Some early 360 cameras don’t actually capture the full 360 degrees of video and have a black spot at the top and or bottom stitch. This is not something you want in 360 video as it instantly breaks any immersive qualities of the video. In some cases people use multiple single cameras to capture the whole 360 view, the Kodak SP360 is a good example of this. You can see on the website how they use two cameras to capture two sides of the 360 hemisphere to stitch together and create one view. This does solve the problem, although it can add some extra work and potential headaches in the post production workflow. In some ways you get good flexibility having two separate cameras, but part of the problem can often stem from the two cameras being too far apart from each other and causing bad stitching in the video. Be sure to always check the video produced by the camera before buying, that way you can see blind spots (if any) and how good the stitching is. Quite often the blind spots of the video will be covered with a company logo or something similar.
You will need to view the video below in Youtube to see it in 360.
Unsurprisingly the next step in 360 cameras was to produce units that comprise of two cameras in one sealed unit. Unless you are shooting something professionally for clients the best route to go is an all-in-one 360 camera setup. More often than not this will comprise of a dual lens setup, each lens will capture one half of the 360 view, sometimes not always equally. This means you can get the shots you want and share them on social media with very little hassle.
360 Camera Resolution
The next thing to look out for is camera resolution, this should play a big part in what camera you decide to buy. Now with 360 cameras the resolution is not quite as simple as a standard camera, the resolution is stretched over the full 360 degree plane. HD (1080p) is fine for Facebook videos and viewing on phones and smaller devices, but when viewing on a monitor the blurry image really starts to break the immersion of the video. You need a 4k resolution or above really to be creating nice high quality content for desktop screens.
You may look at something like a 3k camera costing $/£99 and then look at an 8k camera and see it is $/£3000. That may make you think the difference is crazy for what you get, but the reality is that the whole setup is different. Something offering up to 4k could have two lens, but to get good quality 8k you are looking more likely to be having 6 or more lens capturing that. That is where the expense lies, in those extra lenses and sensors collecting the image.
4k realistically for video is a prosumer sweet spot in 360 due the compact nature, simple setup and workflow. But its a slow time for affordable 4k 360 cameras.
Many standard 360 cameras are a bit bulky to attach to most drones for example the Insta360 Nano , Air, LG 360 Camera and Samsung Gear 360 offerings only support specific devices. You don’t really want to have to attach your phone or 3rd party devices to the camera as it will add too much size and weight. An uneven load or too much weight will compromise your drones flying ability and may result in you loosing control, destroying your equipment or worse. Be sure that your drone can handle the weight before exploring too far and switch off any wireless camera features than may interfere with your drone during flight.
360 Cameras Suitable For Drones
This is just a quick rundown of our favourite 360 cameras that are suitable for drone mounting to consumer drones. This may require some modification depending on the drone you have and the type of camera you decide to mount to it.