First Impression: Giroptic 360cam

Michael tried out the Giroptic 360cam for the first time in May's Car Free Sunday and he had a blast. Read on and get your wallet ready.


About

“The World's First Full HD 360° Camera” - a Kickstarter campaign launched in May 20th 2014 got the attention of 3,916 backers and helped Giroptic raise $1,419,069 USD to create a device that was eagerly anticipated in the world of GoPro and the rising tide of action cameras.

Two years later and 43 updates from Giroptic finally got the 360cam in our hands right before the Car Free Sunday in Singapore. It was a perfect time to test out capturing the moments in 360 degrees - every direction, front and back, up and down. This happens in a single snap, no spinning around using egg timers or stitching software with multiple GoPros.

Quality

After unveiling the 360cam and undergoing a few jokes about it’s rather odd shape, we proceeded to take some group selfies and videos to test out the camera. It took awhile to get used to the idea that one shot would be sufficient to capture the 360 degrees around us.

Watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFvwQLCy5A

The image quality is nothing to brag about in this day of megapixels war. Photo resolution is a paltry 3MP and video 2048 x 1024 @ 30fps 12Mbps.

When you are used to 4k resolutions on GoPro, it takes awhile for your eyes to get used to the blurry shots. This first generation of 360 cams are inexpensive compared to professional rigs and while they lack the resolution, it makes up for it in fun ways to take photos of a scene as well as videos that don’t require much except to keep it stable and let the viewer control what they wish to see.

As an early Kickstarter backer, Giroptic included a rather useful monopod that extends cleverly to hold up the camera. We noted on viewing the images that it was not completely spherical and only had a field of view of 360° x 300°.

With 3 cameras and clever in-camera stitching, the photos and videos can be viewed via mobile devices over Wi-Fi. If one had an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, it would be possible to view the image and video files directly as well. (We are hoping to test it on a Oculus Rift DK2 soon!).

Watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaJY8JFrABE

Battery life is approximately an hour and it’s great to be able to remove the battery since it wears out fairly quickly once you are having fun with it and switching modes. Other mode options like Time Lapse, Photo Burst and Live stream would be fun to experiement with in future tests.

We didn’t get to test the waterproof claims but with the rugged IPX8 housing, it would be interesting to take the camera during snorkeling trips in Bintan where we love to cycle.

Video Editing Options

The provided 360cam Studio was too basic for any amount of editing work and unless you have Adobe Premiere installed, other options would be to get 360fly Director Desktop App that works perfectly with the MP4 videos that the 360cam generates. We were able to use it to trim and merge clips easily.

Viewing the 360 videos were best done in GoPro’s newly acquired Kolor Eyes (http://www.kolor.com/kolor-eyes/) which had the best controls of the free apps available and some decent options to view in various modes. Screen captures of the video provided different angles to view the scenes with some humours effects.

Check out some of the videos

Where to buy

The 360cam is available online at http://www.360.tv/en/ at USD $499.00

Overall

It’s remarkable that consumers can now get their hands on such 360 cameras to widen their options for taking interesting memories on trips and we can’t wait to test it out on future bike trips. With GoPro and Facebook taking a keen interest in the VR space with their professional rigs, we can only hope that the technology trickles down quickly into next generation hardware that improves the speed of the hardware and image quality options.

Interested to know more about other options? Wall Street Journal has a great article about the various 360 cameras in the market that you should check out!

http://www.wsj.com/articles/these-360-degree-cameras-capture-everything-around-you-1464113657

Stories

Car Free Day Playlist
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrEQa6xxmLP7YsubPnKEOO3oldWXk5IN3

Flickr VR
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclasia/27290895416/in/dateposted-public/

Specifications

Stitched image : 3MP
Stitched video : 2048 x 1024 @ 30fps 12Mbps
Release date : September 2016
Completely spherical image : No (360° x 300°)
Optics : 3 x 185° FOV f/2.8
Image formats : JPEG
Video formats :MP4 (H.264)

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