360 cameras are among the most sought-after products in the photography and videography industry today. There are numerous brands and models to choose from, so how do you find the best one for you?

With the emergence of virtual reality (VR) hardware and applications, 360-degree snaps have become more popular than ever before. We can easily share our experiences and invite others to join in the fun, even though we’re oceans apart. Due to their increased popularity, various models of 360 cameras are now available to buy from a bunch of manufacturers. If you’re a potential buyer, how would you know which to choose? Don’t worry. Just keep in mind that there are things you should consider when buying your own 360 camera.

Type of 360 camera

There are two general types of 360 camera: Monoscopic and stereoscopic. Monoscopic cameras produce flat 360 degree images and videos. This means that you can still see a complete view of the space, but it doesn’t have any depth to it: It’s like looking at a picture that completely surrounds you. Monoscopic shots are the ones that can be uploaded on YouTube and Facebook.

Stereoscopic cameras, on the other hand, produce 3D images which are closer to VR. This type of 360 camera uses two lenses or cameras that represent each eye. Stereoscopic photos and clips are viewed using a VR headset, which can give an enhanced interpretation of depth and reality.

Durability and size

What’s the use of a 360 camera if you’re not going to use it when you go to different places? Just make sure that they’re suitable for outdoor use (they’re waterproof and dust-proof). You should also think about the size. The best 360 camera is one you can carry with you anywhere. If you’re big into extreme sports, ensure that the camera comes with peripherals which allow attaching to clothing and outdoor gear.

Image Quality

When taking into account image quality, there’s quite a few things to consider. As a starting point, you’ll want to know the sensor size, who it’s manufactured by (Sony and Samsung are solid options) and the resolution. The highest resolution for 360 cameras is 4K. If you want Ultra-high-definition videos and images, then go for cameras that shoot in this resolution. However, don’t be swayed by description alone; you have to see it for yourself. There are cameras that guarantee HD quality but fail to live up to their promise.

Field of view

As mentioned before, don’t believe the description right away. There are camera companies that claim that their 360 camera offers a full 360 degrees field of view but, in reality, only shoots at full panorama (doesn’t capture the areas above and below). If you’re going to buy a 360 camera, better go for one that shoots in full 360 degrees.

Stitching

To make a 360 image, two or more photos need to be stitched. It’s best to consider a camera that can automatically stitch the images through built-in software, a smartphone app, or a desktop app. Manually stitching images is a tedious task and can cause problems with the end photo.

You should also look at the quality of stitching. A good 360 camera stitches images precisely and neatly. If you see any visible lines where the photos were joined, then it’s time to move to the next camera you’re considering.

Other things to check:
● Battery life
● Internal storage and expandable SD

Adding a 360 camera to your equipment is a great upgrade, but don’t forget to be wise when choosing which model and brand to buy. Keep in mind all that’s been listed here and you’ll surely get the best value for your money.

George Finlayson

George Finlayson is an educator and professional writer with a BA in Creative Writing. He was born in London, England but currently resides in Shanghai, China. He has recently developed a great interest in photography and has begun a new venture into writing about photography and videography for beginners, and related topics. With so many technical details in digital photography, George likes to keep things simple so that everyone can understand and feel a part of the ever-growing global photography community.

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