360 Camera Reviews

360 cameras for real estate photography and virtual tours: 10 cameras compared, plus how to avoid being seen in a 360 photo

360 cameras for real estate photos and virtual tours
360 cameras for real estate photos and virtual tours

How would you like to start using your 360 camera to earn money or to gain an advantage over other real estate agents?  I think the best opportunity for that is with 360 photos for real estate.  In this post and video, I compare some of the best 360 cameras for real estate, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each one.  I also discuss some software and techniques for real estate photos and virtual tours, including how to avoid being seen in a 360 photo, even when there’s nowhere to hide. Here is the video:


00:20 Introduction
01:19 Why 360 photos?
03:24 Comparison of 360 cameras
03:50 theVRKit
05:45 Ricoh Theta SC, S, V
07:22 Yi 360 VR
08:44 Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere
10:17 GoPro panoramic heads
11:58 Difference between Panohero H5B and Pano5+1 mk II
12:04 Pano5+1 mk II
12:59 Panohero H5B
14:10 Panono
18:52 DSLR + panoramic head
20:39 Tom Shot 360
21:10 3D 360 cameras
21:20 Insta360 Pro
22:30 Kandao Obsidian R
24:30 Comparison of 360 cameras
25:00 Software
27:12 Technique: how to disappear from a 360 photo even if there’s nowhere to hide

Opportunity in 360 photos for real estate

Manufacturers have been focusing on 360 videos, but I think there are many opportunities for 360 photos.  As I mentioned in my video, I submitted just 14 photos to Street View and got 2 million views from them.  The reason is simple: while some people are still debating on whether 360 videos will become mainstream, 360 photos are already a part of our lives.  People expect to see 360 photos of their hotels, homes, cars, pretty much everything.

This need for 360 photos creates an opportunity for 360 shooters, including for real estate agents who are willing to invest the time and effort to learn 360 photography and buy a suitable camera.

360 camera comparison for real estate

I compared 360 cameras at various price brackets to show the differences and similarities between them.  Here are the cameras I chose for this comparison:

– theVRKit ($90 at Amazon – but use the code LTD15OFF to get 15% off)
Ricoh Theta S ($329) or Ricoh Theta SC ($199) – they’re now functionally the same for 360 photos.
Ricoh Theta V ($429)
Yi 360 VR ($399 preorder)
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere (around $250)
– Pano5+1 Mk II ($59) plus a GoPro Hero 5 Black ($360 to $399)
Panohero H5B ($89 by itself or $129 with software) plus a GoPro Hero 5 Black ($360 to $399)
– Panono ($2,200)
Insta360 Pro ($3,499)
Kandao Obsidian R ($6,999) and Obsidian Go ($2,499)

I don’t have a panoramic head for a DSLR but I mentioned Nodal Ninja and Tom Shot 360 as other options.

Here is the comparison (I haven’t added the Insta360 Pro and Kandao Obsidian R yet).


There are many software for real estate photos and virtual tours, and I just wanted to point out three of them.

1) PanoramaStudio 3 Pro – This is a stitching software.  Among the ones I’ve tried, this has been the best at stitching.  It is also very user friendly.
2) I mention this software because it can stitch panoramas from DSLRs and from the Panohero H5B, enabling you to stitch Panohero H5B photos for free. I think they’re also working on a stitching template for Pano5+1 though it’s not yet complete.
3) Cupix. I thought it’s worth mentioning this software again because it is so powerful. It converts 360 photos into a Matterport-like virtual tour with 3D map, automatically.


In the video, I also showed how to make yourself invisible in a 360 photo even though there’s nowhere to hide.  Simply said, you use a tripod to take two photos from the camera, keeping the camera in the same position while you move at positions that don’t overlap.  You can then mask yourself out using Photoshop or any 360 editor that supports layer masking.

Other software that can help are 1) Vanish360, which is only for Ricoh Theta, or 2) the Yi 360 VR app, or 3) Theta Converter Pro, which should work with any camera.  With any of these software, you can remove yourself automatically by taking three shots.

I hope you found this post helpful.  I know I couldn’t possibly cover everything about 360 cameras for real estate in one post but please post your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!  Also, please consider joining the Virtual Tour Network on Facebook.


About the author

Mic Ty


Click here to post a comment