360 degree cameras may be a new trend in the world of photography and videography, but they’re an exciting one. Inspired by the rise of virtual reality technology, the best 360 cameras can help us redefine how we look at the world and create a new way of shooting film and immersing viewers in the experience of gaming and cinema. But the specs of these new kinds of cameras can be confusing even to experienced photographers, and there are now dozens of options available on the market.
Our guide to the top 360 cameras of 2020 can help you identify our best models, and the guide that follows can help you more readily understand the strengths that each model has to offer.
- The Best 360 Cameras
- 1. Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera
- 2. Garmin VIRB 360 Camera
- 3. LG G5 Friends 360 CAM
- 4. Samsung Gear 360 SM-R210
- 5. Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera
- 6. Nikon KeyMission 360
- 7. GoPro Fusion 360 Waterproof VR Camera
- 8. YI 360 VR Camera Dual-Lens
- 9. Insta360 ONE X 360 Action Camera
- 10. Vuze XR Dual VR Camera VR180 & 360°
- 11. Insta360 ONE 360 Video Action Camera
- 12. KODAK PIXPRO ORBIT360 4K 360° VR Camera
- 360 Cameras Buyer’s Guide
The Best 360 Cameras
1. Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera
Ricoh's Theta series is one of the longest running 360 cams on the market. As the fickle demand for this type of product has left many other manufacturers coming and going, Ricoh has spent their time carefully developing their technology. That leaves the Theta V positioned as one of the best options in 2020. It may not be the absolute best around in terms of performance, but you'd have a hard time finding a camera that makes it this easy to shoot 360 video.
It's a compact and easy to grip camera with a sleek design that does away with super complicated controls. Just click the record button and start panning to record video in resolutions as high as 4K. It also includes a four channel microphone that records omnidirectional sound in both vertical and horizontal space. The gyro sensor does the difficult work of keeping your shots looking smooth.
2. Garmin VIRB 360 Camera
The Garmin Virb doesn't come cheap. But while it may have entered the market as one of the most expensive models around, it's since dropped to a relatively more affordable price point of about $500. And if you're serious about shooting high-quality stills and videos, this high resolution 360 camera may be worth the cost of entry. What's really going to stand out to most users is the ability to capture video at an absurd resolution of 5.7K, but that's just scratching the surface of what the Virb has to offer.
While it doesn't come with a mount or tripod, it does offer a slot for an off market 360 camera mount. It's a small enough camera to fit in the palm of your hand, and a small but simple menu screen allows you to navigate functions. It's waterproof frame makes it great for outdoor adventure shots.
3. LG G5 Friends 360 CAM
360 degree cameras don't have to be exorbitantly expensive, and the LG Friends 360 Cam is living proof. This cheap 360 camera can be picked up for less than $70, and while it won't offer the level of resolution you'll find in more expensive models, it's still a great way to test out the capabilities of 360 video without having to spend a small fortune. The case is very smartly designed, maintaining a compact profile while also offering a good grip for panning shots.
And while you can't view the shots until you upload them to a separate device, it interacts really well with your smartphone. You can control the camera remotely and preview your shots right through LG's free proprietary app. It's far from the best 360 camera on the market, but it's a great argument for curious photographers to explore what the tech has to offer.
4. Samsung Gear 360 SM-R210
If LG's 360 degree camera is a cool toy for learning the fundamentals of the tech, the Samsung Gear is a great entry point for novices who want to plunge into the deep end without spending a lot. The $300 entry point is eminently affordable for these gadgets, and it manages to pack in a lot of value. The latest version of the Gear has been upgraded to support native 4K video and the highly compatible Samsung Gear 360 app lets you turn your iOS or Android device into a 360 camera smartphone remote.
This isn't the most attractive camera around, but the handle on this 4K 360 camera is sturdy and easy to hold without being too weighty. All the controls are easily accessible while being gripped as well. Then there's the built-in Bluetooth functionality that allows you to use this as a 360 streaming camera when tethered to your mobile device.
5. Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera
Rylo may not be a household name, but they're virtual royalty in the professional 360 camera world. Alongside the Ricoh Theta, Rylo was one of the cameras that proved the potential for 3D consumer cameras, and it still manages to hold up even after other manufacturers have brought their own models to market. The image stabilization here is on point. Zooming, panning, and directing the motion of the camera can be accomplished with incredibly simple taps and swipes of your finger.
But the Rylo really shines in the versatility department. While it can serve admirably as a dedicated 360 camera, it works just as well as the ultimate "do anything" camera. The remarkably well designed phone app and editing software really shine, and they're great if you want to just set the Rylo down, let it record, and pick out the perfect shots or video after the fact.
6. Nikon KeyMission 360
Nikon is one of the biggest names around for traditional photography, but how does their transition to the 360 camera picture market hold up? Pretty well. The KeyMission may be pricey, and it may not promise the absurdly high resolutions of some of its competitors, but it's a real workhorse of a camera. If you need a 360 degree action camera that can survive just about anything, the KeyMission's got you covered. Not only is it a waterproof 360 camera, but it's also shockproof and freeze-proof.
Where it suffers a bit is in the compatibility department. While Nikon's SnapBridge app offers all the fundamentals, it can't quite keep pace with some of the better options around, but that's a relatively small concern given the resilience and sturdiness of this camera. It also offers easy compatibility with multiple social media apps, so it's a pretty solid YouTube 360 camera.
7. GoPro Fusion 360 Waterproof VR Camera
GoPro has long been the industry leader for action cameras, so it's no big surprise that their 360 action cam is a big deal as well. The Fusion offers a lot for a mid-range price tag, and it's arguably the best choice around if you're looking to document your outdoor adventures with an eye towards doing some meticulous editing after the fact. That's only enhanced by the fact that it's dropped in price by hundreds of dollars since its initial release.
The high-end video quality is exceptional with the Fusion, and the smartly designed software allows you to easily transform 360 degree video into more digestible 1080p content. Overcapture mode makes it easy to scale up your 360 video for conversion, while the six axis stabilization ensures a steady shot even in rocky conditions. It's waterproof to depths of 16 feet and compatible with most iOS and Android devices.
8. YI 360 VR Camera Dual-Lens
The Yi 360 VR offers something pretty exceptional: the ability to shoot a 5.6K 360 camera view for a price point of just over $150. This isn't a camera that's about a wide ranging feature set or unnecessary embellishments. Instead, Yi has done everything they can to pack in the high-end essentials and deliver it all at an attractive price. They succeed with flying colors on that front. Both stills and video look great and offer deep and vivid colors that you shouldn't expect from such an inexpensive model.
Assisting with the high-quality of that footage is the Advanced Electronic Image Stabilization which will provide shudder-free results even in less than ideal conditions. And then there's the fact that this supports a 360 camera live stream straight to YouTube. That's a rarity even in many higher end models, and it can accomplish that at a respectable 4K resolution.
9. Insta360 ONE X 360 Action Camera
The Insta360 One X takes great photos and video, but that's just scratching the surface about what makes this one of the top 360 cameras available in 2020. In terms of design, it's pretty similar to the Ricoh Theta, and that's a good thing. It's portable and easy to grip, and you can figure out how to use it in a matter of seconds. And it offers 5.7K recording at speeds of 30 fps or 4K at speeds of 50 fps.
Then there's FlowState Stabilization which offers an exceptional level of image stabilization that goes beyond what most action cameras offer. Mount this on a quadcopter, and you have a smooth shooting drone 360 camera that can capture great aerial shots. Fortunately, those great action capabilities are accompanied by a strong mobile app. These include remote control over Wi-Fi and the ability to edit photos on the fly.
10. Vuze XR Dual VR Camera VR180 & 360°
While virtual reality and 360 photography are often used interchangeably, they aren't quite the same. Vuze XR is relatively unique in the market for offering both options for aspiring videographers. Shifting between 180 degree and 360 degree shoots is as simple as clicking a single button. It may be one of the more expensive models that we've listed, but you could count the number of consumer cameras with that functionality on one hand.
Sharing your VR or 3D videos is simple too. Streaming is included, and you can make the most of the Wi-Fi connection to upload your videos directly to an Oculus Go or your YouTube or Facebook accounts. And while the mobile app that's packed with this camera might not serve much more functionality than a virtual viewfinder, the Vuze XR is also backed by some very powerful and versatile desktop editing software.
11. Insta360 ONE 360 Video Action Camera
The Insta360 One X is a great 360 camera, but it's also pretty expensive. If you want something more affordable that offers the same basic functionality, the Insta360 One is an eminently affordable alternative. Granted, you lose some things for the discount. It's a smaller design but also a little more unwieldy. The One X also offers a better max video resolution and the ability to capture footage in slow motion.
Despite that, there are some strengths to the basic One model. It actually manages to offer a slightly higher resolution when shooting stills, and the battery life is better than what you'd find on the One X. It's a distinction that's not insignificant either.
12. KODAK PIXPRO ORBIT360 4K 360° VR Camera
The Kodak Pixpro Orbit can't compete with other entries on this list even for the relatively modest mid-range price it's offered for. So what makes it worthy of inclusion among the best of the best? The Pixpro makes use of two differently sized rather than two identical lenses, and while that means making some sacrifices in terms of resolution, it allows Kodak to offer a more diverse variety of shooting options.
That allows you to get a traditional 360 degree view as well as a "dome" view and a more traditional 197 degree 4K front mode. That level of variety is nice, particularly if you don't want to spend all your time shooting 360 degree video. And the resolution may not be top tier, but it's not bad at all for the price.
360 Cameras Buyer’s Guide
Even if you’re an experienced traditional photographer, the specs and features of a 360 camera may throw you for a loop. That’s what our guide is for. If you’re brand new to these types of cameras, we’re ready to walk you through the specifics.
Surprised to find that most 360 cameras offer resolutions that blow traditional cameras out of the water? Don’t get too excited. Since 360 degree cameras make use of dual cameras that are then spliced together, they need a much higher resolution for the finished product to match equivalent 2D video.
Generally, 4K video shot in a 3D camera will produce results equivalent to 1080p in traditional video. As such, we don’t recommend anything less than 4K unless you’re just looking for a new toy to play around with. As far as stills are concerned, you can treat the megapixel quality the same as you would for a more traditional camera.
One of the best uses for 360 cameras is in action photography. Whether you’re looking to capture your surfing adventures or simply record out in the wild, image stabilization is going to be a real necessity. More casual users can get by with a handheld selfie stick or a small tripod, but if you plan on getting crazy with it, you’ll want to invest in a more stable (and durable) option like the GoPro Fusion or Insta360 One X.
Stitching is a process unique to 360 cameras. When you shoot footage on a 360 camera, it’s not one continuous shot. Instead, it’s two or more shots that are then spliced together in a process called stitching. Many cameras will automatically stitch together the footage for you, but if you want seamless footage, you should look for cameras with well-rated stitching functionality. Ideally that means tracking down a camera that comes with free, compatible, and high-quality stitching software.
Ease of Use
A good grip is essential if you plan on carrying your 360 camera with you, and you want to have all of the buttons and functions accessible without having to awkwardly adjust yourself. If you’re looking for an action camera, you’ll likely want something that either comes with a mount or supports a mount. Consider how you intend to be using your camera, and let that be a guiding principle on the model you choose to buy.
360 cameras may still be something of a fringe gadget, but they could be coming to the forefront soon. If you’re looking to join the revolution early, our guide is the best way to get started. After all, 360 cams don’t come cheap, so it’s worth taking the time to analyze your options and invest in one that will serve you well.If you liked our article on 360 cameras, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.