GoPro Fusion is $100 off on Amazon, B&H Photo, and GoPro’s own website (I believe the discount is until June 23, 2018, 8:59pm PT). It’s the best 360 camera for consumers for both photo and video but it may or may not be for you — here’s what you need to know.
Is it really that good?
Yes it’s really that good. The reviewers that have given it poor reviews don’t know about 360 cameras — regardless of how large their YouTube channel is. The truth is that for video, the Fusion is so far ahead of other consumer 360 cameras that it’s truly incredible.
As my tests have shown, its video quality is almost on par with the $3,499 Insta360 Pro for detail and dynamic range (of course the Pro can also shoot in 3D, which the Fusion can’t do).
As for photo quality, it used to be pretty good, although not stellar. That has changed with the release of the updated app which made it possible to edit and stitch raw photos, which unleashed the full potential of its image quality. It is almost as detailed as the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere (despite having a lower nominal resolution), and has far greater dynamic range.
How good are the photos? In the hands of an experienced shooter such as Sam Rohn, even experienced photographers are mistaking them for DSLR panoramas. Here’s one of Sam’s shots with the Fusion — just a single exposure (not a bracketed exposure).
Obviously, it took a lot of skilled postprocessing to create this result and getting a Fusion doesn’t mean that you’ll suddenly be as good as Sam. But the point is to show what the Fusion is capable of.
Here’s the bottom line:
If you’re serious about 360, or you just want the best 360 camera for consumers, this is it, and there’s nothing on the horizon that seems to be able to beat the Fusion, for at least the next several months. (The Kodak 8K camera is too far away.)
Come on, there’s gotta be a downside
Yes, there are some. The mobile app sucks (as of June 2018). If you’re imagining that you’ll be able to shoot with the Fusion, edit and post all on a mobile workflow, you’ll be disappointed. It can’t even export a standard equirectangular photo, so even photos need to be processed on the desktop.
That brings me to the next point: it needs a dedicated graphics card. If your desktop doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, the software will keep crashing on you. What kind of card do you need? If you’re on a PC, even a GTX 1050 Ti 4GB will work.
Another point is that Fusion is NOT rugged, despite being a GoPro. Sure, it is waterproof, but it doesn’t have a replaceable lens, or an official external housing, so you do have to be careful when shooting with it. I know from personal experience 🙁 That’s why a protection plan is practically required for it. There’s a third-party external housing with replaceable lens, but I don’t know yet how good it is (watch for my review of the case).
Where is the best place to buy the Fusion?
With price being equal, the best place to buy the Fusion is the one that will let you purchase an affordable protection plan — Amazon. GoPro has its own protection plan but it’s much more expensive ($60 per year), has a $130 deductible, and as I found out from my own experience, takes forever to get a replacement (even after you’ve paid the deductible). Amazon’s protection plan costs $54, which is for protection for four years. And there’s no deductible. At this time, Fusion is still in stock at Amazon.
I want to know more about the Fusion.
Glad you asked! Here is the most comprehensive review and resource page for the Fusion. And here is the best Fusion review out there, period. 😉