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Ben Claremont Video: Video: Which 360 Camera Should You Buy In 2022?16226

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Video: Which 360 Camera Should You Buy In 2022? | Video courtesy of Ben Claremont YouTube Channel | 13 January 2022

Your thoughts?

[Transcript below]

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Transcript (video above)

Ben Claremont: -Which 360 camera should you buy in 2022? Even though 2021 was a quiet year for 360 camera releases, the 360 virtual tour and VR industry is now more popular than ever with the demand for virtual tours exploding during the pandemic, with marketing efforts from Insta360 pushing 360 video, with Mark Zuckerberg pushing the Metaverse, and blogs in general posting about 360 and VR over the past year. The interest in 360 cameras is now greater than ever.

If you're someone that creates 360 content or you're looking to create 360 content, you're probably wondering which 360 camera you should buy. In my annual remake of this very video, I'm going to do things a little differently. Instead of buy or don't buy, I'm going to recommend my top five consumer 360 cameras in two different categories.

The first one is 360 photography and virtual tours. The second, 360 video. I do have full reviews of most of these cameras on my YouTube channel already. If you want more information, check those out. But in this video I'm going to try and be as brief as possible.

Also, if you stay to the end, I'm going to share my top three predictions for upcoming 360 cameras that are most likely, if not, definitely coming out in 2022. This video isn't sponsored and all opinions are my own.

Now let's get into it. Starting with 360 photography and virtual tours, which by the way, I've just created a brand new free training covering my top 10 tips for starting a virtual tour business in 2022.

If you're wondering where to find paid clients, what to say to those clients, and what to charge those clients, then I'll link my brand new free training below. If you're wondering which camera to buy for this purpose, here are my top five picks in 2022.

Coming in at number five is the Pilot One EE. This camera is around a year old and it shoots very high resolution photos and video. It comes in at 1799, which puts it more in the prosumer category than the consumer, but it is still a good option for anyone wanting to shoot a lot of 360 photos. I think the best feature of this camera is its direct integration with Google Street View. A lot of people strap this camera to their body.

They'll walk maybe 10 kilometers and have it shoot at regular intervals, which gets automatically uploaded to Street View. It's got this fantastic touch screen where you can sign into your Google account and have the camera upload to Street View as you go.

If you're someone that takes a lot of photos for mapping purposes, for adding stuff to Google Street View, then this is the best camera for doing so due to that really fast and easy workflow. This workflow also help with standard 360 photos. Every photo you take, you can automatically upload to Google Drive through the camera, then download it to your computer and upload it wherever you want from there.

The 48 megapixel photos look good, however, they do require color correction to improve the extreme contrast. For me, the price is a bit too high to recommend it, any higher on this list but it is, again, a great option for anyone shooting for Google Street View. My number four pick is the Xphase S2 and X2, which come in at two slightly different price points.

The difference between these two cameras is the X2 is the newer version which has some very small upgrades. The biggest one being it's more flare resistant, and I remember that was always a big problem when I first started using the Xphase, I'd get these horrible flares whenever those any bright light source.

They've since released the X2 to fix this problem at $400 more. But aside from that, the specs are almost identical, so it's a hard upgrade to justify. What I love about this camera is it is extremely high resolution.

This is the only point and shoot 360 camera that can shoot up to 134 megapixels.

The image sharpness is truly amazing and so much better than every other camera on this list. If you're someone that demand really high quality, then I would strongly suggest considering this camera, and checkout my full review on my YouTube channel if you haven't already, which unfortunately brings me to the flaws of the Xphase and there are many.

The biggest one I'd say is unfortunately it's a very unpredictable camera. There are no simple workflows. It takes a lot of learning to understand how this works and there's also a high margin for error.

So many times have I gone out and thought I'd captured an amazing photo only to get home and realize the USB I put in the bottom of the camera isn't compatible and it captured nothing. Aside from that, I don't have well-developed software when it comes to mobile apps and desktop software.

The workflow really does rely on carefully studying manuals on their website and closely following their Facebook group. The results are worth it, don't get me wrong, but you need a lot of time and patience to get good results with this camera.

When you're wanting to shoot with a consumer 360 camera, you're doing it to save time. While I do recommend this camera for the extremely high quality, it's not going to be a smooth experience. Prepare for dealing with a lot of issues to eventually get amazing results.

My number three choice for 360 photography is the One X2. This camera's been around for a year now and it's probably the most popular 360 camera all around right now. With that said though its focus is 360 video and not 360 photo. While they did add a really nice pure shot mode last year, it's still only enhancing a low resolution shot with high dynamic range and slightly better clarity.

While I do recommend the One X2 for 360 photography, if you're on a budget, there's been a new camera just come out that beats it by far, and that is the Trisio 2 Lite.

The Trisio is an interesting camera because, technically, it's not a 360 camera because it's only got just the one lens and then on the back there's nothing. However, this single lens can create a 360 perspective due to an inbuilt rotator at the bottom. It starts by taking a look around the scene to gauge exposure, and then does another loop around taking four photos in all four directions.

It then stitches them together in the app to create an extremely impressive, high quality 32 megapixel photo. I've got to say I was blown away when I first saw the results from the Trisio.

This is a $399 camera and it's holding its own against every other established 360 photo camera out there. In fact, I'd say it's better than many of them.

It certainly beats the One X2 for sharpness and dynamic range. Here it is against Theta Z1, it doesn't look that different. I'm going to say it right now that Trisio is the best budget virtual tour camera in 2022.

Previously, that title belonged to the One X2, but looking at those two side-by-side, there's just no comparison. If you're someone that has around $400 budget and you want to get started shooting virtual tours professionally, I would strongly recommend this camera.

Now it is brand new and the workplace still does need a bit of improvement, but for now the mobile app is reliable enough.

The only situation I wouldn't buy the Trisio for is for happy snaps. This is because obviously it's a rotator and if you're moving while it's rotating, it's going to create motion blur. This brings me to my number one choice for 360 photography and virtual tours in 2022 and that is the Theta Z1. This has been my camera of choice for the last two years now.

Due to regular firmware updates, plug-in additions, and general overall improvement, the Z1 remains the best option for point-and-shoot 360 photography in early 2022. I've shot countless virtual tours with this camera and it has never let me down.

Last year they added the dual fisheye plug-in that sped up the bracketing workplace significantly, meaning, you can achieve maximum image quality without a long drawn out workflow.

The software I recommend for editing these Z1 shots are the Ricoh Theta Stitcher Desktop app combined with Adobe Lightroom for merging the bracketed shots and general color correction, which by the way, I've just added a full Lightroom Masterclass to my virtual tour pro course. If you happen to be shooting with the Z1 or any camera for that matter and you want to get the most out of your 360 photos, you can access all of those tutorials by enrolling in my virtual tour masterclass, which I'll link below.

Now I feel like I need to give out some honorable mentions to two cameras that almost made the list but not quite.

The first one is the Theta SC2, which was my choice for a budget virtual tour camera. However, now the Trisio is the best budget camera, so I'd only consider the Theta SC2 if you can find one for a really good price. The next honorable mention is my old friend, the QooCam 8K.

While I have experienced a lot of issues with this camera, the main one being the thermal defocus issue. Meaning when the camera gets too hot, it throws the lens out of focus, meaning the shot goes out of focus. When you're shooting virtual tours, that's a problem you really don't want to have.

However, this doesn't always happen and when you're using it even as recently as this week, I was able to reduce amazing results with the QooCam 8K.

The dynamic range and color depth are extremely impressive as is the sharpness. All around, I'd be happy using this camera professionally if this is the result which it is most of the time. The only reason this didn't make the top five is because unfortunately Kandao are no longer selling the QOOCAM 8K on their website.

I'm not sure exactly what the reason is, whether it's become too problematic of a camera for them, or they simply just want to move on to their next camera and discontinue this one. However, if you can find one of these may be secondhand, and I still would consider it as a really good camera to use for 360 photos.

Next, let's move on to 360 video. Which camera should you buy? Coming in at number five again is the Pilot One EE. While this isn't a very popular camera, it does shoot 8K 360 video, which I've found overall to be pretty decent. It's not amazing, It's not shut up and take my money quality.

But it's 8K 360 and some people want that. I do think 8K is still a little bit overkill in 2022, it needs to wait for phones and computers to catch up with the ability to easily edit 8K footage. But if say you're a Google Street View shooter and you want to be able to shoot 8K video, this could be a good option. It also does 8K live streaming if you're interested in shooting live events.

Again, the price puts it more in the prosumer category than consumer. If you have $1,800 to spend then consider this camera, or instead, you may want to consider number four, the QooCam 8K, and again, this camera has been discontinued, but maybe you could find one second-hand somewhere. Or you may want to consider the QooCam enterprise, which comes in at $2,000, again, putting it in the prosumer category. If you want 8K and you want good-quality 360 photos, consider this camera.

I don't own the enterprise, but from what I've seen of it, it seems pretty good.

Which brings me to number three on this list, which is the GoPro MAX.

This has always been a decent 360 video camera. If you're a die-hard GoPro user and you own all the accessories and you want to be able to use them with a 360 camera, then you might want to consider the MAX. However, from testing it side-by-side against cameras one and two on this list, I found the Insta360 cameras outperformed it in practically every situation.

Cameras one and two are the Insta360 ONE R and the Insta360 ONE X2. In terms of their capabilities when shooting 360 video, overall they're extremely similar, sharing most of the same features. The ONE X2 is a dedicated 360 camera with all the benefits of a slim 360 camera design.

Whereas the ONE R is modular. It's shaped more like an action camera and it has more use cases overall, mostly being a fixed perspective like a normal action camera would give you from using either the 4K or one-inch mods. If you're someone that likes shooting all kinds of action content and you want the flexibility of shooting 360 and a fixed perspective at high quality 4K or 5.3 K. Then that's what I'd recommend the Insta360 ONE R with the addition of the 4K and one-inch mods. If you're looking for a dedicated 360 camera though, my number one choice is the ONE X2.

In my opinion, the design is almost perfect. It's really small and compact. It fits in your pocket extremely easily. The touchscreen, while not perfect, is fairly big and works well enough. Aside from the design, I've noticed the firmware updates to this camera had been frequent over the past year and made it a better-embedded camera, which is now even slightly better than the ONE R in terms of a few different 360 features. Either way though, I say these two cameras as being the best choices by far, the 360 video at around the $500 price point in 2022.

This is because Insta360 have continually improve these cameras over time with regular firmware updates, they've improved their desktop editing software out of site as well as the mobile app.

They're continually adding more and more things you can do with these cameras and you can tell they're trying to improve the overall workflow experience to the point that you can do something that used to be a complex effect that would take hours of post-production on your computer in literally seconds on your phone by following the prompts. I've got a bunch of effects videos on my channel if you want to learn how to do some of those cool effects, but there you have it.

This is my number one choice, for 360 video in 2022. You can find all cameras from this video down below, by the way. There are my two lists, my top five 360 photo cameras, and top five 360 video cameras.

Despite being a bit older now, my top pick's really have stood the test of time and can still deliver fantastic results for 360 photo and 360 video in early 2022. Now I'm going to look into my imaginary crystal ball and what cameras will be coming later this year? My first prediction is a new camera from Insta360. In fact.

Speaker 2: -That's not just not a prediction, that is a spoiler.

Ben Claremont: -We all know it, Insta360 are always working on their next great camera. No doubt there's going to be some kind of camera coming out this year.

What's it going to be? Well, it will be one of two things.

It will be the ONE X3 or the ONE R2 and my money is on the ONE R2 because the ONE X2 came out just over a year ago and they haven't updated the ONE R yet because it was a really successful camera and I really do see them taking this modular idea on this GoPro type design further.

I'm predicting the Insta360 ONE R2 coming out maybe in the first half of this year. Hopefully, it has improved photo and video specs, better features. I'm just hoping it's not the same thing repackaged like the ONE X2 was initially with some small improvements under the surface, but who knows?

One thing for sure is Insta360 improve their cameras over time. Even if it is a small improvement initially with subsequent firmware updates, the ONE R2 is going to become a much better camera than the original ONE R. My second spoiler for a new 360 camera in 2022 is a new camera from Ricoh. Will it be the Z2 or will it just be the ZSC2? My prediction is a hybrid of these two cameras. I think they'll create a Z1 that is cheaper and simpler.

There's already been a few details linked about Ricoh's next camera. It looks like it will have fewer buttons in the Z1, no screen, a smaller lens, it should fingers crossed, have a removable battery and SD card, which we've all been waiting for for years.

That would be exciting and they're probably going to announce exactly what it is on January, 18. I'll be sure to share my full review once that camera is released. Prediction three is a new camera from Labpano.

The makers of the Pilot One EE, in fact, I've been in touch with them and they've told me that they're working on the next camera. I can't reveal too much. In fact, I don't even know that much about it. All they said is that it was going to be a cheaper, more consumer-friendly camera with two lenses and hopefully it comes in at a price point, maybe closer to this, who knows?

If you want to get my latest thoughts on the upcoming cameras of 2022 before and after their release, there's two ways to do so.

The first way is hitting that "Subscribe" button down below. The second way is subscribing to my email list where I send exclusive pre-reviews of new up-and-coming cameras to share initial thoughts before I make a full in-depth YouTube review.

You can subscribe to that down below. Tell me, which is your 360 camera of choice in 2022 and why? Let me know down there.

Until next time. Happy 360ing.
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Ben’s advice is my #1 go-to. I love his clear, concise style and even the sound of his voice. Yay Ben! Keep up the great work. I already had a Z1 and One X, have now ordered the Z1 51gb and the One X2.
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The Pro 3 would be the way to go, if there ever is such a thing.
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Fstoppers (22 January 2022) These Are the Best 360 Cameras for Photo and Video in 2022
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