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Detu MAX 8K 3D 360 camera: Price ISN’T its KILLER Feature (updated June 14, 2018)

Detu MAX 8K 3D 360 camera
Detu MAX 8K 3D 360 camera

Detu Max just launched on Kickstarter.  It’s an 8K 3D with an embedded AI chip.  When you hear the price, you’ll get sticker shock — not because it’s so expensive but because it’s so affordable: $2199!   (FYI, the next lowest price for an 8K 3D 360 camera is the Obsidian at $6999…!)  But the price is NOT its killer feature.  Find out what makes Detu MAX unique and game changing for professional 360 cameras!

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, 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.

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

DETU MAX SPECIFICATIONS


Lenseseight 195-degree fisheye lenses
Field of viewfully spherical
Aperturef/2.2
Sensorsunspecified
Processorsunspecified
Photo resolution (3D)7680 x 7680 (3D post stitching)
3840 x 3840 (3D realtime stitching)
Photo resolution (2D)7680 x 3840 (2D realtime or post stitching)
11520 x 5760 (2D - realtime stitching)
Video resolution (3D)7680 x 7680 30fps (3D)
3840 x 3840 25fps (3D realtime stitching)
Video resolution (2D)7680 x 3840 30fps
3840 x 2160 30fps (realtime stitching)
3840 x 2160 60fps
3840 x 2160 120fps
Live streaming resolution:3840 x 3840 25fps (3D 360)
3840 x 2160 30fps
Audio4 microphones
mic input
Shutter speed:1/8000 to 1/2 secs
ISO:100 to 6400
Stabilization:6-axis gyro-based image stabilization
Connector:1/4-20 tripod connector
Storage:two SD cards
Waterproof:No
Connectivity:RJ45 Ethernet interface
Micro USB
WiFi (for AP hotspot connection)
HDMI (4K@30fps)
Compatibility:iOS
Android
Dimensions:172mm x 172mm x 130mm
Weight:2000g
Battery:4800 mAh battery
12V 5A adapter

For pricing, see below.

FEATURES

Detu Max’s most important feature is its stitching.  All 360 cameras have a minimum stitching distance.  Objects that are nearer to the camera than the minimum stitching distance will have very significant stitching errors.  For 3D 360 cameras, this is an even more challenging issue because they have to have sufficient distance between the lenses to have a noticeable a 3D effect, but at the same time, the larger the distance between the cameras, the greater the potential for parallax stitching errors.   For this reason, 3D 360 cameras usually have large minimum stitching distances.  For example, the minimum distance for the Insta360 Pro is around 5 feet.

Detu Max’s minimum stitching distance is 1.1 inch, according to Detu.  That is unheard of and if it is true, it makes the Detu Max usable in many situations that would be impossible for other 3D 360 cameras.  Here is a sample screenshot showing a subject that is very close to the camera, and yet is stitched correctly, and has a good 3D effect:

Detu Max 3D screenshot (resized)
Detu Max 3D screenshot (resized)

You can check out the sample videos below to see more examples that convincingly demonstrate its remarkable minimum stitching distance.  To me, this impossibly short minimum stitching distance is Detu Max’s killer feature.  No other professional 360 camera can be used at such small distances.  Practically speaking, the threshold will be the minimum distance for stereo (with a 3D image, if you are too close to the object, it will feel uncomfortable, as if you are viewing something cross-eyed).  But you’ll be able to use the Detu Max in almost any situation (within reason).  And if you switch to 2D 360 mode, there are even more possibilities.

UPDATE: I’ve had the chance to look at the videos more closely, and it appears true that it has a very short minimum stitching distance in front of the lenses, but the corners have noticeable stitching issues.  Actors have to make sure to avoid being along the corner stitch lines.

Detu Max - stitching issues at corners
Detu Max – stitching issues at corners

Detu Max has other features such as HDR mode, and supports RAW and Log mode.  It also has livestreaming in 2D or 3D 360.

Detu Max HDR mode
Detu Max HDR mode

 

Detu MAX also has an AI chip embedded in it. The chip gives it additional capabilities such as object-tracking and 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.

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.

SAMPLE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Here are sample videos in 3D 360.

Here are sample photos in 2D 360, showing excellent detail and dynamic range, and natural colors.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Detu Max assembly
Detu Max assembly

As predicted, Detu Max plans to undercut its competitors. It is priced very aggressively, and will retail at $3499, the same price as the Insta360 Pro (reviewed here), which can only do 6K 3D 360.  Other competing cameras include the Kandao Obsidian R, also 8K 3D 360 at $6999, and the Z-Cam V1 Pro (7K 3D 360 at $8880).  With respect to its AI capability, it would also be competing indirectly with Pilot Era which also uses AI.

For its Kickstarter campaign, Detu Max is even more affordable and is being offered at the shocking price of $2199 for super early bird backers.  According to Detu’s CEO, Detu Max will also be offered on its website after the Kickstarter campaign, for a preorder price of $2599.

About the author

Mic Ty

15 Comments

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  • Interesting. This one is the only other 3D 360 camera that follows the 4x twin lens approach proposed by Vuze…

    All other 3D 360 cameras (that I know of) combine images from lenses that are equidistant in order to get the required parallax.

    Of course, there is also the minimalist approach of “TwoEyes VR” where only two VR 180 twin lens cameras are combined to cover 360 degrees.

    Not sure how all these different approaches affect the final result.

    • They were suppose to have it on Kickstarter by the end of May. Hasn’t happened yet. I’ve subscribed to their mail list and should get word when it goes live. Best for you is to do the same.

  • Lots of hype about this camera in recent weeks but not a single sample clip. At some point they did claim they had some samples, but the links to them led nowhere…

    I would be very curious to see how it compares to the Vuze in terms of IQ but especially in terms of stitching.

    • Thank you Francois, very interested to see sample clips myself. Would love to see a 3D model also, this really caught my attention.

  • will love to see how usable will be for Google Street View (publish directly) if it came with GPS inside to store pics or video coordinates, if it will be dust/rain proof, etc.

  • I am not sure why you said from the video the stitching seems quite good. I can see the misaligned stitching on the boxing ring fence and the stitching problem extends beyond that to even the mirror further in the background. So I am not sure how it will even be able to stitch objects that are within 1.1 inches away. I mean the high resolution and 3D are great features but with the stitching problem I am hard pressed to find reasons to fork out over 2 grands for this camera.

    On another note, I would assume there is no build-in stabilisation (with such lens positioning not even sure if it is possible). Could you verify this?

    • Hi Wesley. If you view an object in front of the lens, it’s smooth, even at a short distance. But the issue is the corners, which are not smoothly stitched. I’ve updated the article to specify this.

      It has built-in stabilization, but I don’t know how effective it is — as you said it seems tricky for this lens configuration.

      Best regards,
      Mic

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