Most tech products fall under specific “grades” – consumer grade or professional grade, new user grade or expert user grade, action grade or leisure grade, etc. The classifications are endless and a 360 camera is not immune to this system. Grade classification also applies to 360 cameras.
With many viable 360 camera options currently available on the market, how can you, as a new or seasoned 360 camera consumer, make sense of each product’s components? Which 360 camera offers specs and set of features that’s right for you? And most importantly, how can you find something will get good use?
Within the 360 camera world, there are two generally accepted grades of cameras: consumer grade and professional grade.
I won’t spend much time on professional 360 cameras, but will provide a brief overview.
Professional Grade 360 Camera
Professional 360 cameras are generally built using a multi camera setup. This setup is one that records footage where there are multiple cameras in the camera rig in order to achieve a 360 experience. The video from each camera records to multiple memory cards. After recording, footage from each camera is stitched together in order to create a complete 360 video. This arrangement requires manual editing and stitching that can provide good quality, but is not instantaneous and often much post production effort is needed. Because the equipment features multiple cameras, the multiple camera setup is much higher in cost. This differs from an “all-in-one” 360 camera, such as the Giroptic iO, which records everything for you from two or more lenses and stores it in one comprehensive file.
Consumer Grade 360 Camera
360 consumer grade cameras are generally grouped into two distinct categories: stand alone cameras and phone connected cameras. Which category fits your needs? Let’s take a look.
Stand alone cameras are commonly considered “action cameras.” This is because they are usually waterproof and shock resistant. However, they have a long, non-seamless path in between capture to share and they are generally quite expensive.
Connected cameras, on the other hand, offer a lot of benefits that you’d likely want in your 360 camera. They have four key components that should be considered before purchase:
(1) Imaging technology,
(2) Simplicity of capturing (aka “ease of use”),
(3) Sharing capability of the camera, and
(4) User Interface of the application supporting the camera,
There are a few connected 360 cameras options out there, but there’s only one that exceeds the criteria I mentioned above. Compatible with Android and iOs, the Giroptic iO tops the list of attached 360 cameras. With sharp quality resolution at 30 frames per second, it produces perfect spherical images with no stitch line other than where your hand holds the camera. It also offers perfect balance of colors and the double lense quality, qualifying it as a Stereoscopic camera that captures images through multiple angles. With the help of an algorithm, stereoscopic cameras stitch the images into specific angular formats, creating depth perception specific to each eye.
Let’s talk further about stitching for a moment and how it plays into your 360 camera selection. Stitching is the process that combines multiple photographic images with overlapping fields of view, producing a segmented panorama image. Depending on the device, some 360 camera methods require editing software to perform manual stitching. However, the Giroptic iO has a built in algorithm and can internally develop a polished 360 degree image output, allowing you to take and immediately see your perfect shot.
Easy to use, meaning you can immediately start taking pictures with the iO app after plugging it into your phone’s charging port, is second to none for the iO. Simply clip it into your smartphone and you’re ready to shoot. Never miss a moment with the iO, as it’s so easy to get started.
Let’s talk about the app a moment, as I mentioned it being quite important to consider when deciding which 360 camera is right for you. There’s no easier 360 app out there than the “iO 360,” used to support the Giroptic iO. The app features visible buttons at the bottom: ‘Moments’ to view all of your media, ‘Explore’ to view media from other Giroptic iO users in their Share Gallery. And most importantly, in the center bottom of the app, you’re able to click to shoot a 360 photo, a 360 video or live stream 360 live to Facebook, Periscope, YouTube or a custom server.
There’s a ton of additional features in the iO – such as a time lapse option, a built in battery that doesn’t drain your phone, the ability to message those you are live streaming a moment while the moment is actually transpiring (amazing!), the ability to take eye-catching little planet, 360 or flat pictures, and the ease of sharing your moment with overs via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Message, Email and more, the portability of the camera, how it can easily fit in your pocket. The support feature is very intuitive and quickly responsive.
Clearly there are a number of 360 camera options available. However, only the Giroptic iO makes quality 360 photo and video creation portable, effortless and fun! In fact, the Giroptic iO has caught so much attention that it was chosen as the highlighted 360 camera at Facebook’s yearly F8 conference this spring. All F8 attendees received a Giroptic iO to encourage people to take 360 photos, livestream and simply share this amazing 360 camera with others. Giroptic has chosen to perfect the key elements named above, the most important components of a 360 camera, to the point that there’s nothing currently on the market that comes close to its capability. It’s the best 360 consumer camera available.