Tag Archives: road trip

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

Top 5 scenic drives in Lapland for road travelers touring North Europe

2017-06-05

It is a long way to the north of the Arctic Circle, Lapland in Scandinavia, from other parts of Europe. Yet, so many road travelers make the trip that during the busiest summer season in July and August, popular camp sites can be fully booked if you arrive late in the evening. Enjoying the great outdoors is the primary reason for visitors to drive to the far north, and while doing it, why not enjoy the best scenic drives while on the road.

Here are the top 5 scenic drives in the land of fells, fjords, reindeer and Sami people as ranked in the travel guidebook Lapland. Some of the routes cross the borders of Finland, Norway or Sweden.

Lakselv-Nordkapp

Travelers who are heading to Nordkapp can approach the Europe’s northernmost point from Alta or from Lakselv. The road from Lakselv to Nordkapp is the one to take if you want to maximize your time taking in spectacular scenery. Without breaks, this drive takes about 3-3.5 hours.

A video that shows the sceneries along the Lakselv-Nordkapp road:

Lakselv is located at the southern end of Porsangerfjorden. Heading north of Lakselv, towards Nordkapp, the road (E6 and E69) follows the shores of the fjord. You can admire fjord views practically all the way to Nordkapp, apart from two long tunnels that dive into a mountain and under the sea.

There are plenty of places to stop and take a break on the way. It is really better to stop on the roadside and take time to absorb the scenery, take some photos, and perhaps take a dip in the sea than to drive slowly and block the narrow road. Local truck and bus drivers may want to go faster than tourists even though the road is narrow.

Karigasniemi-Utsjoki

The road from Karigasniemi to Utsjoki may not be one of the best known road sections in Lapland, but it definitely is one of the most beautiful. The road follows Tenojoki River which is famous for its wild salmon and trout. There are many places along the road where fishermen can stay at a cottage and hire a local guide with a boat to fish for the famous Tenojoki salmon. One thing is common for all travelers: everyone admires the varying landscape. The lush river valley, high fells and snow-capped peaks come into view as the road undulates along the river shores.

You can choose to drive on the Norwegian or Finnish side of Tenojoki River. I have only made the trip on the Finnish side where the road was in good condition. Roadside carparks were built in scenic places that provided beautiful views to the river and the surrounding fells. In Finland, the road starts from Karigasniemi village, and in Norway from Karasjok. There are no bridges across the river between Karigasniemi and Utsjoki.

Narvik-Kiruna

The road between Narvik and Kiruna shows the many faces of Lapland landscape. In the west near Narvik, fjords and mountains create the unique scenery Norway is renowned for. From Narvik towards the east, the road ascends to a mountain plateau. Approaching Abisko, a whole new world opens up: mountain peaks, lakes, rivers and scarce vegetation establish a unique landscape that doesn’t look like anything you have seen before. As Kiruna comes closer, scarce vegetation gives way to lush forests as the landscape changes from fells to undulating forests and hills.

The landscape between Kiruna and Narvik is shown on this video clip:

There are many roadside carparks on the way, especially near Abisko. During weekends, the carparks may be crowded as locals head to lakes and rivers to fish and hike into the fells. Abisko and Riksgränsen are the only places where services are available along this road section.

Kong Olavs Veg

Kong Olavs Veg (King Olav’s Road) leads travelers from mainland Norway to the Lofoten archipelago and across the islands. The scenery is pretty much continuously spectacular: mountains, fjords, villages and fishing ports. There is not a dull moment on Lofoten no matter which road you choose to drive. Occasional bridges and ferries along the way let you admire the landscape from the sea as well.

Summer sceneries along the roads of Lofoten can be viewed on this video clip:

Winter/spring sceneries along the roads of Lofoten can be viewed on this video clip:

Roads, even the main roads in Lofoten, are narrow and some sections can be a bit bumpy. Take care that right-side wheels travel on the white line on the right edge of the road, because local bus and truck drivers want to drive at their own speed on the roads they know so well. Plan your trip so that you have plenty of time. Driving across the archipelago is slow because of narrow and twisting roads, and villages on the way.

Bjerkvik north of Narvik is the place to start the road trip to Lofoten. An alternative route is to take a ferry from the mainland (for instance, from Bodö or Bognes to Moskenes) and drive across Lofoten from west to east.

Karesuvanto–Skibotn

This scenic road takes you from majestic fell landscape in Finland to beautiful fjord mountain landscape in Norway. The highlights of this trip are Saana fell in Kilpisjärvi and Lyngenfjord.

This video shows the sceneries between Karesuando and Skibotn:

The starting point is the village of Karesuvanto that is located on both sides of the border in Finland and in Sweden. The village can be reached via E45 from Sweden and via E8 from Finland. From Karesuvanto, head west along E8. The road follows the border river Muonionjoki and gradually ascends to the gently sloping fells. Kilpisjärvi is a destination of its own for travelers. A hike to the Saana fell is highly recommended. Towards west, after Kilpisjärvi, you enter Norway and the landscape changes. Fells get steeper as the road winds down towards the sea. The village of Skibotn welcomes road travelers to the shores of the beautiful Lyngenfjord.

Lapland travel guidebook, book cover image

This was extracted from the travel guidebook to Lapland that has more information and tips for all travelers who are planning to visit the last large wilderness of Europe.