for event photography, but it can transform both urban and nature photography too. Even social media websites, like Facebook and YouTube, allow users to upload 360 images.

However, that’s not where the benefits of a 360 camera stop. It opens up entirely new possibilities when it comes to Virtual Reality (VR).

What is 3D VR?

Woman using a 3D VR

While VR certainly isn’t a new concept, the technology surrounding it has taken huge leaps in recent years.

At its simplest, all you need for VR is a headset and a smartphone. You can slide your smartphone into place and use it to experience life virtually.

At its most complex, VR can be a fully immersive experience, allowing the user to walk through museums in other countries, or to even explore foreign wildlife, including all the sights, sounds, and scents of nature. 

A 360 camera is the perfect vehicle to create a VR sphere. It can capture a scene completely, filling in any gap that might otherwise exist simultaneously. These cameras can drastically reduce the work behind creating a VR world, but which are the best 360 cameras?

Need 360 video for a VR project? Want a 360 video for the flower toss at your wedding to capture the bride’s smile and the bridal party’s excitement? 360 cameras are your best bet to having a clear shot with limited hassle.

How Do 360 Cameras Work?

So, we’ve established how amazing these cameras are, but how can 360 imaging work? 

While every camera is different, the best 360 cameras will have two sets of lenses. Each lens will capture 180 degrees in its field of view. It will then either stitch the images together or will provide you with software to do so yourself. 

Often, the software will stitch the two photos or videos together with only one click of a button. However, you need to expect some color bleeding over the stitch itself. The better quality the camera, the less bleeding you’ll need to correct.

All in all, a 360 camera is a much faster process than using a tripod and hoping you haven’t missed a corner, and then trying to remove the distortion to the image using photoshop. 

Which 360 Cameras Shoot in 4K?

A 4K camera, or 4K video, is one that shoots with a width of roughly 4,000 pixels. It’s an incredibly high-depth resolution, lending your photos and videos extra clarity and precision.

When shooting in 360 degrees, it’s a wise decision to look for something that’s at least 4K. We have quite a few of the best 360 cameras on this list, including:

  • GoPro Max
  • Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition
  • GoPro Fusion (up to 5.2K!)

Of course, if you’re a professional photographer, you may be looking for a superior resolution. You’ll also need to keep an eye out for what the resolution is pre- and post-stitching.

Which 360 Cameras Shoot in 5.7K?

If you’re looking for a greater resolution, you may want something with at least 5.7K. This will give extra detail to your images and videos, which can be great for action shots or closeups.

The cameras that shoot in 5.7K or better on this list are:

  • Insta 360 ONE X
  • Vuze XR
  • Garmin VIRB 360
  • Ricoh Theta V (in video specifically)
  • Kandao QooCam 8K 360 (as the name suggests, this camera gives 8K!)

However, just because a camera has a higher resolution doesn’t mean all the specs will be what you need. You may be getting a greater resolution at the price of water resistance or added stability. Let’s take a closer look at each camera model to see what suits you best.

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