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Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera review, specifications, features, and comparison (updated 11/13/17)

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere seamless optical flow stitching
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere seamless optical flow stitching

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 3.5K panoramic camera, also known as the Xiaomi 360 camera, or Mijia 360 camera, has had many improvements since it was first released.  Here is an updated review of the Xiaomi 360 camera, which has become one of my favorite 360 cameras for its excellent image quality and incredible image stabilization.

Updated: November 13, 2017.  Added optical flow stitching software and update on drifting issue.
Originally published: June 12, 2017.
Also check out the Ultimate Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere FAQ, wiki and resource page.

Table of contents:
Executive summary
Recent improvements
What’s in the box?
Key specifications and features
New features
Tutorial
Post-shooting workflow
Desktop stitching
Optical flow stitching
Image quality
Strengths and weaknesses
Conclusion
Sample photos and videos
Changelog



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Xiaomi Mi Sphere is an excellent 360 camera that has the highest image quality for photos up to around $1,000 (for photo quality, I would say there is no better all-in-one 360 camera unless you are willing to buy a Panono), and the highest video quality up to around $300 or less.  On top of that, its image stabilization really works very well.  It had several drawbacks when it was first launched, but many of those have been addressed, so that it now has only a few remaining weaknesses.

Here is the video review:


Improvements (November 2017)

From the time I posted this 360 video sample and review, there have been many improvements to the Xiaomi 360 camera:
– It now has a simple but effective PC app.  This addresses what had been the two most significant complaints against the Mi Sphere – its compatibility and workflow. With the PC app, you can now batch stitch photos and videos at full resolution, with or without stabilization, as long as you have a Windows PC.  There is no Mac app yet.
Phone compatibility has also improved.  Now on my iPhone 6, I can stitch full resolution videos with stabilization (previously, the maximum resolution on iPhone had been 2304 x 1152).
Photo quality has improved.  In particular, straight lines are now completely straight (there had been some slight waviness in straight lines when it was first released).
Video quality has improved.   First, the waviness in stabilized 360 videos is now pretty much gone.  Second, you can now select whether to apply the stabilization effect, either in the app or in the PC app (by toggling off “gyro calibration”).

In addition to these improvements, there are several new features (see below).  With these improvements and features, Xiaomi Mi Sphere reinforces its position as the best all-in-one 360 consumer camera for photos (under $1,000) and as one of the best affordable 360 consumer cameras for videos.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

The Xiaomi Mi Sphere includes:
– the camera
– a mini tripod / handle
– a Micro USB cable
– a water resistant pouch

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere Xiaomi 360 camera

The Xiaomi is very well made, with a sleek matte black outer finish with hidden LED indicators (like the Theta).  The frame is metal, which makes the Xiaomi feel solid but also helps to radiate heat (the metal can get hot during use).

There are three versions of the Mi Sphere, all of which have identical hardware and have the same functions, except as noted for the Madventure (see below):
– domestic version: this has Chinese packaging and instructions
– international version: this has English packaging and instructions
Madventure 360: this is a new camera with the same hardware as the Mi Sphere, but has an orange (instead of black) body, and comes with the dedicated selfie stick, and a GoPro to 1/4-20 adapter, in addition to the other accessories.  The video resolution is also higher – 3840 x 1920, although I’ve been told that this higher resolution will also be coming to the Mi Sphere via firmware update.

XIAOMI 360 CAMERA KEY SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES

Lens typeTwo 190-degree fisheye lenses
Aperturef/2.0
Photo resolution6912 x 3456 (23.88 mp*)
Video resolution: 3456 x 1728 @ 30fps (40mbps or 55 mbps)
2304 x 1152 @ 60fps
2048 x 512 @ 120fps (Bullet time)
ISO50 to 1600
Shutter speed1/6400 to 32 seconds
Exposure modesAuto
Manual
Shutter priority
ISO priority
Image stabilization6-axis, built-in (phone not needed)
Waterproof?IP67 water resistance
Storageremovable Micro SD up to 128GB
CompatibilityAndroid
iOS
Windows

*The actual exported video resolution depends on your phone.  For phones with a Snapdragon 625 or better processor, you can export at the full resolution.  For other phones, the exported resolution will be limited to 2304 x 1156 or in some cases, 1920 x 960.   You may want to test it out on your phone first.  You can try these unstitched files (see below under “sharing” for links to the iOS and Android versions).

New features

1.  Raw+JPEG.  Mi Sphere can now shoot in Raw format for maximum image quality and latitude in postprocessing adjustments (especially color temperature).  It uses Adobe DNG raw, which means its Raw files will be readable by virtually any video editor with raw editing capability.

The DNG files are double circular fisheye images, each around 45mb.  As of November 6, 2017, the images cannot yet be stitched by the smartphone app or PC app.  Instead the DNG files must first be adjusted then converted to JPG.  A third party software such as Hugin or Yoichi Hirota’s app (see below) can be used to stitch the double circular fisheye file.

To use this mode, go to Settings in the app (upper left corner of the shooting screen), and in photo resolution, choose “6912 x 3456 (Raw).”

Mi Sphere is not the first consumer 360 camera to have DNG raw mode, but it is the first and thus far the only 360 camera to my awareness that can shoot in Raw+JPEG.  In other words, if you shoot in Raw, you will also get a JPEG file.   Note also that the setting is ‘sticky,’ in other words, when you select Raw (actually, Raw+JPEG), the camera will remember the setting and use it even after the camera is turned off and restarted, whether or not the app is being used.

2.  Bracketing (3-shot bracket, 0.5EV or 1EV apart).  One new option under photo capture is bracketing.  The Mi Sphere can take a 3-shot bracket, either 0.5EV apart, or 1EV apart.  This can be useful for HDR.

Bracketing appears as one of the options above the shutter in the shooting screen.

3. Bullet time.  This is essentially the same feature with Insta360 ONE, i.e., you can turn the camera around you (e.g., with a selfie stick or monopod) while recording at 120fps with stabilization.  The effect is to create a super slow motion video of the camera revolving around you, similar to the bullet dodging scenes of the Matrix.  The video will be recorded at 2048 x 512 @ 120fps, which enables you to show a hemispherical view in bullet time, which can be cropped to 16:9, 4:3, or 1:1 using third party software.  There is also a screen-recording feature in the app to enable you to reframe the hemispherical view as a 16:9 video.

4. Slow motion.  You can shoot video in slow motion.  This is an option above the shutter when in video mode.

5. Intervalometer.  In addition to a dedicated time lapse mode, Mi Sphere has a true intervalometer, which means it will take a photo at specified intervals.  The interval can be from 2 seconds to 5 minutes.  This option appears above the shutter in the photo shooting mode.  If you need to shoot in short intervals, please turn off the Raw capture mode.

Tip: The intervalometer can work without being connected to the phone.  This is useful for taking photos from a drone, for example — it will continue to take photos even after it no longer has a connection to the phone.  Here’s how to do it: after you launch the app and connect with the Xiaomi, tap on “intervalometer” above the shutter, select the desired interval, and press the shutter to begin taking photos.  Now turn off your phone’s wi-fi.  Although the camera won’t have a connection to the phone, it will continue to take photos.  To resume the connection, turn on your phone’s Wi-Fi again.

6. GPS location tagging.  You can add a geolocation tag to your photos.  This is useful for mapping apps such as Street View for example.  To use this feature, turn on GPS tagging under the Settings (upper right corner of the shooting screen).

7. Custom live preview.  Mi Sphere is one of the few 360 cameras that enables you to customize the live preview.  You can change from a fisheye view (straight lines look curved), to rectilinear view (straight lines look straight), to tiny planet view, to equirectangular view (showing the entire panorama).  This makes it easier to compose with the Mi Sphere based on your intended final result.  To change the setting, go to Settings (upper right corner of the shooting screen).  The projection type is one of the options near the bottom.

8. High-bitrate video mode.  For maximum video quality, there is a new high-bitrate video mode.  You can select this in the Settings under video resolution.  Please note that the app cannot view the high-bitrate mode.  Instead, the app will only show the normal bitrate.  But if you load the high-bitrate file in the PC app, you’ll be able to stitch it as a high-bitrate video.

In addition to these features, there were other features shown to me, which will be rolled out in the next few months.

XIAOMI MI SPHERE TUTORIAL

Here is a video tutorial on how to use the Xiaomi app.  This tutorial does not yet include the new features, which appear as options above the shutter (see above).

Shooting without a phone
There are three buttons: power, wi-fi and shutter.  The power button doubles as a mode switch.
a.   Photos
– Hold down the power button to turn it on.  Startup time is quite fast – only a couple of seconds.  The high-pitched beeping from the camera helps you to know that the camera is on even in bright sunlight when it is hard to see the LED light.
– Tap the power button to switch between photo or video as needed.
– Press the shutter button to take a photo or video.  In photo mode, there is about a 1- or 2-second delay from the time you press the shutter to the time the photo is taken.  This gives you enough time to move your hand away from the camera so that your won’t appear oversized in the 360 photo.
– In photo mode, hold down the shutter button until it beeps to use the self-timer mode.  The duration of the self-timer can be set using the app.  Note: the app lets you choose auto, 3 secs, or 10 secs.  It seems that the actual self-timer is around half of the chosen value.
– In video mode, hold down the shutter button until it beeps to use the short video mode . In this mode, the camera will take a short video clip and automatically stop recording.  The duration of the short video can be 10, 20 or 30 seconds, which you specify in the app.

Shooting with a phone; where to download the apps
Shooting with a phone is useful because: 1) you can use the live preview to help judge the exposure and composition; 2) you can use the phone as a remote shutter; and 3) on the phone, you have access to all of the available controls and features.
First, you need to install the app.  Here is where to download the app.
Here is a link to the iOS app
Here is a link to the Android app.   If you want to access a newer Android app version, you can check the version on the Mi Store.  Installing the Mi Store will require manual authorization.  After download, you should see the APK in the app called “My files”.  That’s the installation file.  Double tap it.  It will tell you that it’s blocked.  Then tap on settings to authorize unknown apps (you can specify to do it “only for this time”).  It will then install for you.

To shoot with the phone:
– launch the app.
– On your camera, press the WiFi button. It will start blinking, which means it’s ready to pair.
– On the main screen of the app, tap on the camera icon at the bottom.
– On the next screen, select your camera.
– Use your phone’s Wi-Fi settings to connect to the Xiaomi’s Wi-Fi signal, which will start with “MJXJ…”  The default password is 12345678.  You can change this but if you ever forget, hold down the wi-fi button for 5 seconds until it beeps to reset the Wi-Fi password.
– When the Xiaomi is connected, you’ll hear a beep on the Xiaomi.  In my experience, the Xiaomi has connected every single time.  It has never given me trouble, unlike the Theta or Keymission.
Once the phone is connected, go back to the app.  You should see the live preview screen.  Or on Android, you may have to press the Back button.
You’re ready to take a photo or video.

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere Xiaomi 360 camera low light photo
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere Xiaomi 360 camera low light photo
Xiaomi can take photos even in very low light thanks to a shutter speed as slow as 32 seconds.

MI SPHERE WORKFLOW – SHARING PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

The Xiaomi does not stitch photos or videos in-camera (at least not with the release version of the app as of November 6, 2017), but you can see a fully stitched preview on your smartphone app.  If you access the files directly from the memory card, they will appear as double circular fisheye files.  To stitch the files, you need to use the app for smartphone or PC.  (As of November 6, 2017, there is no Mac software yet.).

Photos:
When viewing photos from the app, they are downloaded and stitched right away (it takes a few seconds).  The stitched photos appear in your phone’s Gallery app with 360 metadata (on iPhone, they are in a hidden directory, until you select the photo and export it, in which case it will appear in the Camera Roll).

The stitched photo can be viewed in several projections: fisheye, rectilinear, equirectangular, or tiny planet.  You can then export the custom projection as a separate file.

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere Xiaomi 360 camera tiny planet sample photo
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere tiny planet sample photo

Videos:
You can view videos from the app but they will not be downloaded to your phone until you select Download.  Even after downloading, they are not stitched until you select a video and export it.  Once the video is downloaded, they will appear in the Local tab of the app’s gallery, where you can see all the photos and videos that have been downloaded to your phone.

From there, you can stitch the video by exporting it.  When you export the video, you can select whether to apply stabilization by tapping on the three dots on the bottom right to bring up the options, then toggling the “Gyro Correction” option.  Then tap on Export to stitch the video and export it.

A screengrab from a Xiaomi video shows that it has very good detail.

Xiaomi 360 Camera Desktop stitching:

NEW!!! Here is a link to the PC app.

Xiaomi now has a desktop stitching program, currently available only for Windows, but a Mac version is in the works.  The desktop app, confusingly called “MijiaCamera” but also called “Mi Sphere Camera,” can stitch both photos and videos, and can batch process multiple files (even a mix of photos and videos).  As of November 6, 2017, the stabilization function now works as well as it does in the app, and can be toggled on or off.

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera PC app
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera PC app

Optical Flow Stitching with Yoichi Hirota’s Mi Sphere Converter app for Android

The Mi Sphere’s stitching is already fairly good to begin with thanks to the very short distance between its lenses, but when it first launched, there was some doubling, and in addition, some straight lines could appear wavy.  Both of these issues have already been addressed in all versions of its software — Android, iOS, and Windows.  (I’m using app version 1.8.4.)

Nonetheless, there are slight imperfections at the zenith or sometimes nadir.  Now, even these minor issues can be resolved with Yoichi Hirota’s Mi Sphere Converter. Mr. Hirota is the developer of Theta Converter and edit360, both of which are apps for straightening the horizon of a 360 photo. Mi Sphere Converter uses optical flow for seamless stitching.

Here is a sample 360 photo that illustrates the issue with the in-app stitching.

The stitching is almost perfect. However, if you look at the zenith, you can see there is a bit of warping in the ceiling.

Here is the same photo, stitched in Mi Sphere Converter:

Here are the zeniths compared side by side (look at the bar in the middle).

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere stitching comparison
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere stitching comparison

You can see that the Mi Sphere v 1.8.4 stitching has slight warping, whereas the stitching with Mi Sphere Converter is flawless.  It also seems that the tone curve on the Mi Sphere Converter is a bit less conservative, thus preserving more of the original data.

Another benefit of the Mi Sphere Converter is that you can adjust or straighten the horizon at the same time while stitching the photo, similar to Theta Converter.

Finally, the Mi Sphere Converter is an affordable and relatively easy-to-use alternative to stitching Raw images from the Mi Sphere (after the Raw shots are converted into JPG).

The downside of the Mi Sphere Converter is that it adds steps to your workflow.  It is also somewhat tedious to setup.
– You have to create a calibration file for each camera because every camera is unique.
– Using Mi Sphere Converter requires the original double fisheye images. However, normally, these are not transferred to the phone. Instead, the Mi Sphere app stitches the photos at the same time they are downloaded.

This third party stitcher is free for alpha testing until December 31, 2017.  You can get the app hereInstructions for using it are here.

MI SPHERE IMAGE QUALITY

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere - Xiaomi 360 Camera tiny planet
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere – tiny planet

I compared the Xiaomi to its most direct competitors:
– the Insta360 Air for Android, which is the most affordable stabilized 360 camera (requires phone)
– the Insta360 Nano for iPhone, the first stabilized 360 camera (requires phone)
– 2016 Samsung Gear 360, currently the most affordable 4K 360 camera (requires Samsung S6 or above)
– 2017 Samsung Gear 370, which has about the same price as the Xiaomi.
– Ricoh Theta S.  Not really a direct competitor (except for 360 photos) but it’s a common camera used for comparison.
I’ve also added a previous comparison with the Nikon Keymission 360 and Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K Dual Pro.  I also have a detailed comparison with the Insta360 ONE here.

Now you can also use the Ultimate 360 Camera Comparison page to compare the Xiaomi against other 360 cameras for photos and videos.

Photo quality:
Here are full resolution samples from the Xiaomi, Insta360 Air, Insta360 Nano, Ricoh Theta S, original Samsung Gear 360 and Samsung Gear 360 2017.

Here are 1:1 crops:

Insta360 Air

 

Insta360 Nano

 

2017 Samsung Gear 360

 

Ricoh Theta S
2016 Samsung Gear 360
Xiaomi Mi Sphere

In this group, the Xiaomi 360 camera has the highest image overall image quality, with even more detail than the 30mp original Gear 360.  It had the best detail and best dynamic range in these samples.  Its colors appear a little flat compared to the 2016 Gear 360, but that can be easily adjusted in post.

The Xiaomi does suffer from purple fringing near the stitch line, but that is relatively easy to correct in postprocessing.  Stitching is also not perfect.  There is a little bit of doubling at the stitch line.

The Xiaomi’s color and detail is sufficiently high that a cropped non-360 photo can appear about as detailed and rich as a photo from a non-360 camera, allowing it to perform capably even as a non-360 camera:

Here is the 360 version:

Moreover, in addition to its excellent photo quality, the Xiaomi offers full manual control with a shutter speed as slow as 32 seconds, and ISO as low as 50, which makes it possible to use it for long exposures.  As of Octoer 2017, the app now allows you to select manual shutter speeds less than 1 second, up to as fast as 1/6400.

Video quality:
I was surprised to find that Xiaomi 360 camera also has the best video quality among 360 cameras up to around $300, despite having a lower nominal resolution than other cameras such as the original Gear 360 and 2017 Gear 360.

 

This is not a photo.  It’s a framegrab from a video (in tiny planet view).

Here is a playlist with comparisons against the Insta360 Air, Insta360 Nano, 2016 Gear 360 and 2017 Gear 360.  (I also brought the Theta but the video file was truncated to just one second for some reason.  Maybe my Theta was jealous.  In any case, trust me the Xiaomi 360 camera’s video is way better than the Theta’s.)

Here are 100% crops:

Insta360 Air
Insta360 Nano
original 2016 Samsung Gear 360
2017 Samsung Gear 360
Xiaomi

You can see that despite the lower 3.5K resolution of the Xiaomi 360 camera, it has the most detail, as seen in the texture of the fireplace.  The Xiaomi 360 camera also appears to have the best dynamic range, as shown by the detail in the backlit door.   For these reasons, I concluded the Xiaomi 360 camera has the best video quality.

Here is another playlist I posted previously, comparing the Xiaomi 360 camera to the Nikon Keymission 360 and Kodak SP360 4K Dual Pro:


STRENGTHS
+ Excellent photo quality
+ Excellent video quality
+ Excellent photo controls (full manual exposure, shutter priority, ISO priority, ISO as low as 50, shutter speed as slow as 32 seconds).
+ Excellent auto white balance; natural-looking colors
+ Adobe DNG Raw + JPEG
+ bullet time mode
+ built-in exposure bracketing
+ intervalometer
+ GPS mode (when used with the phone app)
+ Image stabilization (see below).
+ Exposure settings are sticky.  The settings you specify will be retained even after the camera is turned off.  This means that you don’t need to keep your smartphone on.
+ Decent battery life when fully charged.  I’ve been able to record as long as 95 minutes nonstop in full resolution.
+ Resistance to overheating.  The Xiaomi 360 camera can be connected to USB while recording.  With a USB charger connected, I’ve been able to record for 1 hour 45 minutes nonstop in full resolution.
+ IP67 water resistance.  It’s not water proof, but it will probably survive rain or being splashed by water.
+ Fast startup and shutdown.  It’s ready to shoot in just a few seconds.
+ Reliable and long distance Wi-Fi connection.  I’ve been able to connect to the Xiaomi 360 camera every single time I’ve tried.  This is in sharp contrast to the Theta which sometimes connects and sometimes doesn’t, or the Nikon Keymission 360, which has an even more unreliable Wi-Fi connection.  Moreover, the Wi-Fi has very long range.  According to my friend and tech vlogger Pepe Vazquez, he has been able to connect as far as 50 meters (!).

The most important feature is image stabilization.  Besides making the video much more watchable, stabilization allows you to make the camera appear invisible by making it possible to position the Xiaomi 360 camera inline with a slim selfie stick, and hold it at any angle (see around 2:13 of this video).  Neither the camera nor the selfie stick will be visible.  This invisibility creates the illusion of an invisible cameraman capturing a third person perspective in 360.

WEAKNESSES
– Smartphone compatibility.  Yes it does work with iOS and Android, but you can only export videos at full resolution with a phone that has a Snapdragon 625 sensor or better.  Here is a list of compatible phones.  However, if you have a PC, you can use the desktop app to stitch at full resolution.
– Battery is not removable.
– Quirky stabilization.  There are several issues related to stabilization:
—  You may find that your video has no stabilization. I found that this happens if you record too soon after turning on the camera.  Solution: Instead, wait a few seconds (3 seconds or so) after turning on the camera before you start recording.
—  Some videos might be stabilized but tilted.  It appears that regardless of the camera’s angle, the angle when you start recording will often be designated as ‘up’.  For example, if your camera is horizontal, the horizontal position will be designated as ‘up,’ resulting in a stabilized but horizontal video.  Solution:  Be sure the camera is vertical before you start recording, and keep it vertical for at least a couple of seconds.
— Drifting: resolved.  There’s no more drifting. Previously, if you stabilize the Mi Sphere’s video using its gyro-based stabilization, then the video will drift after couple of minutes.  In version 1.8.3 and above, there is no drifting.  Just in case, you can use this technique to correct for drifting.

As I mentioned in the previous section, there are a few image quality issues: some purple fringing near the stitch line, and there is sometimes a slight difference in color temperature between the two lenses.  Note: as of November 2017, the heat wave effect no longer appears to be an issue.

“Invisible” third person view camera made possible by the Xiaomi’s stabilization


CONCLUSION
The Xiaomi 360 camera has the best photo and video quality among 360 cameras around $300 or less.  Whether it is the best camera for you depends on your priorities:

 

If you want a 360 camera with excellent photos and videos, then in my opinion, Xiaomi 360 Camera is the best camera up to around $300, as long as you are willing to put up with its quirks.  It has the best photo AND video quality I’ve found for 360 cameras under $300, and and has amazing image stabilization.

The Xiaomi 360 camera is also the best camera if your priority is 360 photos, because of its image quality and its excellent photo controls.  The only all-in-one 360 camera I know that has better photo quality is Panono.  Another option to get better quality is a panoramic tripod with a GoPro (Panohero H5B or Pano5+1 mk II) or DSLR / mirrorless camera, but they can’t capture spontaneous moments.

If you would like to buy the Xiaomi 360 camera, it is available from GearBest, which ships to around 260+ countries all over the world.  They are also pretty fast and I receive my orders from them in just one week.  Here is a list of discount codes for the Mi Sphere.
Here is the Ultimate Resource Page for the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera, including a FAQ, tutorials, recommended accessories, and other information.

If your priority is live streaming, Xiaomi unfortunately has no live streaming capability.  I would instead recommend Insta360 Air for Android or Insta360 Nano for iPhone, both of which have live streaming with stabilization.

If your priority is to get the best 360 camera for 360 video regardless of price,  I think that is currently the Garmin Virb 360 (which I will review as soon as I receive my order), which has many advanced features in addition to having a higher resolution video (4K stitched in-camera, or up to 5.7K stitched with a third party program).  Another possibility is Yi 360 VR, which is due to be released soon and will have 5.7K video for $399, but as far as I know, it is not stabilized.

XIAOMI MIJIA 360 CAMERA SAMPLE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Sample photos here:

Sample videos here:

More sample photos and videos here.

#changelog
Change log:  November 6, 2013.  See the improvements and the new features.

About the author

Mic Ty

64 Comments

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  • A good review Mic, though I’d respectfully disagree about the winner for still images. I have the Theta S, Xiaomi Mi Sphere and Gear 360 2017 and in tests I’ve found the Theta to give better results than the Xiaomi. Find a location with lots of close together horizontal lines on the floor (the decking in a garden for instance), take a photo with each camera, and then look closely at the results – I’ve found that the lines will be wavy on the Xiaomi, but straight with the Theta. For my purposes (as a backup camera when I don’t have time or space to take a higher quality image with a Canon 5D/ 8-15L lens/Panoramic head combo) I’ll stick with the Theta.

    • For me, overall tones of still images (especially, automatic exposure) and dynamic range, Mi Sphere gives more preferable result compared to Theta SC.
      While, as mentioned by James, I’m also discouraged to push Mi sphere as best 360° camera unless its wavy deformation issue fixed.

      Furthermore, despite significantly higher image resolution compared to Theta SC, images shoot by Mi sphere lacks detail for distant view (blurring; close view seems more focused). Theta SC is rather good at providing constant sharpness and details in any distances (near to distant view).

      • As a short follow-up to my own commment, especially “Mi sphere lacks detail for distant view (blurring; close view seems more focused)”.

        This was only true for when my Mi sphere camera continuously shot several tens of photos. When I compared in other situations, only taking several photos for each sites, the image resolusion of Mi sphere were superior to Theta SC as its spec. tells.

    • Hi Harry. It doesn’t support OSC API but the exported photos are ready to be uploaded to Street View (with 360 metadata).

      Best regards,
      Mic

      • Hi Mic,

        Thanks for the review! This cam is quite interesting but do the still images have geolocalized EXIF data? If we have to add manually latitude, longitude and orientation, using it for Street View will be a pain!

        Best greetings

        Jack

        • Hi Jack. Sorry no GPS in EXIF. You may be interested in the Virb 360, which does have GPS and a ton of other features.
          Best regards,
          Mic

          • Thanks for the info!

            Sigh… It looked promising… Unfortunately, the Virb has a too low resolution…

            (At the moment, I’m only shooting stills for Google Maps, with a Theta S… I tested the video, but it’s not good enough!)

            I’ll have to wait until the Orbit 360 becomes available… hoping that it won’t be a fail like the KeyMission 😉

            Cheers
            Jack

  • Waiting to see your review on the Virb 360 to determine if it will be worth 3x the price of the Mijia Sphere.
    Hoping Xiaomi updates the software to give full resolution export to iOS or a mac desktop software…..Otherwise, I’ll go Virb 360.

    Mic, does the free Garmin Virb software work with the Mijia Sphere?

    • Hi Cord. Yes I will definitely post the Virb 360 review if/when I get it, with a comparison vs Xiaomi. Yes the Virb Edit works with Xiaomi at full resolution on my PC (i5-4590, 8GB, GTX 1050Ti). Best regards, Mic

  • Hi Mic,

    Thank you for this very detailed comparison.
    Can you test for us if the panoramic photos produced by the Xiaomi camera can be in any way added to Google Street View?
    As far as I know in the Google Street View app there are two ways to do that:
    – link external 360° camera – I presume this does not work. Street View will look to connect to the camera through the WiFi but for now the app works only with 3-4 cameras.
    – import 360° photos – this looks into the photos stored on the phone and if those have the right metadata, the app will import the image. Can you please test this option and let us know if it works? Do the Xiaomi panoramic photos require post-processing in order to be added to Google Street view?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Cosci. Yes you can post Xiaomi photos to street view using the “import 360 photos” option. Photos that are downloaded to your phone via the app will have the correct metadata (on Android, just copy them from the DCIM/Camera folder, while on iOS, you need to do one more step which is to export the downloaded photos to the Camera Roll).

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • HI Mic,

    I just did a test here in South Africa on my Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere on a Samsung S7 ( SM-935F) which is the europian version of the S7, which is running on a Exynos 8890 chipset, and it stitched and exported the video clip with no hassles at full resolution using the latest android app. SO I guys one can now add Exynos 8890 processor phones to the list of supported devices as well.

    Thanks to your excellent reviews! I am following you with eagle eyes on any developments on this camera and its software.

  • Hi, Please add to the compatibility table: Xiaomi Mi2, Snapdragon S4 PRO, Android 5.0.1, Mi App 1.6.6.13395, Photo max resolution: 4096×2048, Video resolution: export crash

  • Any advice on best specs for a memory card to use with the Xiaomi Mi Sphere 360? will any memory card do? any brand? does the memory card need a certain speed? how much memory does 1-2 minute video clip use?

  • Hi there,
    when I convert a full resolution video file from my mijia360 with the pc-app, the new file is about half as big as the original and looks much worse. I checked the resolution witch is the same, but the datastream of the new file is around 20 MBit instead of 40 from the original. Would you recommend a software for converting/stitching without loosing too much quality?

    Great review by the way

    • I forgot: My PC has a i7 skylake and a 2GB Gforce GTX…, i am using a Vernee Apollo with a Helio X25 2.5GHz Deca-Core processor.

  • Hi I found the photo sample really gorgeous, so did you use the auto settings or manual setting when you were taking those pictures? Or was there any post-processing effort?

    Thanks man.

    • Thank you very much Reyner! For the daylight photos, I used only auto exposure, with minimal postprocessing. For the low light photos, I used manual exposure to select the base ISO and a slow shutter.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • Hi Im new in this webside and i came from creator up.

    I REceive today the xiaomy mispere and yesterday i read this. that now it shots raw. I need it for photography and this is awesome for me. But my problem is that i have changed the resolution from 6912×2456 to 6912×2456 Raw. And nothing change. I tried to restart the camera. i tried to download the apk from mi. And nothing it didnt work.
    I also have another problem i put the micro sd (at least i put a 64 gb fast sandisk card) But now i cant take it out. Its stuck in the slot. Thanks a lot for your time.
    Does anybody had the same problem.

    • Hi Guillermo. Welcome to 360 Rumors. When you shoot at 6912 x 3456 in raw, it will create two files: DNG and JPEG. The app can only stitch JPG. If you want the DNG you need to get it from the memory card, convert to JPG and stitch it with 3rd party software.

      Best regards,
      Mic

      • I’m having the same problem as Guillermo, Mic. Only saving the JPG file and not the DNG file on my memory card even if I select Raw. Do you think this is a phone issue? Maybe I need a better phone for it? I’m using a Galaxy S6.

        Also can’t get the bracketing work out all. It just says Too many operations, try again later when I select it. Maybe software still needs a bit or work?

        Still getting wavy lines if through the phone app but none at all on the PC software so pretty happy with that!

        • Just like to say downloaded a new firmware today and everything I mentioned that wasn’t working is working now. Seems to take longer to take photos, but might be because is just dark right now will see tomorrow

          I love this camera.

  • Hello Mic.

    So the drifting to the right issue is still there? Do you think it’s going to be solved with new firmware or software updates? has the orange version of the camera the same problem?

    Thank you so much helping us understand 360 world.

  • Finally bracketing is here! Unfortunately, it is next to useless!

    +/-1EV is way too low for most use cases. Worse, white balance is not locked during bracketing. In other words, HDR is still not possible with this camera.

    I have over 100 photographers to equip in my company and I would love to use the Mi Sphere but cannot do that with the current firmware/app. And,I am quite sure that I am not alone. The Mi Sphere developers need to better understand their market. There are missing thousands of sales because of shortcomings that are quite easy to fix.

    Here is what they should to do for bracketing :
    – [+4 -4] EV range
    – 3 or 5-shots
    – Lock white balance during bracketing
    – EV offset in order to shoot asymmetrical bracketing such as: [-3 -1 +1]

    Mic, please forward my comments to the developers if you can!

    Many thanks for your fantastic web site. You are doing an excellent job.

    • I agree 3 shots +/- 1EV apart are too limited. Don’t worry, they will improve the bracketing feature.

      And yes I will let the Mi Sphere team know about your suggestions.

      Best regards,
      Mic

      • Hey thank you for your continous sharing of info about Spere.

        BUT… for some reason I can’t find the bracketing, you say “Bracketing appears as one of the options above the shutter in the shooting screen.” but I don’t see anything about it there.

        Also nothing about bullet time in the settings? I downloaded the latest firmware just now..

        • Hi John. In version 1.8.4 of the app, bracketing appears above the shutter. In video resolution, the one for 2048 x 512 120fps is bullet time. If you have an iphone, pls wait for 1.8.4. best regards, Mic

  • Hi Mic, thanks for updating this post. I bought one yesterday. Will there be a freecapture mode similar to the insta360 one? Or do you know a app that have this feature?

    • Congratulations Christian! Yes there is something like freecapture. It’s labeled “record screen.” I’ll create a tutorial for it. But the concept is that you can play a 360 video, switching perspectives between spherical and tiny planet, and you can swipe the screen to change views. It isn’t exactly freecapture but more like Insta360 Studio.

      Best regards,
      Mic