I’ve shot underwater with nine different consumer 360 cameras, and I finally found one that stitches smoothly underwater.
I’ve shot with many consumer 360 cameras underwater:
– Garmin Virb 360
– Nikon Keymission 360
– Elecam 360 / MGCool 360 (dedicated housing)
– Ricoh Theta S (hardcase)
– Samsung Gear 360 2016 (smartphone case)
– Samsung Gear 360 2017 (smartphone case and Theta hardcase)
– Xiaomi Mi Sphere (smartphone case)
– Insta360 Nano (smartphone case)
– Giroptic iO (smartphone case)
If you are buying any of those cameras with the intent to use them underwater, please note that none of those cameras can stitch well underwater due to refraction, which narrows their field of view. With a narrower field of view, there will be a large blind spot along the stitch line.
But finally, I found a consumer 360 camera that can stitch reasonably smoothly underwater, using its dedicated housing: the Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K Dual Pro.
The dedicated housing for the Sp360 4K Dual Pro enables the Dual Pro to be used up to a depth of 30 meters (around 100 feet). It has buttons to let you control the Dual Pro even when fully encased in the housing.
Here’s a video about the SP360 4K Dual Pro underwater housing.
Here are the stitching settings I used (I used the same distance of 1.21 for both cameras):
Here is a sample underwater video with the housing:
Please note how people are generally able to cross the stitch line and the stitching remains reasonably coherent except when very close to the camera.
Because the Kodak SP360 4K Dual Pro has the best underwater stitching I’ve seen for a consumer 360 camera, I believe it is the best underwater 360 camera for consumers. How about you? What do you think of these samples? Is there another 360 camera that you believe would be better underwater? Let me know in the comments!