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): December 7, 2017: added another sample and tutorial for optical flow stitching with MiSphere Converter (optical flow stitching for Mi Sphere).
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.
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.
What’s the difference between the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere and the Madventure 360 camera?
Madventure is a rebranded version of Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere, created by the same team that created the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere. Despite the orange color, the hardware is actually identical and all features for the Madventure 360 will eventually be added to the Mi Sphere. Please see here for a detailed explanation.
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? The Xiaomi’s stabilization is excellent. See this stabilization comparison versus a $799 Garmin Virb 360. Note: the drifting has now been fixed as of version 1.8.3 of the app.
Where do I download the app?
– Please download the Windows app here
– Mac app: not yet available as of 11/27/17
– iOS 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 or newer unofficial version of the Android app, see Michel Mendes’ archive here.
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. If you want to upgrade the firmware via Micro SD card, pls. see the instructions posted on Michel Mendes’ site (search”update by sd card”).
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. UPDATE: the drift has been fixed as of version 1.8.3 of the app.
2. There is a waviness in the video, like a heat wave effect. It is most noticeable in static scenes. UPDATE: this issue has been fixed as well.
How do I turn off stabilization?
Method 1: If stitching on the Xiaomi smartphone app, load the video in the gallery, then tap on the three dots on the lower right corner, then toggle the gyro correction off before exporting.
Method 2: If stitching on the Xiaomi desktop app, toggle the gyro correction off before exporting
Method 3: 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 4: 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.
TUTORIALS, TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
– 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 (in older versions of the app, the video will gradually turn to the right after about 2 minutes; this drifting has been resolved in version 1.8.3 of the app).
– Bullet time effect tutorial
– Optical flow stitching: see below
– English instructions / user manual
HOW TO GET OPTICAL FLOW STITCHING WITH THE XIAOMI MI SPHERE
Yoichi Hirota, developer of Theta Converter, has created an app for optical flow stitching of the Mi Sphere photos, called Mi Sphere Converter. It has reportedly smoother stitching than the Mi Sphere app, and is useful for stitching raw files shot on version 1.8.4 of the app and above (the raw DNG files must be converted to JPG before processing with Mi Sphere Converter). Here is a link to actual 360 samples. The samples show smoother stitching for subjects at the stitch line even near the camera. It also has more even blending of color.
In order to use MiSphere Converter, you need to calibrate the lens. Every camera has a unique calibration. Here is a great tutorial by Janis Bertrands that shows the how and why of lens calibration, and how to use MiSphere Converter. Eddie Pearce has also created a video tutorial for the lens calibration for Misphere Converter.
MiSphere Converter is only for photos. For videos, you can use Mistika VR (available here) for optical flow stitching. Here is an easy tutorial for Mistika. Although I used Garmin Virb for the tutorial, the same steps apply when using Mistika with Xiaomi Mi Sphere (yes there is a Mistika preset for Mi Sphere).
MADVENTURE 360 AND HOW TO UPGRADE THE XIAOMI TO 4K
The Madventure 360 is a rebranded version of the Xiaomi, repackaged for Western markets. In addition to its distinctive orange color, the Madventure comes with the dedicated selfie stick, a GoPro-style adapter plus the usual accessories for the Mi Sphere. The Madventure app also added several new features such as bullet time, raw mode, bracketing, and other features. Several of these features have already been added to the app for Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere.
One Madventure feature that has yet to be added to the Mi Sphere app as of November 27, 2017 is 4K video resolution. However, the Mi Sphere is compatible with the Madventure app, which can enable the 4K video mode. The Madventure app was pulled from the Google Play store but is available from Michel Mendes’ website as an apk installation file (thank you very much to Peter Stein and Francois Blg for bringing this to my attention!). The iOS version is not yet available on the iOS app store, but a Madv representative told me it was already submitted to Apple for approval.
Once you have the Madventure app, you’ll be able to change the resolution to 3840 x 1920 when you shoot. However, previously recorded videos will not be upgraded to 3840 x 1920. I plan to compare the 3.5K and 4K videos but so far the 4K video doesn’t seem too different from the 3.5K video.
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.
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.
Back to the top
– Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera group on Facebook –> highly recommended
– Michel Mendes’ archive for the Xiaomi Android app
– Free app for editing 360 videos on iOS: V360 app or Veer
Free app for editing 360 videos on Android: V360 app or Collect 360 app or Veer
– 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).
– Sample Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere photos
– YouTube playlist of sample videos and Xiaomi-related videos:
November 27, 2017: added information about Madventure and how to upgrade to 4K, updated info on drifting (now resolved)
October 12, 2017: added some video demos for Xiaomi selfie stick and Benro MK10
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