Tag Archives: 360-degree

Product review: Wunder360 C1 camera for 360-degree travel photography

2018-08-27

Wunder360 C1 is a 360-degree camera that can record video and photographs that show everything around the camera (up and down, right and left, front and back). It is an entry-level, budget-friendly camera aimed at people who just want to snap images, perhaps apply a special effect to the image and share it. How does the Wunder360 deal with travel photography? Here is our review.

Wunder360 C1 360-degree camera
In our case, the primary application for a 360-degree camera was travel photography. Especially, taking images in spaces like a room in a castle, filming road trips, recording city or village life, recording events that are difficult to capture with one camera (e.g. Tour of France bicycle race or a parade). Now that we have tried the Wunder360 C1 camera in all these situations, we can analyse the results.

Capturing a space like a room

The camera is good at recording a space around it, especially if there is enough light in the room or in the space. We tested this in a castle, and it is fascinating how much information it is possible to discover when viewing the 360-degree photos or videos afterwards. Also, a section of, for instance, a park with plenty of objects can be easily captured. A tripod is required for the camera.

Filming road trips

We installed the camera on a tripod that was standing on the dashboard. We wanted to take advantage of the image stabilization and camera direction features. The result: not worth it. The stabilization was not good enough for us and directing the camera doesn’t work well when the camera itself is moving with the car.

Recording city or village life

Excellent results. The idea was to leave the camera in a central place, like on a statue, in a large tree or on a bench, and let it film life on the street or on a square. The camera is so small that only few, if any, passing by pedestrian noticed it (we were hiding behind the statue so that we could see the camera).

We also tried walking with the camera, letting it record crowds on a busy street and people in cafes, but it didn’t produce good video in this situation. The image stabilization can’t correct movement caused by walking.

Capturing the motion of an event

Events, like parades, races (bicycle races, motor races, triathlon), and others have a lot of movement as many things are happening at the same time. A 360-degree camera can capture everything, and the Wunder360 has a feature that lets you direct the camera where you want after recording the video. This was exactly what we wanted, and this was exactly what we got. Good results, although the video quality after exporting the material to MP4 is not very good. Also audio sounds strange. The camera was standing still on a tripod in our tests at the Tour of France.

The street price of the Wunder360 C1 varies between 150-190 euros/dollars. It is available at online stores, and also at the vendor’s homepage.

In addition to the camera, you must have a smartphone or tablet that is new and powerful enough so that it can work with those 360 videos.
Wunder360 camcorder 360-degree video recording, edit on smartphone

These are the steps for working with the Wunder360 videos

The way a 360-degree camera works is different from ordinary cameras, and naturally, the resulting images are different from images or videos taken on an ordinary camera. These are the key steps for recording a video on the Wunder360 and sharing it on social media channels.

1. Specify a Wi-Fi name for the Wunder360.
2. Choose the recording mode in Wunder360. We used high-resolution 30fps mode.
3. Download the Wunder app on your smartphone or tablet.
4. Record videos and photos in Wunder360.
5. Connect your smartphone or tablet to the Wunder360 via Wi-Fi.
6. You should see a list of photos and videos on your mobile app that are stored on the camera.
7. You can view the images and download them to your mobile device. All photos and videos are 360-degree images.
8. Downloaded videos can be edited (e.g. camera direction) in the mobile device app and exported as ordinary MP4 files (that can be further edited in a PC video editing software). Exported files are not 360-degree videos, but only show the areas you selected in the camera direction feature.

Conclusion: take it or leave it?

For our travel photography needs, the Wunder360 C1 has just enough functionality so that we will carry it along on our trips. The small and low-cost camera has a specific role in our camera bag.

This is our first 360-degree camera, and it was a surprise how different its usage and output were compared to an ordinary camera. Fortunately, we had a specific need for it, and knew what we were going to do with it. That’s the key for anyone planning to buy one: it is essential to consider the applications for the 360-degree camera and then verify it has those features.

Tour de France road cycling race passes through the village of Bossost in Pyrenees mountains.

Wunder360 key specifications

Wunder360 360-degree video camera

2 lenses. Stitching In-Camera Real-time (when you view a video or photo, it is already one 360-degree image)
Focal length/aperture f=0.94 F2.4
Sensor Type CMOS
Photo resolution 4096 x 2048
Video resolution 3040×1520 at 30fps, or 2176×1088 at 60fps
Camera settings exposure and white balance
Status display 32 x 64 pixels (for battery, Wi-Fi, recording mode info)
Free application for Apple iOS and Android devices (required for viewing, editing, and sharing images)
Livestream to Facebook and YouTube
Important features in the app: image stabilization and ability to direct the camera movement before exporting the video to MP4.
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz/5GHz
Micro USB 2.0 port
Tripod mount at the bottom
Microphone
MicroSD memory card slot
Battery 1000mAh
Weight 95g
Dimensions 109.3 x 45 x 35 mm

The best 360-degree consumer cameras to take on the road in 2017

2017-07-15

Someone said that a writer’s most important tool on the road is a camera. What about 360-degree cameras that can capture everything around them? Would they be even better tools for photography and documenting places or events?
360fly 4k camera
Prices of 360 cameras have quickly com down. It was only two or three years ago when I tried a few models, but the prices were between 500 and 1000 euros/dollars then. Now, it is possible to get a 360 camera from a reliable brand for 150 euros. Let’s find out which products are the best if you are in the market for a 360-degree camera in 2017.

High-end 360 cameras

Garmin Virb 360 camera

360FLY 4K is a ball-shaped camera with the lenses on top and screw holes at the bottom for a tripod. The price, around 300 dollars, is unbeatable at the moment in the high-end category.

Garmin Virb 360 is a camera from the successful GPS and sports electronics product manufacturer. The Virb 360 has been acclaimed in many reviews because of its image quality, but the price is on the high side, about 800 dollars.

Budget 360 cameras

LG 360 camera
LG 360 Cam is the winner of the price/value category. At 150 dollars, you get a 360 degree camera that fits in a pocket.

Another product in this category to consider is the Dunkam 360 Camera. It is attached to a smartphone which means that the image processing takes place on the phone and only the special lens sticks out from the other end of the phone. No cables or anything, the camera is plugged directly into the port. The Dunkam is priced at 150 dollars which means they have been able to raise the price after the launch when it was 99.
Dunkam 360 camera for smartphones
Product reviews at Tom’s Guide and Digital Trends were among the sources for this article.

Take a 360-degree train ride to the mountains and fjords of Norway at home

2017-02-20

Traveling in western and northern regions of Norway is a dream come true for everyone who admires dramatic sceneries. The downside is that it takes more time than most sightseeing trips because of those majestic landscapes. Yet, it is possible to choose road travel, sea cruises or even train journey (in some parts of the country). The Flåm railroad in western Norway is probably the most popular section for train travelers. Now, you can watch how a train ride along the famous Flåm railroad looks like.

Flåm, the end station of the railtrack, is a village at the bottom of a fjord. The track starts from Myrdal, a station on the mountains that is connected to Oslo and Bergen via railroad. The 20 kilometer journey from Myrdal to Flåm is considered the steepest railtrack for passenger trains (with the most spectacular sceneries along the way) in the world.

The Flåm railroad company has recorded a 44 minute film of the whole journey in 360 degree video format. You can view the video below, and change the viewing angle as you wish.

A good question is why capture a train ride in a 360-degree video? The camera that has recorded the journey was attached at the front of the train. It doesn’t make sense to rotate the image and watch back because all you can see is the train’s front window. Look down, and you see the railroad track. Probably a better result could have been achieved with an ordinary weatherproof camera. Perhaps the experience on a virtual reality device is better than on a computer. Nonethless, the journey itself is impressive, and definitely one that we will have add to our bucket list.

We can recommend another magnificent train ride that starts from Norway and ends in Sweden. Originally, the railroad track between Narvik, Norway and Kiruna, Sweden was constructed for transporting mining produce, but nowadays it is a popular way to access some of the best sceneries, hiking trails and skiing tracks in Swedish and Norwegian Lapland.

A major road that connects not only two Nordic countries, but places like Abisko and other national parks to the rest of the world follows the railroad track. Here is a video captured during road trips between Narvik and Kiruna.

Scenic road and railroad from Narvik, Norway to Kiruna, Sweden from Klaava on Vimeo.

More spectacular Arctic landscapes and useful information on
traveling in Lapland is available in this travel guidebook.


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Low-cost 360-degree cameras are here – why do you need one?

2016-02-22

Wide-angle and macro lenses for cameras – even for smartphones and tablets – are useful in many situations when the photographer has to be close to the subject, but must get everything that matters into the frame. 360-degree cameras are a step further from that. The new generation of lenses can capture fairly high-quality images that cover everything around the lens. Now, the prices of 360-degree cameras have dropped to an affordable level. We took a look at a few low-cost models that are available today globally.

First, let’s take a look at a 360-degree camera in action. Here is a promo video by 360fly:

Who needs a 360-degree camera? Some photographers will buy a 360-degree camera just because it is a novelty, and soon forget about it. A 360-degree camera is another device that you have to carry along in addition to your smartphone camera. More likely use cases for 360-degree cameras are sports and action photography. Also, travel photography will benefit from 360-degree cameras, because travel writers/photographers often have to capture or document something in a small space, like in a room. Another common problem in travel photography is to frame a large object, like a building or statue, but it is impossible to move so far from it that it would fit into a frame.

Here are five 360-degree cameras for you to explore: 360fly, Bublcam, Giroptic 360cam, Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K, and Ricoh Theta S.
360fly, 360-degree camera
360fly
360fly wants to become the GoPro of 360-degree cameras. The black, round camera looks cool and comes with several optional accessories for mounting it on sports gear. It is waterproof and shock-resistant. Video resolution is 1504 x 1504 at 30fps. List price $399. New model, 360fly 4K is scheduled to be available in 2q2016 with a price tag of $500. The new camera can record video in 2880 x 2880 resolution.

bublcam, 360-degree camera
Bublcam
Most 360-degree cameras can capture the surroundings around the lens horizontally, but not vertically. It means that when you view the image, you can’t see what is above or below the camera. The Bublcam can capture everything, also the vertical dimension. Photos are captured in 14 megapixel resolution. In multiplex video mode, the Bublcam can record 1440p x 1440p (30 fps) or 1920p x 1920p (15 fps). In equirectangular mode, the camera can capture 1984p x 992p (30 fps) or 2688p x 1344p (15 fps). Price $799.
View images captured by Bublcam users at the Bubl Cloud site.
giroptic 360cam, 360-degree camera
Giroptic 360cam
The Giroptic 360cam is waterproof down to 10 meters for up to 30 minutes. Giroptic has a unique solution for battery: the standard base packs a removable rechargeable battery. The company was financed at Kickstarter, and had a long delay in getting the product out, but it is now available. Price $499.
kodak pixpro sp360 4k, 360 degree camera
Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K
Kodak has positioned the Pixpro SP360 4K as an action camera, and has made available a range of accessories required for mounting the camera on different types of equipment. The camera can capture 2880 x 2880-pixel-resolution video or widescreen video at 4K UHD (3 840 x 2160 pixels). Prices start from $449.
ricoh theta s, 360 degrees camera
Ricoh Theta S
The camera comes with two 12-megapixel lenses. The images captured via the lenses are merged into one 5,376×2,688-pixel-resolution photo that shows 360 degrees of the surroundings. The Rich Theta S can record spherical video in full HD (1080p) at 30 frames per second. Competitively priced at $350, the product is available globally.

Ricoh’s concept video: