Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nico360 finally posts an update!


Nico360 finally posts an update after one month of silence.


Nico360 is a fully spherical 360 camera touted as the world's smallest that is also waterproof and affordable.  A month ago, it completed its successful Indiegogo campaign, raising almost 6 times its original goal.  Since then, however, the creators have been silent despite many inquiries from backers on its Indiegogo page. 

As I posted last week, there would be an update soon, and Nico360 finally posted it.  Here's the gist:

PROGRESS
- They've finished built-in stitching,
- They've completed photo capture at 6912 x 3456 resolution (23.9 megapixel),
- They've completed video recording at 1080p resolution, and livestreaming to YouTube at 1080p.
- Previous photos from their prototype showed poor color.  They now appear to have fixed the color.  Here is a sample video.

- Comment: the sample video shows low contrast and it appears the exposure was tricked by the lights into underexposing.  Nico360 is aware that the exposure algorithm needs improvement.
- They've finished their app for iOS and Android.  Here is a video:
Nico360 app 0923 from Shaoqing Hu on Vimeo.

Comments on the app:
- The app shows a fully stitched live preview.  However, the refresh rate for the preview is low, around 10fps or possibly less.  In my opinion, the framerate is nonetheless adequate for framing and composition.
- The download speed from the camera to the phone seems to be reasonable for a 23.9 megapixel file.
- Although there is a live preview when you're framing the shot, there is no live preview while the video is recording.  (In that regard, it is similar to the Ricoh Theta.)

THEIR TO DO LIST
- Auto exposure
- Adding presets for white balance (e.g. cloudy, fluorescent, etc.)
- audio recording (there was a problem with the previous microphone).
- Video at 1440p and 2160p.  Note: 2160p will now be available at launch (instead of after a delay) but you won't be able to livestream the 2160p.
- wide dynamic range in photo and video
- denoise in photo and video
- overheating when livestreaming (the camera case becomes too hot to touch comfortably).  They've decided to outsource their temperature design.

Nico360 claims that their release date will now be pushed back to November.  It's good that Nico360 is showing some progress, but I think even November is too optimistic and it could be a few more months before backers get their camera.

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