360 Camera Reviews Virtual Tour Cameras & Lenses

XPhase Pro Review: highest resolution 360 camera with 200 megapixels (updated Aug. 9, 2019)

XPhase and XPhase Review: 200mp 360 camera
XPhase and XPhase Review: 200mp 360 camera

The XPhase Pro S is the highest resolution 360 camera as of July 2019.  It’s a 360 camera with 25 sensors, each with 8 megapixels, for a total resolution of 200 megapixels.  That is almost double the resolution of the previous record holder, which was the Panono (reviewed here), which has 36 sensors, each with 3 megapixels, for a total resolution of 108 megapixels.  Moreover, the XPhase Pro S is more affordable at $879 (see below for a special offer).  This all looks great on paper, but how is it in real life?  Is it the best virtual tour camera?  Here is a hands-on XPhase Pro review with samples, detailed analysis and upcoming comparison with Panono (reviewed here), Ricoh Theta Z1 (reviewed here), Aleta S2C (reviewed here), and other 360 cameras, and a tutorial.  August 7, 2019 update: Part 2 of my XPhase review posted; August 9, 2019: Street view usage added.

Executive Summary (updated August 7, 2019)
Comparison: XPhase vs Theta Z1, DSLR, Aleta S2C, Panono (added August 11, 2019)
Specifications and features (updated July 23, 2019)
XPhase Sample photos (updated July 17, 2019)
Workflow and tutorial (updated July 17, 2019)
Download the manuals in English
How to straighten photos (added July 20, 2019)
How to fix stitching errors (added July 20, 2019)
PTGui stitching template (added August 9, 2019)
Street View usage (added August 9, 2019)
Conclusion; Strengths and Weaknesses
Price and availability; Discount (updated July 17, 2019)
Accessories (updated July 21, 2019)
FAQ (added July 18, 2019)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (updated Aug. 7, 2019)

Here is a video review of the XPhase Pro that includes its specifications, key features, workflow and 5 uses for its high resolution.



Part 2 of my review is a comparison between XPhase vs. Theta Z1, a DSLR, Aleta S2C, and Panono.

XPhase Pro review and comparison vs Ricoh Theta Z1, DSLR, Aleta S2C, Panono
XPhase Pro review and comparison vs Ricoh Theta Z1, DSLR, Aleta S2C, Panono

Part 2 is here:

Specifications and Features (updated July 23, 2019)

Lenses25 lenses, approx. 28mm in 35mm equivalent terms
Aperturef/2.2
Field of viewFully Spherical
Sensors25 lenses x 1/3.2 inch 8mp BSI CMOS
Photo resolution16384 x 8192 (134mp) stitched
200 megapixels unstitched
Shutter speed1/4000 to 1 sec.
ISOTBA
Exposure modesAuto (handheld) or auto (tripod)
Self-timer5, 10, or 20 secs.
HDR mode3 shots (-2, 0, +2)
StabilizationTBA
StorageRemovable USB drive (32GB, optional 64GB or 128GB)
ConnectivityWi-Fi
Battery3400 mAh Li-Po
250 shots
Nonremovable
CompatibilityiOS, Android, Windows
WaterproofNo
DimensionsCamera: 60mm diameter
Handle: 22mm diameter
Height: 245mm
Weight248g
MSRP$879

Key Features

Please note: the XPhase can only take photos.  It cannot take videos.

HDR: XPhase can take a 3-shot HDR photo for wide dynamic range, and uses a special HDR fusion algorithm to avoid ghosting even for moving subjects.  7/23/19 UPDATE: the new upgraded version of the XPhase available in August 2019 will have 6-shot HDR.

XPhase can take HDR photos
XPhase can take HDR photos


Genlocked sensors
: all 25 sensors are genlocked and synchronized.  You can capture moving subjects without ghosting.

Optical flow stitching:  XPhase’s software can stitch photos automatically with optical flow stitching, resulting in smooth stitching for both near and far objects.

Rectilinear lenses: XPhase uses rectilinear lenses instead of fisheye lenses.  Each photo that comprises the stitched photo uses all of the sensor (compared to circular fisheyes where a portion of the sensor is not used) and because lenses do not protrude from the camera, they are less likely to be damaged.

16-bit PNG lossless format: XPhase Pro can export panoramas in lossless 16-bit PNG format, which offers similar editing flexibility as a raw file.

Create virtual tours: Xphase Pro includes software for creating virtual tours.

XPhase includes an app for creating virtual tours
XPhase includes an app for creating virtual tours

 

Xphase Pro S:

Upgraded XPhase Pro S starts shipping
Upgraded XPhase Pro S starts shipping

An upgraded version is being released, to be called XPhase Pro S.  Here are planned features that will be added via firmware or app update, according to the manufacturer:

Raw DNG Mode: an upgraded version of XPhase will have Raw DNG mode.

Manual exposure: true manual exposure (ISO and shutter speed), not just exposure compensation.

Stabilization: XPhase has a built-in gyroscope.  It has not yet been activated as of July 2019.  A firmware update will add stabilization.

Geotagging: When shooting with your phone, you’ll be able to add the location to your photo.

Time lapse: they will add time lapse capability in the future.

Beginning late August 2019, the XPhase Pro S will be shipping in a hardcase with customizable foam cutouts.

XPhase Pro hardcase
XPhase Pro hardcase

XPhase Sample Photos (updated July 17, 2019)

Here are sample unedited JPG photos from a preproduction version of XPhase Pro, straight out of the camera.  The exposure compensation for these was -1.3EV for the outdoor jet photo and -2EV for the indoor photos.


Here are sample photos from the XPhase, with edits in Photoshop.   Note: there are older sample photos that have unnatural colors.  Please disregard them — they were shot before the July 2019 firmware and app update that significantly improved the colors.

XPhase claims a minimum stitching distance of 0.3m.  I have been able to take some shots that were indeed stitched correctly with objects as close as 0.3m.  However, I found that when there are objects within around 3 feet of the camera, there are usually more stitching errors around the panorama.  I also found that sometimes, there are minor stitching errors even when there is nothing near the camera.  

Download unedited sample files here.

Sample ORI files here.

Workflow and Tutorial (updated July 17, 2019)

Standalone

The XPhase can be used by itself.  It has only one button, and there are two LED lights.  The top LED is the battery life indicator, while the bottom LED is the storage indicator.  Both LEDs change color depending on the amount of battery life or storage left, according to the colors of the rainbow:
– red (less than 20%),
– yellow (40% left),
– green (60%),
– blue (80%), or
– purple (more than 80%).
Tip: with the camera off, you can check the remaining battery by pressing the power button (but don’t press more than 2 seconds or else it will turn on and startup).   Note: according to XPhase, the camera will use up the battery while it is on, whether or not you are shooting.  Therefore you should turn off the camera in between shots.  XPhase claims a battery life of 250 HDR shots, but in real world conditions, I found I only got slightly more than 50 shots before the battery died.  I therefore recommend charging the camera in between shots.  For convenience, instead of removing the camera from the monopod, I remove the camera from its cap and leave the cap attached to my monopod while charging the XPhase.

Shooting with XPhase

Pressing the shutter takes a photo.  The camera takes about 10 seconds to process the photo.  When it is ready for another shot, you’ll hear a double beep.  You can also activate the self timer by double clicking (5 second self-timer), triple clicking (10 seconds), or quadruple clicking (20 seconds).

With each shot, the camera takes a 3-shot HDR, with exposures at approximately -2EV, 0EV, and +2EV.  The 3 photos are taken in quick succession (75 photos in all) and the software uses a special algorithm to avoid ghosting.

For each shot, XPhase takes a 3-shot HDR exposure bracket
For each shot, XPhase takes a 3-shot HDR exposure bracket

Smartphone app

The smartphone app can remotely trigger the camera, and can adjust exposure.  It can also view and stitch photos but as of July 2019, the app cannot yet export the photos to the phone gallery.  The app is available for both Android and iOS.

To connect with the smartphone app, turn on the camera, and search for the camera’s Wi-Fi signal with your phone’s Wi-Fi.  Once connected, launch the XPhase app.  On the app, click on the Connect button.  The camera should beep 5 times.  Within 3 seconds, double-click the shutter button on the camera.  The camera and app are now paired and you will see thumbnails of photos from the camera.  You can now control the camera.

There is no manual exposure mode yet.  From the app you can only change the following settings:
Handheld vs. Tripod: In handheld mode, it will increase the shutter speed and raise the ISO as needed to reduce blur.  In tripod mode, it will use the lowest ISO.
Exposure compensation: +/-2EV, in 1/3 stop increments
Self-timer: 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or none.

There is no live preview either, so I just have to trust the exposure algorithm, which is quite aggressive and has a tendency to blow highlights.  I usually apply a -1EV or sometimes even a -2EV adjustment.

When the smartphone app stitches the photo, a JPG version will be stored in your phone’s gallery.  The JPG photo has 360 metadata and can be uploaded to social media such as Facebook, and be recognized as a 360 photo.

Desktop app

The stitching process can be a one-step process in the desktop app.  The XPhase takes photos and saves them unstitched in a proprietary .ORI format.  [The .ORI format is similar to a zip file and contains all 75 individual photos and a thumbnail.  The ORI file can be unpacked using a software called UnpackORI (shared here with permission), although this is not distributed to users.]

The files are stored in a removable USB 3.0 drive in the base of the camera (if you want to upgrade it, see below).  Insert the drive in your PC and transfer the ORI files.

 

The storage is at the base of the XPhase. The base also has a power port.

You can use the PanoManager app to stitch the ORI files into either: (i) PNO stitched files (another of their proprietary formats), (ii) PNO + JPG, or (iii) 16-bit lossless PNG.  If you stitch to PNO + JPG, the JPG is ready for upload to 360 photo sharing sites, complete with 360 metadata.  On the other hand, the PNG format is most similar to Raw and is the best choice if you want to edit your photos (it is available only for XPhase Pro).  When stitching as PNG, you can adjust the RGB values, and the contrast.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to preview the effects of your choices, so you will need to set these parameters blindly.

XPhase PNG export options
XPhase PNG export options

There is also a unique option to render as an expanded panorama (“PNG Output Expansion”).  By editing the expanded panorama and then cropping the image to a standard 2:1 equirectangular format after adjustments, you can reduce the seam between the left and right edges.

Expanded panorama format
Expanded panorama format

If you choose the PNO format, you can view them in the PanoViewer app, or convert them into JPG with the PNO2JPG app.

How to straighten photos

Until stabilization is implemented, you will probably need to straighten photos.  I prefer to use the free panoramic software Hugin.

Step 1: Launch Hugin and switch to Simple mode (under the Interface menu).

Step 2: From the Assistant tab, click on the “Load images…” button, and select the 360 photo that you want to straighten.

Step 3: Make sure Lens type is Equirectangular.

Step 4: Click on the Move/Drag tab, and drag the image until all vertical lines are truly vertical.

Step 5: Click on View… Panorama Editor and save the project file (File… Save).

Step 6: Click on the Stitcher tab.  Under the Canvas Size, click on Calculate Optimal Size.    Under Panorama outputs, select your preferred output format (TIFF, JPG or PNG).   Click on the Stitch! button on the bottom right corner.

How to fix stitching errors

The XPhase can have stitching errors here and there, especially with objects close to the camera.  I fix stitching errors on the XPhase the same way I do with Panono.  You will need a 360-capable photo editor such as Affinity Photo or Photoshop CC.  You will also need the unstitched photos from the XPhase ORI files using the UnpackORI app (shared with permission).  Just drag the ORI file onto the UnpackORI app to create a folder with the unstitched photos.

Then follow this tutorial (you may also need to stitch the photos in a 3rd party app.  See PTGui below.):

PTGui stitching template

You can use PTGui to stitch the Xphase files, although in my experience there are many stitching errors, ghosting, and unusual colors.  The XPhase stitching software works much better.  Nonetheless, if you want to use PTGui, here’s how.

Step 1. Unpack the ORI files by dragging the ORI file onto the UnpackORI app.  This will unpack all ORI files in the same directory.

Step 2. In PTGui, load all the images from the directory, except the Thumbnail file.

Step 3. In PTGui, go to File… Apply Template… and select this PTGui stitching template for XPhase.

Step 4.  Click on Align Images.

Step 5.  Click on Create Panorama.

PTGui has many other features that you can use to fine-tune the stitching, such as changing the control points, masking, etc.


Using XPhase for Street View

XPhase photos can indeed be used for Street View. Here is a sample I uploaded:

Please note however, that XPhase’s native resolution is too high for Street View, which is limited to 100mp. XPhase photos should therefore be resized to 14,000 x 7,000 (or 14142 x 7071), using any image editor including Windows’ Paint app.

Right now, XPhase does not have geotags yet, so instead, go to maps.google.com and look for the location of the photo (in this case, Polliwog Park). Click on Photos and click on “add a photo”. The photo you upload will then be automatically tagged for the correct location.

Conclusion: XPhase Strengths and Weaknesses

Here are my preliminary impressions of the XPhase’s strengths and weaknesses for the 3 P’s of the 360 Camera Buying Guide:

Performance / Image quality (July 2019):

+ Very high detail
+ Very good dynamic range
+ HDR without ghosting
+ Low chromatic aberration
+ Short minimum stitching distance for high resolution 360 camera (around 3 feet)
o  Good stitching with minor stitching errors
– Susceptible to flare
– JPGs have vertical banding when rendered with desktop app (PNG files have no banding)
– Limited exposure control
– Aggressive exposure algorithm tends to overexpose
– Maximum shutter speed is only 1 sec.
– Minimum shutter speed for handheld use is too slow (1/13 sec.)
– On my review unit, one lens is slightly back focused (resulting in a slightly longer near limit for focus).  According to XPhase, the final version will have better lenses.

Practicality / convenience:

+ Self-timer can be used without a phone
+ Option for one-step stitching process
+ Batch exporting
+ Phone app can stitch photos
+ High speed USB drive can transfer files quickly
+ Option to minimize seam line by rendering as expanded panorama
+ Access to the unstitched files for patching stitching errors
+ date and time recorded in the filename
– No live view
– Poor battery life (around 50 HDR shots in real world conditions)
– No stabilization yet (they will supposedly add this in the future)
– No geotagging yet (planned for future)
– 30 sec. startup time
– PNG files take up a lot of space (over 500MB per file).  The final version will have Raw DNG mode.
– No video capability
– No time lapse capability yet (they will supposedly add this in the future)

Price / affordability:

+ Very affordable compared to other prosumer 360 cameras.

Again, these are just my preliminary observations, based on firmware .  I will post a comparison against the Theta Z1, Aleta S2C, and a DSLR panorama.

Price and availability; Discount

XPhase Pro is $879, available from Stabilizer Pro.  Stabilizer Pro has a special offer for 360 Rumors readers: you can get a free Sandisk 128GB USB drive (MSRP $39.99) with your XPhase Pro order using this affiliate link.  I will keep this page updated with any improvements to the camera.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.  The official webpage is here.  Join the XPhase Group on Facebook here.

Accessories (updated July 21, 2019)

Storage / Memory Upgrade: If you want to upgrade the storage, you can get this Sandisk 128GB USB drive that fits the XPhase.
USB drive for XPhase
USB drive for XPhase
The only XPhase storage alternative
The only XPhase storage alternative
Yes, there are other small USB drives, but it’s very hard to find one that fits because the XPhase USB receptacle is tailor made for the Sandisk, and leaves no room for other storage that is even slightly longer or thicker.

Camera Case: The XPhase does not include a case, and with its unusual shape, it’s not easy to find a camera case for it.   Here are some cases that I found that can work with XPhase:

XPhase camera case

This semi-hardcase fits the camera perfectly and has space for the USB adapter and cable.  However, it doesn’t have a shoulder strap.  For carrying the camera around, you may instead prefer one of these bags:

XPhase camera bags
XPhase camera bags

JJC DLP-7 is a lens case that is tall enough to fit the camera.  It is very well padded, includes a shoulder strap and a velcro strap for belts and backpacks.  However, it has no separate pocket for the USB adapter, although it has a sleeve that can fit the special USB charging cable.  It is the most protective of these cases, but is much bulkier.

Orca Carrier is a zippered nylon case with a shoulder strap and four attachment straps.  There is a zippered pouch in the bottom (which I filled with padding) and another zippered pouch on the side where I put the USB adapter and cable.  It is thinly padded.

Bottlebottle is a canvas bag with a shoulder strap.  It has no padding per se.

FAQ

1. XPhase claims to have 200mp resolution, but its photos are 16384 x 8192 which is only 134 mp.  Why?
The XPhase has 25 sensors that each capture 8mp.  This is how they claim 200mp resolution.  However, the stitched resolution is only 134mp because the photos must overlap each other in order to have smooth stitching.

2. Can XPhase do video or live view?
No, it cannot do video nor will live view be possible because of the power that would be required from 25 cameras shooting simultaneously, and the processor that would be required.

3.  Why did the price go up?
Originally, XPhase Pro was $699.  However, the quality of the lenses was inconsistent, with some backfocused lenses.  They decided to get better lenses and also added new features, such as Raw DNG mode support and an increase of the HDR from 3 shots to 6 shots.  With the upgraded hardware, they had to increase the price to $879.

4. How is the battery life? Can you charge the camera while using it?
Battery life is not that great because it uses up the battery while it is on, whether or not you are shooting.  It is possible to charge the camera while using it.  However, you have to remove the base cover with the 1/4-20 tripod hole, so you’ll need another way to mount the camera to a stand, e.g. using a clamp.

5.  Does the XPhase have stabilization?
As of July 2019, it does not yet have stabilization, but it does have a gyroscope, and stabilization will supposedly be added in the future.

6. Does the XPhase record the date and time?  Where does the date and time come from?
It uses the date and time from the smartphone and names each ORI file with the date and time of the shot.

7. Does XPhase have GPS or geotagging?
It doesn’t have built-in GPS, but in the future, they will let you add a geotag when shooting with your smartphone, using your phone’s GPS.

8.  Does XPhase have EXIF data?
Yes, if you export the photo in JPG, or if you unpack the ORI file and view the unstitched photos.

9.  Can you use third party stitchers such as PTGui with XPhase?
Yes.  The Xphase saves photos as an ORI file, which is actually a container (similar to a zip folder).  If you want to use a 3rd party stitcher, use the UnpackORI file to extract the files.  You’ll find 75 photos (25 cameras x 3 exposures each) plus 1 thumbnail.  You can load the 75 photos into PTGui using the smartphone preset (PTGui stitches the photos at 17490 x 8745, higher than the native 16384 x 8192 resolution).  Besides PTGui, Mistika is also working on a stitching template.

Xphase resolution in PTGui
Xphase resolution in PTGui

About the author

Mic Ty

74 Comments

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    • Thanks Michael! Yes the XPhase’s photos have amazing detail! I’m curious how they will compare against DSLR panos. 🙂

  • Great! The current non-exporting to the image gallery on smartphone is puzzling. Smartphone app is Android, and Desktop app is Windows only?

    • Hey there VJ. The current app is Android, although there will be an iOS version as well. Desktop is windows only.

      Re mobile export, I’ve asked them to add it.

  • Thanks for the carry case recommendations. My Pelican camera case is already pretty full, so I definitely will need a separate case for the Xphase. I ended up ordering this one from Amazon. Looks like it should be a good fit with padding and a couple zippered pouches for accessories.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LWZU4WT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I downloaded a couple of the sample PNG files you uploaded to Google drive When I open them up in any pano image viewer or Photoshop on my Windows PC, they look very dark with flat colors. Like ungraded video. Is that how the exported PNG files are supposed to look?

    • Thanks John. Re PNG you have two options for export. One is graded and the other is “raw sensor data”. The ones you downloaded are the latter.

      • I received my Wild Wolf bottle holder from Amazon yesterday. It has a drawstring at the top, so you can close up the top if it rains.

          • The Wild Wolf has pretty decent padding for a water bottle holder. Double-layered neoprene inner lining. It should provide adequate protection. I won’t have a final verdict until my XPhase Pro arrives next week and I can see how well it really fits.

  • Hi Mic

    Woudl it be possible to get the ORIGINAL 75 imgs for download ? looking for solution for photogrammetry so need evaluate the per image quality. Would it be possible to make 2-3 positions, separated say by 50cm so it can be used for 3D reconstruction ? single position is not enough.

  • Will XPhase have a service representative in Europe?
    This in case of malfunction or small mandatory adjustments or update.
    Sending back to China will cost a fortune and a lot of custom issues

  • Mic,
    Last night I imported the 75 jpegs unpacked from one of your sample ORI files into Lightroom CC. They all did have exif data; focal length, f/stop, exposure, ISO, etc. They even have GPS coordinates. I brought up the map of the photo’s location in Lightroom. The coordinates were from a location in China. You took them in Pasadena I believe, so not even close! LOL

  • Hi Mic, how does the XPhase handle low light conditions and do you know if there are any plans to add in a live preview mode for both Android and iOS devices? Thanks very much.

    • Hi Denzil. I tested it indoors, but it still used ISO 100. I will test it in lower light. No I don’t think live view is possible because of the power drain and processor workload.

  • Hi Mic,
    I make 360 virtual tours to Google Street View by DSLR and phisheye lens. At last times I made a few tours with more then 120 shperical photos. The biggest problem of that method is a time of making photos and the stitching. Xphase looks like the resolution of my problem. But how large is a one shperic photo? Is it useful in tipical virtual tours? Not! I’ll have to shrink panos to usable size. I will be able to save the actual size only on specialized internet services, isn´t it? Sometime I use MiSphere, but the quality is not sufficient. Should I buy an XPhase or another camera for a photo shoots only? Thank you for telling me the truth about One X. I wanted to buy it for work, but now I don’t know.

    • Hi Zdenek. Each photo is 16384 x 8192, which is comparable to a DSLR panorama resolution. For photo shoots, the best 360 cameras right now seem to be XPhase and Theta Z1. One X is ok for low resolution capture. I’ll compare them soon.

  • Hi Mic, great review. I’m just about to jump in to the world of virtual tours for real estate and hospitality. I was about to purchase the Ricoh Theta Z1, but now it looks like the XPhase might be a better solution, both on image quality and price, so I’m looking forward to your comparison. Could you specifically look at the differences in regard to real estate virtual tours?

      • Hi Mic,
        Like to ask, if you use the newest firmware for the Aleta? Because this Cam getting better and better with every update. So i can better judge your coming comparison with the XPhase. Thanks in advance, Uwe

  • Thanks for the great review! I am doing a virtual geology tour product with the Insta360 One X and it really isn’t sufficient for photos. I was leaning towards getting a Z1, but am pretty intrigued by the Xphase. I know you’ve got a side by side comparison in the works, but based on your experiences so far, could you comment on how the Z1 and Xphase compare for photos (quality, workflow, etc.)?

    • Hi Jason. Z1 has better stitching (no surprise given that it only has 2 lenses) and arguably better workflow thanks to its lightroom stitcher. Right now z1 also has better dynamic range, but I expect that when Xphase adds 6 shot hdr, it will have the same or better dynamic range as Z1. XPhase also has far greater detail than Z1.

  • Was just about to go and order this and after clicking on your link the price on the website is $879. This is a significant increase from the $599/$699 prices. Not cool. In fact the company who is selling this is taking advantage and price gouging. Not cool!

    • Hi MH. The problem with the 699 version is that it has backfocusing (see my video review). They decided to get a better lens, and also will be adding new features: 6 shot hdr and raw dng mode. This hardware upgrade is the reason they increased the price. I can find out if they still have the original version for sale.

  • Hi Mic

    What’s typical JPG filesize? Couldn’t find any within your samples pack.

    Over 500mb png is very inconvenient.

    Thanks

  • HI Mic,

    Thanks for the great review, it seems like they first concentrated on image quality but not the secondary features. I wonder how would be the interior poor light conditions. I guess there will be no Live View later as its too much battery draining and processor power need. But still a fast low-res preview pano would be nice which we can directly check on mobile in couple of seconds. So we can decide if the spot is right or not! Idk maybe already they have.

    Most urgent features i guess:

    -GPS Geotagging
    -Expanded Exposure Controls
    -dng Raw
    -additional battery pack or charging via powerbank simultaneously while shooting

    In that case, i would definetly consider buying for “Real Estate Shootings”, Live preview or video mode are not a huge need and doesnt bother me at all.

    • Thanks Cankat. Indoor low light is not a problem, as long as there is enough light for 1 sec. shutter speed. If there is enough light to read a book, then there is enough light for the XPhase.
      After taking the photo, it takes about a minute to see the stitched image. That’s what I use to review the exposure and check for major stitching errors.

      Yes they will add all those features. 😀

      Stay tuned for part 2 of my review, when I compare it to a dslr…!

  • Thanks for the review. Have you done a direct comparison between the Z1 and the Xphase?
    I can’t get over the price of this thing, great value! I haven’t had my One X for very long and I already feel the need to upgrade. The image quality from these cameras just keeps improving.

  • 10 seconds to process a photo? well, can’t see what sort of time lapse they will offer, if only at lower resolution

  • Interesting camera, although the proprietary file format is a major dealbreaker for me unless they either document the format, release source code for UnpackORI, or the ORI file format isn’t as proprietary as you’ve made it sound.

    Do you have a sample ORI file somewhere for analysis?

    • Hi Andy. Yes i have a sample ORI file in the article, also a link to unpackori. Not sure why it’s a big deal… You can unpack it if you want. And having one file is more convenient than handling 75 photos per shot.

      • Hmm… I see your links to unpackori, but your samples link at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1oOE7-i9rbnenLvzaB7bEI3itxvXuGQxO does not have any ORI files.

        You did post a link that included a sample ORI file on Facebook – unfortunately, it’s a nonstandard format.

        As to the remainder of your response:
        “Not sure why it’s a big deal… You can unpack it if you want.” – It’s a HUGE deal because I can’t unpack it “if I want” – I can only unpack it if I’m running Windows on an x86 platform, and only if I don’t lose the copy of an executable that is only available on a third-party review site (apparently not directly from the manufacturer themselves- WHY?)

        “And having one file is more convenient than handling 75 photos per shot.” – not a justification for ORI when there are a MASSIVE number of standard well-documented methods for solving THIS problem without reinventing the wheel. ZIP, 7-Zip, RAR, any number of compression algorithms wrapped around TAR – or for files already compressed (such as 75 JPEG files), a TAR file without any further compression. All of these formats have the advantage that the files won’t become completely useless to you if the manufacturer goes out of business, the OS the unpacker was built for becomes obsolete, and no one has reverse engineered the file packing format (look what happened to Panono users).

        There is not a single justification provided by xphase why they couldn’t just use TAR.

        Keep in mind – xphase had a perfect opportunity to “pick up the pieces” after there was negative press coverage of Panono after their only officially supported method for stitching was shifted to a per-image fee. Someone attempted to plug xphase in the comments of DPReview’s discussion of that fiasco, and the consensus from multiple users including myself was, “This UnpackORI garbage is only slightly better and has no justification.”

        I was really tempted by this camera, but unless the ORI format is replaced with a standardized and documented format (such as TAR), or the ORI format itself is documented so that it can be extracted on platforms other than Windows on x86 and amd64, it’s a major dealbreaker.

        There’s also references in the article to an Android app that can’t be found on the Play Store (at least not by searching for xphase) and can’t be found in the article (at least, at the time I am writing this, not a single link anywhere in the “smartphone app” section). Another huge red flag for someone whose experience with a Mi Sphere is 90% dependent on third-party apps because the first-party support is so awful.

        • I cannot seem to edit comments, but:

          Your link to the ORI files is only accessible if someone has accessed your link provided on Facebook, which marks the base directory as “shared with you” for someone. Someone reading the article only has access to the “Sample unedited PNG for personal use only” subfolder.

        • Hi Andy.
          1. ORI files – Try https://drive.google.com/open?id=172f1pDhAjVmyIvK6Kqvvf3vVlX6s0ffB
          2. UnpackORI on Windows only: yes that’s true. They never said it’s compatible with Mac or anything.
          3. Yes I understand, but they chose to create their own ORI format. Not sure why either (maybe it is easier to save the files in that format?) but it is what it is. I can suggest to them to use a standard format but I don’t know if they will.
          4. I understand why you are angry about unpackORI and I respect your choice. But ultimately we can’t force them to use another format if they don’t want to.
          5. The android app is in the ios store but not in google play store, but the app can be sideloaded.

    • yes the price went up because the first version had some backfocused lenses. They are getting better lenses and increasing the hdr to 6 shot, and will enable raw DNG mode.

  • Hi Mic! I downloaded one of you samples (you at the concert in the park) which was a .png 193.2MB. The file looks amazing on screen, but in VR it doesn’t look very good compared to most photos found on Google Earth (wander app). For example, here is your photo uploaded in test VR page: https://vr360.tours/vr/test5.html. I am wondering if I am doing something wrong or if perhaps DSLR does make a noticeable difference when viewed in VR?

    • Hi Bo. It’s hard to say without seeing what you’re comparing it to. It could be that you’re seeing better dynamic range. The Xphase I used has limited dynamic range because it is only a 3-shot HDR with a 1/3.2 inch sensor. When the 6-shot version with Raw becomes available, I think we’ll see a big improvement.

  • Thank you for the in-depth review. Appreciate the real-world detail comparison shot (reading the plaque about General Chilton).

    Besides storage capacity and built-in-battery, are there any factors that limit the ability to take consecutive photos? I know the Panono would be susceptible to overheating…

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  • Hi Mic,

    First – great review.s Very detailed – particularly in comparison to other cameras. It’s clear that you put a lot of time into your reviews.

    Do you know if there any plans to sell this on Amazon, B&H or other established camera retailers? I’m very interested in this. I have the Nikon 360 camera and I’m VERY disappointed with the detail. Also, I’m generally skeptical of buying from sites I’m not familiar with.

    Thanks

    • Thanks Rob. AFAIK, the distributor Stabilizer Pro has no plans to put it on Amazon or B&H. Probably Amazon’s commission is too high.

  • I am keeping my eyes on this one… Loved the $699 price… Will wait for lots of real world examples and see how their firmware update cycles go before shelling out $879. Still a great price, but want a fairly mature product before $$$..

    Thanks as always Mic!