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EXCLUSIVE SAMPLE PHOTOS: Kandao Obsidian Pro APS-C sensor 360 camera vs Obsidian R and Micro Four Thirds

Kandao Obsidian Pro samples and comparison
Kandao Obsidian Pro samples and comparison
Kandao Obsidian Pro samples and comparison
Kandao Obsidian Pro samples and comparison

Here are the first actual samples from the Kandao Obsidian Pro, the first 360 camera to use APS-C size sensors.  The samples are unstitched but they give an idea of the image quality compared to Obsidian R and the Panasonic GH5, a Micro Four Thirds camera.  Kandao also gave some more information about the Obsidian Pro.

Kandao Obsidian Pro is the world’s first all-in-one 360 camera to use APS-C size sensors, the largest sensors used in a 360 camera (not including rigs).  Larger sensors usually have higher dynamic range, bit depth and signal-to-noise ratio.  But how much better is the Obisidan Pro?  We can now get a better idea thanks to unstitched sample photos provided by Kandao.  They provided unstitched photos at various ISOs in DNG format.  In addition, they provided similar samples from the Kandao Obsidian R 8K 360 camera and a Panasonic GH5 equipped with a Samyang 7.5mm fisheye (a popular diagonal fisheye on Micro Four Thirds).

Field of view and lens type comparison. Left: Obsidian Pro is a cropped fisheye with a wide field of view. Center: Obsidian R is a cropped fisheye with a narrower field of view. Right: the The GH5's Samyang 7.5mm is a diagonal fisheye
Field of view and lens type comparison. Left: Obsidian Pro is a cropped fisheye with a wide field of view. Center: Obsidian R is a cropped fisheye with a narrower field of view. Right: the The GH5’s Samyang 7.5mm is a diagonal fisheye

Please note that the samples have different fields of view, which makes the comparison less ideal.  A camera with a wider field of view will have fewer pixels per degree and all other factors being equal, will appear less detailed compared to a camera with a smaller field of view.  The Obsidian Pro and Obsidian R are both cropped fisheye lenses, while the GH5 with Samyang 7.5mm is a diagonal fisheye.    In this comparison, the Obsidian Pro lens has the widest field of view, followed by the Obsidian R, and finally the GH5, which has the smallest field of view and therefore has an advantage for this comparison.

OBSIDIAN PRO vs. OBSIDIAN R

Kandao Obsidian R
Kandao Obsidian R

Obsidian R is a professional 8K 360 camera with six 1/2.3-inch sensors.

Detail comparison

Below are shots from the middle of their respective lenses, with both at their base ISO.  Although the Obsidian Pro uses a wider lens, it has far more detail than the Obsidian R.

Left: Obsidian Pro center ISO 100. Right: Obsidian R center ISO 100

Left: Obsidian Pro center ISO 100. Right: Obsidian R center ISO 100

High ISO comparison

On the left side below is the Obsidian Pro at ISO 8000.  The Obsidian R is on the right at ISO 3200.  Despite the Obsidian R using an ISO 1.3 stops lower, it has much more noise and much less detail than the Obsidian Pro.

Left: Obsidian Pro center ISO 8000. Right: Obsidian R center ISO 3200
Left: Obsidian Pro center ISO 8000. Right: Obsidian R center ISO 3200

Purple fringing; dynamic range

The Obsidian Pro also appears to have almost no fringing, while the Obsidian R has some fringing around the panda below right.

I also pushed both shots 2EV in post processing to test dynamic range and exposure latitude.  The Obsidian Pro’s shadow areas look very clean despite being pushed 2EV, while the Obsidian R has some luminance noise.  However, the Obsidian Pro’s shadow seems to have a slight magenta tint.

Left: Obsidian Pro has no noticeable fringing.  Right: Obsidian R has some fringing on the Panda.  Both images pushed +2EV in post processing.
Left: Obsidian Pro has no noticeable fringing. Right: Obsidian R has some fringing on the Panda. Both images pushed +2EV in post processing.

OBSIDIAN PRO vs. GH5

Detail comparison

First, let’s compare the Obsidian Pro with the GH5 for detail at the base ISO.  As mentioned previously, the GH5 has an advantage in this comparison because it is using a diagonal fisheye with a significantly smaller field of view compared to the Obsidian Pro.  Nonetheless, the Obsidian Pro is much more detailed, as clearly seen in the bar code on the bottom left and the ruler markings beside it.  The texture of the gray blanket is also much more noticeable in the Obsidian Pro, and nearly invisible in the GH5.

Left: Obsidian Pro center at ISO 100. Right: GH5 center at ISO 200
Left: Obsidian Pro center at ISO 100. Right: GH5 center at ISO 200

I also looked at the edges of their respective images.  The difference between them is even more stark, with the Obsidian Pro being far sharper than the GH5 with Samyang 7.5mm, especially with the calendar text.  However, this difference seems primarily due to the Samyang lens and not the GH5 sensor itself.

Left: Obsidian Pro right edge at ISO 100. Right: GH5 right edge at ISO 200
Left: Obsidian Pro right edge at ISO 100. Right: GH5 right edge at ISO 200

High ISO

On the left side is the Obsidian Pro at ISO 8000.  On the right is the GH5 at ISO 6400.  The Obsidian Pro has much more detail, most evident in the Kandao bar code on the lower left.  As for noise level, they appear similar, although we should note that the Obsidian Pro image is being viewed at a higher magnification.  At a lower magnification, the Kandao will have less noticeable luminance noise.

Left: Obsidian Pro center ISO 8000. Right: GH5 center ISO 6400
Left: Obsidian Pro center ISO 8000. Right: GH5 center ISO 6400

Chromatic aberration; dynamic range

The GH5 with Samyang 7.5mm has slight red chromatic aberration around the panda, whereas the Obsidian Pro has no noticeable chromatic aberration.  As mentioned above, I also pushed the images 2EV to check exposure latitude.  The GH5 looks relatively clean, although it has more luminance noise in the shadow areas than the Obsidian Pro.

Left: Obsidian Pro has no noticeable fringing.  Right: GH5 with Samyang has some red fringing on the Panda.  Both images pushed +2EV in post processing.
Left: Obsidian Pro has no noticeable fringing. Right: GH5 with Samyang has some red fringing on the Panda. Both images pushed +2EV in post processing.

OBSIDIAN PRO f/4 vs. f/5.6

Obsidian Pro is one of the very few 360 cameras that have an adjustable aperture.  Here is a comparison between a shot at f/4 (left) and f/5.6 (right).  It appears that the shot at f/5.6 has higher acuity and appears sharper.  You can see that spaces within the Chinese characters and the English text are larger in the shot at f/5.6.

Left: crop from f/4. Right: crop from f/5.6
Left: crop from f/4. Right: crop from f/5.6

OTHER INFORMATION

Kandao informed me that the Obsidian Pro will use 8 SSD drives and plus one Micro SD card for proxies.  I also asked about minimum stitching distance and for some stitched samples.  They said that they don’t have the Obsidian Pro yet, so they cannot provide that information yet.  I also asked about the price, and they said that the price hasn’t been finalized.

SUMMARY

These test shots are not ideal because of the difference in field of view.  Nonetheless, the Obsidian Pro compares favorably to the GH5 with Samyang 7.5mm and is also far better than the Obsidian R and seems to be quite promising.  It will be interesting to see how well the Obsidian Pro can stitch in both 2D 360 and 3D 360.  I also look forward to seeing its stabilization.

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Mic Ty

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