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360 degree photography and videography - what's the latest?

Hey everyone. Hope you're all keeping well.

I have 360 degree imagery on my mind at the moment and was wondering whether any KAPers have discovered anything of interest in recent months?

I know James G has been successfully experimenting with a GoPro cluster in recent times, but I haven't noted any sizeable steps forward of late with alternative platforms.

The ongoing biggest issue as far as I see it is that of pixels to weight ratio which is why the GoPro cluster solution remains favourable. 4 GoPros provide 48MP for just 300g or thereabouts. The equivalent single camera option (which would need some kind of special lens attachment) is the newly released Canon 5DS which provides 50.6MP at the cost of 845g for the body alone. And £2500-3000 or maybe $4500 Stateside.

If anyone has any newly found wisdom on this topic then please share! I'd certainly like to know whether there are any good alternatives to the likes of 360 Heroes who appear to have ridiculous pricing for their camera holders.

Other products of interest are 360Fly for video, and Panono for 100MP stills. I have sent a couple of functionality questions to the Panono support team.


  • Recommend you take a look at the Rico Theta M15.

    See KAP discussion here.

    See product description here - looks like it does stills and video.

    No first hand knowledge but looks interesting.

  • Hey Jim. I did see the Theta as an option but the reviews are pretty damning.
  • in a previous discussion :

    about 360° PANO at least 3 new technology - approach came or are coming on the market :
    RICOH THETA https://theta360.com/en/
    BUBL CAM http://www.bublcam.com/
    PANONO https://www.panono.com/#/en/home

    The RICOH THETA looks simple, small, little weight, performing, probably has some limitations in quality - picture details

    The BUBL CAM looks quite interesting and for KAP 3 cameras could look DOWN and one up to the sky thus 3/4 of good informations; SW can deal something that someone else is already doing with multi GoPro sincronized

    the PANONO looks a big jump with so many cameras and with EXTRA BIG EFFORT for the SW dealing with a huge amount of informations and a fast data acquisition concept but let's cross the fingers that they are able to develop such monster
    John Wells at begin february :
    Has anyone flown a KODAK PIXPRO SP360?

    User manual
    mentioned 360FLY looks "VERY SIMILAR" === KODAK PIXPRO SP360,.... (repacked ?)

    the 360 HEROES,... looks simply out of discussion,... how to pay a lot for very little,...

    and if you just want to have a little toy look to Spy Gear Panosphere 360 Spy Cam

    SMAC from Italy
  • If relatively low resolution isn't a show stopper for you, I can warmly recommend the Theta m15. It's lightweight and dead simple, fun to use. Here's the first KAP image with it some days ago, in case you missed it in the other thread.


    Since it's not for printing (otoh I've seen 360x180 images printed on a ball-like paper shape :) and I'm using it for sub-page viewports, the resolution is enough. Even full screen viewing looks "ok" on my 30" monitor, some 10" viewing distance. :)
  • The Theta, like the ancient Canon FC-E8 fisheye I used to play with, doesn't look too bad when you look straight down, but gets much fuzzier as you move towards the horizon. There's no comparison with James' 4-GoPro system - you can zoom into this one more or less anywhere and see incredible detail.
  • Yes, with Theta there's little point in zooming much in.
  • Very small update direct from Panono support:

    - The camera will have integrated time lapse mode.

    - Pictures to be released soon on attachments.

    I've been promised an e-mail when the next batch of info is publicly released.

    Dave, I agree that James' set up provides a pretty good result but the prospect of double that resolution in one device is very appealing as well as being cheaper.

    Apologies for the obvious discussions I've missed; I thought I had been keeping a good watch on the threads of late. Obviously not!
  • Ningaloo, agree the reviews on the Theta M15 are weak....but still a low cost way to try out this technique.

    I love the detail in James 4-GoPro system from Dave's link above.

    We live in a world where the technology is changing rapidly (good for us KAPers).

    Part of the reason I moved to higher MP cameras (Sony A6000) last year was the improvement in the display technology.

    If you have not tried it yet I recommend you load up a few of your high resolution KAP images onto to an SD card and then take it to a store or a lucky friend that has a large 4K HDTV and view the images - stunning in most cases. Note - I do not own a 4K TV, but I know this is the direction the industry is moving.....5 years from now....who knows.

    As good as the 4K video (think recent GoPro cameras that shoot in 4K and high resolution stills.....the technology is marching swiftly ahead.

    I was blown away with the quality and resolution of this 10K video example.

    Enjoy the viewing.....and dream of the KAP possibilities in the near future!


  • Interesting 10K demo. To my eye, the best results were at night! I note in the video comment blurb that noise reduction wasn't used which surprised me as the detail didn't seem that spectacular. To be fair, there was a valid mention about video compression but I still expected better.

  • The tech has moved on at a great pace since I started this thread at the start of 2015, so I thought I'd bump it back up the discussion board.

    I'm still waiting for a Kickstarter/Indiegogo crowdfunding project to complete which has ex-Google boffins working on a 360 degree video/camera startup.

    In the meantime, I've been floating around the likes of Amazon again to what is available now and found this device:

    Has anyone invested in 360 tech recently? Makers other than Ricoh (Theta), Kodak, Nikon?
  • edited December 2016
    Twin lens Samsung Gear 360
    3840x1920 high resolution video and 25.9MP Photos.
  • Nothing much going on here: looks like a multiple camera set up is the way to go if your not satisfied with thetas and pixpros image quality ( and who is?)
    The Panono looks interesting but lacks interval settings and has a very short battery life. I have contacted the panono's in Berlin and they told me that the next generation (in 2017) will benefit interval settings.
  • The 360 VR KAP / KAV discussion has been a point of interest for some time....

    Going all the way back to 2006 with a discuss started by coopershoot, Brooxs and others.

    ...and continued earlier this year. I was holding out hope that the Nikon KeyMission 360 would be a good path forward but the image quality seen in reviews was so - so, and the stitching needed some work.

    I put a few dollars into the Nico360 kickstarter....but the promised cameras have been delayed from fall 2016 to mid 2017....

    Wait and see progress on this front.

  • Jim, I too am awaiting the Nico 360 to come to fruition.

    Gerco, interesting to hear about the Panono not having an interval timer in the 1st generation model as I had sent an e-mail directly to the makers prior to it coming on the market and was told that it would have that ability!
  • Only 2 lenses on the Nico 360. The worst image quality is unsurprisingly on the lense edges. I would welcome a multiple lens system with some overlap, similar to the Panono.
    And why do they keep talking about a 360x360 system? Am I missing a part of the globe?
  • The Theta S looks like a low cost 360 camera that may do the job with its time lapse feature and better sensor with good reviews, has anyone tried it out yet?
  • For a project called Between Sweet and Salt I am flying the Theta S too.
  • Since you started this thread Kevin much has happened and but more importantly so much has not!

    I've decided to shelve any aspirations of buying a 360 video unit for KAP, at least for the time being. Among the runners I've considered, Samsung Gear 360, Nikon 360 KeyMission and the Kodak SP360 4K have now finally been released nearly all of them well after their supposed original release dates and each one of them have as far as I can see from reports/videos etc fail to make the grade. I'll go through each one from data I've researched mainly from Youtube.

    Samsung Gear 360. boasts many functions but the biggest let down is that if you want to control the camera fully you need to have a Samsung smart phone and not any one there is a list of compatible ones on the Gear 360 site. Otherwise although you can extract the resulting images and use a third party software such as PTGui to stitch the images you are restricted as to the quality of image using the Gear 360 display. So adding a phone to the price and it gets pricey. Also as with the other 2 offerings one glaring fault that has come to light is that the stitch line is not good and to me it is such a glaring fault. Anyone who has taken 360 photos whether aerial or ground based will have had to deal with taking an image through the nodal point of the lens so a good stitch is achieved. The further the two lens are apart the more difficult it is to stitch.

    In the good old days of hanging a fish eye lens vertically down and with a field of view of 183 degrees you can see that making a horizontal stitch using PTGui to do the top and bottom stitch while fiddly, produced good results. The main issue being image quality.

    Nikon KeyMission 360. This was the one I was really looking forward to. So much so that just before Christmas I managed to secure, or so I thought, a unit through Curry's. Sadly the next morning when I was due to collect I was told via a phone message that the unit was not available, the website had taken my order by mistake due to a software error. Two good things here, firstly I hadn't set out and secondly later that week I saw a scathing review where the tester actually took the unit back to the shop! So I consider I had a lucky escape. Why?
    Well just like Samsung the two 180 degree lens are too far apart from each other back to back. Resulting in awful stitching. On top of which the wifi link up to the smart phone software is from what I've seen very tenuous. Need I go on.

    Kodak SP360 4K. Used as a single unit you can't get 360 video. Stills well yes just turn the camera. So Kodak offer a ready made solution by making a twin unit. Again the main issue is the stitching, however in comparison to the Nikon the software appears to work harder to resolve issues. The colour rendition is better too.

    Now here is the rub. Believe it or not in the tests I've seen the Ricoh Theta S is still the best bang for your buck. OK image quality is not superb but stitching is far better quite possibly because the two lens are so close back to back? :-))
    Apparently a recent release from LG is similar in configuration to the Theta S but using better chips etc so this may well be a contender.

    Further digging has brought up what well may be the answer. It's called the Vuze Camera. It is due out in the first quarter of 2017. It uses 8 sensors with onboard stitching. Website images look respectable. Vuze Camera

    2016 promised so much from great respectable brand names and it just fizzled out. Lets hope 2017 delivers. I just can't wait to use my gimbal equipped rig which I built.


  • edited January 2017
    I just joined the 360-club (Ricoh Theta SC). First living room experiments look promising (good stitching of everything further than a few feet away). Have to convert my selfie stick to a pendulum, and I'm ready to fly :-)

    Cheers, Hans.
  • > Anyone who has taken 360 photos whether aerial or ground based will have had to deal with taking an image through the nodal point of the lens

    Hate to be finicky, but that is not technically correct.
    It is the single entrance pupil that is relevant, not either of the two nodal points which only apply to the rotating-slit cameras that used to be used for school group photos.

  • I stand corrected David you are right but when I was penning the above I couldn't quite remember the correct terminolgy!! But I'm sure you'll agree that the issue regarding stitching is a result of the back to back lenses being too far apart and the FOV being 180 degrees or less. I'm sure any software will have trouble using that data especially when using just 2 lenses. The more lenses the better and easier the stitching, the bonus also being better definition.

    Anyway another contender on the block could well be the Giroptic 360cam. the website examples look reasonable. This is a Franco-American outfit who have already released but are currently out of stock. Their new offering for iPhone the Giroptic IO is available. This uses just two back to back lens where as the 360cam uses three.

    Of course now that the price of older GoPros have fallen or if you prefer using some of the newer cheaper similar format like SJCam etc., a quick scan through eBay will produce different carriers to allow multiple cameras, like James's set up, as Kevin has commented on in the first post.

    John's nctech iris360 is I think a little pricey for most of us but is undeniably a great bit of kit. Weighing in at 800 grams (I assume that's including the battery) makes it flyable. It's also a Google Streetview recommended camera. Using 4 x 175 degree FOV lenses as opposed to Giroptic 360cam's 3 x 185 degree FOV lenses.


  • edited January 2017
    The Ricoh Theta S/SC has two 190 degree lenses. Together they see almost everything (a tiny part is masked by the camera body). Each lens system is 'folded' in the camera body. The result is compact: the lens fronts are only 18 mm apart. That's why there are almost no parallax problems.

    PS: fisheye lenses don't have a NPP (No-parallax point). The entrance pupil's apparent position varies for light rays entering the lens at different angles to the optical axis. See http://michel.thoby.free.fr/Fisheye_history_short/Beyond-the-pupil.html for pics.
  • I am trying to find some easy way to upload 360° Theta « bubbles » without having to go through the Google Street view App, directly from Windows onto Google Map or Google Earth but I am still exploring. Thanks to the wealth of available infos online I found a few options, none that I really like and none that really show a street view option unless you exactly know where to look for. Personal curiosity and satisfaction but also professional need to showcase the hotels I am working for. Any suggestions or tips are welcome.
    Here are some samples I tried in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa
    Unlike 360 cities, there is no indication on the map of the presence of an aerial Pano Bubble....
  • Pierre not sure if this is along the lines you were wanting but have put together the following PanoMap.
    Several things to note:
    When viewing on a PC, depending which browser will prompt to see if you want geolocation (good for the viewer to see what's around the location. Can be disabled. Just decline to view the default
    I've knocked the gyroscope facility off but it is good when used on mobile devices.
    The panos are very old so not the best resolution but had them to hand for demo purposes.
    Again the map icons can be changed just something quick for demo. You could use hotel logo or your own.
    If viewed on Mobile devices needs touch/drag adding to move the pano.
    Map can be changed to Google.
    The pano page is fully web responsive and can be viewed full screen. Grab the broswer container and move, pano resizes.

    like I say just something quick for you to consider.
  • Agree with toadstone, practical value based 360 video and VR camera units are still a bit off in the future.

    I put some $ down on the Nico360 Indiegogo kickstater last year. The project is 6 months late on delivery.....time will tell if this long shot will bring fruit.

    Did see this interesting variant TwoEyes ....

    As for where to upload 360 files....youtube seems to have a few good options. Combined with viewing either on a mobile device or on your computer.


  • Thanks Peter (Toadstone) I will have a look in what you suggest. Jim, I had a look at the Nico 360 that Kevin ( Ningaloo) also bid on but I had my share of bad experiences on crowdfunding projects (Sphericam 2 or Phree) and i am now a bit more cautious, this is why I got the Ricoh Theta, may be not the ultimate 360 toy but at least one we can play with !
  • edited January 2017
    Took delivery yesterday of the LG 360 Cam. Decided to take a conservative plunge!! Cheaper than the Theta S the spec is similar. I'm pleased with first ground based images and video. Like all these bits of hardware once plugged in it asked for all manner of things to be up graded, which at first proved a little problematical but was resolved. Recent firmware has improved performance.

    Didn't fair too well in this video LG 360 Cam vs. Ricoh Theta S

    Nevertheless cost justification being a factor I decided to try it out even after seeing the above video. Like I say I'm not getting some of the issues mentioned in the video.

    Time will tell, keep you posted. In the meantime here is a ground based 360 still image, judge for yourself.
    LG 360 Cam image

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