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Facebook Live 360 Ready cameras: which should you buy?

Facebook upgraded its Live 360 streaming resolution to 4K.  They also announced the cameras that are “Live 360 Ready.”  Which one should you buy?

Here are the cameras that are Live 360 Ready (in order of cost):
– Insta360 Air (Android; $129)
– Insta360 Nano (iOS; $199)
– Giroptic iO (iOS and Android; $249)
– Ion360 U ($349; sale for $249)
– Moto 360 Camera ($300)
– 360fly 4K Pro ($799)
– Garmin Virb 360 (streaming only on iOS; $799)
– Z Cam S1 ($2,499)
– Insta360 Pro (Windows or Mac; $3,499)
– Nokia OZO ($45,000; 4K)

Here is a quick rundown of these cameras, starting with the most expensive:

Nokia Ozo
Nokia Ozo

Nokia OZO. It will live stream in 4K. But the requirements are pretty steep. For example, you need a computer with TWO GTX 1080 graphics cards (or better). And of course, the camera costs $45,000.

Tutorial on how to use Insta360 Pro
Tutorial on how to use Insta360 Pro

Insta360 Pro. The Insta360 Pro can stream in 4K, in 2D or 3D (although I don’t think Facebook Live supports 3D yet), with realtime stabilization.  I love its image quality and ease of use, but I haven’t tried streaming with it yet.  I will test out streaming this weekend.  One unique feature of Insta360 Pro is that it can record while also streaming. Insta360 Pro is currently backordered. If you want to buy one, contact me so I can help you get a discount.

Z Cam S1, 6k 360 camera
Z Cam S1, 6k 360 camera

Z Cam S1.  The Z Cam S1 has excellent image quality.  It can stream up to 4K with the WonderLive software (which is now included).  Streaming requires two network adapters — one for the Z Cam S1, and another to the Internet for streaming.  Streaming is Windows 10 only on Wonderlive.  Z Cam recommends an i7, 8GB RAM and GTX 1070 or better.

Garmin Virb 360
Garmin Virb 360

Garmin Virb 360.  Garmin just added 4K capability the other day.  Although Garmin has an app for both Android and iOS, its streaming is only on iOS.  Virb 360 connects to your phone via Wi-Fi, therefore the streaming must be through your phone’s internet.  Garmin requires 10mbps for 4K streaming.  Garmin has stabilization, but to my knowledge, stabilization won’t work while streaming.  I will also try to test the 4K streaming this weekend. Virb 360 is available from Amazon or B&H Photo.

360fly 4K Pro
360fly 4K Pro

360fly 4K Pro.  This is a hemispherical 360 camera that can stream at 4K (2880 x 2880).  It seems that it needs to be connected to a PC via USB and a monitor via HDMI.

360 CAMERAS THAT CAN STREAM VIA WI-FI
These five cameras are the most affordable in this group, and in addition, they can connect directly to the camera, which means you will be able to use your phone to stream via Wi-Fi or LTE as needed (this is confirmed for Insta360 Air, Nano, and Giroptic iO, not sure about Moto 360 and Ion360 U).

Moto 360 smartphone camera accessory
Moto 360 smartphone camera accessory

Moto 360 Camera.  This is a recently-launched 360 camera accessory for the Moto Z phone.  The streaming resolution for the Moto 360 Camera hasn’t been announced.

Ion360 U is a 360 camera and smartphone charger case
Ion360 U is a 360 camera and smartphone charger case

Ion360 U.  This is a 360 camera accessory for iPhone 7, 7 plus, Samsung S8, or S8+.  Its streaming resolution is up to 4K, and at its sale price (regularly $349, but is $249 until end of July), it is currently the most affordable phone for streaming at 4K resolution.  The issue is that I haven’t seen any 360 sample photos or videos, so I don’t know what the image quality is like.

Giroptic iO adds stabilization!
Giroptic iO adds stabilization!

Giroptic iO.  This camera can stream at 1920 x 960.  It’s easy to use (in fact, I would say it is the easiest 360 camera to use, considering both shooting and sharing), although the main issue I have with it is the short battery life.  Giroptic iO is available on Amazon and B&H Photo.
Insta360 Nano app update adds easier YouTube
Insta360 Nano.  This was one of my first 360 cameras, and I still regard it as one of my favorites.  It can stream at 2560 x 1280, with realtime stabilization.  Besides making the video look better, stabilization also conserves your bandwidth when streaming.  Nano is available on Amazon or B&H Photo.  Here is a demo of stabilization on the Nano:

Insta360 Air
Insta360 Air attached to a phone

Insta360 Air.   In this group, this is the most affordable 360 camera for live streaming and has very good image quality.  Here is my review.  As with the Nano, it can stream at 2560 x 1280, also with realtime stabilization.  It is available for Android on Amazon with either a USB Type C or Micro USB connector.  Also available on B&H Photo. Here is a demo of streaming on Insta360 Air:

If you have any questions about streaming, please post in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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