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



  • edited March 2017
    Thank you .
    It give an incredible result for the LG 360 Cam Ricoh Theta !
  • NCTech now has an even more expensive bit of kit!
    LASiris VR
    3D Reality Capture Camera
    List Price: $13,000
    120MP HDR Image Resolution
    'Delivering the highest resolution and levels of detail, where 10 bit HDR and precision optics combine to deliver simply superior results, capturing a full 360 x 300 degrees field of view.'

  • That's a beast. 4.5kg though..... kite recommendations for that?
  • Thread bump!

    I haven't KAPed since the winter due to general laziness and the purchase of a DJI P4Pro which gives me the same image power as my Sony A5000, albeit with a fixed focal length.

    Despite my current KAP break I am always product watching and see that the GoPro clones are getting INSANELY cheap! On Amazon UK I see there is an 'action camera' with 1080 video and 12MP stills for the princely sum of GBP20. Sadly, this version doesn't have the interval timer feature that we all like. However, a few more features become available for GBP30.

    My 'thing' this year has been 360 degree spherical images, and so I'm looking at these cheap cameras with a view to buying a cluster of them to hang from a kite line. Flying a Theta SC was a novelty a few times, but 8MP or thereabouts just doesn't cut the mustard. Flying a cluster of 6 GoPro clones makes the proposition more appealing.

    So I guess my questions to you good folk at the moment are:
    - Have any of you tested any such cameras recently, but not shared your findings yet?
    - I only remember James Gentles having flown a camera cluster to create 360 sphericals - anyone else tried it?
    - To those with knowledge of creating spherical images, do you think I'd 'get away' with a cluster of 4 wide angle action cameras, or is 6 the safe option?

    Any thoughts and/or comments appreciated.

  • edited November 2017
    Hi Kevin,

    It's early days here for me with 360 degree KAP but it certainly is a fascinating medium.

    Sometimes a crop seems to work better than the interactive style, so I wonder if the quest for me is really about wider and wider angles rather than an interactive 360 sweep.

    Extreme KAP?

    I've got a Ricoh Theta and have a lot of fun with it both on the kite and the drone.
    The only problem of course is the resolution is not great but having said that, I still find it quite acceptable.

    At present I continue to scour the new camera advertisements waiting for the 'breakthrough' of a low priced 360 degree camera with higher resolution and seamless stitching but at present it seems the Ricoh is the one to beat.

    As for the multiple camera cluster, I am somewhat concerned that the stitching of the resulting images would take away a lot of the fun and not add significantly to the effect.

    Cheers, Al
  • Hi to all,

    if you have 800 $ to invest : https://www.bublcam.com/

    with much lower budget a KODAK PIXPRO could be a chance; for KAP we do not need 360°, 180° would be more than enough (all the sky is not interesting, we want to see "down")

    the array of 6 GoPro looks probably too big effort for the result at present stage of evolution

    any way probably following the evolution of RICOH THETA would be most effective and best result

    SMAC from Italy
  • My planned solution should cost less than GBP 200 (EUR 225 / USD 260) once I find the right camera deal.

    I'm looking for 6 x 16MP 'action cameras' to fit to the cube-shaped mounting device that I have just purchased. That array will give a vastly superior resolution than the Ricoh Theta SC that I bought at the start of the year.

    On the subject of stitching, I have the software to do the job so that is not a concern. Stitching time is determined by how OCD I get!

    How much the cluster will weigh is unknown. The cube mount is designed for the cameras to be mounted in their waterproof housings so I imagine I will be looking at drilling holes in order to reduce the load! A guesstimate target weight is 750g complete with some kind of pendulum set up to hang from the line.

    The Black Friday deals are already surfacing so I am watching closely.
  • edited November 2017
    The main target of 360 degree camera manufacturers seems to be the video market rather than for still photos.
    Where photo resolution is considered, the target seems to be near-field shots rather than for high deffinition landscapes which is the usual KAP target.

    One camera which is purported to have superior photo quality over video quality is the Xiaomi Mi 360 camera which can produce 24 mpx still images from two 16 mpx (190 degree) sensors. The latest software supports RAW files (dng) which must be stitched from the two hemispheres.

    Obviously the final image resolution is the result of more than just the megapixel count but this review is quite convincing and the current pricing is quite enticing: 360rumors.com/2017/11/review-comparison-xiaomi-mijia-mi-sphere-highest-photo-video-quality-among-consumer-360-cameras.html

    The 6 camera cube with GoPro equivalents will still win hands down, but how much resolution do we need?
  • Thanks for the link. That's quite a positive review!

    I understand the question of what resolution is ultimately necessary but I guess my goal is to achieve the best possible result on a reasonably small budget and doing it as I've described seems to offer the best bang for my buck as things stand.

    We'll see how this plays out.....
  • It's happening. A few tweaks to make it fit in the cube structure properly but it should be ok.
    Heavier than I hoped in its basic form at around 950g.
  • Your 'Cube Rig' is looking good Kevin................. I'm keen to see how it works out,........................Shoot synchronisation would be the key, I guess.....

    My Xiaomi Mijia Sphere camera arrived in the post yesterday and the initial tests show good resolution, about what I would expect from a 16 mpx camera shooting a 150 -180 degree fisheye . This is better than the Ricoh Theta which looks more like an 8 to 10 mpx camera over 180 degrees.

    The Xiaomi Mijia Desktop app has automatic Jpeg stitching and it is very good in terms of hemisphere alignment however the colour merging leaves a bit to be desired. The imperfection is only visible in a blue sky, but we get a lot of that here!!

    There are a few other third party stitching programs recommended by the on-line forums and of course the camera produces DNG files too but it's still early days for me here - plenty to do ..... but it only arrived yesterday!

    Cheers, Al
  • Al, DNG is a big bonus for sure. That's definitely something I don't get with a GBP32 camera!

    A little update from my side: I spent a couple of days concerned that I had bought 6 cameras which have intervalometers only accessible via an app (which would be a bizarre functionality choice). The small manual does not explain the operations very well but eventually I cracked the code in terms of which background menu settings need to be active to enable the time lapse function. Slight panic over :-)

    So, now I need to wait for good weekend weather to try the 'cube' out. This weekend isn't looking so great; moreso for those in the north of the mainland.

    The plan is to suspend the cube from a single spare Brooxes hangup that I have kicking about somewhere. I'm thinking a minimum length of 1.5m / 5 feet from the kite line would be a good starting point. I guess this is effectively going to be a pendulum setup which I've not flown before. Any extra considerations to make?

    The weight of the cube should be advantageous in terms of stability. Possibly the biggest challenge will be syncing all 6 cameras manually on the 3-second intervalometer setting. Of course, the downward pointing cameras are the most important to sync as closely as possible.

    More soon.
  • Good luck Ningaloo,

    a couple of things seem to possibly bring to headache...

    sync manually... sound troubles (no chance of a master clock and several slaves ?)

    3 second interval ... sounds that at the end you have a number of pictures belonging to 6 cameras so so so BIG that really difficult to deal with

    how to understand what is a sure starting point in order to count ? maybe start shooting in a dark basket or single color basket , when you get out all cameras and start true useful shooting you have a start reference

    SMAC from Italy
  • Hi Kevin and SMAC,

    I've just got back from a trip to the Margret River region where I've given the Xiaomi Miaja (Mi) a thorough workout. I have over a thousand 360 degree images to sort through after 4 days shooting, so it might be a few days before I post anything on Flickr!

    Synchronising your 6 cameras by hand may be an issue but I wonder if the App can connect (Bluetooth I suppose) to all 6 cameras simultaneously allowing instant sync?

    The Mi requires the mobile phone app on-site prior to launch to start off the interval timer but can be switched off after the process has begun. I thought this procedure would be tiresome but in practice it's over and done in a few seconds.

    I have previously tried the 'long string pendulum' but reverted to the solid version as a better alternative. I recall that Bill Blake has experimented with a wire version and a foldable solid version, both with success, I believe.

    I hope to post a picture from the Mi soon.........plenty to choose from but a bit of stitching to do first.

    Keen to see how you get on Kevin.......good luck!

    Cheers, Al
  • Here's a shot from the Xiaomi Mijia Sphere 360 degree camera............. Mi for short!

    River Mouth

    This photo was taken at the mouth of the Margaret River in the south west of Western Australia.

    The camera has done a fairly god job with the scene although the colour and light merge are not perfect.

    Comments welcome,


  • Commented on Flickr!

    Probably the best result I've seen from a standalone 360 camera, also bearing in mind that the light is not optimal for such a camera.
  • edited December 2017
    Here's a slightly different shot of the same scene with a fisherman directly below the camera. This time it's on Kuula.


    and another one here: https://kuula.co/post/7l13F

    The originals were jpegs but the camera also produces DNG raw and since Kuula also accepts PNG I should be able to do some lossless editing prior to posting next time.

  • Al, they are pretty cool results from the Mi 360. I’ve just taken delivery of the Yi 360 VR. As ever in this part of the world now waiting for the right conditions to get the kite up! The Yi has had a few firmware upgrades since it’s launch and I’m hoping there will be more to include things like RAW etc. The in camera stitching seems to be OK certainly for stills. I’ve played around with PTGui with varying degrees of success, the biggest bonus here being better blending, especially with skies which figure greatly in our type of shots! So the forth coming v11 release of PTGui should be bonus. Yi does have desktop software which handles both stills and video but currently only in Windows version, may be Mac in the future?
    Kevin, how is the multi 4K rig coming along?

  • I haven't flown the cube since the first test in December. As you're well aware, the weather has been terrible. I don't remember it ever being so consistently windy over such a long period. I think there have been maybe 3 reasonable flying days in the last 3 months worth of weekends. Realistically, I won't fly the cube until the clocks go forward an hour.
  • I know how you feel, we've had similar weather it's been relentless but compared to some parts of the world we can't really complain. Yeah, the evenings drawing out will help.
  • Yes Peter, the Mi 360 sphere produces some pretty good results at a reasonable price.

    Flickr does not do these images justice so I tend to put the 360 interactive files on Kuula and a 360 degree panorama on Flickr.

    This one is my favourite. On Kuula https://kuula.co/post/7lTz5 and below on Flickr.

    Cheers, Al

    Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Al, love the shot above Sydney harbor!

    Like looking up at the Levi delta!

    Image looks reasonably sharp for a 360 shooter.

  • edited February 2018
    imageI am still flying the 4xHERO2 "Wooden Wonder". Imagery results in equirectangular size 12000x6000. As already said this is still the best gram to pixel solution, plus the cameras can be ebayed cheaply.

    Down side is HERO2 has soft corners, one corner is needed in the final image, if you know where to look there are 4 soft spots on the horizon on the compass points.
    Second the cameras are only synced to 0.2seconds, which can make stitching challenging on gusty days

    I have just completed ground tests on a 4xHERO3+ solution. This has much better corner sharpness and I'm very pleased with the 0.01second synchronisation. However on the down side we only move from 11 to12Mpix, just a few more pixels,all be it better ones. I hope to fly this in March, weather permitting.

    As always there is a weight, pixel, and COST trade-off (Very envious of KEv's HERO5 array!). Am I right in saying the resoution of HERO5 is the same as HERO3+ at 4000x3000 (12Mpix) - the same as HERO3+?

    IMHO it is a pity that this is still the best aerial solution, 5 years later and only marginally more resolution, when for ground panoramas 25000x12500 is easily achievable. I have a Theta, and have dabbled with others, but I still fly the "Wooden Wonder" as rig of choice.

    For interest here is a shot taken from thesame place (KAP) 10 years apart using a FC-09 Fisheye first then 4 HERO2s.

    Tight Lines
  • That’s a great comparison James. I still have my FC-09! Like you say for our purposes only small gains have been made. Having said that the twin fisheye cameras are getting better. The image comparison between my first 360 camera, LG 360 Cam and my current Yi 360 VR has improved and if you are prepared to get your hands dirty with 3rd party stitching software you can improve the image even more, certainly for stills. However, when it comes to video I think the progress has been phenomenal.

    I’ve noticed that some of these 360 camera manufacturers have very active user groups on Facebook and are listening to those users when it comes to potential gains that can be made by upgrading a cameras firmware. You only have to look at how CHDK has driven the Canon range of cameras.

    Cheers, Peter.
  • Hey James.

    Glad you commented here. Your Hero 2 rig is withstanding the test of time very well.

    I have not spent a small fortune on GoPro Hero 5s. Instead I bought 6 x Wimius Q1 16MP/4k GoPro knock-offs! The set up has cost a smidge over £200. I am still yet to fly the full set of 6 in the cube due to the weather and the season of the interfering low sun.

    Remind me, is your wooden solution a one-of-a-kind? One of your devices fires the set of cameras in-sync, correct?

  • Usable 360 cameras are beginning to find their feet when it comes to price and technical features which deliver acceptable video and photographic images. From my own experience the Yi 360 VR delivers good video especially when processed using the desktop app giving the potential 5.7k video coupled with inbuilt stability. The Xiaomi Mijia 360 definitely has the edge on photo quality, see Al's photos this page. On the photo front the Yi only gives jpg images but the in camera stitching is good, the Mijia however can produce raw (DNG) alongside the jpg but they are still refining the in camera stitching through firmware upgrades.

    For those wishing to play with their photo imaging both Hugin and PTGui can process the photos, Mac users note. But both cameras have their own desktop software that can process video and stills but only on the Windows platform. For Mac users the video side means using either Premiere or one of these new annually rented software packages. There are rumours that Mac programs are in the pipeline but don't hold your breath.

    Now there is a new kid on the block, that will I think take the game up a notch. The Rylo at $499 available only in the States at present, offers not only super stabilisation but horizon fixing as well. You can follow things and much more all in camera and the demo videos are excellent. Just a reminder, the quality of video presented will depend on the perceived internet connection speed, you need a very good high speed connection to see the best quality video. The still panos are apparently 6K, not seen any yet. A San Francisco company.

    Rylo 360 Cam

    A note here about the Xiaomi Mijia, you may also see either the Madv360 or Madventure 360 which is the same as the Mijia. Apparently there has been some form of split in the company which defies explanation here !!! But essentially they are the same.
    As soon as I can get my kit into the sky, presently stashed by the front door all ready to go, I will post some examples from the Yi and Mijia

  • Waiting for good KAP weather.....

  • Wow

    Can't wait to see outcome (stills and video?).

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