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Ultimate Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE 360 Camera FAQ, Wiki and Resource Page

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera (c) 360rumors.com
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera (c) 360rumors.com

Welcome to the Ultimate Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE 360 camera FAQ, Wiki and Resource page. Here you will find all my articles about the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera, the best 360 camera for consumers as of July 2017.  Most recent update (change log at the end of the document): August 11, 2017 (new version of PC app added).

I’ve been shooting with Xiaomi Mi Sphere since May 2017.  If there is anything you want to know about the Xiaomi Mi Sphere that is not covered here, please let me know in the comments or use the contact form in the navigation bar.  Thank you very much.

CONTENTS:
Review and specifications
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Accessories
Tutorials, Tips and Techniques
Useful links

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

What’s so special about the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera?
As of July 2017, it has the best 360 photo quality for 360 cameras that cost $1,000 or less. It also has the best video quality for 360 cameras that cost $700 or less. It also has excellent image stabilization and manual exposure controls, with a shutter speed as slow as 32 seconds. Here is a detailed review.

Where do I buy Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere and how much does it cost?
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere is available from GearBest. The domestic version here has a Chinese instruction manual and packaging, while the international version here has an English instruction manual and packaging. The hardware and software are the same.
The price varies depending on available specials. As of July 2017, it costs around $250 to $300. Sometimes the International version is cheaper, while other times the domestic version is cheaper.  Thanks for using the links here to support 360 Rumors at no additional cost to you.

How do I get a discount?  How do I get the best deal for a Xiaomi Mi Sphere?
See this link for a list of discount codes for Gearbest.

Which phones are compatible with Xiaomi Mi Sphere?
You can stitch Xiaomi videos with the PC app or with the smartphone app.  Mi Sphere is compatible with Android and iOS, but you can only get the full video resolution if the processor is sufficiently powerful and supported by the app. Otherwise, the video resolution and sometimes the photo resolution will be lower. Please check this table.  As of July 2017, the cheapest phone that can export Xiaomi videos at full resolution is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (around $170).

How good is the image quality?
As of July 2017, the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere has the best photo quality among 360 cameras under $400 and has the best video quality among 360 cameras under $400 (even though the Xiaomi video is “only” 3.5K).  Proof:
See my review, which has a photo and video comparison with the Samsung Gear 360 2017, Samsung Gear 360 2016, Insta360 Nano, Insta360 Air, Ricoh Theta.
See this in-depth comparison against the Samsung Gear 360 2017.
See this photo and video comparison against the $799 Garmin Virb 360.
See this comparison against the Nikon Keymission 360, the Kodak SP360 4K Dual Pro, and the 2017 Gear 360.

Can the Xiaomi be used for Google Street View?
Yes.  The Mi Sphere now has 360 metadata for photos, GPS tagging option, and has an intervalometer.  These features make it suited for mapping.

How long can it record before overheating?

The amount of time before overheating depends on the ambient temperature, air circulation, and the speed of your memory card. In a small room with no fan and closed doors and windows (i.e., no ventilation and no air circulation), with a temperature of around 72 Fahrenheit, and using a Samsung EVO Select micro SD card, I was able to record 1 hour 35 minutes before the camera shutdown from overheating. Under the same conditions but plugged into a USB outlet, I recorded for 1 hour 45 minutes.

How good is the stabilization?  See this stabilization comparison versus a $799 Garmin Virb 360.

Where do I download the app?
Windows app here
– Android app source 1: Google Play store
– Android app source 2: Direct from Xiaomi: you can choose to download from Xiaomi instead of the Google Play store.  Sometimes the app from Xiaomi direct download is newer.
– If you want an older version of the Android app, see Michel Mendes’ archive here.
iOS app here

Yes you can install both Google Play store and Xiaomi direct app on the same phone.  I use the Google Play store to get the most recent version, and I use the Xiaomi direct app with version 1.6.5 because it’s my favorite app version to date.

How do I upgrade firmware?  Where is the latest firmware?  Do I have the latest firmware?   See this tutorial here.

How do I upgrade the app?  How do I download the latest app?  See this tutorial here.

What kind of SD card should I get?  I keep getting a warning that I need to use a recommended SD card.
Due to the Mi Sphere’s high video resolution, you need to use a Micro SD card with a U3 speed rating.  I use the Samsung EVO Select Micro SD (64GB or 128GB) with no issues.  The faster the Micro SD speed, the longer you can record without the camera overheating.

A one-minute video will take up approximately 300 MB (this will include the main video file and the small preview file).

Can the camera be connected to a USB power source while recording?  Yes.

How long can the camera record?  With a Samsung EVO Select Micro SD card, in an enclosed room with closed door, closed window, no fan and no air conditioning, and a room temperature of around 73 F, I recorded for 95 minutes using only the internal battery.  With a USB charger under the same conditions, I recorded for 105 minutes.  It is possible to record for longer duration under better conditions.

How do I turn on the image stabilization?
Tip 1: Turn on the camera, wait for the video LED light to turn on, then wait 5 secs for the gyro to warm up. Make sure the camera starts in vertical position, then you can begin recording.

Tip 2: Before you start recording, the camera must be upright.  Then you can start recording.  After you start recording, it can be any position.  If you start recording while the camera is not upright, e.g. horizontal, then its starting position will become what is considered “vertical” in the video.  So if it’s horizontal, it will remain horizontal.

What are the disadvantages of stabilization?
1. After a few minutes, the video will start to drift.  Here is how to fix the drift.
2. There is a waviness in the video, like a heat wave effect.  It is most noticeable in static scenes.
If these issues are a problem, turn off stabilization (see below).

How do I turn off stabilization?
Method 1: Turn on the camera, as soon as the video LED light lights up begin recording right away. The resulting video will not have stabilization.
Method 2: Export the video using version 1.6.3 of the app. The resulting video will not have stabilization.

Does the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere have live streaming?  No.

Is the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere waterproof?
It is water resistant, but it is not waterproof.  If you want to use it underwater, please use this waterproof case.

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ACCESSORIES
Selfie stick tripod.  Benro MK10 is invisible to the Xiaomi IF you remove the ballhead.  See here for more info. Note: removing the Benro MK10’s ballhead is hard because it’s glued on. Some users have used pliers to grip the ballhead.
Here is a cheap selfie stick that is also invisible to the Xiaomi.
This is the best “Lens cap” for the Xiaomi.   See why. This pouch protects from dust and scratches, and can be used for cleaning. But it does not protect from drops.  You still need to use a camera case.
Camera case (rapid use) – See this demo video.  This camera case is useful both as a lens cap and as a camera case. I use it with the Agent 8 microfiber pouch above.
Camera case (crushproof) – See this demo video.  The video shows a Virb 360 but it also fits the Xiaomi.
Camera case (waterproof)See this demo video.
– Faster way to transfer videos: use a Micro SD card reader.  Using the Wi-Fi is slow and the camera heats up.
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TUTORIALS, TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
How to use the Xiaomi Mi Sphere – from shooting to sharing
How to update the firmware
How to update the app

– How to reset the Wi-Fi password: turn on the camera.  Hold down the Wi-Fi button for 5 seconds until you hear a beep.  This will reset the password to the default password, which is 12345678.
How to use the self-timer: in photo mode, hold down the shutter button until you hear a beep.  See this video tutorial showing how and WHY to use the self-timer,
– How to level the horizon in a photo: I recommend Theta Converter for Android or Edit360 for iOS.  For desktop, you can use Hugin.
How to level the horizon in a video.
How to fix the gyro drifting in the video (the video will gradually turn to the right after about 2 minutes).
English instructions / user manual

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USEFUL LINKS
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera group on Facebook –> highly recommended
Free app for editing 360 videos on iOS: V360 app
Free app for editing 360 videos on Android: V360 app or Collect 360 app
– Free app for editing 360 videos on PC: there isn’t one, but you can just use any normal video editor that can edit 3.5K video and do not change the aspect ratio.  After editing, you need to inject 360 metadata with the YouTube metadata injector tool (see Step 2 here).
Michel Mendes’ list of older versions of the Xiaomi Android app
Sample Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere photos
YouTube playlist of sample videos and Xiaomi-related videos:

 

CHANGE LOG:

August 11, 2017: added link to new version of the PC app; info re Micro SD card; Google Street View

About the author

Mic Ty

9 Comments

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  • Great article! I have a suggestion that i am sure many photographers will love, since you can play in so many ways wirh the exposure time the mi sphere offers it would be awesome to release some kind of nd filters to allow daylightg long exposure shots! I had seen a post where a theta s was wrapped is some kind of nd “wrap” if developing filters is too complicated

    • Hi Daniele. The challenge with an ND filter is that the filter itself could show up within the field of view of a Xiaomi. An ND wrap might be possible and I have something in mind that I can try for that. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Great work! I’ve seen your list of compatible smartphones and I have a question. Do you know if the app works on an Android tablet (w/ 2 Gb RAM, WIFI, Snapdragon 625) instead of a high-end smartphone? Thanks.

    • Hi Jesus. To be honest, I don’t know. I do know it works on a Redmi Note 4, which has Snapdragon 625. The good thing though is that you can use a PC to stitch now. Best regards, Mic

      • Thanks Mic. My idea is to use a tablet only as camera viewer instead of smartphone, the stitching better done in desktop PC.

        • Hi Jesus. In that case, it makes it more likely that you will be able to use the tablet for that purpose. I think it’s worth a shot!

          Best regards,
          Mic