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Blurgate: an Update on the Samsung Gear 360 Blurring Issue (Part 3)

A few weeks ago, I posted about an apparent inconsistency in sharpness of the Samsung Gear 360 (see here and here).   The good news is that Pasztor Tamas of INSTAR films has figured out what’s going on.  But it’s not all good news.

Pasztor tested three cameras and discovered the cause: overheating causes expansion which changes the focal distance between the sensor and the lens:

“The problem is the overheating. When the camera gets started to warming, the distance of the sensor and back lens or the front lens and lens cover (it’s a diopter cover) changes, and the focus point will be closer. So because of the thermal expansion, the infinity focus will be a macro focus (you can try it, put something at the front of the lens). When the camera cools down, the focus will be infinity again. This problem presents especially with the front lens/sensor, the back lens gets less out of focus.”

This is not a manufacturing defect per se, but an issue with how it was designed, therefore exchanging the Gear 360 for another unit will not solve the problem.  Pasztor tested three Samsung Gear 360 cameras – 2 from EU and 1 from Korea.  All units had the same issue.

Moreover, because it’s a physical problem, it does not appear that it can be resolved by firmware, unless there was a way to make the sensor run cooler by intentionally slowing it down (I’m just speculating about that possibility).

UPDATE: Here is another test, which confirms Tamas Pasztor’s findings.

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Mic Ty

4 Comments

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  • I've had my Gear 360 since last year, but until today I've not encountered the problem. It was quite severe, especially with one lens. I'm looking forward to the release of the Kodak Orbit360, because there are too many compromises with the Samsung

    • Hi Martin. Sorry to hear that. Yes i hope the Orbit360 doesnt have issues of its own. I'm also looking foward to the Next Gear 360.

      Best regards,
      Mic

    • Yes, I'm glad in one respect that I noticed this now. I'm always shooting outside in the Canada chill, and even when inside I don't run the camera for long. But today I was inside a warm house and the humidity was a little high, plus I was capturing video at the 4K setting. I didn't notice until the party was almost done that on one side the image was very blurred. I'd never seen it that bad. I have two gigs next week, so I'll have to bring a small cool bag with some freezer blocks in it to keep it cool between videos. The Insta360 Air didn't suffer any problems and the images were great. If Insta360 could come up with a 4K camera that works the same as the Air (livestreaming, works with most decent phones), then I'd be first in line to get it. Just hoping that Kodak doesn't delay, because there are going to be many events for Canada 150 and I think it's time to move on from the Gear 360. However, if the Gear 360 Pro has good specs and a competitive price, then that could be an option. Just a little tired of waiting for the new stuff. Hubblo is still a wildcard contender.