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Capture fully spherical 32mp 360 photos with your smartphone with theVRKit!

theVRKit captures 8K 360 photos with your smartphone
theVRKit captures 8K 360 photos with your smartphone

You can now shoot fully spherical 32mp 360 photos with your smartphone using theVRKit, a combination of hardware and software that uses your smartphone to capture 360 photos automatically.  Here’s how to use theVRKit, and an exclusive look at their upcoming prototype!

Sometimes you want higher resolution from a 360 photo. There are a few 360 cameras with very high resolution, such as the Panono (108 mp) but they can be costly. Consumer 360 cameras typically have a resolution of around 15mp, with only a few that have 24mp or 30mp (Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere, original Samsung Gear 360).

theVRKit uses hardware and software to enable your smartphone to take fully spherical 360 photos at 32mp.  It consists of:
– a smartphone rotator
– a lens adapter (160 degree field of view when used with typical smartphone lenses)
– app for shooting and stitching (available on iOS or Android).

theVRKit rotator and lens adapter
theVRKit rotator and lens adapter

To use theVRKit, you simply attach the lens adapter to the phone (making sure the adapter is centered over the lens).  Then you attach phone to the rotator, making sure that the lens is aligned along the center of the rotator:

shooting from the nodal point
shooting from the nodal point

The app then connects to the rotator via Bluetooth.  You press the shutter on the app, and it takes a photo, rotates, stops, takes a photo, etc.  The app stitches the photo automatically.

Here is a sample 360 photo taken with theVRKit:

One feature of theVRKit is that the phone can tilted backward slightly on the rotator to have almost no parallax stitching error. Check out this seamlessly stitched photo of a car interior:

Besides shooting at 8K at 32mp, theVRKit can also take true HDR photos (from 3 exposures).

In November, they will also be adding a feature to take a partial 4K 360 video (a photo with video in it):

Preview of the theVRKit v2 prototype

They will also be launching a new version on Kickstarter in earl 2018.  The new version will have an improved lens adapter with wider field of view for better stitching, and will be able to take 3D 360 photos.

thevrkit v2 prototype
thevrkit v2 prototype

Not all crowdfunding projects are worth backing, but theVRKit already has a working product on the market.  It also was also created by Dermandar, a company with a solid history.  Dermandar’s Panorama app has thousands of reviews on both iTunes and Google Play Store.  In addition, they are also the team behind StereoStitch, which can stitch 2D 360 videos from multiple cameras into 3D 360 videos in realtime.  So yes, they substantial technical expertise in 360.

Should you get theVRKit v1 or wait for v2?

You might be wondering whether you should get v1 or wait for v2?  V2 is better but it won’t be released until 2018.  Meanwhile, theVRKit v1 is available right now on Amazon:
smartphone rotator (currently $65 before any discounts)
lens adapter (currently $25 before any discounts)
– theVRKit app is available on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store

In one month, with very little promotion, they have already sold 35% of their production, and once they sell through, they won’t produce any more of the version 1.   I think it’s priced reasonably, and if you take many 360 photos, the cost of a v1 would be worth it, even if you eventually get a v2, imho.   Anyway I ordered a v1 and will be posting samples when I receive it.  BTW, you can get a 15% discount on Amazon using the code LTD15OFF.  Meanwhile, you can check out their official webpage here.  Thanks to Egk Khoury and Ramon Garcia for bringing this to my attention!

About the author

Mic Ty

9 Comments

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  • I just bought the kit, this was just what I’ve been looking for. I use my Nikon D750 and a Fisheye lens to take 360 panos this will be so much easier.

  • My VRkit came today and I’m impressed how easily it is to setup and getting going, the app connected to the rotator and it takes the photos, the 360 Stitching is 95% good there are some issues but You get an image you can share, I’m going to try taking about 6 images of the same place and try an image stack to see if I can get better detail and lower noise. I’m going hiking tomorrow and I’m going to see how it will do with forest photos.

    • Congratulations Todd! Yes I’ve been trying it out too! You may want to experiment with the angle of the smartphone (it’s tiltable). If you tilt it back slightly, it will cover more of the nadir. The v2 lens will have wider fov so it will have even better stitching.

      Best regards,
      Mic

    • Hi Todd,

      I have sent you multiple emails, not sure you are getting my answers.
      You have asked about HDR feature on your Pixel phone.

      HDR is currently available on most Android phones (Samsung, Sony, LG for instance) and on iOS.
      As for other Android phones, it should be available next month.

      Best,
      Elie

  • Looks like they’ve removed theVRkit 2 from their website. Not sure if it’s still in planning. Anyone know why this happened?
    Maybe they want to sell all the first gen’s before releasing the second.

    • We have pushed the Kickstarter campaign to Q1-2018 because we don’t want to risk missing Christmas deadline. New lenses could be delivered on time, but new rotator requires more iterations.

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