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Posts Tagged ‘360Degree’

Ricoh to show-off 4K-capable Theta 360-degree camera at NAB

21 Apr

Ricoh will be showcasing a prototype Theta 360 camera that can capture 4K clips and live-stream video at the annual NAB show next week. In addition to its video capture and streaming capabilities, the Theta concept will also have four microphones, allowing it to capture ‘spatial surround-sound audio.’

In an interview at Photokina last year Ricoh told our Richard Butler that putting such features into the current form factor would be difficult due to processing power and heat management, so it will be interesting to see how they pulled it off.

DPReview will be at NAB and will drop by the Ricoh booth to see if we can take a closer look.

Press Release

RICOH TO SHOWCASE THETA 360-DEGREE CAMERA WITH 4K VIDEO AND LIVESTREAMING AT 2017 NAB SHOW

WEST CALDWELL, NJ, April 20, 2017 — Ricoh today announced it will be showcasing a prototype of its newest Theta 360-degree camera, capable of capturing high-resolution 4K video in a single shot, at the upcoming 2017 NAB Show, April 24-27, in Las Vegas. The camera will be featured at the Ricoh booth, C11139, located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

In addition to capturing 4K video at 30 frames per second, the new camera will enable 4K 360-degree livestreaming, and a built-in 4-channel microphone will record spatial “surround-sound” audio.

The new camera is expected to be launched later in the year.

Ricoh offers the industry’s most extensive line of spherical imaging cameras, known for their high image quality, sleek design and ease of use. First introduced in 2013, Theta cameras allow consumers to record fully spherical images that show the entirety of a scene in photos or videos. The camera line’s combination of small size, high quality imagery and incredible functionality are a result of Ricoh’s many decades of experience in advanced imaging and optical technologies. The company has long been a leader in professional printers and copiers, and is known for its high-quality optics and optical components. A key achievement with the Theta series is an ultra-small twin-lens folded-optical system capable of capturing two wide-angle images and then marrying them into a single spherical image.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Insta360 Air 360-degree camera for Android quick review

17 Mar

Insta360 Air
$ 129/£139 | www.insta360.com | Buy Now 

The Insta360 Air is a smartphone add-on that turns your Android device into a fully-fledged 360-degree VR camera. It’s capable of capturing still images and video, and comes with a live-streaming function. It only weighs 26.5 grams / ~1oz, comes with a protective rubber case and attaches to your phone either via the microUSB or USB Type-C port. We got our hands on the latter version and have tried it out on the Huawei P10 and Motorola Moto Z Force.

Key specifications:

  • Phone Compatibility Android phones
  • Dual-fisheye lenses
  • F2.4 aperture
  • 3008 x 1504 (3K) still image resolution
  • 2560 x 1280 video resolution (3008 x 1504 with some smartphones)
  • 30 frames per second
  • Real-time stitching
  • 37.6mm / 1.48in diameter
  • 26.5 grams
  • Available with microUSB or Type-C connector 
The Insta360 Air is small and lightweight enough to always be carried anywhere. A rubber case provides protection on the go.

Operation

The capture screen offers a good range of features, including filter effects. Optionally images and videos can be exported in ‘tiny planet’ format.

Using the Insta360 Air is very intuitive. Plugging the camera into your phone’s USB-port launches the Insta360 app which lets you capture images, record video or live-stream to YouTube or a web-address. When shooting images or video you can apply exposure compensation or Instagram filters, which are applied to the preview image. 

The integrated viewer allows you to create albums and see your recorded content in all its 360-degree glory. There is also a range of sharing options which let you choose between sharing full 360-degree photos/video or ‘tiny-planet’ style images or animations. Overall the app is nicely designed, works reliably on our test phones and reacts swiftly to user input. 

The Insta360 Air can also be used as a 360-degree webcam on Skype and other video-chat applications after connecting to a PC’s USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. 360-degree webcam support for Mac should be provided soon via a software update. 

 The Insta360 Air can also be used as a 360-degree webcam.

Stills

In still image mode the Insta360 Air captures photos with a size of 3008 x 1504 pixels. That’s less still image resolution than you’ll find on cameras like the Samsung Camera 360, the LG Cam 360 or the Ricoh Theta SC and when viewed in 360-degree mode on a large screen the levels of fine detail aren’t great. That said, images usually show good color and exposure, and the stitching algorithm that joins the two halves of the images does a very good job. Very occasionally, minor ghosting can be visible but otherwise images taken in good light are relatively free of artifacts.

To view this image in the Google Photos 360 degree viewer click here.

When sharing images, you get the option to export them in a ‘tiny planet’ style format which can, depending on the subject, make for interesting effects. The radius of your ‘planet’ can be adjusted by pinch-zooming. The image below is the ‘tiny planet’ version of the photo above.

This is another image in bright light. Up-close the images can look a little soft but still provides a very immersive experience when viewed in a 360-degree viewer. We also like the way the area right below the camera is slightly darkened to make it less intrusive in the image.

 To view this image in the Google Photos 360 degree viewer click here.

The Insta360 Air deals well with well-lit interior scenes like the one below. There is some luminance noise in shadow areas but given the relatively low image resolution it is not very intrusive.

  To view this image in the Google Photos 360 degree viewer click here.

The image below has captured a good impression of what’s going on in this busy scene at MWC 2017. The camera white balance deals very well with the many different sources of illumination and image detail is not significantly reduced from outdoor images. There is no EXIF-data reported but the shutter speeds are fast enough to avoid most motion blur in indoor scenes.  

  To view this image in the Google Photos 360 degree viewer click here.

Image filters can be applied at the point of capture, like I did for the image below, or in post-processing.  

 To view this image in the Google Photos 360 degree viewer click here.

Video

In video mode the Insta360 Air can record 2560 x 1280 video resolution, which is more or less in line with other entry-level 360-degree cameras. Insta360 says that with some phones a resolution of 3008 x 1504 pixels can be achieved but neither the Motorola Moto Z Force or the Huawei P10 which I used for this test offered this option, despite start-of-the-art chipsets. 

2560 pixels wide is more than Full-HD resolution but stretched across an entire 360-degree circle the it’s actually not that impressive and at screen size videos look a little soft. They are great at typical social media size though, with good exposure and color and smooth motion. As with the stills, occasionally some ghosting is visible. 

The 1280p low-light clip below is clean but again pretty soft. Nevertheless, the clip offers a good impression of the interior space it was recorded in. 

The camera also offers a 960p video option which saves you some space in your phone’s storage, but as you can see in the clip below, compared to the 1280p footage detail is noticeably reduced. If you’re not about to run out of space, 1280p is definitely the better option. Still, the clip below shows that, thanks to the super-wide angle lenses, Insta360 Air footage looks quite stable, even when captured hand-held from a fast-moving bike.

The 960p video below shows that the Insta360 Air is capable of capturing a usable exposure even at night but image quality is suffering quite a lot, making this clip only watchable at small output sizes.

Like in stills mode, you get the option to share videos in the ‘tiny planet’ format. It’s a great way of displaying your entire surroundings in a standard video format and can be a fun effect.

Conclusion

The Insta360 has a lot going for it. It is one of the most affordable 360-degree cameras we have seen, and perfectly integrates with your Android device. It’s ready to shoot a few seconds after plugging it into your phone and doesn’t require a microSD card as it is using your device’s built-in storage. The small dimensions mean you can always carry it with you and inside its rubber carrying case the camera is well protected.

The USB-connector means there is no need for a potentially flaky Wi-Fi connection to your mobile device but it does look a little fragile – disconnecting the camera when using your smartphone for other things is wise. In terms of still image resolution the Insta360 Air is not quite on the same level as some of its rivals in the entry-level segment, but images are well-exposed and mostly free of stitching artifacts. 

Overall, the Insta360 Air is a great introduction to the world of 360-degree imaging that offers a good variety of features and functions to play with. And at $ 129 it doesn’t break the bank either. More information is available at insta360.com.

What we like:

  • Compact dimensions
  • Intuitive app control 
  • Generally good stitching quality
  • Price

What we don’t like:

  • Still image resolution lower than some competitors
  • USB-connection to smartphone feels a little fragile
  • No tripod mount

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Insta360 Air turns Android phones into 360-degree VR Cameras, now available in US and Europe

09 Mar

The Insta360 Air camera, which attaches to an Android smartphone via a microUSB or USB Type-C port, turns your phone into a 360-degree VR camera. It’s now available in the US and Europe. The Insta 360 Air uses, via a dedicated app, the smartphone display as a viewfinder and captures 360-degree stills and videos with its dual fisheye lenses.

The camera offers real-time image stitching and comes with integrated live-streaming to YouTube and other platforms. Content can be shared directly from the app to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media platforms. The app allows for viewing content on-screen or through a VR headset. 

The Insta360 Air can also be used as a 360-degree webcam on Skype and other video-chat applications after connecting to a PC’s USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. 360-degree webcam support for Mac should be provided soon via a software update. The Insta360 Air weighs only 26.5 grams and can capture 3K photos (3008 x 1504 pixels) and 2.5 K video (2560 x 1289 pixels) at 30 frames per second. The company also says real-time image stabilization will be introduced via a firmware update ‘in the coming weeks.’

The Insta360 Air is now available for $ 129 at retailers in the US. The device can also be purchased in the UK, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and Japan through Amazon. We are currently working on a review of the device, so watch this space. 

Press Release:

Insta360 Air Arrives in US and Europe, Turns Android Phones into 360° VR Cameras

Real-Time Image Stabilization on the Way
SHENZHEN, Mar. 7, 2017 – The Insta360 Air, a smartphone add-on that instantly turns Android phones into 360-degree cameras, is now on sale across the United States and Europe. 

“The Air is what we’re all about — cutting-edge technology that empowers people to capture and share experiences just the way they live them,” said J.K. Liu, CEO and co-founder of Insta360. “We can’t wait to see what the world’s Android users create.” 

Android and iOS account for more than 90 percent of the world’s smartphone users, and the release of the Air means all of them can now enjoy seamless 360-degree photography and live-streaming. The Insta360 Nano, launched last year, offers a plug-and-play 360 experience to iPhone users. 

The Insta360 Air’s simple, intuitive design makes capturing and sharing 360-degree content easier than ever. After connecting via USB Type-C or Micro-USB port, the Air uses a smartphone’s display as its viewfinder, allowing users to capture 360-degree stills and videos with the Air’s dual fisheye lenses and camera-interface app. 

With real-time image stitching and integrated live-streaming support for YouTube and other platforms, users can broadcast immersive experiences to the world or share 360-degree content to friends on a host of popular social media — including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Messenger — directly from the app interface. Users can explore content on a screen or through a VR headset for an even more immersive experience. 

The Insta360 Air experience isn’t limited to mobile. The Air also serves as a 360-degree webcam on Skype and other video-chat applications after connecting to a PC’s USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. 360-degree webcam support for Macs will also be introduced in a future update.

The Insta360 Air captures 3K photos (3008 X 1504 pixels) and 2.5 K video (2560 X 1289 pixels) at 30 frames per second. Weighing only 26.5 grams and with a diameter smaller than a ping-pong ball, the Air is also the most portable consumer 360-degree camera on the market. 

Real-time image stabilization coming soon 

Insta360 is committed to providing ongoing support to both devices and users well after purchase. Air users can expect regular updates to the Insta360 Air app and camera firmware. Among the most-exciting updates on the horizon for the Air is the planned addition of an all-new feature, real-time image stabilization. 

The advanced image-stabilization technology corrects unwanted vibrations and sudden directional changes as they happen, letting users capture smooth and steady live streams and video. 

The technology will mean a vastly improved experience for viewers using an immersive VR headset. And by reducing the variation between adjacent frames of a live-stream or video, it also offers big bandwidth savings. Real-time image stabilization is set to be released via app update in the coming weeks, and Insta360 Nano users can expect the feature as well. 

Priced at $ 129 USD, the Insta360 Air is now available via Amazon in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and Japan. U.S. consumers can buy the Insta360 Air offline at B&H and Fry’s Electronics, with other regions also offering offline sales at select retailers.

Watch the Insta360 Blog for more updates.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Huawei announces Honor VR 360-degree camera

24 Feb

VR is widely viewed as the ‘next big thing’ and everybody wants their piece of the pie. Chinese manufacturer Huawei is no exception and at an event in Beijing the company has announced the release of a clip-on 360-degree camera for smartphones. It will be developed by Insta360 and marketed under Huawei’s sub-brand as the Honor VR Camera.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Huawei to grow the global community of 360-degree and VR creators,” said JK Liu, founder and CEO of Insta360. “Like us, Huawei is committed to reinventing photography, and they believe in our products as the best way to introduce users to the future of the camera.”

Technical specifications are scarce at the moment but we know the camera offers 3K photography and seamless livestreaming. As part of the partnership, Insta360 also developed an app for capturing, sharing and livestreaming 360-degree content.

Looking at the specs and images it is fair to assume the Honor VR camera will be based on the brand new Insta360 Air for Android camera, which comes with an F2.4 aperture, 3008 x 1504 photo resolution and 2560 x 1280 video at 30 frames per seconds. Like the Honor VR it connects to Android smartphones via a USB micro or Type-C connector. We have just received an Insta360 Air, so look out for a review soon. The Huawei VR should be available ‘soon,’ we expect to hear more detail at Mobile World Congress which starts on Sunday. 

Ming Zhao, president of Honor Huawei Business Unit, holds up an Honor VR Camera.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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PanoMoments cleverly adds the element of time to 360-degree images

14 Nov

PanoMoments’ ‘360-degree living photos’ are a kind of mashup between 360-degree images and Apple’s Live Photos. It’s not quite video, and it’s not a static image: PanoMoments can be created using any robotic panorama head (though the company is producing a specialized one), uploaded to their website for conversion and viewed on the web, with a VR headset or on a mobile device. Varying the time it takes for the device to complete a full rotation gives the resulting product a ‘live photos’ feel or a more time-lapse effect. 

Click to view this PanoMoment. Note that you will need to be running Google Chrome version > 52.x or viewing on a modern Android/iOS smartphone.

The process for creating a PanoMoment begins with the camera of your choice (ideally a larger sensor ILC) and a circular fisheye lens. Using PanoMoments’ PanoCatcher Loop or any panorama head, the camera is rotated 360-degrees while capturing at least 120 images. Convert your images to equirectangular format, upload them to PanoMoments.com and voila – you’ve got a PanoMoment. You can upload up to 20GB worth of images for free, while a ‘Pro’ membership will get you 500GB.

At the moment, PanoMoments’ creators are looking for funding through Kickstarter to help with building costs. Currently, a $ 270 pledge will get you a PanoCatcher Loop along with a 1 year Pro membership.

Head over to their Kickstarter page to learn more and see additional PanoMoments.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sphericam Beast studio camera lives up to its name with 6K 10-bit Raw 360-degree video

12 Nov

Sphericam has introduced ‘Beast,’ its new pro-grade 360-degree VR camera. This beastly model features four 1″ 4096 × 2160 image sensors, four 190º fisheye lenses, and four M.2 SSD drives with a 2.8 GBs bit rate. This combination of hardware enables the camera to record ‘more than’ 6K resolution footage, according to Sphericam, at 60 fps in a 10-bit Raw format (30fps for stitched content). Beast is designed for use by studios and other companies in need of pro-grade VR hardware.

Beast spent ‘several months’ in development, says Sperhicam, and was recently launched at NAB in NYC on November 9. In addition to recording ultra-high-resolution 360-degree videos, Beast can livestream content to headsets or the web, making it suitable for broadcasters as well as filmmakers. The company hasn’t yet revealed how much Beast will cost, nor when it plans to commercially launch the camera.

Via: Digital Trends

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Nico360 to be ‘world’s smallest’ 360-degree camera

19 Jul

A Hong Kong-based startup is looking to fund production of Nico360, a waterproof 360-degree camera. Claiming it will be the ‘world’s smallest’ at 46 x 46 x 28mm, Nicocam says its camera will include two 16MP Sony sensors capable of 25MP still images and 2560 x 1440/30fps video. As with many other 360-degree cameras, Nico360 will be able to produce content for stereoscopic VR headsets. A 1/4″ mount will be used, and the camera will accept microSD cards.

Users will be offered four video recording options: Flat Mode, Sphere Mode, Planet Mode, and VR Mode. Spherical panoramas will be created via in-camera stitching; Nico360 will also offer live video streaming using either via Bluetooth 4.0 or WiFi 5Ghz/ac. Finally, Nico360 will feature an integrated stereo microphone, stabilization and 32GB of internal storage. 

Nicocam plans to sell Nico360 for $ 199. A $ 99 pledge will reserve backers a ‘super early bird’ version on Indiegogo, and the camera is estimated to ship to supporters in October 2016. The funding campaign also offers a ‘full accessories pack’ for $ 89 and a 5000mAh Battery Selfie Stick for $ 39.

Via: Indiegogo

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Explore Mars with 360-degree image shot by NASA Curiosity Rover

11 Jun

Earlier this year, NASA released a 360-degree image from the perspective of the Curiosity Mars Rover. The scene is made up of a combination of multiple exposures taken with the rover’s 2MP ‘Mastcam’ camera, which we wrote about back in 2012.

The resulting image is pretty incredible, and if you have access to a Google Cardboard viewer you can experience it in 3D. So if you’ve got a free few minutes this weekend, why not explore the surface of Mars? 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Luna is ‘world’s smallest’ 360-degree camera

09 Dec

As virtual reality grows in popularity, an increasing number of consumer-grade 360° cameras are hitting the market. Latest among them is Luna, a spherical camera that records 360° footage for viewing on desktop or through a cardboard VR headset. The team behind Luna is seeking funding on Indiegogo to cover design and production costs.

Luna features a pair of 190° fisheye lenses, and uses ‘artificially intelligent auto-stitching software’ to merge the captured 2K footage into a single 360° HD video. Finalized videos can be shared on social networks or YouTube, and can be viewed using the Luna app and a VR headset. A sample video reel shows relatively low image quality from the camera’s video mode, but it’s unclear whether this is representative of a final production version of the camera.

Integrated Wi-Fi enables live streaming, as well, and the camera itself is waterproof with an IP68 rating. Luna sticks to any metal surface via a magnetic adapter, and has an optional accessory pack including a monopod, universal accessory adaptor, keychain and docking station. At 170g/6oz and 6cm/2.36in diameter it’s very close in size and weight to a pool ball.

Memora, the company behind Luna, is accepting pre-orders through Indiegogo, where a ‘mega early bird’ unit is available by pledging $ 199. Shipping is available worldwide and estimated to start for backers in October 2016.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Facebook launches 360-degree video

29 Sep

It seems 360-degree videos might be here to stay. In March, Youtube started to support the immersive video format, and now Facebook has introduced the technology as well. Soon, Facebook users will be able to share and view 360-degree videos in right from their News Feed. Read more

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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