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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): October 12, 2017 (added some video demos for Xiaomi selfie stick and Benro MK10).

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. See this link for a list of discount codes.   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.

What’s the difference between domestic and international versions?
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.

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 Xiaomi Mi Sphere.

Should I buy from Gearbest or from some other site?
In one word: SUPPORT.  I recommend Gearbest because if there is a problem with the order, and if you bought through my affiliate links above, my Gearbest representative can try to help you.   Of course, I can’t promise they will fix every problem or if you misused the camera (e.g. by dropping it or by using it underwater without a housing).  However, they can do their best to help you because they value their relationship with 360 Rumors.  If you have a problem with the order just contact me via Facebook.com/360rumors, provide the order number and your email address, and describe the problem.  After they verify the order, they will contact you.

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

Where do I download the app?
– Please download the Windows app here
– Mac app: not yet available as of 9/28/17
– 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?   Latest firmware download page Installation guide: See this tutorial here.

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

What kind of Micro 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.  The faster the Micro SD speed, the longer you can record without the camera overheating.  If the card is very slow, you may get dropped frames.  The best Micro SD card right now is the Sandisk Extreme Pro (32GB or 64GB or 128GB), which I sometimes use but it costs more.  I use the Samsung EVO Select Micro SD (64GB or 128GB) with no issues.
Even if you get an Sandisk Extreme Pro, you’ll still get a warning that you need to use a recommended SD card.

How much capacity do I need for the Micro SD card?  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?  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 (64GB), 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.  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 (as of August 2017).  There are rumors that it will be added.

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

Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE selfie stick. Photo by Jose Mendes, used with permission.
Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE selfie stick. Photo by Jose Mendes, used with permission.

1. NEW! Dedicated selfie stick (reviewed here).  A selfie stick made for the Xiaomi that is invisible to the Xiaomi and can control it without needing batteries or a wireless connection.

2. Selfie stick tripod.  Benro MK10 is invisible to the Xiaomi IF you remove the ballhead.  See here for more info.

3.  Here is a cheap selfie stick that is also invisible to the Xiaomi.  Available from Gearbest or Amazon.
4.  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.
5. Silicone cover and lens cap for the Xiaomi. This is a soft silicone rubber cover for the Xiaomi, and includes a silicone rubber lens cap as well.  Note: I don’t know if it will have any effect on overheating but I use a similar lens cap for my Gear 360.
6. 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.

7. Camera case (crushproof) – See this demo video.  The video shows a Virb 360 but it also fits the Xiaomi.
8. Camera case (waterproof)See this demo video.
9. 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).
Bullet time effect tutorial
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:

September 28, 2017: updated the links to the software
September 11, 2017: added link to bullet time tutorial and silicone rubber accessory
September 6, 2017: added info about the dedicated selfie stick accessory.
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

50 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

  • Thanks for an amazing website. Your videos made me get into 360 video. I actually bought two mijia’s and putting them to the test. Unfortunately,it is taking me hours to render the files from my iphone 6plus,iPad Pro, and my MacBook Pro(Bootcamp Windows) using MySphere PC stitching software.

    Is there a link with any recommendation for PC hardware requirements? I am considering building one for rendering.

  • Hi Mic,

    could you let me know how quickly the Xiaomi can shoot photos when triggered with the smartphone?

    The Ricoh Theta S has an 8 second delay between shots where you have to wait, and 24 seconds if you take an HDR picture.

    I wonder if the Xiaomi is faster.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Hi Niklas. If I understand correctly, you want to know the amount of time between the photos. If I press the shutter repeatedly, I can take one photo every 2 seconds or so. Xiaomi has no HDR mode yet.

      Best regards,
      Mic

      • Hey Mic,

        thanks for the reply, that is very useful to know!

        Is this time different when you use the physical camera button instead of the smartphone trigger?

        Because for the Ricoh, you can take multiple shots in quick succession (e.g. ever 1 second) when you use the hardware button because it buffers them (so you can take ~10 pics in quick succession until you have to wait for stitching), but this is not possible when using the app to remotely trigger it; with the app, one has to wait for the the 8s/24s stitching processing time.

        • I’ve bought the Xiaomi now.

          When using the app as trigger, I can take pictures every ~4.5 seconds (during which a spinner is shown).

  • Hi just downloaded windows Mi shere app from your link… but window it runs in is is so TINY on my laptop… smaller than my galaxy S8!!…..how do I make it bigger please !
    (Microsoft Surface Notebook)
    Thanks
    Duncs

    • Hi Duncs. I’m not familiar with Surface. Can you see if you can run it on a normal Windows desktop to see if it works for you? If it does, then we know the issue is with Surface, and we can try to figure out why Surface is shrinking it. Does Surface shrink other apps?

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • I am not sure if the community is aware of the official Mi Sphere Software/Firmware download links so here they are:

    Windows PC Stitching Client – VERY Buggy & Slow – No GPU Hardware Acceleration Supported – http://madv360.com/pcdownload.html

    Android IOS App – Fully Functional however Still Buggy – http://www.madv360.com/appdownload.html

    Device Firmware – Often later/more_recent version compared to the one offered via online app updates – http://www.madv360.com/firmware.html

    Be aware that often latest sw/fw releases are introducing NEW bugs and they creating additional picture & video issues deteriorating the overall image quality. So in mi sphere’s case “latest” does not mean “greatest” by definition …

  • Do you know if I can easily invert the image/video taken with this camera? I ask because I want to try attaching it upside down to a drone so I can take aerial 360 footage. But the selfie stick connects to the bottom of the camera, meaning that it would be inverted.

    • Fewer errors, nice quality rendering (except for the wavy lines). The new 1.8.3 might look even better.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • hi Mick. First thanks for your kindness and your good work. I am not as active here as i would like, but i want to tell your that i have a vernee apollo (helio x25 and 2K screen) I would like to tell you that the app works like a charm on this phone, and you should add it in the list.

    Regards

  • Hi MIC,

    Great article,

    I would like to know photosphere from mi sphere that are uploaded to Google Street if they will be considered towards Google street view certified photographer.

    Thanks

  • Hi Mic and folks

    I would like to recommend some improves to Xiaomi Mijia Mi 360° Sphere

    – The application for Android ( xiaomi mi 5s) generates better videos than the one for computers ( intel i7, 16gb, nvidia 960, win7, ssd128gb)
    – The camera should have a mode in which it could be switched on via the mobile with which it is paired. For this reason when turning it off from the mobile it should must have a mode that would allow it to be turned on from the mobile. With GoPro you can switch on and off the camera from its remote control.
    – If we want to record with the camera placed in a different angle to the horizontal (upside down or inclined), although it could be turned off and turned on over and over, the camera should always “keep” the same horizon line for the optical stabilizer, even if you turn it off and then on again, until you would want to change it, then you could save a new horizon line, being saved until you would want to change it again and although the camera turns off.

    These improvemets would be very usefull for those ones, like me, who uses the camera remotely, in my case flying with a plane, and the camera is located outside the cabin.

    • Thanks for these suggestions Tomas! You may want to post them on the Facebook Mi Sphere group, where there are several xiaomi engineers.
      Best regards,
      Mic

  • Hi Mic.

    I am a big fan of your blog.
    I watched all the mijia 360 videos, but my note 8 can’t be connected with mijia 360.
    They are connected few seconds, but disconnected right away.
    Do you have same issue with your s8+?
    Please tell me the solution if you are available.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Andrew! Thanks for reading 360 rumors and watching my videos. I haven’t had any issues connecting between my s8+ and the mi sphere. There are many possible reasons. To narrow down the possible causes, do you have another phone for testing? Just temporarily, you could also try forgetting your other networks. I think you should post this issue to the mi sphere group on FB where there are several xiaomi engineers.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • “As of July 2017, the cheapest phone that can export Xiaomi videos at full resolution is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (around $170).”
    it’s not true!!! I bought a 4x note with 4 gig ram and 64 rom
    and the resolution is 1920×960.
    then, because after a while the room becomes hot? why when does my camera shoot every now and then the smartphone crashes and does not let me turn off / stop the camera?

  • Hello, I just bought this nice camera… But can’t find anywhere the remote for it… Is it available for purchase yet?

  • Hi,

    I am new user of Mijia 360. Downloading pictures from camera is easy an simple. I can view it in google pictures or GoPro VR viever.
    But I have problem with videos. I can’t view them in PC. When I am connected to camera, I can view it with internal Mi Sphere player, but after transcoding I have no video on file.
    Could you be so kind and give instructions how open videos on PC ?

    My stuff:
    Phone Huawei P9 Lite (Android 7.0)
    Mi Sphere Camera (Android version) ver. 1.8.3.15158
    Mi Sphere Camera (PC version) ver. 1.1.0.7
    Windows 7 Pro 32-bit

    Regards,
    Artur

  • 1. What is the GPS resolution in feet. I now have the Theta V and it’s resolution is only 70-80 feet and that’s not good enough for google street view. Ricoh says they are looking into it.

    1a. Also what is the GPS resolution in digits? Theta V is only 2 decimals, that’s the problem.

    3. Can the MI have it’s time set, Theta cannot, it gets it from the phone, but I haven’t been able to reset it and it’s 11 seconds different from the phone and that’s a problem for google street view when syncing with a phone or standalone GPS logger.

    Thanks Mike

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