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CES 2018: Detu MAX is an 8K 3D 360 camera with AI chip and 3D modeling capabilities

Detu Max 8K 3D 360 camera with AI
Detu Max 8K 3D 360 camera with AI

At CES 2018, Detu launched their new flagship 360 camera, the Detu MAX with 8K 3D 360 video and an embedded AI chip. Here’s a quick preview of the Detu Max, its features and capabilities.

BACKGROUND

Detu is a company that has produced several 360 cameras, beginning with the hemispherical Detu Sphere, then the higher resolution Sphere S. It was later followed by the Detu F4, one of the first 6K 360 cameras. At CES 2017, they announced two cameras: the Detu Twin and the Detu F4 Plus (at that time known as F4 Pro), currently one of the most affordable 8K 360 cameras at $2599. Then at CES 2018, they announced the Detu Max, their first 3D 360 camera.

SPECIFICATIONS and FEATURES


– eight lenses
– video resolution: 8K 3D 360
– high speed video: 4K 3D 360 @ 120fps
– live streaming (2D or 3D)
– time lapse photography: up to 60 seconds interval
– HDR mode available
– Raw format support
– Connectivity: dual band Wi-Fi, ethernet, USB (Micro B), Mini HDMI, 3.5mm microphone input
– compatible with Android and iOS

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Detu Max 8K 3D 360 camera featured at CES 2018
Detu Max 8K 3D 360 camera featured at CES 2018

Detu hasn’t formally posted samples from Max yet but at CES they had a sample 8K 3D 360 video that people could watch with a VR headset. I expect that they will make the video available for download in the future.
The video featured a martial artist doing exercises in a small room. The resolution was pretty good, legitimately 8K. I didn’t have the chance to inspect closely but I thought it looked good, including the colors and dynamic range. The stereoscopic effect was realistic (the lens pairs seem to have a standard interpupillary distance).
What I was most curious about was the stitching. The Detu Max has an uncommon lens configuration with eight lenses in orthogonal directions, similar to Vuze. In the case of the Vuze, the stitching looks smooth in 2D but in 3D, there is a noticeable seam. I wondered whether the Max would have a similar difficulty with stitching. As it turns out, it appears from the sample they showed that stitching actually seemed quite good. What was even more impressive was the stitching at the nadir and zenith, which looked seamless. I asked their representative if they patched the zenith and/or nadir and he said he wasn’t sure.

I found that some samples from the F4 Plus had a similarly smooth nadir. Here’s an F4 Plus photo that also has smooth nadir and zenith stitching:

In this F4 Plus sample, the ground looks totally seamless. Even the shadow of the camera is not visible. This leads me to think that the nadir and zenith were patched for the F4 Plus sample and for the Max sample as well. But I don’t know for certain. I’m still trying to find out.

OTHER CAPABILITIES

Besides having 8K 3D 360, Detu MAX also has an AI chip embedded in it. The chip gives it additional capabilities such as face recognition. Detu’s representative also showed me a few other things that they are working on for the Max. I saw demos of depth mapping and 6DOF (I assume it was simulated). I also saw that they are planning to use the Max to generate 3D models, with floorplans and dollhouse modes. It looked similar to Matterport or Cupix, with 3D models that seemed to be more detailed than on Cupix. Detu’s representative explained that the app is intended for interior designers, who will be able to use Max to generate 3D models of a location and place virtual furniture in it. If it works as advertised, it does seem like a useful feature.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Detu Max’s price and availability haven’t been finalized yet but it seems that will be around $4000. At that price, it would be the most affordable 8K 3D 360 camera. Other competing cameras include the Kandao Obsidian R, also 8K 3D 360 at $6999, and the Insta360 Pro which has 6K 3D 360 or 8K 2D 360 at $3499.  With respect to its AI capability, it would be competing indirectly with Pilot Era which also uses AI.

Detu Max will have a crowdfunding campaign in March 2018, for shipping in May 2018.  I know many people shy away from crowdfunding but Detu is an established company and the shipping date in May suggests that they are already in production.  Instead, it seems that they are using crowdfunding as a marketing tool.  I’ll see if it’s also possible to preorder directly instead of through crowdfunding.  Meanwhile, Detu and Veer have a promo where if you are one of the first 50 people to upload a video to Veer with the hashtag #detudiscount, you can receive a 15% discount on Amazon for any Detu 360 camera including F4 Plus or the 3K Detu Twin (in the case of the F4 Plus, that’s a $375 discount)!

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