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Coming Full Circle: The Best 360-Degree Cameras

There's an abundant variety in the market—from affordable to high-end
by KC Calpo | Oct 20, 2016
Most Popular

Capturing photos and videos used to be real straightforward. 

These days, it's quite a different story. With the nifty 360-degree cameras now out on the market, you can take spherical images (moving or otherwise) of not just you, but everyone around you—including that doofus at the next table who's picking his nose, or the noisy kids doing flatlays of their pricey drinks for their “influencer” Instagram accounts. In the words of the great Darth Vader...

Grumpy tita tone of voice aside, we know you'll want in on the 360-degree craze, too. Here's a short list of 10 cameras that'll have you shooting and sharing spherical images all the way until next year. As for us...hey, CD-R King, ano na?

The third Theta

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It's only been a week since Ricoh announced its latest 360 cam, the Theta SC, but we so wanna get our hands on it now. Following in the footsteps of the original Theta and its (still relatively new for a one-year-old) sibling, the Theta S, the SC takes 14MP images and videos while you spin right round, baby right round. You can use also it to add streetscapes to Google Street View; and upload your takes to Facebook, YouTube, and

The SC sheds the S' extra weight (along with a few dollars on the SRP) and keeps most of the features familiar to Theta S users. But according to CNET, the SC also shortens the video recording time to five minutes and ditches its predecessor's micro HDMI port. You can buy it now via Ricoh's US website for US$299.95 (around PhP14,400). But if you're the impatient type, go for the older Theta S; it's still available at CameraHaus for PhP23,990, and Lazada for PhP22,300.

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Gear up

It looks like a webcam (or, for The Amazing World of Gumball fans, Bobert), but you know this one far exceeds the ol' webcam's meager capabilities. Part of Samsung's VR product line (which includes the Gear VR rig we talked about last week), the Gear 360 takes hi-res photos and 4K videos, as well as time-lapse and looped videos. You don't have to be prissy regarding outdoor conditions, because the Gear 360 is also dust- and splash-proof. And if you're using a compatible Samsung smartphone, you can stitch and edit, view, and share your footage in just a few taps!

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The Samsung Gear 360 is now available on Amazon for US$349.99 (around PhP17,000) minus international shipping. We also found a listing on Lazada for PhP23,999, although it's not from our local Samsung subsidiary.

And then there were 6...

The Theta SC and Gear 360 have two lenses. The toy-like Sphericam 2, on the other hand, has six. “All the better to shoot you with, my dear!” It also boosts the number of mics to four, tripod mounts to eight, and micro SD slots to six; and goes for a USB-C slot. But the quality also shoots up substantially: the Sphericam 2's target output is 4K video at 30FPS, with 10-bit color and a 800MBPS bitrate. Live streaming? Yessir!

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This six-shooter cam doesn't come cheap, though. Nor is it widely available. Or available (again), for that matter. Place your pre-orders on the Sphericam website, and pony up US$2,499 (around PhP120,000) for it, minus shipping.

Back to Earth

You OK? OK, good. Put that amazing Sphericam 2 on your Christmas wishlist—and this affordable option from LG on your separate list for personal tech treats. The LG 360 Cam brings us back down with its dual 13MP wide-angle cameras, 2K video resolution, and 5.1-channel sound recording. It's also YouTube and Google Street View-friendly, and plays nice with smartphones running Android Lollipop onward and iOS 8 and upward. If this is your first dip into the 360-degree pool, this gadget should get you started nicely.

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According to Unbox, LG Philippines now carries the 360 Cam for PhP10,490. Visit your nearest LG Store for more details, and maybe get your own cam while you're there.

Your latest mission

We're quite amused with the looks and shapes that our selected 360-degree cameras are taking on. With the Nikon KeyMission 360, we're thinking “spy cam”, but obviously the mission with this gadget is much less deadly, nor is it as small as an actual spy cam. It does spherical footage with two lenses and 20MP CMOS sensors in 4K and full HD quality; and braves the outdoors with you with its protection against water, two-meter drops, freezing temps, and dust. The KeyMission 360 also shoots superlapse, time lapse, or looped videos; and most importantly, does in-camera stitching (hallelujah!).

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The Nikon KeyMission 360 has an SRP of US$499.95 (around PhP24,000) and is expected to be available in the US this month. There's no word yet on local availability, though we suggest dropping by your nearest Nikon dealer for the deets.

Shoot all the things

Admit it. When someone says “action camera”, we automatically think of the GoPro brand. Our apologies to all other action-cam brands out there, but the name recall really is something else. But GoPro won't stop at action cams—it's getting into the 360-degree action as well. Its Omni camera isn't for everyone, though: it's targeting the professionals who need six synchronized GoPro HERO4 Black cams to shoot 8K 360? VR videos. You can also use Kolor pro software suite to edit your footage, and share your standard spherical videos or other projections via social media and GoPro VR.

With that said, we have one question for you. Got US$4,999.99 (around PhP240,000) lying around? We don't. If you do, spot us too, huh?

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Kodakan ulit

It's been a long time since we've used a Kodak camera, and it's super nice to see the beleaguered brand make a non-traditional comeback. The Kodak PixPro SP360 action camera takes on the toy-cam look, or something we'd like to call “yellow game-show buzzer”, but it's all business in the 360-degree business. The unit has a 16MP sensor on top that shoots HD video and 10MP photos, has shock/freeze/dust/water protection, and sends your spheres to your Android and iOS devices via Wi-Fi and NFC. And with accessory packs, you can indulge in your most extreme outdoor sports and not worry if the SP360 can keep up with you or not!

You can buy the PixPro SP360 online via Kodak's US website (for US$279.99 or around PhP13,500) and on Amazon Prime (for US$246.99 or around PhP12,000).

So fly

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Another 360-degree camera going for the round look (with a military-ish touch), the 360fly 4K Camera is heavier than its HD-only sibling in some aspects. It's beefier at 172g, offers 64GB of onboard storage as compared to the latter's 16GB, has a 50MBPS bitrate, has improved water resistance, and provides longer battery life. And don't forget that this baby does 4K video with its singular 16MP sensor, and effortlessly shifts from 360? to standard POV.

Get this fly spherical camera for US$499.99 (around PhP24,000) from the 360fly website.

The Kickstarter alum

There's that fuzzy feeling we get whenever a Kickstarter project actually makes it to the shipping stage! The Giroptic 360cam may have been beaten to the market by other brands (two of which are on this list!), and is left behind at 2K quality video-wise, but it still holds its own. Not only are we digging its unique form factor, but this three-lens and three-mic shooter captures everything in a single button push, has onboard stitching, and plays nice with any of your mobile devices (including VR headsets and Windows phones)! And for the sporty folk, it can go up to 10m underwater with you.

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You can preorder your own Giroptic cam over at the official website, and for US$499 (around PhP24,000). No shipping fees factored in yet.

The king

Like Kodak, it's good to see Nokia again! This time around, the former tech giant is targeting video pros (similar to some of the products on the list) with the nine-pound Nokia Ozo, made to simplify VR video capture. Eight 2K x 2K sensors with 195? field of view, full audio coverage, 30FPS video, combined power supply and a 45-minute footage capacity via Nokia's special Ozo Digital Cartridges, and is tripod/drone/crane-friendly? That all sounds great to us.

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But this rig ain't cheap. Digital Trends says that after a “price drop”, the Ozo can now be yours for US$45,000. That's 2 million pesoses. Seriously.


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