Insta360 One R 360 Rumors

Best 360 Camera Buying Guide and 360 Camera Comparison Tool by 360 Rumors (updated June 5, 2020)

Best virtual tour camera 2020
Best virtual tour camera 2020

Find the best 360 camera for your needs with this clear, simple, and updated 360 Camera Buying Guide. You can also compare cameras with the 360 Camera Comparison Tool, which enables you to compare 360 cameras side by side. This guide is continuously updated as new 360 cameras are released, and as new features are added to existing 360 cameras.

Best 360 camera for virtual tours (December 2018)
360 camera buying guide

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. 360 Camera Buying Guide – June 3, 2020
Upcoming cameras
2. Compare any two 360 cameras for photo (updated June 3, 2020)
– Comparison between 360 cameras vs. DSLRs (strictly speaking, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras)
3. Compare any two 360 cameras for video
4. Use the virtual tour camera comparison and ranking table (updated June 5, 2020). Sort the table to rank the cameras for price, detail, dynamic range, or ease of use.
5. See a list of professional 360 cameras with the largest sensors

360 CAMERA BUYING GUIDE (Q2 2020)

360 camera buying guide (June 2020)
360 camera buying guide (June 2020)

Below are the instructions and an explanation of the 360 camera recommendation for each category.

Step 1: Determine your primary intended use. Is it for photos or videos? Look at the row that corresponds to your primary intended use.

Step 2: Determine your top priority, and look at the column in the table that corresponds to your top priority.
Price / affordability
Practicality / convenience: this includes convenience and ease of use, from shooting, editing, to sharing.
Performance / image quality: this is primarily image quality, including features that directly affect image quality.

Step 3: Determine your second priority. Within each cell, see which camera corresponds to your second priority. For example, if your primary intended use is video, and your top priority is performance, and your second priority is practicality, then you should get the Insta360 One X.

Recommended 360 cameras as of June 3, 2020:

I. Photo

     A. Priority: Price / affordability

          1. Next priority: Performance

Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera (c) 360rumors.com

Xiaomi Mi Sphere (reviewed here; $199): This 360 camera has the highest detail for 360 photos, for cameras under $500. It has manual exposure and can shoot DNG, and its desktop software can stitch DNG.  As for videos, it can shoot 4K 30fps with decent quality, although the stabilization is not as good as the current generation.

GoPro Fusion 360 camera

GoPro Fusion (reviewed here; $199): This has the best dynamic range for 360 photos for cameras under $500. However, it does not have manual exposure. It does have a raw mode (GPR format) and its software can stitch in raw, but its raw workflow is tedious.  Fusion also has excellent video (see below).

         2. Next priority: Practicality


Madv Mini $99 (Android only): this is a smartphone 360 camera that takes photos with similar quality to the Ricoh Theta SC. Because it connects to your phone, it can transfer photos automatically to your phone, simplifying the workflow.

Ricoh Theta SC $179 (iOS, Android): this 360 camera can take standard or HDR photos with realtime stitching. The files from the camera are ready to share, no stitching required.

     B. Priority: Practicality / convenience

         1. Next Priority: Performance

Ricoh Theta Z1 360 camera with 1-inch sensors

Ricoh Theta Z1 (reviewed here; $999): This 360 camera uses 1-inch sensors (more than 4 times larger than typical 1/2.3-inch sensors in other 360 cameras). It can capture HDR photos with realtime stitching (no need for manual stitching or manual HDR), with excellent image quality, no editing needed. Theta Z1 has manual exposure and DNG mode. The DNG mode is not stitched in realtime, but has an easy workflow that enables editing and stitching in Lightroom.

Kandao QooCam 8K
Kandao QooCam 8K

Qoocam 8K (reviewed here; $599): With its new SuperHDR mode, the Qoocam 8K has the best dynamic range for 360 cameras when no third party software are used (e.g. Lightroom or HDR software).  The Super HDR mode can stack, merge and stitch photos from within the phone app, all in one step. It has less detail than Theta Z1 but is still fairly detailed.

 

Insta360 One R

Insta360 One R (reviewed here; $479 Twin Edition): The Insta360 One R is a modular 360 camera that converts to an action cam, drone camera, or a 1-inch sensor camera.  For photos, it has a 9-shot HDR  in both Raw and JPG, which can be batch stitched and fused in its desktop app, in one step.  It also has a 9-shot Raw DNG stacking mode for low noise and high dynamic range, which can also be batch exported in one step.

         2. Next Priority: Price

Ricoh Theta SC (reviewed here; $179 for iOS, Android): as mentioned above, this 360 camera can take HDR photos with realtime stitching, no editing needed. The quality is not as good as the Z1 but this is much more affordable.  As for video, the Theta SC does have a video mode, but it is limited to a paltry 1920 x 960, which is far too low for 360 videos.  The Theta SC is almost identical to the Theta S, except that the SC’s videos are limited to 5 minutes per video.

Ricoh Theta SC2
Ricoh Theta SC2
Ricoh Theta SC2 (previewed here; $299 for iOS, Android): this is similar to the Theta V, but is more affordable.  It has the same realtime HDR stitching feature as the SC and Z1 but has slightly better image quality than the Theta SC due to better lenses.  The primary benefit of the Theta SC2 over the SC is the ability to record stabilized 360 video at 4K (plus the option to use realtime stitching for video).  Compared to the Theta V, Theta SC2 has no spatial audio and no microphone input, but has a small LED status screen.

     C. Priority: Performance / image quality

         1. Next priority: Dynamic range

Ricoh Theta Z1 360 camera with 1-inch sensors

Ricoh Theta Z1 (reviewed here; $999): As discussed above, this 360 camera uses 1-inch sensors. It has the highest dynamic range for photos among 360 cameras I’ve tested. It also has very high exposure latitude and in bright light, is ISO invariant, with shadow recovery up to 5EV. It is also sharp and detailed, with very good stitching (although not perfect).

 

Kandao QooCam 8K
Kandao QooCam 8K

Qoocam 8K (reviewed here; $599): For quality, the Qoocam 8K’s SuperHDR provides excellent dynamic range, although the photo is in JPG. For users who want maximum quality, you can use Qoocam 8K’s Express DNG8 mode or in-camera DNG8 Raw+ to create 16-bit DNG photos with in-camera image stacking (no need to use Kandao Raw+).

 

Insta360 One R

Insta360 One R (reviewed here; $479 Twin Edition): The One R’s photos are not the most detailed but they have amazing dynamic range because of the 9-shot HDR in both Raw and JPG, which can be batch stitched and fused in its desktop app, in one step and exported as Adobe DNG.  It also has a 9-shot Raw DNG stacking mode which enables you to shoot a burst of 8 Raw DNG photos, eight of which reduce noise through median stacking, plus a ninth shot which is underexposed -4EV to preserve highlights.

         2. Next priority: Detail

XPhase Pro $879 (reviewed here): This is a new 360 camera with 25 BSI CMOS sensors that are each 8mp, for a total capture resolution of 200mp (stitched resolution: 135mp). With more than double the capture resolution of the previous record holder, Panono, the XPhase is the highest resolution 360 camera as of December 2019. Stitching quality is good, although there is occasional warping. The photos can be exported in 16-bit PNG format for editing and conversion into JPG.  Surprisingly, the XPhase costs much less than either the Aleta S2C or the Ricoh Theta Z1.

Ricoh Theta Z1 360 camera with 1-inch sensors

Ricoh Theta Z1 (reviewed here; $999): Although the Theta Z1’s nominal resolution is only 24mp, it is one of the most detailed 360 cameras I’ve tested, with better detail than the Qoocam 8K’s 29mp photos.

II. Video

     A. Priority: Price / affordability

          1. Next priority: Performance

GoPro Fusion 360 camera

GoPro Fusion (reviewed here; $299): Now under $299, the GoPro Fusion is one of the most affordable 360 cameras with 5.6K resolution.  At the same time, it also has excellent video quality.


Yi 360 VR (reviewed here; $159 to $199): The Yi 360 VR is the most affordable 5.7K 360 camera, and is even more affordable than some 4K 360 cameras.  It has been heavily discounted from its original $399 price because it appears the manufacturer is no longer updating it.  Nonetheless, the Yi 360 VR still has excellent video quality.  Its primary drawbacks are: lack of a Mac stitcher, and very slow stitching.

          2. Next priority: Practicality

Insta360 ONE
Insta360 ONE

Insta360 One (reviewed here; $199): If you want the convenience and features of the Insta360 One X at around half the price, the Insta360 One is for you.  This is the predecessor to the One X with many of its features, including 2nd-generation stabilization, no stitch editing, hyperlapse, manual exposure for photos and videos.  The video quality is limited to 4K though.  Another issue is that when shooting wirelessly, there is no live preview.

     B. Priority: Practicality / convenience

          1. Next priority: Performance

 

Insta360 One R

Insta360 One R (reviewed here; $479 Twin Edition): The One R is one of the easiest 360 cameras to use and edit, which is remarkable considering its unmatched array of features.  It features a touchscreen with an intuitive menu and gives you access to almost all of the features without overwhelming you.  It is also unique in enabling you to edit and share your videos without having to download them to your phone.  For editing, the One R has a class-leading app that can use AI to edit your video automatically.  For desktop editing, the One R has the unique Insta360 no-stitch workflow that enables editing in Premiere without having to stitch videos beforehand.

Review photos and videos on GoPro Max's large touchscreen
GoPro MAX

GoPro MAX; $499): GoPro MAX is one of the easiest 360 cameras to use.  It has a touchscreen, which makes changing settings easier.  It is also the first 360 camera to feature a stabilized non-360 mode with realtime stitching (de-fishing and stabilization).  Finally, it has fast stitching, although the Cineform format takes up a lot of space.

Insta360 One X, a stabilized 360 camera that captures a third person view video at up to 5.7K

Insta360 One X (reviewed here; $399): Although the Insta360 One X does not have realtime stitching, it does have a no-editing workflow on both mobile and desktop, which makes it almost as easy as having realtime stitching.  At the same, it also has class-leading video quality.

          2. Next priority: Price


Yi 360 VR (reviewed here; $159 to $199): The Yi 360 VR is inconvenient for stitching at 5.7K resolution due to its slow stitching speed.  However, the Yi 360 VR has a realtime stitching mode at 4K 30fps.   In realtime stitching mode, the video is not stabilized.  However, the Yi 360 VR does include a sidecar file that includes stabilization data, which enables stabilization to be added after-the-fact with the desktop software.


360Rize Penguin ($149): This 360 camera has realtime stitching for both photos and videos.  The videos are 4K 30fps, although it can also shoot 6K at 12fps.  It also has a slimmer profile than the Yi 360 VR, which means it has less parallax stitching error.  However, its videos have no stabilization.

     C. Priority: Performance / image quality

          1. Next priority: Practicality

Kandao QooCam 8K
Kandao QooCam 8K

Qoocam 8K (reviewed here; $579): The Qoocam 8K has the best video quality among consumer 360 cameras, with slightly better detail and has less compression than the MAX or One X.  It is also easy to use, thanks to its touchscreen.   It also features a mic input.

Review photos and videos on GoPro Max's large touchscreen
GoPro MAX

GoPro MAX; $499): GoPro MAX has the second best video quality at the moment, with similar detail to the One X and better low light performance.  It is also easy to shoot with, thanks to its touchscreen.  Its weakness for performance is that it does not have a slow motion mode for 360 videos.  If you’re willing to live with that, it’s a good choice for a camera with high performance.

 

Insta360 One R

Insta360 One R (reviewed here; $479 Twin Edition): The One R has excellent video quality and at the same time, has the most features among all consumer 360 cameras as of February 2020.  It also has a very easy workflow.  You can edit and share videos without downloading them or stitching them beforehand.  And on the desktop, you can edit its videos without stitching them when you use Adobe Premiere.

 

Insta360 One X, a stabilized 360 camera that captures a third person view video at up to 5.7K

Insta360 One X (reviewed here; $399): The Insta360 One X is the most popular 360 camera at the moment because it has excellent video quality and is also easy to use.  It has the second longest list of features, such as slow motion, bullet time, time shift (speed ramping), hyperlapse, HDR Video, and more.  Although it has flaws, it has no major weaknesses that could be truly considered dealbreakers.

          2. Next priority: Price

GoPro Fusion 360 camera

GoPro Fusion (reviewed here; $299): The GoPro Fusion has video quality that is comparable to that of the Insta360 One X, although the stabilization in anti-shake mode is not as good as the One X’s direction lock.  The Fusion doesn’t have as many features as the One X but is waterproof.  Please note Fusion requires a graphics card, and exports only to Cineform or Prores codec.

These photos and videos are copyrighted and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). That means yes you can take screenshots for non-commercial use but you need to post a link back to this page. For any other use, please contact me to obtain a license. The comparison and ranking chart is copyrighted and may not be copied.

GoPro Fusion review and comparison
Top to bottom: Ricoh Theta V, Insta360 ONE, Yi 360 VR, Samsung Gear 360 2017, Samsung Gear 360 2016, Kodak Orbit360, Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere, Garmin Virb 360, Nikon Keymission 360.

UPCOMING 360 CAMERAS

Pilot One: This is an 8K 360 camera with in-camera stitching with stabilization at 8K 24 fps.  I’m testing this camera right now.

360 CAMERA VIDEO COMPARISON TOOL

Click on the upper left corner to select a camera. Do the same for the other side. Remember: you can pause and loop (right click and select loop). You can also maximize each window by double-clicking on the video. Some cameras have multiple samples. Please choose the sample with the SAME DATE to make sure the lighting conditions are the same. I relabeled the playlist to make it easier to find the samples with the same lighting conditions.

360 CAMERA PHOTO COMPARISON TOOL

360 cameras vs. DSLRs (technically, interchangeable lens cameras)
360 cameras vs. DSLRs (technically, interchangeable lens cameras)

The comparison tool now includes comparisons of 360 cameras and some mirrorless cameras. This comparison is designed for 360 camera users who are considering using a DSLR for higher quality, as well as for DSLR shooters who are considering 360 cameras for speed.

Click on the carousel on the bottom to select a camera. Do the same for the other side. You can also maximize each window if you wish. Some cameras have multiple samples. Please choose the sample with the lighting conditions closest to the other camera you are comparing (use the shadows as a hint).

Top row: May 2020 comparison by Mic Ty
Middle row: comparison with Ben Claremont (Dec 2019)
Bottom row: comparison with Ricoh Theta Z1 and XPhase Pro (August 2019)

360 CAMERAS vs. DSLRs (INTERCHANGEABLE LENS CAMERAS) PHOTO COMPARISON TOOL

Click on the carousel on the bottom to select a camera. Do the same for the other side. You can also maximize each window if you wish. Some cameras have multiple samples.

VIRTUAL TOUR CAMERA COMPARISON TABLE CHART

Here are the best 360 cameras for virtual tours.  The table is sortable by name, price, detail, dynamic range, or ease of use.  To sort the tables, just click on the column name.  For sample photos, please use the photo comparison tool above.

Click for ReviewPriceDetailDynamic rangeEase of useComments
DSLR 78mp HDR8009.25106.5Higher bit depth
GoPro Fusion JPG19988.57.5
GoPro Fusion JPG1998.2597Best DR for single shot, up to $600
GoPro MAX JPG49988.2510
GoPro MAX HDR499897
Insta360 One R fast (HDR9 JPG)4597.59.258Stitching error bug
Insta360 One R HQ4598.25107.5Easiest way to get 10 DR for under $500
Insta360 One X fast (HDR JPG)3997.59.258
Insta360 One X HQ3998.25107.5Easiest way to get 10 DR for under $500
Labpano Pilot One HDR12008.58.758.5Stitching errors
Mi Sphere JPG2998.58.258Best detail without editing, under $600
Mi Sphere bracket2998.597.5
Mi Sphere HQ2998.75107Best detail under $900
Qoocam Fast (ExpressDNG8)29978.758
Qoocam HQ29979.57
Qoocam 8K SuperHDR5998.5108.5Easiest way to get 10 DR
Qoocam 8K DNG85998.59.257
Qoocam 8K HQ5998.5107
Ricoh Theta V / Theta SC2 fast (HDR)2997.49.259.5
Ricoh Theta V HQ3857.49.57.5
Theta Z1 fast99999.259.5Higher bit depth
Theta Z1 (HQ Dual Fisheye)9999108Higher bit depth
XPhase fast HDR87910108Stitching errors, glare
XPhase HQ87910107.5Stitching errors, glare
Click for ReviewPriceDetailDynamic RangeEase of UseComments


PROFESSIONAL 360 CAMERA COMPARISON CHART

Here are the 360 cameras with the largest sensors

 Camera (click for more info)PriceSensorVideo Resolution
Excalibur15100Four full frame sensors (Sony A7S)6K (8mm lens)
Rig RedTwo full frame Red Helium sensors8K 60fps
Entaniya 250 rigTwo APS-C sensors (Sony a6500)5K (back to back)
4K (side to side)
Z Cam V1 Pro35000nine Micro Four Thirds sensors8K 2D
7K 3D
Insta360 Titan 10K Micro Four Thirds 360 camera
Insta360 Titan 10K Micro Four Thirds 360 camera
Insta360 Titan12000Eight Micro Four Thirds sensors10K 3D 360
iZugar Z8XL Micro Four Thirds 3D 360 camera rig
iZugar Z8XL Micro Four Thirds 3D 360 camera rig
iZugar Z8XL9999Eight Micro Four Thirds5.4K 3D 360
Z Cam S1 Pro
Z Cam S1 Pro
Z Cam S1 Pro9800Four Micro Four Thirds sensors6K 2D 360 (partial 3D 360)
iZugar Z4XL Micro Four Thirds 360 camera rig
iZugar Z4XL Micro Four Thirds 360 camera rig
iZugar Z4XL4999Four Micro Four Thirds sensors6K 2D 360
CES 2017: Boxfish 360 is a professional underwater 360 cameraBoxfish 360 underwater camera15000Three Micro Four Thirds sensors5K (waterproof to 300 meters)
Z Cam K1 Pro Micro Four Thirds VR180 camera
Z Cam K1 Pro Micro Four Thirds VR180 camera
Z Cam K1 Pro3000Two Micro Four Thirds sensors6K VR180
iZugar Z2XL Micro Four Thirds 3D180 camera
iZugar Z2XL Micro Four Thirds 3D180 camera
iZugar Z2XL1802699Two Micro Four Thirds sensors
Entaniya 250 for Micro Four Thirds
Entaniya 250 for Micro Four Thirds
Entaniya 250 one-shotOne Micro Four Thirds sensor4K 250-degrees
Sphericam Beast 360 camera with 1-inch sensors
Sphericam Beast 360 camera with 1-inch sensors
Sphericam BeastFour 1-inch sensors6K
Indiecam nakedEye S4Four 2/3-inch sensors6K CinemaDNG raw
Indiecam NakedEYE
Indiecam nakedEYE
Indiecam nakedEye9500 EURTwo 2/3-inch sensors4K CinemaDNG raw

OTHER BUYING GUIDES:

Best 360 camera for virtual tours and real estate 2020:

Best 360 camera for a travel, vacation, or cruise
Best 360 camera for cyclists, motorcyclists, and motorsports