While you may not have eyes in the back of your head, some modern cameras do. The 360-degree models can capture views from a range of different angles, even the ones you can’t see yourself, by using two or more lenses placed back to back.
That setup allows you to capture action like a sports game from all directions, stage a room you want to rent so that the viewer is standing in the middle, or timelapse the creation of a large project without worrying what might be out of frame. It’s a truly immersive photography experience.
- Ricoh Theta SC 360° is a great camera for those just getting into the 360 world. Not only is it compact, but it’s easy to use a swell.
- insta360 CINONEX/A ONE X is the best choice for those who want professional quality photos. Though the camera is a bit fragile, it takes images that are crystal clear.
- GoPro MAX is built for adventurers who want to take 360 photos as they travel. The sturdy shell gives you high-quality images in the wildest of conditions.
Who Should Get This
360 degree content, though still rare, has become more accessible thanks to the rise of virtual reality like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Most people only experience the technology while touring virtual apartments or experimenting with a friend’s headset, but these cameras are very accessible and a great option for anyone who wants to experiment with a new type of photography.
Alternatively, the devices are a great fit for professionals like real estate agents, hikers, or artists because they can be used to capture things from all angles and provide dimensions you don’t normally find in a flat image.
Best 360 Camera for Photos: What to Consider
While many cameras boast HD recording, you’re actually going to want something closer to 4K (or above). That’s because when you’re filming or shooting in 360 degrees the expansive, wide shot will bring down the quality. 4k video helps overcome that.
Connectivity & Compatibility
Though some cameras come with awesome features, many only work for iPhone while others are only for Android. You never want to get one that doesn’t work for your devices. Always check that a camera has good app support for both platforms. Make sure you can connect your camera to your computer as well.
Reframing and Editing Features
There will be times where you shoot a 360 shot but only want to use one specific angle instead of the whole picture. In order to do that, the camera you pick must support reframing. That process lets you pick exactly what parts to keep and remove. You should also look for other editing related features like automatic stitching, auto-stabilization, and app/program support.
Best 360 Camera for Photos: Our Picks for 2020
A great camera to get you started in the world of 3D photos and videos, the Ricoh Theta has a lot to offer. Available in four colors, it features the ability to shoot remotely using your phone, enjoy photos with a VR headset, and has a dedicated app for photo and video editing.
- Great entry-level camera in a convenient, portable size
- Can connect to iPhone and Android for remote shots, geolocation, and editing
- Comes with a universal tripod socket so you can use an existing tripod or a third party model
- Limited wifi remote range (about 15 feet), so you’ll need to stay close by for phone-triggered shots
With its stunning ability to shoot 5.7K video and 18MP photos, the insta360 CINONEX is a 360-degree camera that won’t let you down. It has a compact profile and can shoot up to 50FPS. It also supports several kinds of unique shots, such as drifting, slow-mo, and hyper-lapse.
- Amazing image quality; the camera can shoot in a 5.7k resolution and the 18MP camera keeps still photos sharp and bright
- Ability to reframe your shots after you’ve recorded them using the provided editing software
- Built-in image stabilizations and time/perspective controls
- No-stitch editing in Adobe Premiere
- Battery life only lasts an hour
GoPro is a well-known brand, and their take on the 360 degree camera shows why. To start, it’s water-proof and has a built-in screen so you can easily see the shot you’re framing. It also has built-in microphones and the ability to prioritize sound from a certain angle (shotgun mic performance). Overall, the 5.6k video resolution and 16.6MP photos will more than satisfy you, especially when combined with all of this camera’s other features.
- Built-in screen is great for picking your view and lining up a particular shot or angle
- Supports live streaming
- Built-in horizon-leveling with HERO mode and stabilization with HyperSmooth technology
- Four built-in digital lenses: narrow, linear, wide, and max
- Allows you to reframe and edit directly on your phone
- By far the priciest camera on our list
Using a 360-degree camera is not always easy. Many conventions, even something as simple as standing behind the camera to avoid being in the shot, don’t apply to the devices. That can make it hard to first adjust. This video goes over some great starter tips and recommendations.
Additionally, if you’re interested in shooting 360 videos to use with a VR headset, this article from Hackernoon makes some great points for keeping your viewer from getting motion sick and avoiding “portals” caused by bad stitching.
Lastly, when you purchase your camera, make sure to get a large SD card as well. These videos and photos are notorious for taking up massive amounts of storage, and it always sucks to run out of space mid-shoot.
360 cameras are a fun way to experiment with photography and try something completely new. They are also a great way to showcase your talents. It doesn’t matter if you’re capturing an art piece that encompasses a whole room, action shots from your sport of choice, or whatever else you can dream up, the devices will allow you to photograph the world in a whole new way.
Have you used a 360 camera? If so, what is your favorite model? Let us know in the comments below!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager here at AnySoftwareTools. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.