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360 camera deals: should you buy GoPro Fusion for $279 in 2022?

360 camera deals - GoPro Fusion $279
360 camera deals – GoPro Fusion $279

GoPro Fusion is available here for $279.  Should you buy it?  Believe it or not, it’s still relevant in 2022.  Here are its pros and cons.

GoPro Fusion (reviewed here) is a 360 camera that was released in 2017 at $699.   Today in 2022, it is still available, and the price has gone down to $279.  Is it a good deal or would you be wasting money?

GoPro Fusion $279
GoPro Fusion $279

When GoPro Fusion was released in 2017, it was considered revolutionary because it offered far better video quality than anything else on the market.

Pros:

  • Video quality is still considered excellent and on par with the best 360 cameras in 2022.  When I got the Fusion in 2017, I bought it at the full price of $699, which was far more expensive than any other consumer 360 camera at that time.  Yet it was worth it, because of the excellent video quality.  Surprisingly, even in 2022, the video quality of the Fusion is still on par with the best 360 cameras.

  • Excellent stabilization

  • Waterproof

  • Can take photos in Raw, which the new GoPro MAX (reviewed here) cannot do.  See the sample virtual tour below.

  • Records video and photo with GPS metadata.  If you want to record blue lines for Google Street View, this is one of the cameras that can do it.

  • Very affordable at $279

*Correction: when I posted this, I wrote that it has a removable lens cover.  That was my mistake.  There is a 3rd party case with a replaceable lens cover.

Someone shared this sample GoPro Fusion virtual tour on the GoPro Max / Fusion Facebook group.  The stitch line is a bit blurred but I love the natural-looking colors.  For sample videos, see my review video below.

Cons:

  • Desktop editing is a bit less straightforward.   GoPro Fusion is unusual because it has two Micro SD cards.  One Micro SD card recorded the front lens and the other recorded the rear lens.  Many people complained about the workflow.  But the truth is that it’s really simple.  Just connect your Fusion to your PC via a USB Type C cable.  You’ll be able to read from both cards simultaneously.  Copy all the files from each card into the same directory on your hard drive.  Then the Fusion Studio desktop app will be able to stitch the videos and photos.

  • Needs a graphics card.  If your PC doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, stitching the videos from the Fusion will take a very long time.  But even a modest graphics card such as a GTX 1050Ti will speed up the stitching dramatically.  Please note that this is also true for other 360 cameras such as Insta360.

  • Can only export 5.7K video in Cineform.  If you export at the full resolution, the only available format is Cineform, which is about 9 times larger than an mp4 file.

  • Unusual Raw workflow.  Although GoPro Fusion does take very good quality Raw photos, the Raw workflow is not straightforward.  You’ll have to edit the GPR files, making sure to edit both the front lens and rear lens the same way, then export them as JPG with a _GPR suffix in their filename.  Here is a tutorial.

  • Very difficult to connect with phone app.  I find it very difficult to successfully establish a wireless connection between the GoPro Fusion and the GoPro phone app.  You can pretty much forget about mobile editing.

Summary

If you want a convenient 360 camera that you can use for social media, I would not recommend the Fusion.  I would get the Insta360 One X2 instead or at least the GoPro MAX, which can connect to the GoPro app a lot more easily.   But if you want to have a 360 camera that can shoot high quality 360 video for editing on a desktop, the GoPro Fusion is an amazing deal at $279 and I would still buy it even in 2022.

Here is my original GoPro Fusion review from 2018.

About the author

Mic Ty

11 Comments

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  • I disagree. I’ve had to help so many people on the GoPro Forums who bought a “Fusion” cheaply only to find the software is no longer supported on Mac (https://gopro.com/en/us/news/fusion-end-of-life) and can’t connect to an iPhone for them to use the app.

    I bought two Fusions when they were first released and I was so disappointed by how bad the Fusion Studio software was. Even with the long rendering times, it was widely known to have a memory leak issue (that was never fixed) and was extremely limited in what it could do. As soon as the Beta 1.4 Fusion Studio was released, all support for the GoPro Fusion was dropped.

    I’ve used the Insta360 One X2 and the image quality is far superior to that of the GoPro Fusion. The Fusion also seems to suffer from a lot of chromatic aberrations at the edges of the lens and the stitching is not as good as that on the Insta360 One X2.

    I can say that I don’t like the Insta360 One X2 app, it’s confusing, poorly laid out and it’s like logging into a social media site than an actual private app. However in terms of quality and usability, the GoPro Fusion Studio is just a very poor choice given todays competition and price points.

    • I agree, Usability, stability and software was and is still really bad and definetly not for beginners.

      But in terms of video quality I disagree. No Insta360 camera has significantly better video quality than the Fusion. Would love to see Insta adding a 8K camera to their portfolio.

      • Sounds like a challenge, pretty sure if I do a side by side of several clips people could easily pick out which was shot with the X2 and Which was shot with the Fusion.

        The Fusion does win in the fact that it has built in GPS and the remote and app still work well with it. I find the remote for the X2 to be appalling. I can mount my Fusion on the wing of the airplane and have it recording and communicating with the app and remote without issue all while recording GPS. The battery life seems to be slightly better too.

        With the X2 the app or the remote have to stay communicating with the camera at all times to record GPS information. The remote constantly drops connection and fails to communicate with the camera (even though it’s only 8 feet away) and the app can then fail to power on the camera at crucial times. The only option is to leave the camera on recording which means your battery may be flat by the time you reach your destination.

        • Hey there DemonView. In terms of detail, I would agree with Simon that it’s on par with any consumer 360 camera in 2022. Not saying at all that it’s perfect, but it can still keep up with even the best 360 cameras in terms of video quality and even photo quality, imho.

  • Very good, updated review about the fusion, Mic!

    I am still loving my Fusion because of the video quality. Meanwhile using it for virtual tours as well. RAW edited Photos look pretty good.

    I would add two cons:
    – Development stopped, so no more bugfixes on desktop app or on camera (there is a bug with >10min Videos and stabilization)
    – Quality at the stitching line is pretty poor

    • Thanks Simon! I agree the Fusion has great video quality and the Raw photo quality is quite good too. Uhuh the stitch line is super soft because GoPro chose a lens that prioritizes detail in the middle of the lens.

  • I haven’t really touched my Fusion since GoPro dropped support for the Fusion Studio software for Mac OS Big Sur +
    Without the software, the camera is worthless.

    There were a lot of angry and frustrated Mac users seeing the company kill support for a barely 2 year old camera at the time.

    Fortunately, users found that the older Fusion Studio version 1.2 still worked. (There is also exists a beta/experimental version of the GoPro player that sort of worked for the Fusion files–but not acceptable).

    GoPro also seems to have removed support forums for the older cams because they were tired of Fusion owners complaining, justifiably.

    Still, as of this week, I’m surprised how well the Studio 1.2 software works on my new Mac Studio M1 Max running Monterey.

    The Fusion files stitch much faster compared to my old Mac Pro 5,1 (with RX580).

    If GoPro would be a more consumer friendly company— heck—even offer a paid update of their Fusion studio software to take advantage of the faster Macs— the Fusion would be a killer camera still in 2022.