Brief introduction the 360 cameras available now or coming soon.
Got some fancy new VR goggles and not enough VR content? Or maybe you want to create some 360 videos to load up on YouTube or Facebook so friends and family can finally see what's behind you when you record your kid eating cereal in the morning.
Either way, VR and 360 cameras are just good fun but the options (especially price friendly options) are pretty limited. Let's cover some of the 360 camera options available now along with some that are coming out soon.
Nikon KeyMission 360
Image Credit: Nikon
Though it has a goofy name, the KeyMission 360 from Nikon has some impressive specs from what we see so far. It looks like it will come in a small, GoPro style, package with two image sensors and lenses to capture a full 360 degree bubble.
It's clearly being advertised to adventure seekers, much like GoPro cameras are. Of course, that makes perfect sense considering it's Shockproof (2m / 6.6 ft) and waterproof (30m / 100ft). But more important than all of that is the fact that it records in 4K Ultra HD. As expected, it comes with a built in microphone, WiFi, and Bluetooth built in and we're sure a smartphone app will control most of the features. A vibration reduction feature should also help reduce camera shake a bit.
The Nikon Mission 360 price and release date aren't official yet but we're expecting it (based on a possible leak) to be out around October of 2016 with a price somewhere around $499 to $599. If they can keep the price closer to the $500 point, this may be the best option at that time. More at the Nikon website.
Image Credit: GoPro
GoPro seems like they're a little late to the 360 party. This is a company known for it's tiny, innovative cameras but they're just now (as of CES 2016) announcing they're offerings into the 360 VR space? What's worse is that it will cost you around $5,000 USD! Ouch, clearly this isn't a consumer friendly 360 camera.
On the other hand, it is pretty amazing. They've taken 6 GoPro HERO4 Black cameras and put them into a cube style array that can capture at 8K resolution. Their Stitch software does the magic of combining it all into one 360 degree video. Of course, with all that power comes a huge amount of, wait for it, complexity. 6 GoPro's means 6 batteries and 6 SD cards to deal with. A hassle for sure.
GoPro also mentioned, but hasn't really offered any details, about a more consumer friendly 360 camera they're working on. This will be the one to watch for sure but it should have been out a year ago. More at the GoPro VR website.
Ricoh Theta S & m15
Image Credit: Ricoh
Ricoh was one of the first to the 360 camera scene with their Ricoh Theta m15. It was an entry level 360 camera with push button simplicity. It worked well but suffers from low resolution and limited (built in) memory and battery. Still, it's a fun option and can still be had for around $200 or so on Amazon (affiliate link).
They've also been selling a newer version called the Theta S which you can find on Amazon for around $350 (affiliate link). Between their two models, the Theta S is the one to get for sure. In fact, if you want a good and relatively inexpensive 360 camera in general right now it's probably the one to get. Of course, it still has limitations like built in battery and memory. The 8Gb of memory will hold around 1600 photospheres or around 65 minutes of video (full HD quality at 30 FPS). For the price, it's a great entry level option. More at the Theta website.
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