Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Facebook compares eight 360 cameras!


Facebook's Head of Immersive Media Eric Cheng posted a comparison of eight cameras:
BTW if you have a Nano, please be very careful when laying it down on the table like that (the lens can be scratched).  If you have to, you can lay it down on the side instead, but better to put it in its bag or get the Nano Mount tripod adapter.
(The Insta360 Air is shown in the photo above, but it wasn't included in the comparison.  I believe it's because the software is still pre-release.  The Z Cam S1 is included in the comparison but is not shown in the photo above)

Eric also posted a video comparison here (excluding the Panono, which can't do videos).  Please note Facebook is limited to 2k but the 4k and 6k versions of the video are available for download here.  Alternatively, if you have the Samsung Gear VR, you can see the videos in up to 6k by choosing "Save Video" or "Save Post," and the videos will show up in your Oculus Video app.

In taking the photos, please note that Eric had to turn the cameras perpendicular from the sun to achieve a consistent exposure for the lenses (some cameras such as the Panono don't have a center per se).  The 'center' for the images is therefore the giant screen.  Please keep this in mind when looking at the photos and videos because on many cameras, the center is the sharpest region.

Some cameras like the Samsung Gear 360 have excellent edge-to-edge consistency.  For cameras like the Ricoh Theta S and especially the Nikon Keymission 360, the center of the lens is the sharpest and there is a noticeable decrease in sharpness as you move toward the edge.

In these samples, the Keymission sample's weakest point is toward the red bridge:

But if you turn around, you'll see that it's actually sharper (toward the middle of its lens):

This is just one of the things to keep in mind when looking at these photos and videos.  And as Eric pointed out in his post, there are many other relevant factors to consider when choosing a camera (e.g. controls, stitching, ease of sharing on Facebook and other social media, etc.).

Thanks to Eric Cheng for this very helpful comparison (and for clarifying the shooting method) and thank you very much to Roman Goldman of Rec360 for bringing this to my attention!  

Here are related posts:

6 comments:

  1. In this comparison the Samsung clearly outperforms the Theta.

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    1. Hi Steve. I have a feeling Eric turned the lens sideways to the bridge in order to achieve the same exposure on both lenses. This negatively impacts the Theta, which becomes softer toward the edge of the lens, when looking at the red bridge as the center.

      If you look instead at 9 o'clock for example, I cannot discern any detail on the Gear 360 that is also discernible on the Theta S.

      That leaves us to consider other factors such as stitching, consistency of color between lenses, manual exposure controls, 60 sec shutter speed, true HDR mode, blurgate. These factors all mitigate in favor of the Theta.

      On the other hand, the Gear 360 has much better resistance to chromatic aberration, and better edge-to-edge consistency of sharpness.

      Best regards,
      Mic

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    2. I oriented the cameras to put the sun close to the stitch seam (to address exposure issues, as you mentioned). It wasn't a perfect comparison, but were all roughly aligned to match.

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    3. Hi Eric! Thank you very much for clarifying. I'll add that info on the article. I think your test was very helpful. If possible, my only suggestion would be to change the center to the giant screen instead of the red bridge. This would give viewers the same initial view that they would see if they bought one of these cameras, so in that sense might be more representative. But I know it's a lot of work and you guys are super busy so if you guys don't have the time, it's ok. :D

      Best regards,
      Mic

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  2. Just a quick note about camera positioning: all cameras were oriented with a lens facing the giant screen except for the Panono, which has no clear "front" when it comes to lenses. They were all re-oriented in post to center on the bridge.

    Thanks for pointing out that people shouldn't put 360 cameras (or any camera) down on their lenses. I did that (very gently) only for the photo because the camera doesn't stand up on its own.

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    1. Hi Eric! Thanks again for the explanation! I've now updated the article to include that information. As for putting the 360 camera down, it's sadly a lesson I've learned from experience Lol! Thanks again Eric!

      Best regards,
      Mic (鄭福漢)

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