Why Canon’s “360 degree camera” is [probably] NOT a 360 camera


Why Canon's intelligent 360 degree camera is NOT a 360 camera
Why Canon’s intelligent 360 degree camera is NOT a 360 camera

At the Photography Show 2018, Canon announced some new concept cameras, one of which is an “intelligent 360 degree camera,” but I am confident that it is NOT a 360 camera per se.

Canon announced several cameras including a 100-400mm telephoto camera accessory for smartphones. Another camera they announced was an intelligent “360 degree camera.” At first glance, it sounds like Canon is finally creating a 360 camera. But if you read between the lines, it is actually NOT a 360 camera and moreover seems to imply that Canon has no interest in 360 cameras.

The new “intelligent” camera is supposed to be able to use AI to decide when to take a photo or video. Supppsedly it also has 3X zoom and 380-degree panning and tilting. That’s all we need to know that it is NOT a 360 camera.

360 cameras cannot zoom in. Their field of view is always 360 degrees. The fact that this concept camera can zoom in means it isn’t a 360 camera.

360 cameras also have no need for panning and tilting. They capture everything around them so the photo or video can be panned or tilted electronically without loss of image quality. The concept camera can pan or tilt 380 degrees which means it is NOT a 360 camera.

The fact that Canon is creating this concept camera implies that it has no plans for a 360 camera. A 360 camera is ideal for the functions that Canon is envisioning for its concept camera. But instead, Canon is proposing this non-360 camera to accomplish what a 360 camera should be ideal for.  In other words, this is like a car company introducing a more efficient high-mpg internal combustion engine. If they do that, you don’t suddenly expect them to introduce an electric car anytime soon.  Similarly, this concept camera implies that Canon has no current plans for a 360 camera.  It might even imply a corporate ignorance about what a 360 camera can do.

So the bottom line is don’t expect a true 360 camera from Canon anytime in the near future.

Incidentally, there have already been two major camera manufacturers who have produced a 360 camera. Ricoh Pentax created the Theta, which was the first consumer 360 camera and remains the most popular. Then there’s Nikon, which created the Keymission 360.