360 Camera Review 2017

(UPDATED 18/12/17)

In this blog, we are looking at today’s range of cameras on offer, and reviewing those which we feel work the most optimally with EyeSpy360™'s software. 

As EyeSpy360™ works agnostically with all 360-degree cameras, so long as the outputted photograph is 2:1 and Equirectangular in shape (width twice the height), it doesn’t matter which camera you choose to use.

Hopefully, after further reading you will have sufficient advice to select the one that works the best for you.

N.B. You can also use phone applications, such as Google's "Street View" (see our FAQ on using your mobile phone to create 360 images HERE)

We have tested and researched a number of cameras, and after evaluating them on the basis of price, quality, ease of use and other factors, our number one choice (at time of publish) is the RICOH THETA V.

As compact as their two previous Theta cameras, the THETA V is lightweight and sleek with two 12 megapixel CMOS sensors, capable of 5376 x 2688 images. These two sensors are also placed very closely together which allows the camera to produce really seamless 360-degree images.

Ricoh tell us that they have “changed the exposure accuracy and white balance algorithm by combining image processing technology”, which according to them, significantly improves the quality of still images and video. The THETA V will also produce higher definition images, even in low-lit environments. What’s more, there is now even better sound quality with the new omnidirectional audio recording functionality. Users will be able to take advantage of the four built-in microphones. There is also an external microphone available, presumably for use at concerts or sports games etc., which inevitably boasts even more enhanced sound quality. Similarly, waterproof casing is also available from October for those who want to take shots among the fishes!

The camera’s internal memory is a generous 19 gigabytes, and this will allow you to take 4,800 images, 40 minutes of 4K video, or 130 minutes of 1080p video. If you did want more memory though, it’s worth noting that there is no SD card slot. As with the THETA S, the V’s videos can be a maximum of 25 minutes each. It also uses the same smartphone application, except now transfer speeds are significantly faster. You will now have the ability to display your 360-degree pictures on a TV with a compatible wireless adaptor, allowing you to show off your captures on a large screen.

Retailing for £399.99, the THETA V seems to have the whole package, as many people can agree that the THETA S’s video quality was its main flaw, but Ricoh seem to have fixed any previous qualms with this new THETA V. The minimum interval for those using the interval shooting feature has been reduced by about half the time of previous models. Now you can take pictures at an interval of four seconds. You can also shoot using the ultra-high shutter speed of up to 1/25000 seconds.

Overall, we think that the RICOH THETA V is a really exciting, top range product.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 9/10

Second in line, is Ricoh’s precursory camera the RICOH THETA S. Whilst capable of more advanced options, one of the advantages for many is the simple way you point and shoot the camera, as well as the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity which lets you adjust settings and also trigger the camera remotely from an iOS or Android device in the camera’s uncomplicated app. 

Additionally, it has a built-in compass and is easy to transport due to the slim and compact design. Granted it may not be shooting in 4K, but the ultrawide-angle lenses do capture good-quality stills and video with better colour accuracy than their rivals, as well as excellent-quality stitching. The RICOH THETA S can be found on Amazon for £299 or bought through us as part of a kit including a Manfrotto Tripod (MMXPROA3B), a Google Cardboard VR Headset, a Case, window stickers and setup instructions for £330 plus VAT and shipping costs.

Some of this camera’s more negative features include the fact that it is not waterproof, it will only store 8GB of memory and the app is pretty basic. Nevertheless, for the purposes of our software these factors aren’t essential deal-clinchers.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 8/10

If you were looking for a specifically 4K alternative, the 360fly 4K, priced at £329.99 offers water-resistance, a built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, non-assisted GPS and eight times more internal memory than the RICOH. However, a major difference is that it boasts a single-lens designed to capture 240-degrees, instead of the full 360. Therefore the snapped images and videos will have a section from above or below missing. When using the resulting images with our software, the solution to this is just to use a rather large Nadir, which is the image on the floor of the space, used to cover the area where the tripod was placed.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 7/10

The Andoer Panorama 360 VR Video Camera is another alternative, at £88.98. This extremely reasonably-priced camera is easy to use and lightweight, it’s well-built and comes with a straightforward app offering multiple settings. This camera even comes with a mount for cars or bikes. However, whilst acceptable in quality, it is certainly not comparable to the standard of image which some of its more expensive rivals produce. Concern also comes from the battery life, with less than 30-minute shooting time available before it runs out of juice and needs charging.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

Next up, we have the Canon EOS DSLR. This camera is sturdy with well-placed buttons, fantastic ISO capability and impressive low-light performance. However on the flip side of this, it has only one cross-type autofocus sensor. 

Moreover, you would need to purchase a fish eye lens separately, and because this is a DSLR you would have to take at least eight shots for one average-sized space, compared to just one shot with a standard 360-degree camera; as well as needing post-stitching software to stitch your pictures together. Another factor to consider is that the Canon EOS would knock you back £899.99 for the camera alone, but if this is something you would use for standard photography too, and you’re more advanced in this field, then this is probably perfect for you.

Although for a beginner, it is not necessarily the best choice for our software.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 5/10

Next on the table we have the Detu 360. Costing £66.79, this inexpensive camera comes with a spacious memory card, fairly good battery life, Wi-Fi and quick installation. On the other hand, the resolution is not brilliant and the user manual isn’t overly helpful. Furthermore, the test camera we were sent didn't work, so our review is based on existing images found online. 

Having said that, Detu did actually, very kindly, send us one of their Twin 360 cameras to try, which ordinarily costs £177.13. This very reasonable price point was unfortunately overshadowed by its quality.

Just like the Ricoh, you connect to the camera through its inbuilt Wi-Fi. The smartphone app which allows you to take the photos remotely is simple to use and user-friendly, the camera has 8-megapixel resolution for still images, and shoots in 3K. However, the battery life is pretty low, with only 30-minutes of use before it needs charging. The images appear blurry and rather soft, and therefore this is quite an entry-level 360-degree camera.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 5/10

The 2017 edition of the Samsung Gear 360 is an all around good camera as it produces great quality, high definition images and shoots video in 4K. Its compact size exhibits easy-to-use external controls and the accompanying app is straightforward. 

Plus, the camera is new and improved from the previous Gear 360, and consequently it is now compatible with other smart phones, not just some Android based phones. It also has a Micro SD card and a fun feel to the design of the camera. 

The downsides of the Samsung Gear are the re-design meaning that the battery is no longer removable, and the megapixel count has dropped for 360-degree images, from 30 megapixels to 15. Overall though, this is a very decent camera, priced at £219.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 7/10

Kodak’s PIXPRO SP360 4K is an upgrade from their last model at £299.99, which now features an option for 4K resolution on both videos and pictures. Similarly to the 360fly, this camera only has a single lens, and therefore for a full spherical image you may want to use two cameras simultaneously and stitch the two photographs together afterwards, using the included PIXPRO SP360 Stitch Software. 

This product is compatible with several accessories such as a remote control, a suction mount and a waterproof case; it has built in Wi-Fi and 10 options for its viewing modes including Panorama, Dome and Motion Detection mode.

The PIXPRO also supports external storage of up to 128GB. Despite lots of positives, it is not particularly easy to stitch the footage together, the controls and menu system are not instinctive and dual-camera shooting takes some getting used to in order to perfect. On account of this, despite its good 4K quality, it gets a lower rating from us due to the price point and the difficulty for beginners.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

The Nikon Key Mission 360 shoots 4K video from two lenses and is also waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof. The lens covers are replaceable for underwater use, it comes with a GoPro-style mount and the adaptor has a ball-shaped head, making angling the camera much easier. The battery is another one of this camera’s strengths, as well as the Micro SD memory card, as these can both be removed and swapped with others when needed, which is not an option on many 360-degree cameras. 

Despite this, the battery does get hot when charging, and it takes a long time to charge. Moreover, the compatible phone application can be irritating as it gives an inaccurate display of how much battery life is left inside the Key Mission, it’s prone to crashing and sometimes it will refuse to connect to the camera for no apparent reason. The picture and video quality itself isn’t terrible, but it is rather flat, and not as vibrant or sharp as some of the images its competitors deliver. Likewise, the stitching is sometimes noticeable, and the camera sometimes turns itself on and records accidentally as these are triggered from the same button. 

To conclude, we have ranked this £419 camera rather lowly, as it feels like a first generation model. Perhaps Nikon will bring out an improvement after reading a number of mostly negative reviews.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 2/10

Onto the Garmin Virb 360 now. This reasonably new two-lensed camera is solidly built and allows you to use voice control to start and stop videos and take photos. The videos and images produced are of high-quality and boast impressive clarity and colour, with added image stabilisation in tact if taking pictures on the move. 

While the stitching is visible, it is not as pronounced as some others. The controls on this camera are simple and intuitive and the connecting app is easy to use, with lots of adjustable settings such as exposure bias, ISO, colour curve, sharpness and white balance. Yet I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that no 360-degree camera is quite perfect and on the flip side, the four microphones used for video recording are prone to wind noise, the battery life is relatively limited, the camera could do with a handle for ease of use, and the video feed on the app occasionally freezes. Furthermore, the price of this camera, at £649.99, could be seen as an adverse aspect, due to the fact that many competitors are much cheaper. 

Nevertheless, the Garmin Virb 360 is not to be sniffed at.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6.5/10

The Panono, with its interesting look and name, contains 36 separate cameras in its ball-shaped construction made of tough plastic, with perceptive controls and a simple app to accompany it. The battery life is decent and the image quality is extremely high. 

Costing a rather hefty £1883.32, you naturally expect a product that delivers. And this camera does not disappoint, it can capture high dynamic range photos in HDR mode, it features an ‘anti-shake’ mode, the camera can be mounted on a tripod and charged while still in use, and the Panono also avoids the distortion that some other 360-degree cameras get because it opts for a large amount of small cameras with normal lenses rather than two wide-angle lenses. 

Albeit, the less likeable traits include the lack of a video recording option, the unique ‘toss in the air’ mode not actually producing decent photos, but instead very blurry pictures unwittingly featuring yourself, and the vast amount of cameras means it is difficult to handle without smudging at least one of the lenses. In addition, the camera’s stitching software takes a long time and we did find quite a number of issues with the stitching in smaller spaces, making the images unfit for purpose. 

In summary, this camera's rating pertains to the high quality of image perhaps being overshadowed by its price and stitching issues. 

EyeSpy360™ Score: 5/10

Now it’s time to review another RICOH THETA 360-degree camera. The RICOH THETA SC is £100 less than the THETA S at £199. So let’s see why it’s cheaper and what it has to offer. 

Available in four colours, the SC has good battery life and is easy to operate. The quality of image is much the same as the THETA S, though there is a little bit of chromatic aberration near the stitching line; still this is not enough to spoil the picture. 

However, the SC doesn’t have an HDMI port so you can’t live-stream to a computer. Video clips are also limited to 5 minutes instead of the 25 minutes the THETA S offers and there is only 8GB of memory available. 

Regardless, this camera is certainly not bad when used with our software. 

EyeSpy360™ Score: 7.5/10

The Lomography Spinner 360 features a 25mm fixed-focus lens. To take a shot, you must pull the cord and this allows the camera to spin 360-degrees around its own axis and record everything in its path, on a frame more than four times longer than a conventional landscape picture. It doesn’t require any batteries as it is powered with a rubber band drive and it is very reasonable at £89. 

There are two rotation speeds, which act as shutter speeds, and various settings including releasing the camera’s cord at a reduced pace for low-light conditions. Some of the pros of the Lomography Spinner include its simplicity, its sturdy build and the fact that it stitches pictures itself - thus there is no need for time-consuming stitching. 

You can also hold it by hand and hence eliminate the cost of purchasing a tripod. There are some cons though, and these include the cord jamming if released too slowly, the expense of the film and the time one must wait for it to be developed. Moreover, there is no instant view so you cannot preview your photos before getting them developed, and there is no record of how many pictures you’ve taken, both of these are due to the fact that this camera is not digital. 

As well as this, there is a lack of local PhotoLabs that are able to process in this style, which could undoubtedly become a problem.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

Insta360 came up with a very clever concept when they created two 360-degree cameras that can be plugged into your mobile phone through the charging port. The Insta360 Nano is perfectly compatible with the iPhone 6 and above, and the Insta360 Air works with phones supporting OTG, running Android 5.1 or later and having 2 GB RAM or more.

The Nano also works without the phone, which allows you to have more stability when taking your shots or continue to use it if your iPhone dies. However this will require you to use an SD card, and you will also not be able to see what you’re filming or view your shots. The Nano is a slim, lightweight camera and it handily comes packaged in a makeshift VR Headset, meaning you can subsequently view your captured shots in virtual reality. The only control located on this camera is a power button on the back, which doubles as the shutter button, for when you’re using it without your iPhone, and it also has its own internal battery.

The Nano, at £249.99 gives you dual fisheye lenses and takes good quality pictures in well-lit areas. However, in anything less than perfectly lit environments it struggles to snap anything more than 20 feet away with clarity, making windows look like white blotches and objects at the far end of the room indiscernible. The video quality is also lacklustre, the app is verging on too basic and the camera isn’t very solidly constructed, feeling rather plasticky and vulnerable to scratches and damage on the lenses. However despite its flaws, it is easy to use, relatively affordable and captures decent 360-degree photos and videos.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 5/10

The spherical, golf-ball sized Air requires a very steady hand in order to take a picture, because even the slightest movement makes the footage look like you’re filming from inside a hurricane. Costing £149.99, this camera is £100 cheaper than the Nano. Let’s see whether this makes a massive difference in quality. Unlike it’s iPhone-compatible counterpart, the Air has no battery; it also has no screen, hardly any memory or any buttons. It does have two wide angle lenses and a USB connector though, and it comes with a silicone case to protect it when not in use. 

The camera resolution is much lower than say the RICOH THETA S, however in contrast the video resolution is actually higher. When you plug the Air into your device the software loads automatically if your phone is unlocked, and then you can select photo, video or live streaming, as well as adjust some basic settings. 

The colours of the resultant photos are not as natural looking as other cameras with much lower resolution. It is also not as easy to use due to its shape and lack of tripod. But it is compact and lightweight, doesn’t require any charging and comes with easy-to-use software.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 4/10

The third Insta360 product we are going to review is the Insta360 Pro. Compared to their previous products, the Pro is a much more powerful camera. It can shoot in 8K resolution for both photos and videos, can livestream in 360-degrees and is the first 360-degree camera which can film in slow motion. The resultant images and videos are sharp and high-quality. This camera does not stitch on the fly though, and you will have to stitch the photos together afterwards.You will also need a good internet connection but you have the choice to use either WiFi, 3/4G or Ethernet, although it does seem to lose connection at times, so persevere with this.

At £3,599, this is certainly a step up from the Insta360 cameras which plug into smartphones. As with all Insta360 cameras, the Pro has built in stabilisation which keeps your 360-degree videos looking smooth. It is powered by a removable, long-lasting battery and has six fisheye lenses.

Most 360-degree cameras struggle with low lighting, and there is some blurriness with the Pro when using it to capture night time shots, but in normal lighting it is exceptionally clear. Though expensive, the Insta360 Pro is a good camera on the whole.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

Up next we have the LG360. This camera doesn’t look too dissimilar from the RICOH THETA S and it comes with a protective case which can turn into an elongated handle if attached to the end. It has simple controls and a pair of LED lights which tell you when the camera is in full 360-degree mode or in its other option, which is 180-degrees, using just one of its two lenses. You will have to supply your own Micro SD card however, as the camera doesn’t come with any built-in storage space. This camera is also compatible with tripods and other action cam mounting accessories. Though you will need an adaptor if you’re using GoPro-style mounts.

You can control the LG360 from your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth and WiFi and the accompanying app. There are various preset modes and individual controls, such as night mode and manual exposure. The battery life is reasonable and this camera is excellent value for money at £144.99.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 7/10

The Orah 4i Live features four fisheye lenses and has heat dissipation pads attached, preventing overheating, which some other cameras do have issues with whilst shooting outdoors. It will also fit standard tripod mounts and can be used with VR Headsets. It can be controlled by a smartphone app. This camera is quite solid and sturdy in terms of design and is easy to set up with great stitch quality on the fly or using a separate video stitching box. 

However, this video stitching box is too heavy to use with most drones, so just bear that in mind if this is something applicable to you. The Orah’s reach is limited by the length of your ethernet cord and the battery pack has to be sold separately. It is also pretty expensive in comparison to the previous camera, at £3,660. You can upload your footage directly to YouTube, but when you do you can see the seams from the stitching, and therefore the quality is not as high as when viewing the footage on the app. The camera can also be a little glitchy in terms of connection.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

Though not solely a 360-degree camera, the DJI Osmo has a 360-degree panorama mode. With this, one click of a button will make the Osmo rotate and capture multiple images. You will find these photos on the camera’s SD card and once you have extracted them you can stitch them together using a panorama stitching tool such as Autopano, PTGui or other. This camera has fantastic stabilisation and is strong and sturdy with a comfortable grip. The app is easy to use and features everything you might need for this handheld gimbal (the pivoted support that allows for the rotation of the camera) and camera’s various shooting modes. These include single, multiple, interval, panorama (360-degrees or just 180) and time-lapse.

However, do be aware that the 60-minute battery life is relatively short for cameras of this type and, although not affecting EyeSpy360™ users in general, it is worth noting that you cannot transfer the 4K videos to your phone.

This £519 camera's picture quality is not bad at all, but you need to stitch your photos together afterwards, making sure they are equirectangular; and also the camera is not for the sole purpose of 360-degree photography, making it less relevant to virtual tour makers.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 5/10

GoPro have been a staple in the world of action photography/videography for years now. They are versatile and work brilliantly to capture images and videos on the move, but let’s see what they’re like when they enter the 360-degree scene… 

Costing a staggering (in comparison to others mentioned) £4199.99 for the rig, the battery and the software, the GoPro Omni maintains parallax to the minimal distance of about 1-1.5m. Parallax is “the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions, e.g. through the viewfinder and the lens of a camera” [Google Dictionary]. 

Therefore this means that the concern of distance from camera to objects is reduced. This GoPro doesn’t stitch on the fly though, and you can instead use the software provided to stitch accurately and seamlessly afterwards, using template mapping.

The Omni is made up of six HERO4 GoPro cameras. Though the frame is a lightweight aluminium, it is also fairly large and bulky, meaning it is not terribly practical to transport around. It can also overheat, although it won’t completely turn off. Furthermore, you cannot look at a live preview when capturing images, and it doesn’t connect to a phone app at the time of shooting.

This is a really good quality camera, and an investment which is undoubtedly worth it for event/travel videographers, YouTubers, journalists and educators. However, due to its expense, its weight, and the fact that it doesn’t stitch on the fly, we don’t think it is necessarily well-suited for a user of EyeSpy360™’s platform.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 5/10

Kodak’s PIXPRO ORBIT360 4K has two lenses each with a 235-degree field of view, enabling it to be fully spherical. It also has a third, smaller lens with a 197-degree field of view, which allows it to capture unique images from different angles. It is splashproof, dustproof, freezeproof and shockproof. The ORBIT360 comes with a wearable remote which controls the camera and adjusts the settings, as well as a compatible mobile app connectible with NFC and Wi-Fi; it can also stitch on the fly and it contains Electronic Image Stabilisation. At £499, this compact camera’s two sensors allow users to shoot 3,840 x 1,920 footage at 24p. 

Although well made, and quite impressive in its detail and dynamic range, this Kodak camera produces rather over-processed still images, with noticeable stitching lines and image quality which is sufficient, but certainly not perfect. Its desktop app feels very dated and it is more expensive than some of its direct competitors.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

The new GoPro Fusion is priced at £524.95 and as previously mentioned, naturally you expect excellent video quality from GoPro. This camera does deliver, as it shoots video in 5.2K at 30 frames per second, or 3K at 60 fps, on its dual Micro SD cards, one for each camera module. The software then matches the correct files and stitches them. However, it takes over 30-minutes to stitch just 20 seconds of footage. When you try and stitch any more than this, it takes a matter of hours, which seems crazy when you consider the Ricoh or the 360Fly 4K stitch in a matter of seconds. There are also connection issues when you plug the camera directly into the computer, and it works better if you take out the two Micro SD cards and put these in the computer, extracting the footage that way.

The app is easy to use and the camera is waterproof up to 16 feet and comes with a telescoping pole, which thanks to GoPro's Angel View mode, doesn't show in your footage.

In terms of still photos, the entire stitched 360-degree image is 18-megapixels and is of reasonably good quality, but we actually achieved more optimal results from some of the cheaper 360-degree cameras.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

The newest camera from Insta360 is the Insta360 One. Retailing at £309, this lightweight and compact camera can be mounted directly onto an phone or tablet (both Android and iOS versions of the One are available). It is water and dust proof and can hold a Micro SD card of up to 128GB, allowing plenty of space for 360 video footage, which it shoots in 4K.

There are two wide-angle lenses and the camera comes with a protective case, which doubles as a stand or a hand grip when using the camera solo and not plugging it into your phone or mounting it on a tripod. If you are using the Insta360 One on its own and not pairing it via bluetooth to your device, then you simply tap the power button on the side of the camera for a still 360-degree photo, twice for a video and three times if you wish to record a video in slow motion.

The easiest thing to do though, whether you connect the camera to your device or use it solo, is to utilise the accompanying Insta360 One app. This makes it easy to capture your images and videos remotely and gives you video options such as FreeCapture, where you can review your footage after capturing and optimise your favourite frames.

The still photographs produced by the One are not of bad quality, but neither are they brilliant. In terms of outside shots, if it is not a bright and sunny day, (as it so often isn't here in the UK!) then the results may appear lacklustre and flat. The camera has a few issues with lens flare, as this lowers the contrast of the pictures, and the detailing of objects drops in low-lit conditions. Altogether, the Insta360 One is certainly an upgrade of its phone-connecting predecessors, but it has a few creases that still need ironing out before it achieves a more competitive status in the 360-degree camera scene.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 6/10

Finally, let’s discuss the Giroptic 360. This camera uses three lenses to capture the scene in 4K for photos and 2K for videos, and features a helpful LED screen to keep you informed of its battery status and provide you with messages should an error occur. Furthermore, it is shock and water resistant; it has a replaceable battery; all the stitching is done automatically in-camera; and it is coated in resilient rubber for extra durability. 

The storage space is a definite bonus as the SD card can support up to 128GB. It is easily portable and comes with a universal mount and a Micro-USB port making it compatible with many other devices. The Giroptic 360 can also record for up to an hour non-stop. Although, this camera is slightly more expensive than some of its competitors at £400. What’s more it has trouble stitching video and accordingly the resultant video is not as detailed as that from other 360-degree cameras. Nonetheless, this is not a camera to be overlooked.

EyeSpy360™ Score: 7/10

Here are a couple of camera tests which we carried out with eight of the cameras mentioned above. We took a 360-degree photo with each camera inside and outside at the same place, at the same time of day. Please check them out and let us know your feedback on the quality of each camera!

If you have any feedback on our choice of scores or think that there is a relevant 360-degree camera which we have unintentionally not mentioned; or perhaps you have a 360-degree camera you want us to review, then please do get in touch with us at contact@eyespy360.com and let us know.


Thank you for reading our ramblings, and we hope you are enjoying our software!