As the 360 format becomes more and more accessible to amateurs and pros, it is possible to get lost as there are a lot of offers for 360 degree devices. Here is our selection of the best 360 camera available on the market in mid 2019, categorized according to your needs.
360 degree technology is evolving fast. This selection has been updated in June of 2019 and is updated every 6 months to guarantee you the best advice. Note that we are not affiliated with the manufacturers of these devices, in any way.
1) Ricoh Theta Z1 for professional photographers
The Z1 shoots 23 megapixels photos, which is 6720px by 3360px and the video is 4K, but the image quality is much better than those numbers suggest. Photos can be taken on the fly by simply pressing the main button – so without image feedback – or via the mobile application (android or iPhone).
This is a $999 360 camera with two in-built one-inch sensors, which is the very first 360 camera to ever have this. It uses much larger 1-inch sensors than regular 360 cameras to offer the potential for much better image quality. And as a result, the image quality is incredible. This is the most DSLR-like point and
But it’s not cheap. $999 is out of most people’s price range, so if you’re a professional shooting virtual tours, you should consider it. If you’re not, there are other cameras on this list that will do a good enough job.
They haven’t upgraded the memory since the Theta V, so it’s stuck with 19 gigabytes of storage. It’s not a complete deal breaker but it does make the camera kind of limiting for shooting videos. There are better options for shooting videos and we would only recommend the Z1 for shooting 360 photos.
To conclude, with the Z1, we found the raw, to be about half as good as the DSLR if not more, especially in the shadowy areas. Combine this with really impressive sharpness, which looks much sharper than 23 megapixels and the ability to shoot bracketed shots and this becomes the best camera for professional 360 photographers in mid-2019.
If you have the budget and want to make professional 360 photos (eg virtual tours) you should seriously consider investing in the Ricoh Theta Z1. On the other side, the 19Gb build-in memory is a huge limiting factor when it comes to shoot 4K videos. As long as your first priority is the photography quality, it’s the best choice.
|Exceptional photo quality||Expensive|
|Auto HDR mode||19GB built-in memory card |
2) Xiaomi Mi Sphere for amateurs
The Xiaomi Mijia Sphere 4K panorama action camera adopts two 190 degree ultra wide angle fish eye lenses to synthesize a panoramic picture through two images captured by the lens. The pixel of each camera is 16MP, and the resolution of a panoramic picture reaches 6912 x 3456.
Honestly, for videos, it’s now sub-standard, because it started as a 3.5K camera, and then they updated it to 4K, but it’s interpolated 4K, so it looks fake and it doesn’t look great compared to basically every other camera out there that shoots 4K or above.
But this is one of the sharpest 360 cameras you’ll find for photos for the budget. We used this camera a lot for virtual tour and we got some really good results with it. The dynamic range is okay, but if you’re shooting in an environment with controlled lighting, like outside or inside, just avoid mixed lighting interiors.
Xiaomi Mi Sphere has the best cost performance ratio. It’s especially good for photos and will over-deliver for the $220 price point it’s currently at . So if your budget is under $250 for a 360 camera, the Xiaomi Mi Sphere is your 360 camera of choice.
|Excellent value for money||Average video quality|
|Very sharp photo quality|
3) Insta 360 one X
When the One X was released last year, it became known as the 360 camera killer. It absorbed all the best features of its main competitors, making it the obvious choice. The photo quality was great, the video quality was great, and the amazing app was the icing on the cake. Well, since they released it, they’ve added more, and more and more features, making it the obvious choice for anyone looking for a 360 camera, for photo or video with a budget of under $500.
The One X also claims HDR for both still images as JPEG or DNG raw, which each have a resolution of 18MP, and for video. They’ve optimized the ONE X to have bigger pixels, which means the dynamic range is better, the low light shooting is better. And believe it or not, the sharpness was better than what it was at 24 megapixels.
As for shooting videos, only a few other 360 camera can shoot at 5.7K, and this is really a minimum if you want to shoot for VR viewers. The camera can tend to overexpose direct sunlight, but other than that is deals with colors and light reasonable accurately. Perhaps more importantly, the One X also boasts FlowState, a new image stabilization tech that was also on the Insta360 One, and is a huge success on the GoPro Fusion.
The One X have a tons of features – an overall good photo and video quality – all editing can be done on a mobile device and the dedicated app is intuitive and straightforward to use. All those points make the Insta360 One X an easy recommendation to any semi-pros or amateurs with a $500 budget.
|Best action cam for videos||Not waterproof|
|Very easy app to work with||Some issues in low light|
|Overall great value for the price|
4. Wrap up
Below the sum up of characteristics to consider when choosing a 360 cameras.
|Ricoh Theta Z1||Xiaomi Mi Sphere||Insta 360 X one|
|Video resolution||4K – 3840 x 1920/30fps||3,5K – 3456 x 1728 /30fps||5,7K – 5760 x 2880/30fps |
|Photo resolution|| 6720 x 3360 || 6912 x 3456 || 6080 x 3040 |
|Video stabilization||Yes||Yes (6 axis)||Yes (6 axis)|
|Waterproof||No||Yes (IP67 – 1m)||No |
|Battery life/removable?||300 photos or 60 min video 4K/no||60 min in 3,5K/no||60min in 5,7K/yes|
|Memory/microSD?||19Gb/no||Up to 128 Gb/yes||Up to 128 Gb/yes|
|Size (mm)|| 48 x 133 x 30 mm || 78 x 67 x 24 mm ||48 x 115 x 28mm|
|Price||$ 999||$ 285||$ 349|