What is a 360 camera?

A 360 camera has a 360-degree field of view so that you can capture almost everything around it.  Also known as an omnidirectional camera, these cameras can capture a large visual area that needs to be covered, .  

360 cameras are more common today  for use in virtual and augmented reality  video games and other types of interactive entertainment, as well as many industries adopting this technology for a better customer experience.

With these State-of-the-art cameras you can capture videos from left to right and up and down.   

What is a 360 camera used for?

They are really used to get a full perspective of a particular area or scene.  While these cameras are mainly used for recreational purposes the use of them as a business tool will become more prevalent.  Real estate agents have already began to use 360 cameras to capture the full interior of a house as still pictures or to create a virtual walk through of the house that prospective buyers can view online.

The tourism industry could benefit from the use of these cameras too. Not only hotels and resorts, but cruise ships, theme parks, nature based tourism and especially adrenaline and sports based tours could see huge benefits from promoting their businesses with awesome photography and videography made with with a 360 camera.

Virtual reliant and augmented reality interactive games are starting to use these cameras for a much more “real” feel to their games.  These games might be the type you would play at home or ones that you could be played in a warehouse, like tactical games.  We could feature ourselves in these games in the future.

Movies in the future could go full 3D with us being able to “walk” through movie sets!

The ideas for using 360 cameras is endless and as the technology becomes better and cheaper there will be a lot more industries taking up this new age camera.

We’ll see the these cameras being used in travel, leisure, sports, events, underwater, astrology and night scapes. Industries like construction, tourism, cars, space travel, retail, conferences and exhibition will wholly embrace 360 cameras and technology.

The Future of Using 360 Cameras

Sports and Live Music

By placing multiple cameras around the venue, viewers sitting at home can watch sports and music events as if they were at the venue.  This would enable promoters to extend their viewing audience globally and be able to sell interactive tickets after the event has happened.

Custom Virtual and Augmented Reality Experiences

By filming in both monoscopic and stereoscopic video, creators can create custom virtual reality experiences not only for marketing businesses, but also for private individuals by capturing their important events, such as weddings, family reunions etc.

Imagine also a virtual reality walk through in a David Attenborough wildlife documentry?

Technical aspect of using 360 Cameras

Monoscopic Video

A spherical 360 camera captures flat renderings or photos of a scene and puts them together to look seamless as if you were looking around, this is called Monoscopic videos. Although these types of videos have no depth the user can pan around the image.  We see these types of images in everyday life already, the most common being on Google street view and on real estate websites. 

Stereoscopic Video

Much like a stereo sound has slightly different sounds coming out of each speaker, stereoscopic video uses a seperate input for each eye by creating slightly different images.  This application is used in virtual reality where the scene is shot by two lenses so when viewed through a VR headset the viewer sees a depth of field which gives the illusion of a more real scene that the flat rendering or monoscopic.

How does a 360 camera work?

These eyeball-shaped cameras record all 360° of a scene thanks to their multiple lenses (often two wide angle lenses). The camera will then automatically stitch the two images together to bring you one spherical image.

How a 360 degree camera works in short is that the camera takes two images or video files from two lenses side-by-side with a 180-degree field of view and then stitches them together.  These types of videos and pictures can also be made by an app or software. 

What is the best 360 camera on the market?

It seems like everyone is getting in on the 360 camera action these days.  But here are the top fours picks when it comes to 360 cameras, with most brands offering a range of cameras form the everyday one for you and me right up to $24 000 professional cameras.

Insta 360 – These start out with small hand held pocket cameras form around $325 right up the professional one with the priciest one selling for $25 000!

GoPro – GoPro burst onto the scene with the smallest most versatile sports action camera and have continued to be innovative with their products.  Although they don’t have a large camera range the GoPro Max has taken them into the 360 camera realm.  The camera sells for around $500 on the GoPro website and all of the accessories for their standard cameras are available for the Max as well.

Ricoh – Better know for being the distributer for Pentax cameras have a great range of 360 cameras starting from around $460 up to around $1600.

Garmin – With stand alone sat nav devices being eroded by smartphone map apps Garmin have dived in to the camera world with a large range of dash cams which makes perfect sense to replace the sat navs.  Along with dash cams they also make a great 360 camera, often featured on “Best 360 Camera” lists by reputable camera magazines and publications. Their Virb 360 camerawomen sells for around $800 and gets some great reviews.

How much does a 360 camera cost?

Here are some of the best 360 cameras to buy starting out under $350, these cameras are quote accessible to most people.

  • GoPro Max – Price $499
  • Insta360 Evo – Price $419.99
  • HumanEye Vuze XR – Price $399
  • Insta360 One – price $347
  • Ricoh Theta V – Price $659
  • Garmin Virb 360 – Price $799.99

How do you take 360 degree photos?

There are two ways to take these photos, essentially the camera will create a 360 image or you can use a regular camera or smart phone and use an app or software to stitch the photos together creating a 360 image.

Camera – there are a number of cameras available on the market that capture and create 360 videos. Insta 360 GoPro and Garman are amongst the most popular brands that can capture and create 360 video and pictures. These cameras create the 360° degree field of view into the camera itself so when the video is finished and you download the video it is created in the 360 already.

App/software – many smart phones these days can capture these images that are needed to create 360 videos. Google Street View app is one particular app that works very well in creating 360 video.