At NAB Show 2017, Yi made two 360-related announcements: the highest video resolution 360 camera for consumers, with 5.7K resolution, and their version of the Google Jump rig called the Halo (which I’ll cover in a separate post). Here are the key specifications and features.
At that time, I surmised that the two announcements would be Yi’s Google Jump rig and a 360 camera. It turns out that those predictions were spot-on. However, what I did not expect that the 360 camera would be the highest resolution consumer 360 camera with 5.7K resolution, higher even than the 5.2K resolution GoPro Fusion which grabbed headlines last week! To put that resolution into perspective, the Yi 360 camera’s resolution of approximately 5760 x 2880 is 16.6 megapixels – higher than the photo resolution of the Ricoh Theta S (5376 x 2688) or the 2017 Gear 360 (5472 x 2736)!
The new camera is called simply the Yi 360 VR camera. Here are the key specs and features:
– two fisheye lenses 220 degrees each
– two 1/2.3-inch 12-mp Sony IMX377 sensors
– Ambarella H2V95 processor
– video resolution: 5760 x 2880 @ 30fps or 2560 x 1280 @ 60fps
– photo resolution: 5760 x 2880
– in-camera stitching resolution: 4096 x 2048 @ 30fps video, or 5760 x 2880 photo.
– wireless live streaming at 2560 x 1280 @ 30fps, 6 to 13 mbps bitrate to YouTube, Facebook, Weibo or other
– shutter speed up to 30 seconds
– battery life: 75 minutes while recording at 4K.
– dimensions: 102×53.2×29.6mm
– weight: 6 oz. / 170 grams
The camera is a little taller than a deck of cards and seems like it could be pocketable with the right kind of case. I tried using it briefly and it seemed easy and intuitive to use with a backlit LCD display, and the shutter button and up and down arrows to navigate.
One of the most startling specifications is the price: $399, to be available in June. That is less than the Nikon Keymission 360 ($500), and until recently it was only $50 more than the MSRP of the Ricoh Theta (originally $350)!
Besides live streaming, special functions include time lapse mode in intervals of 0.5 seconds to 60 seconds.
Here are other facts about the 360 camera:
– removable battery
– removable storage (Micro SD)
– has a Micro HDMI port
– USB Type C port
According to Yi’s representatives, the camera can record for “hours” without overheating (limited by the battery life and the storage). It can also supposedly live stream for one hour. Yi’s representatives said the app will be on iOS and Android. The specs say PC is supported, without mention of Mac (although the videos can be stitched on a phone).
On paper, the Yi does look amazing. The big question is of course image quality. Yi said samples will be available in half a month. As for stitching, they said that the stitching will be smooth and not detectable. I’m very much looking forward to the samples!
You can preorder the Yi 360 VR camera here. Here is a new Facebook group for those interested in the Yi 360 VR — I’ll be posting info about the Yi 360 VR there.