A reader wrote to me asking for a recommendation for a 360 camera for an upcoming cruise. He wanted both photos and videos. He had a Gear 360 2017, but he wasn’t happy with it. Here is my response!
360 cameras are excellent for cruises. With the right camera, you can shoot without aiming, leaving you free to enjoy yourself. In addition, you’ll be able to view your 360 photos and videos on a VR headset, re-living your memories more vividly than possible with a conventional camera. However, there are now many 360 cameras and it can be bewildering to choose a camera. Here’s my response to John* (*name changed for privacy).
Thanks for watching my reviews John*! That cruise sounds exciting! I’m glad to help you. Here are my recommendations for you in order of priority:
2. Among the other alternatives, Ricoh Theta V ($399, reviewed here) has excellent video quality, is easy and hassle-free to use, and even has an external housing if you want to use it for swimming. It also has great performance in low light. But like you said the big disadvantage is that the memory and battery are not removable. Will you have a laptop or something with you? If yes, then you can download your videos and photos to your laptop each night.
3. Insta360 ONE ($299; reviewed here) is easy to use and has fantastic stabilization, and even has an optional waterproof case. It works for iOS and Android, but you need to make sure your Android is compatible.
4. Xiaomi Mi Sphere ($250 to 299; reviewed here) Xiaomi is a very good and solid choice for both photos and videos if the video is detailed enough for you. Stabilization is not as good as that of Insta360 One, but it costs a bit less, and has better photos than Insta360 One. Here is a sample 360 video:
6. Rylo ($499; reviewed here) has the best stabilization to date, has good quality in bright light and has a good waterproof case, but it has mediocre quality in low light. For a cruise, you may need decent low light for night shots. If you DON’T need night shots, it’s a good choice. In July 2018, they made it easier to stitch, edit and share, because now you can do it without downloading the files from the camera (just link the cable). It’s also excellent for hyperlapse videos.
7. Garmin Virb 360 ($799; comparison here) is nice because of the replaceable lens and G-Metrix (including GPS). It also has excellent stabilization. The video quality is similar to Rylo. If you want to show a map showing where you’re traveling, the Virb is a great choice (Fusion also has GPS but somehow it doesn’t seem recorded in photos).
8. If Fusion is out of the question, the next best in terms of detail for video is Yi 360 VR ($399, reviewed here) but it is not rugged and i’m concerned that if you drop it by accident or something during your cruise, it might stop functioning, leaving you without a camera for the rest of the cruise. The other problem is that it takes a very long time to stitch its videos, which can only be stitched on a desktop with its Windows software (there’s no Mac version). It is about as slow to stitch as the Gear 360 2017 although the good thing is that the desktop app has batch stitching.
9. Samsung Gear 360 2017 (~$100; reviewed here). Samsung Gear 360 2017 is also a good choice because it is affordable and has stabilization as of July 2018 . It also has good photo and video quality. It is splash resistant, which is useful. Just use a faster micro sd card (64GBor 32GB) so it can record without overheating. The main disadvantage is that it takes a very long time to stitch, and you can only stitch on a phone not desktop. If you come back from a vacation with many videos, prepare to spend several days stitching them with your phone (I do it overnight each time).
For the selfie stick, I highly recommend Benro MK10 – that’s the one I use most often. If you want something taller, but still portable, I like this Yunteng stand but please note it will NOT be invisible in the shot (unless you have a Virb).
For vacations, I also highly recommend the WD My Passport Wireless Pro, which can back up a memory card without a PC. Just insert an SD card (or micro SD card with adapter) and it will begin backing up your files, with a separate folder for each day, and a separate subdirectory for each camera or memory card. It even has its own battery. The biggest disadvantage is that it’s kind of slow to startup and copy files. and because it is magnetic drive based, you can’t move it while it is in use. There’s an SSD version, which solves all those issues.
If you have other questions, the best way to reach me is via 360Rumors’ Facebook page, or via Google Hangout! Thanks again for subscribing to my YouTube channel! I have very interesting videos coming up! Enjoy your cruise!