Getting into the 360 camera world can be an expensive experience. I wanted a simple solution to take 360 pictures so photos can be submitted to Google Photo Sphere as well as other websites to showcase your photography. 360 photos was my main aim, however if the device could take 360 video as well, this would be an added bonus.
360 Camera Using the GoPro
I already own a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. I wanted an easy way to take pictures using the existing camera since I carry this for all my hiking trips and this is the number one choice for all my photos and videos. There’re gadgets you can buy that turn a GoPro into a full 360 video experience. Although you will need around 5 Gopro’s and the 360 camera module build for Gopro’s. Gets expensive!
Just by chance I found this cool project to back on Indiegogo called the Pano 5 + 1. This uses an existing GoPro to take 5 photos and you’re done. This is a lot simpler than using the Google Photo Sphere App on Street View which takes around 5 minutes to rotate yourself around to capture the 360 experience. The Google Photosphere App was a bit of a hit and miss for me with blurry images, missed sections and miss alignment. The best part of the app was it stitched the images instantly and it was ready to publish.
The Pano 5+1 is a 3D printed holder for the GoPro that you can easily attach to a tripod. It has evenly marked slots to position the GoPro so all sections of the 360 photo are captured. Using the GoPro + GoPro App takes around 30 seconds to capture the full 360 image. After the capture you will need to stitch the photos manually by using software. The software can be expensive and time consuming to learn. I’ve listed some easy options below and rough cost.
*** Unfortunately there is no option for 360 video with the Gopro unless you purchase the additional 5 GoPro’s and 360 casings. Let me know in the comments if there is a better option.
Snapcam 360 – 360 Video Camera
Again on Indiegogo I purchased this 360 camera for under $100. I really wanted an option to record 360 video as well as pictures. The 360 camera comes with a nice app and plenty of functions. The one thing I was disappointed was it technically only records video in 180 and not a full 360. Let me explain… If you hold the camera at your waist and walk, it will record a 360 video from your waist up. There is no footage of the ground or below your waist. To me, that’s not a full 360 experience. Either way this camera is great for taking pictures and video to show friends, use on VR goggles and uploading to YouTube and Facebook. Read more about SnapCam 360.
What do you use for 360 photos?
I would love to hear back from users who have a better option for 360 camera photos. My primary goal is to shoot 360 photos easily with the least amount of effort. I hike, so I don’t want to carry a Canon camera and heavy equipment such as tripod. I also don’t want to spend time stitching, taking multiple pictures etc. to get the full experience of a 360 photo.