Do you want to share the most awesome view of the Aurora borealis or want to broadcast the cloud nine moment of jumping over an airplane? Then, there’s no other gadget like the 360-degree camera that can capture the entire scene.

A 360 camera uses two fish-eye lenses to capture 180-degree back-to-back angle views and create a whole new spherical view of a specific scene. The camera stitches the images collected to produce one-of-a-kind photography and video output. 

According to Gimbal Guru’s Youtube Channel, there are lots of advantages in using a 360 camera. First, you have the freedom to reframe and experiment on your video. Reframing is also a good way to create unique or thrilling adventure videos at the best possible angle. 

Next, you get the best stabilization since most 360-degree cameras neutralize the shake that causes blur and unstable stitching of photos. In fact, there are different stabilization features that these cameras can offer. For instance, the GoPro Max has the HyperSmooth video Stabilization while the Insta360 One X2 promotes their FlowState Stabilization.

Lastly, 360 cameras can hide the selfie sticks, hence called “Invisible Selfie Stick.” Herein, the multiple photos or video shots are stitched together at different angles better without the camera stick blocking any part of the final photo. This effect made the selfie stick “invisible” because the camera seemed to be suspended in the air. This is also sometimes called the ‘blind spot.’ With this, capturing a whole picture of the surrounding is effectively done. 

Further, Evangeline Summers (Solidsmack’s photography editor) pointed out that the best 360 cameras have a more sophisticated video resolution. That is because a 360 camera’s screen resolution is different from the ones produced by the other types of camera. Herein, viewers get the 90-degree view of a specific frame by turning, tapping, or swiping the device vertically or horizontally. This is done one point at a time. Thereby, the camera’s full video resolution is quarterly divided to encompass the pixels needed to view at one point.

With much more things to consider, our buyer’s guide below provides additional information that you need to consider before buying one. Likewise, we also provide the list of the most reliable and quality 360 cameras from the best brands on the market. We specified their most fantastic features to help you suit your preferences. Henceforth, don’t forget to click the links to have their best deal on Amazon!

Best 360 Cameras Comparison & Rating

360 Cameras

Features

GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera with Touch Screen Spherical 5.6K30 HD Video 16.6MP 360 Photos 1080p Live Streaming Stabilization
  • 5.6K resolution
  • 12 voice commands
  • six built-in microphones
Insta360 ONE X2 360 Degree Waterproof Action Camera, 5.7K 360, Stabilization, Touch Screen, AI Editing, Live Streaming, Webcam, Voice Control
  • 5.7K resolution
  • Shoot Now, Reframe Later scheme
  • Steady Cam mode and FlowState Stabilization
Samsung Gear 360 (2017 Edition) Real 360° 4K VR Camera (US Version with Warranty)
  • 4096 x 2048 (24 FPS)
  • battery life for up to 130 minutes
  • dual 180-degree lenses
YI 360 VR Camera Dual-Lens 5.7K HI Resolution Panoramic Camera with Electronic Image Stabilization, 4K in-Camera Stitching
  • 4K live streaming
  • 5.7K at 30 FPS
  • dual 220-degree aspheric glass lens
Theta Z1 360 Degree Spherical Camera with Dual 1" Sensors USA Model
  • 4K at 30p
  • high ISO sensitivity of 6400
  • updated CMOS image sensor

1. GoPro MAX

GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera with Touch Screen Spherical 5.6K30 HD Video 16.6MP 360 Photos 1080p Live Streaming Stabilization
Specifications:
99% Overall

Brand

GoPro

Dimensions

6.4 x 6.9 x 4.0 cm

Weight

5.75 ounces

Video Resolution

5.6K

98%
video and photo quality
99%
durability and quality
99%
features and build
99%
ease of use and convenience
Pros:
  • A waterproof and shockproof 360 camera.
  • Has an extreme stabilization feature.
  • Comes with six built-in microphones for the best audio quality.
  • Boasts the 270 degrees panoramic shots with one click.
  • There are protective caps to protect the lens from unwanted external elements.
  • Capable of 12 voice commands.
Cons:
  • Has a limited night vision option.
Final Take:

“The GoPro Max excels more at 360-degree capture and editing than the previous GoPro Fusion and is a close competitor of Insta 360 One X,” Summers started. “The 5.6K shooting captures the most stabilized footage that’s always the trademark of GoPro. The colors are also richer if you shoot in a well-lighted environment. To do this, simply choose the 360 Mode to capture spectacular spherical footage. After the shoot, you can reframe the 360-degree footage using the Android and iOS GoPro App." 

This camera also boosts the 270 degrees of distortion-free panoramic shots in just one click. This can be achieved using the PowerPano mode at 6.2 megapixels. The horizon leveling is also at default. Thereby, travelers can capture at ease using this mode. 

On the other hand, the basic design cues of GroPro Max are somewhat similar to that of Fusion. They can both be used underwater without needing external housing; thanks to the rubberized exterior design. There is also a touchscreen but the GoPro Max has a more colored screen than the Fusion.

Furthermore, this cam is built with 6 microphones that can record at 360 degrees and has a wind-noise reduction. And, although this camera costs a bit higher than its competitors, its solid features are very unswerving. The investment is worth it especially if you are a content creator who’s more action-oriented.

2. Insta360 ONE X2

Insta360 ONE X2 360 Degree Waterproof Action Camera, 5.7K 360, Stabilization, Touch Screen, AI Editing, Live Streaming, Webcam, Voice Control
Specifications:
97% Overall

Brand

Insta360

Dimensions

4.6 x 11.3 x 3.0 cm

Weight

5.3 ounces

Video Resolution

5.7K

98%
video and photo quality
95%
durability and quality
97%
features and build
97%
ease of use and convenience
Pros:
  • Can do stable shots using the Steady Cam mode and FlowState Stabilization.
  • The dual-lens can capture amazing 5.7K footage.
  • Efficient “Shoot Now, Reframe Later” scheme.
  • Allows easy editing through its featured applications.
  • Can also do 360 Live.
Cons:
  • Breakage of lenses can be a concern due to its build.
  • The Shotlab is only available on mobile.
Final Take:

“There are a lot of upgrades present with this 360 camera compared to One X,” said Summers. “First, it is now waterproof even without a protective case and now has a Night Mode for photos. Also, the One X2 can be controlled by the latest innovations using various compatible editing applications. Hence, you can shoot instantly and reframe later.”

Another great characteristic of this cam is its 5.7K 360 video resolution. Having a video resolution with such a resolution means you can reframe the 360 footage and watch it in a 1440 pixels screen frame. You can also extract a standard 16:9 video with good resolution in every capture.

Furthermore, this cam supports 360 live streaming. Just open the ONE app, choose 360 Live, and then select the platform where you want to do the stream. Using this feature lets your viewers see all the angles of your content as you film it. You can further let your audience enjoy your video since it uses four built-in microphones to capture clear audio in real-time. Meanwhile, the ultra-bright touch screen can let you preview your 360-degree footage. The screen is also 40% bigger than the Insta360 One X’s screen.

3. Samsung Gear 360 Camera

Samsung Gear 360 (2017 Edition) Real 360° 4K VR Camera (US Version with Warranty)
Specifications:
97% Overall

Brand

Samsung

Dimensions

10 x 4.6 x 4.5 cm

Weight

130 grams

Video Resolution

4K

96%
video and photo quality
98%
durability and quality
97%
features and build
96%
ease of use and convenience
Pros:
  • Very handy because of the handle.
  • Very affordable and a decent 360 camera to consider.
  • Can be used without the aid of smartphones.
  • Has battery life for up to 130 minutes.
Cons:
  • There are functional limitations with iOS devices but it is compatible with a wide range of Samsung devices.
Final Take:

If you want to have the best budget-friendly 360 camera, this one is suited for you. As compared to other models mentioned in this review, the Samsung Gear 360 is the cheapest. You can purchase this cam for less than $150.

Another thing that makes this cam special is that apart from the smartphone, you can also use the Gear 360 ActionDirector program on your laptop to view and stitch your photos and videos automatically. You can also perform other editing functions on the software such as trimming, adding titles, and creating transitions on your videos. You can also do livestreams and share the videos on some online platforms such as Youtube and Facebook. Most of all, you can view videos on Samsung Gear VR!

In terms of the cam’s build attributes, the dual 180-degree lenses are located at the top of the cute rounded white head. It also has an easy-grip handle where the memory card tray, USB Type-C multipurpose jack, camera status screen, and strap hole are located. 

As per the performance, this cam is very easy to use and can capture 4096 x 2048 video resolution at 24 FPS. Simply press the power button and choose the mode that you are going to use. Then, press the OK key and you can now record a 360 video or take a photo excellently. Furthermore, Gear 360 is capable of recording up to 130 minutes using the 2560 x 1280 resolution at 30 FPS.

4. YI 360 VR Camera

YI 360 VR Camera Dual-Lens 5.7K HI Resolution Panoramic Camera with Electronic Image Stabilization, 4K in-Camera Stitching
Specifications:
95% Overall

Brand

YI

Dimensions

102 x 53.2 x 29.6 mm

Weight

170 grams

Video Resolution

5.7K

96%
video and photo quality
95%
durability and quality
95%
features and build
94%
ease of use and convenience
Pros:
  • Supports 4K live streaming.
  • Boasts the auto stitch capability when shooting using the 4K video resolution.
  • Capture immersive footage with the two 220 degrees lenses.
  • Presents various ways of viewing your 360 videos.
  • Can use the USB Type-C port for attaching an external microphone or for high-speed data transmission.
Cons:
  • Does not auto stitch the videos captured at 5.7K.
Final Take:

Summers regarded this camera as one of the impressive 360 cameras out in the market due to its efficient in-camera stitching and excellent 5.7K video resolution. 

“The in-camera stitching of the videos is very useful for travelers who want to have an instant view of the captured video,” she said. “Although this feature is only limited to 4K recording, the 5K resolution videos can also be stitched using the Windows application.”

Furthermore, Summers also praised the dual 220-degree aspheric glass lens that this camera has. According to her, each f-2.0 aperture of these lenses creates vivid and immersive images and wide-angle video capture. 

Apart from this, there are also several preview modes that this cam can offer. These are the stretched view, little planet view, round view, dual VR view, and the panoramic view. Each offers a unique experience of bringing life to your 360 captures. Above all, YI 360 camera is very comfortable, portable, and easy to use. It only weighs 170 grams and has a 102 x 53.2 29.6 mm dimension. Likewise, you do not have to worry about its mounting ability because it can be mounted almost to anything. With its features, it is not surprising that this cam has gained a spot in the 360 camera world.

5. Theta Z1 360 Camera

Theta Z1 360 Degree Spherical Camera with Dual 1" Sensors USA Model
Specifications:
94% Overall

Brand

Theta

Dimensions

48 × 132.5 × 29.7 mm

Weight

182 grams

Video Resolution

4K

95%
video and photo quality
94%
durability and quality
94%
features and build
94%
ease of use and convenience
Pros:
  • Best for 360 stills.
  • Has an ISO of 6400 making it a highly sensitive camera.
  • Equipped with upgraded CMOS image sensor.
  • Build with extremely slim body.
  • Has a powerful 3-axis stabilization.
Cons:
  • Quite left behind its competitors when it comes to 360 video shooting.
Final Take:

The best characteristic that the Ricoh Theta Z1 has is its two 1-inch sensors, this is three times larger than the common 360 camera nowadays. Thereby, making it the best choice for 360 still captures. This updated CMOS image sensor can make up to 23 effective megapixels and has a high ISO sensitivity of 6400. With this feature, the Theta Z1 has made its way in competing with known 360 camera brands. 

“The quality of the captured photos using this cam is very, very great,” Summers stated. “Although there is already a newer version of this cam, the only difference they have is the additional 32 GB internal storage of the new Ricoh Theta Z1.”

Consequently, this Theta Z1 also performs very well when it comes to ergonomics. The weight (approximately 182 grams), dimension (48 x 132.5 x 29.7 mm), and comfortable grip allows the user to use it over an extended period of hours without fatigue. There are also compatible accessories such as a tripod and stand for more support. Above the classics and stunning 360 attributes, this camera is indeed a wise choice to consider.

Best 360 Cameras - Buyer's Guide

Stitching

Does your camera automatically stitch the images within or it can just be done using an external application or software? The ease of stitching is also a crucial factor to consider to have an excellent 360 camera. This will save you time from editing and transferring your file from one media to another. An example of this is the YI 360 camera. This cam automatically stitches the captured 4K video in real-time. Hence, you can easily share your content via different platforms.

Size

The 360 cameras are smaller as compared to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. However, they offer the most dynamic view of a scene. For this reason, they are commonly used for traveling vlogs, documentary reports, and space viewing experiences. Therefore, the cam’s size and portability really matter. For your reference, all of the items reviewed above are handy and easy to transport to suit your varied purpose.

mounting options

Whether you want to use your 360 camera while on a bicycle ride, car travel, or for a walk, the mounting feature of the camera is a must to consider. You probably do not want to place your 360 camera in an uncertain position where you might damage the whole camera and the experience itself.

features

The other features of a 360 camera can further boost and maximize its capabilities. Features such as the built-in six microphones of GoPro Max, the excellent battery life of Samsung Gear 360, and the 6400 ISO sensitivity of the Ricoh Theta Z1 are some noteworthy considerations to have.

Best 360 Cameras - FAQs

Apart from travel, where can I use a 360 camera?

The 360 cameras offer a wide range of applications. They can be used on a car, on a bicycle, or underwater. You just have to look after the specifications and the features that each 360 camera offers to best suit your purpose.

Are 360 cameras expensive?

It depends on the brand and features that the cam has. You can have a 360 camera from $140 - $499, depending on the brand and features.

Can I record sounds using a 360 camera?

Yes, you can. These cameras have built-in microphones that you can use. However, try to consider the environment before using the 360 camera. For instance, if you are using the cam while on an airplane or gliding using a wingsuit, the sound might not be the same as that of when you are in a steady and calm atmosphere. Nevertheless, there are several 360 cameras that offer wind-noise reduction such as the GoPro Max.

Author

Santi Bongco is an editor at SolidSmack which is the leading site for 3D CAD, robots, cool product designs, and other technologies. For the past seven years, he taught robotics and developed innovative 3D printer ideas with his students. He also helped in developing some innovative digital ideas and products for various digital marketing businesses and big companies in Asia. Now, aside from exploring buffet restos in California, he enjoys leading groups of our in-house experts in trying some of your favorite products and electronic brands to write insightful reviews for you. PS: He loves reviewing appliances and taking them home to personally ‘try’ them.