Tuesday, May 24, 2016

360-degree camera shootout by Wall Street Journal



Wall Street Journal compared eight 360-degree cameras, taking them to New York and Yosemite:
  • Ricoh Theta S
  • 360fly
  • Giroptic
  • Insta360 4k
  • Kodak SP360 4k
  • LG 360 Cam
  • Panono
  • Samsung Gear 360
Here is the comparison.
 
Takeaways/TLDR:
  • The most detailed shots were from the Panono.  However, it is "bulky," and there are stitching errors for near objects.
  • The best video quality was from the Kodak SP360 4k dual pro pack. However, you need to stitch the video in a desktop and there's no software for stitching photos.
  • The best balance of image quality and portability / ease of use was the Samsung Gear 360.  But noted that it's compatible only with the latest flagship Samsung phones, and its shape makes it "awkward" for pockets.
  • Most compact was the LG 360 Cam.  "The 360 Cam's pictures and video look OK, though they're a noticeable notch lower in quality than the Gear 360."
Observations on the other cameras:
  • Ricoh Theta S: "easy to use;" but video is "low resolution"
  • 360fly 4k:  Waterproof, but only hemispherical.  "Image quality is just OK."
  • Giroptic: Waterproof, and with removable battery but "Lower-resolution final images; slow response on hardware; stitching sometimes misaligned"
  • Insta360 4k:  Does have 4k video but is "bulky; low 15 frame-per-second rate at highest resolution."

My comment:
To my knowledge, the observations by WSJ regarding these cameras seems more or less correct, and their evaluation seems more fair than other comparisons I have read.  However, I would say that photographers would benefit from a more rigorous comparison of image quality, comparing not just resolution but also dynamic range, color, and other factors.  In my upcoming comparison of the Samsung Gear 360 and Ricoh Theta S, that's what I will set out to do.


Check out the WSJ comparison!