Unlike some other tech blog rankings, our best 360° cameras list is not affiliated with any 360° camera manufacturer. Our rankings are based solely on our experiences with the cameras and are thus 100% independent.
Three-sixty photography and videography are constantly evolving. As hardware becomes more and more accessible, it’s easy to get lost amid the plethora of options on the market.
We’ll start by giving an overview of the technology behind 360° cameras and follow up with a list of the best devices on the market in 2023.
A closer look at 360° cameras
What is a 360° camera?
Three-sixty cameras capture static scenes (360° photos) and innovative action sequences (360° videos), that cannot be shot with a conventional, 2D camera. No matter where you point the camera, you won’t miss any part of the surrounding environment because the capture is spherical. Hence the name 360° camera.
How does a 360° camera work?
Imagine the recorded scene, not as a flat rectangle, but as the inner surface of a sphere. When viewing a photo or video in a 360° player, you are looking out from the center of that sphere, navigating the inner surface by dragging the image. Try clicking and dragging the photo in the Panoraven player below.
That’s the software part, but how does the device physically capture this sphere? Three-sixty cameras, like traditional cameras, use flat sensors. But unlike their conventional counterparts, 360° cameras employ two back-to-back fisheye lenses, each capturing 180° of the environment. The camera then merges these two hemispherical images to produce a spherical view.
A 360° image is, by definition, static. You can navigate the image at will, focusing on any portion of the virtual environment.
360° videos are more sophisticated. While you have the freedom to watch any region, the action of the video continues regardless of your point of view. This means that it is possible to look in the “wrong” direction at a significant moment and miss the action that the videographer wanted to highlight. For this reason, we advise purchasing a photo rather than a video solution if your professional activity allows.
What does 360° technology offer your business?
Three-sixty cameras provide several shooting options. Quite popular are panoramic photos and videos, which are viewed through a specific player. Scroll up to see the player we are developing.
Three-sixty filming also affords a creative way to shoot classic “flat” videos. Recording the entire scene allows you to follow any subject during post-production. Since the camera covers all possible shots, you don’t need to frame the subject precisely, a definite advantage over a conventional camera.
These innovative cameras are revolutionizing the way companies present their products and services. Virtual tours of professional environments and simulated displays of merchandise are increasingly common. Want to leverage the technology for your business, but don’t know where to start? Read our guide to VR and 360° photography.
On the other hand, if you’ve already decided to invest in one of these technological gems, you’ve come to the right place. Our team specializes in 360° production, and we are passionate about our field. To understand what the market offered, we reviewed a slew of cameras that covered a range of applications.
This guide is the fruit of our in-house testing. (To deliver the best advice on this dynamic market, we regularly update our rankings .) Without further ado, the top 360° cameras available today!
The best 360 cameras on the market right now
Insta360 One X3 – the best 360 camera for most
Price: €539 | Weight: 180g | Measurements: 114 x 46 x 31mm | Waterproof: up to 10m | Photo Resolution: 72MP (11968×5984) | Video resolution: 5.7K @ 30/25/24fps and 4K @ 60/30fps | Memory: Max 1TB UHS-I Speed Class V30 SD card recommended | Mounting: 1/4″ tripod thread | Battery life: 1800mAh (removable) = approximately 80 minutes.
If you’re just getting started and want to invest in the realm of 360° photography, the Insta360 X3 is a no-brainer. Its mobility, performance quality, and its software are just a few of the features that make the X3 one of the best 360° cameras out there on the market.
Launched at the end of 2022, it’s succeeding the crowned Insta360 X2 (which remains in our rankings).
When we compare both versions, two major upgrades stand out and can make you consider replacing your X2 with the Insta 360 X3.
Firstly: the large 2.29-inch touchscreen has obviously surfaced. Designed to improve navigation, it’s a real success: the screen makes it easier to navigate and modify the camera’s various features.
Secondly: the quality of 360° photos has greatly evolved. Indeed, the sensors of the X3 are 1⁄2 inch each, which is slightly larger than those of the X2 (1/2.3 inch). This distinction enables the X3 to produce better performance quality, particularly in low-light environments. Furthermore, these new sensors enable 360° photographs with a resolution of 72 MP, which is far higher than its original version (18 MP).
Despite these enhancements, the video quality of this new model remains a disappointment. Even if the Insta360 One X3 produces a fairly decent one, the video quality in daylight is equivalent to its former version (the Insta360 One X2). Indeed, both cameras shoot in 5.7K at 30 frames per second, and you’ll only be able to distinguish the quality differences in low-light conditions (because the X3 has slightly bigger sensors).
We highly suggest the Insta 360 X3 for newcomers since it’s highly flexible in this price range. If you want to create virtual tours and already own a X2, upgrading to the X3 may be worthwhile. Others, however, may not feel the need to change because of the minor difference in video quality. For the latter, the Insta 360 RS 1-inch is a great alternative if you have a higher budget.
|The screen greatly improves the user interface||No major video enhancement compared to X2|
|Photo 72 MP|
Insta360 RS-1Inch: the high-level all-rounder
Price: $859 | Weight: 239g | Dimensions: 53.2×49.5×129.3mm | Waterproof: no (IP3) | Photo resolution: 6528×3264 (21MP) | Video resolution: 6K@25fps 3K@50fps | Memory: micro SD class V30 max 1TB| Mounting: Tripod Socket | Battery life: 1350mAh – 60 minutes in 6K@30ips video
Released in June 2022, the Insta360 RS 1-inch is one of the latest arrivals from the Chinese firm, and it’s an excellent surprise.
The 360° camera is part of the modular Insta360 RS series (core + battery + lens), but its form factor is vertical instead of horizontal like the RS 4K model.
Even if it’s modular, and especially regarding the operational need to which it responds, we can compare the RS 1-inch to the insta360 One X3.
The great novelty is in the name of the camera: the size of the Leica sensors is 1 inch, i.e. more than twice as large as those of the X3 (Sony ½ inch). The only other 360° camera on the market today that also has 1-inch sensors is the Ricoh Theta Z.
The size of the sensors plays a crucial role in the “experienced” resolution of the image. When comparing the resolution of the X3 and the 1-inch RS on paper, there is not a big technical difference (0.3K). And yet, the “experienced” quality, whether of video or photo, is much higher.
To put it simply, in a low-light environment, the smaller the lens, the less light it will be able to capture. This inevitably results in noise on the output image, even if the camera’s resolution is high.
Additionally, while the effect is more noticeable in low light, the improvement is significant in most situations in the field.
On the photo side, the resolution goes from 18 MP to 21 MP and benefits, in the same way as the video, from the increased size of the sensors. The quality is quite competitive with the Theta X, Z1, Trisio lite 2, and even the Insta360 One X3.
In addition, unlike the Theta X, the RAW mode is available. The output noise is excellent, the sharpness, and the photos have a good dynamic range. Overall, the insta360 RS 1-inch is very competitive regarding output quality.
Stabilization is still excellent, and the touchscreen control makes navigation easy. Also, note that the videos are assembled in real-time, which avoids a step in the editing workflow. This is not a detail because the recovery time is usually quite long, especially if you do not have a high-end computer. But as we said, the novelty is mainly in the size of the sensors.
On the price side, the camera is $859. It’s a budget, but worth it if you want to shoot both videos and photos.
The insta360 RS 1-inch is versatile, much more than most other cameras in this ranking, and can suit both virtual tour pros and 360° videographers.
|Excellent video/photo versatility||Difficult to remove the SD card (need to disassemble the modules)|
|Impressive low-light quality|
Trisio Lite 2 – Unbeatable value for money for virtual tours
Price: $379 | Weight: 157g | Dimensions: 147 x 51 x 23mm | Waterproof: no | Still image resolution: 32 MP | Video resolution: does not make video | Memory: 7.1 GB internal – no micro SD | Mounting: Tripod Socket | Battery life: approximately 3 hours
Designed for the needs of virtual tour creators, the Trisio Lite 2 is exclusively dedicated to taking stabilized 360° photos. Unlike conventional 360° cameras, the Trisio Lite 2 does not have back-to-back lenses. It has one lens but has the particularity of being mounted on a motorized rotating part. Thanks to this, the camera turns on itself to take a set of 4 photos, then stitches them to create a single 360° photo.
This specificity makes it impossible to take 360° videos but gives serious advantages for 360° photography. Having only one lens allows the Chinese firm to display a competitive price compared to other cameras that have 2. Thus, the Trisio Lite 2 has a great price for 8K photo rendering ($399), giving it excellent value for money.
What’s more, where other cameras have to recompose the final 360° photo from just 2 photos, the Trisio Lite 2 has 4. This explains the quality of the images, comparable to those of the Theta X and the Theta Z1 which belong to a much higher price range ($999).
During our test, we liked its ease of use. The camera automatically analyzes the ambient light (AnyScene technology), shoots the 4 photos in HDR, and ensures no overexposed areas are in the final image. It will take 30 seconds per image unlike conventional cameras, which are faster. The recomposition of the 4 images is of very high quality and the stitching defects are almost invisible. It’s actually the best stitching we’ve seen out of all the 360° cameras tested. Image contrast is natural, accurate colors, and the dynamic range is excellent. Overall, the quality of the images is really there.
The main flaw of the Trisio Lite 2 is that there is no RAW mode. This will disappoint some for sure, but keep in mind that the output images are already of good quality. In addition, note that this is a con shared by Theta X.
On the hardware side, the storage capacity is built-in (no SD card) and 7.1GB (officially 8GB). This seems limited at first sight but knowing that a final photo is 4MB, you’ll be able to take 1,500-2,000 photos, which is quite reasonable.
The battery is also built-in: you cannot buy spare batteries. So you have about three hours of use ahead of you. One solution may be to use an external battery, but we found this annoying in practice because the camera needs to rotate to operate.
In conclusion, the Trisio Lite 2 is smartly designed to lower the manufacturing cost while optimizing the quality of the output images. It only does one thing, shoot stabilized 360° photos but does it exceptionally well. The photo quality is comparable to that of the Theta Z1, Theta X, and the Insta360 One X3. If you are a virtual tour professional, this is the best 360°camera in this price range.
|Very detailed 360° photo||No videos|
|Great stitching||No RAW|
|AnyScene mode (exposure calibration)||Few manual settings|
|Excellent value for money|
Insta360 ONE X2 – still competitive despite the X3 being on the market
Price: $429 | Weight: 149 g | Dimensions: 113 x 462 x 29.8 mm | Waterproof: 10 m | Photo resolution: 18.5 MP | Video resolution: 5.7K | Memory: MicroSD (not included) | Mount: Tripod socket | Battery life: 80 minutes
In 2023, despite the release of the Insta360 RS 1-inch and the X3, we still rate the Insta360 One X2 as one of the best 360° cameras.
The insta360 One X2 can take 360° photos at a resolution of 6080 x 3040. The photo rendering is precise, and the HDR function allows you to obtain excellent colorimetric results, even in low light.
On the video side, the One X2 has an impressive image stabilization feature, which will make the most chaotic videos smooth. It can capture 5.7K (5760 x 2880) video at 30 fps and 4K video at 50 fps. The FlowState image stabilization algorithm allows for smooth shots, while the TimeShift tool enables you to slow down or speed up video segments efficiently.
The One X2 resists water down to 10 meters (33 feet) and has a battery life of up to 80 minutes. The camera also features a circular touchscreen that lets you preview videos/photos and change settings on the fly. Very practical, its successor the Insta360 One X3 nevertheless does much better with its 2.29-inch touch screen.
If you are considering the One X2, remember to buy the extra protective cap. It’s a shame that the case is not a standard accessory since daily handling makes it essential.
Since the release of the Insta360 One X3, the second-hand market for the X2 is flourishing. Note that for 360° video, there are no significant quality differences between the two models. The improvement is visible only when it comes to 360° photography. Therefore, be aware that it may be economically interesting to consider the purchase of the X2 instead of the X3 if you can find a good deal. For the same price, obviously, prefer the X3.
The Insta360 One X2 remains a very versatile camera, waterproof, and still capable of good shots. Despite the release of the Insta360 One X3, it’s still an interesting and economical option because the video capture between the two models is comparable quality-wise. For us, the Insta360 One X2, therefore, remains competitive and retains a place in our rankings.
|Excellent image stabilization||Relative heaviness|
|Waterproof body||Somewhat tedious video editing process|
|Good color and photo/video detail||No included protective case|
Ricoh Theta X – The best 360 camera for virtual tours
Price: $799 | Weight: 170g | Dimensions: 147 x 51 x 23mm | Waterproof: No | Resolution of still images: 11008 x 5504 – 60MP | Video resolution: 5.7K@30fps – 4K@60fps | Memory: MicroSD + 46Gb internal | Mounting: Tripod Socket | Battery life: 30 min in video mode – 200 photos
The Ricoh Theta X, released in the first quarter of 2022, is Ricoh’s new 360° camera. It follows the Theta Z1, which has become a reference for creating virtual tours.
The first thing you notice, which denotes its elders, is the presence of a touch screen on the camera. Large and responsive, it allows controlling the device and previewing images/videos without having to connect to the device.
Also, the battery is now removable, which allows for a simple solution during long work sessions, but we would have liked it to have a larger capacity, 1350 mAh being a bit tight (about 30 minutes of video or 200 photos). As for the storage capacity, the camera finally has a MicroSD slot to complete its internal 46GB memory. These show that Ricoh, which had previously focused on photo quality, makes the Theta X more versatile and better equipped for video.
The Theta X has two sensors of 1/2 inch each, thanks to this it can take 360° photos with a resolution of 60MP, which is much more than its competitors. Overall this gives good-quality photos, which are sharp and dynamic. Indoors, the camera is able to reduce overexposure and capture plenty of detail with auto-HDR mode. On the other hand, the colors can sometimes appear dull and, unlike the Z1, the Theta X does not have a RAW mode to correct these color defects. However, it is possible via the touch screen to manually adjust the bit rate, ISO, shutter delay, and exposure.
Ricoh has never designed its cameras with video in mind first. That said, this device is now capable of taking videos, 25 min max, in 5.7k@30fps or 4K@60fps. The camera, therefore, aligns on this point with the Insta One X2. On the other hand, the quality of stabilization, unchanged since the Z1, is still below the competition, it’s clear that you will not be able to use the Theta X as an Action Cam. The camera also has an image stitching feature built into the camera. You will not have to recompose them via software afterward: this considerably reduces the processing time.
The Theta Z1 takes better quality images than the Theta X in terms of looks, thanks to the 1-inch sensors and RAW mode. That said, the workflow to get the best quality images for the Z1 is much longer than for the Theta X; you can get around 80% of the quality with the Theta X in half the time. Honestly, the jpegs output from the Theta X is very good and the RAW will only miss the purist.
In conclusion, the Theta X is an excellent choice for the creation of static virtual tours. The Theta Z1 is capable of outputting slightly higher-quality images but at the cost of a heavier workflow. As a purist, you will prefer the Z1. For others, the Theta X will be an excellent choice.
|Very detailed images||No RAW mode|
|Multitudes of settings||Battery capacity is a bit tight|
|Excellent auto-HDR mode||Lenses sensitive to glare|
|Large touch screen to preview and adjust|
RICOH THETA Z1: the choice for pro photography
Price: $ 999 | Weight: 182 g | Dimensions: 133 x 48 x 30 mm | Waterproof: No | Photo resolution: 6720 x 3360 | Video resolution: 4K | Memory: 19 or 51 GB | Mount: Tripod socket | Battery life: Approximately 60 minutes
Released in 2019, the Ricoh Theta Z1 is still competitive in 2022 and deserves its place in our ranking. The camera has since benefited from an update increasing the internal memory from 19Gb to 51Gb in May 2021. In March 2022, Ricoh released the Theta X (tested above), which is a more accessible camera but which lacks some functions that the Z1 has. The Theta Z1 is therefore still an option that you can consider in 2022.
The Theta Z1 can capture 23MP (6720 x 3360 px) photos and 4K videos, but the image quality is much greater than these numbers suggest. Thanks to its 1 inch sensors – larger than other 360° cameras – the Z1 shoots high-resolution photos and videos with excellent dynamic range.
No doubt, photo quality is the crowning glory of the Theta Z1. Compared to other 360° cameras, the Z1 produces better raw photos and gives you more control over the exposure. Under low light conditions, it is superior to other models. In fact, we prefer the Z1 over the X1, which has a higher resolution on paper, precisely because the Z1 is more reliable in terms of photo rendering, especially in low-light situations.
But the Theta Z1 has one drawback: the price. At $999, it remains too expensive for most amateurs. Moreover, the camera has not decreased in price since its release four years ago. Logic would have the Z1 be more accessible ($200-$300 less), and we regret that this is not the case.
The Theta Z1 still benefited from an increase in its internal memory (51GB), which clearly suffered from its size (19GB). This equips it slightly better for video, but the camera isn’t waterproof and the stabilization is far from optimal. Overall, like all Ricoh’s, it’s not really designed for video and you won’t be able to take good outdoor action shots with it. If you want to use it in this context, we prefer the Insta360 One X3 or the Gopro Max.
If you have the budget and want to shoot professional 360° photos (e.g. virtual tours), you can invest in the Ricoh Theta Z1 or the Theta X. As long as your first priority is the quality of photography and consistency of rendering, it remains a good choice in 2023. That said, we regret the price has not evolved since its release (4 years) as it damages its competitiveness against more recent competitors in this list.
|Exceptional photo quality||High price tag|
|Auto HDR mode||Built-in 51GB memory – no Micro SD slot|
|RAW mode||Non removable battery|
GoPro MAX – The camera for outdoor and sportive shooting
Price: $379 | Weight: 115 g | Dimensions: 25 x 64 x 69 mm | Waterproof: Yes | Photo resolution: 18 MP | Video resolution: 5.7K | Memory: MicroSD (not included) | Mount: Tripod socket | Battery life: 85 minutes
If you want to record immersive videos of sporting excursions or outdoor adventures, the GoPro Max is still a decent choice for the task.
The GoPro Max is waterproof down to five meters (16.5 feet) without a case, and the editing workflow through the app is relatively straightforward. If you want to turn your 360° video into a traditional 2D movie – one of the innovations facilitated by 360° cameras – the app’s OverCapture software makes the job easy.
The GoPro Max expands many features of the GoPro Hero 8 Black (its predecessor), including HyperSmooth stabilization and 360° TimeWarp footage. Qualitatively, the photo and video results are slightly poorer than those of other contenders in this ranking. If you want to do 360° photography like virtual tours, we advise you to turn to other models like the Insta360 RS-1inch or the Insta360 One X3.
On the other hand, the GoPro Max is solid and waterproof. Equipped for sports outings, it frees you to capture the drama of the moment without sweating over the direction of the shot or the integrity of your device.
It is still possible to obtain good results with the GoPro Max, which is addressed to sportsmen and outdoor adventurers. For the others, its average quality in low light and its general photo quality – (however correct) – should lead you to another model, like the Inta360 One X3. Indeed, even if the GoPro Max still has cards to play, it does not seem to be a priority for GoPro, which has stopped its development. At the price of new, there is a better investment to make in our opinion.
|Ease of editing via the app||No traditional 4K capture|
|Robust design||Inferior performance in low light|
|Waterproofness to 5 m without a shell|
Xphase pro S2/X2 – Unrivaled photos sharpness, suffers from a heavy workflow
Price: $979 | Weight: 248g | Dimensions: camera diameter = 60mm; handle diameter = 22mm and height = 245mm | Waterproof: No | Photo resolution: 16384 x 8192 (134mp) | Video resolution: None (no video) | Memory: USB removable (32GB included but can be changed)
In 2020, when the Xphase pro S was released, it was the first “one button shoot” 360° camera capable of such high-resolution photos (134 MP = 16K). Thanks to its 25 lenses of 1/3.2 inches mounted on a cylindrical body of 60 mm, the camera has all that it takes to delight virtual tour creators.
However, we were not convinced by the camera from the Chinese firm even if the photo sharpness was unequaled, the Xphase PRO S suffered from too many issues. For example, the dynamic range was average compared to what the Theta Z1 can do; the nadir and zenith suffered from distortions related to stitching issues; the Wi-Fi link between the camera and its application randomly dropped out, etc.
The good news? In 2023 these major problems have been solved by the release of a new version: the Xphase PRO S2/X2. The colors are much better and we can finally appreciate the incredible sharpness of the 25 stitched shots. Consequently, the new version of this camera has its place in our ranking because it is now unrivaled in terms of photo quality. Indeed, no other camera in the market does a better job in this area.
That being said, even if a lot of problems have been solved between the two versions, the image editing process is still reserved for experts. The workflow is anything but intuitive, and it will take some time to master the camera effectively.
Note that the Xphase pro-S2 does not take video. It is also particularly addressed to virtual tour creators. With the camera being quite long to set up, it is not suitable for cases in which you have to take pictures on the spot (selfies, etc.). It is more suitable in situations where you can take your time, typically during the creation of virtual tours.
The battery allows you to take about 50 photos, which can be not enough in some cases. Therefore, don’t forget to bring an external battery for a prolonged shooting session. The storage is USB based, with a provided 32GB key. It is possible to increase its capacity (be sure to check its compatibility first, because the key is positioned in the handle, and thus has a particular size to fit into it).
For editing you will also need a high-end computer to process the photos. The output photos are 250Mb each, and the color correction manipulations from software like Photoshop will be greedy in RAM (we recommend 32 to 64 GB of RAM as well as a good graphics card).
It is true, it sounds like a lot of drawbacks. But still, the photo quality of the Xphase PRO S2/X2 is excellent and much sharper than the competition. This remains a great advantage that justifies considering buying it.
The Xphase PRO S2/X2 trades its exceptional resolution for a long and complex workflow. Experts in virtual tour creation should take a closer look at it, but we recommend others to search for a more user-friendly 360° camera.
|Unrivaled 360° photo sharpness (16K)||No video capture|
|Long and complex workflow|
|Not enough battery|
A few additional models to mention
360° and 3D hybrid models
For 360° shooting, you can ignore these cameras. Their quality doesn’t come close to the standard. But for 3D imaging, consider the Vuze XR, which offers good value for the money.
The best 360 cameras of 2023: Wrapping up!
The Insta 360 RS 1-inch takes the first place on the podium for its versatility. This is a great choice if you have the budget and want to do both video and stills.
If your budget is smaller but you want to stay versatile, then the Insta360 One X3 will be your best option. For sports enthusiasts, and if you want a more action-oriented camera, the GoPro MAX is still an acceptable choice in 2023.
For virtual tour pros, you can think about the Trisio lite 2, which has the best value for money.
Then, you can also make your choice between the Theta X, Z1, and Insta360 RS 1-inch, which are running neck-and-neck (and in the same price range). However, for this particular use, we recommend thinking first about the RS 1-inch, some purists will prefer the Theta Z1, which has better editability of RAW files, for example. Each of the three models has its particularities in the detail. But overall, the quality is similar regarding the photo rendering.
Finally, if you’re looking for the best possible sharpness without breaking the bank, and don’t mind the workflow’s complexity, you can consider the Xphase PRO S2/X2.