DPReview, the world’s most popular review site for cameras, has finally deigned to give a somewhat serious review of a 360 camera, something it has never done before. The camera is the GoPro Fusion (here’s DPR’s review), and here is my analysis of what DPReview got right and what they got wrong.
Hit: DPR emphasized that Fusion’s Overcapture is an important feature. Overcapture means presenting a 360 video as a non-360 video, with the creator deciding which parts of the 360 video to show. To demonstrate the usefulness of Overcapture, they showed a skatepark video, and then used Overcapture to track the skater around.
Miss: What DPR didn’t mention is that overcapture is a capability for all 360 cameras. It can be done with any 360 video and any 360 photo. It is true that Fusion does have a built-in overcapture function in its mobile app, but it’s not the best app for it. Fusion’s strength for Overcapture is its excellent detail, which gives the user more latitude for cropping the video while still having decent image quality.
Hit: DPR mentioned all the major features of the Fusion, and some of its disadvantages including its nonreplaceable lenses.
Miss: DPR fails to mention one of the most important limitations for Fusion which is that you need a desktop with a dedicated GPU in order to stitch its 360 videos in full resolution.
Miss: DPR complains that Fusion uses two Micro SD cards and says there are several rigs that shoot directly into a single card. While it’s true that Fusion does use two Micro SD cards, in practice it’s transparent to the user. You can add the files from both cards into a single folder, and they’ll be matched automatically by Fusion Studio. So it’s not really a bother.
Having two Micro SD cards has an important advantage: it allows Fusion to record at a higher bitrate than if it used only one Micro SD card. It is also less prone to overheating because of the two-Micro SD card design. DPR doesn’t mention any of this.
Hit: DPR mentioned the Fusion’s ease of use and its very good image quality, while also noting that it’s a small sensor camera, to keep expectations realistic.
Hit: DPR correctly noted that Fusion’s stabilization is on par with a gimbal.
Miss: DPR’s sample incorrectly positions the Fusion on the extension pole, so the extension pole is visible instead of being invisible, if the pole had been in-line with the Fusion (the invisible camera effect). They also correctly noted that the Fusion has a GoPro style mount instead of 1/4-20 mount but claim you need to buy a $20 adapter. The truth is that there are plenty of inexpensive adapters on Amazon.
Hit: As DPR noted, the desktop app has limited overcapture export options. They do note that you can use keyframing on Premiere but says it requires “fairly advanced knowledge of key framing.”
Miss: The keyframing on Premiere is actually very easy. It’s not complex at all. Just apply the GoPro VR Reframe effect to the video, click the keyframe icon to create a keyframe, and then move sliders for pitch, yaw, and roll as desired. Then move on to the next point in time, click on the keyframe icon again to create another keyframe, and repeat. And there are other keyframing options if you export in 4K such as Insta360 Studio.
Miss: In its conclusion, DPReview gives the impression that Fusion is basically similar to other stabilized 360 cameras, and even compares it to the Rylo. They also mention Vuze for “more serious VR work.” That’s misleading. For two-lens cameras, Fusion is much more detailed than other 360 cameras including Rylo. And although Vuze is more expensive than Fusion, it is less detailed than Fusion, nor does it offer stabilization. DPR’s alternative suggestions simply show their very limited knowledge of 360 cameras.
If you want a real Fusion review, from a real 360 shooter, complete with comparisons of image quality, then check out my GoPro Fusion review here.