This is one amazing little camera, simple to use, fast setup charge last a couple of hours of recording and has a removable battery
This is one amazing little camera, simple to use, fast setup charge last a couple of hours of recording and has a removable battery. Now think about all the moments you won’t miss because you weren’t facing the right direction. You get it all even if you missed it, the camera doesn’t. It feels real solid, not like it will break easily like some cameras I’ve had in the past and comes with a micro tripod. The setup to shooting from storage is less than 30 seconds; you don’t even have to use the phone app.
I've always wanted to try the latest in video because I firmly believe motion pictures are better than still pictures in truly capturing a given moment in time. This camera takes that concept to a whole new level by allowing you to see --as Willy Wonka would say-- "sideways, and slantways, and longways, and backways, and squareways, and front ways, and any other ways that you can think of." You can not only capture 360 photos, but 360 video. Incredible!
Even without having to refer to the instructions, I was able to get the camera up and running in minutes. Sorry Apply fanboys, but Samsung now rules when it comes to user-friendly and ergonomic design. I was able to figure out the entire camera, all it's features, download and install the related apps, and record some test footage, all within an hour.
If there were one criticism I'd have of this camera, it's that you must have a Samsung phone to use it. My understanding is that the software needed to stitch the photos and video together is in the app, and not built-in to the camera. That's a pity because this camera shouldn't be limited to the small percentage of smartphone users who specifically use Samsung. But honestly, I would be willing to trade-up to a Samsung from another brand or buy a dedicated Samsung phone just to use this camera. That may not be the case for everyone, but I'm loving 360 video.
Even with pictures, Instagram feels like a joke. Why capture a square postage stamp when there is so much more to capture!? Okay, I'm gushing at this point. But seriously: This camera is absolutely wonderful, and I only wished I'd had it for so many life memories and experiences I'd love to have captured in 360 degrees.
As someone who used to do the manual way of taking 20 shots with my phone to make a photosphere, this instant way of taking a 360 photo was perfect. No weird 'half human' stitches from people walking between shots. The photos are stitched well as long as the nearest subject is at least about a foot away from either lens. Putting the brightest light source (like the sun) pointing at the area between the lenses helps to give really nice consistent stitching.
Video resolution is 4k, but keep in mind that's 4k when stitched together, NOT per lens. The quality is again really good, but if something is moving fast (a Eurofighter Typhoon flying past at near Mach speeds) you won't see smooth high res motion, but a little more jumpy motion. Night video isn't that great unfortunately, so you have to bump the ISO limit up for there to be enough light, and that will introduce noise into the video. Also, the videos are split into multiple smaller files and can take a really long time to transfer to the phone. However previewing the videos on the phone (without downloading them) is really fast.
The Samsung Gear 360 Manager is a mobile app that can be quickly downloaded from the Google Play or Samsung app stores that let's you connect the camera to your Samsung phone using Wi-Fi direct, Bluetooth, and NFC. It’s very simple, but can be slow to respond when trying to connect to the 360. Keep in mind that the 360 does not stitch the images/videos in camera, your phone does all that. I love using the Live View feature of the app so I can attach the camera to a railing or on a standard tripod to setup a shot and then move away to view the action or I set up the shot for still pictures. You can also use the app to change shooting modes - in addition to regular photos and videos, there is time-lapse video (for slow events, like sunsets) and looping video (for creating seamless action that repeats). It’s also very easy to change the limited camera settings (ISO, exposure value, quality/size, white balance, etc) with the app. The app also allows you to share you videos and pictures quickly and easily to your favourite social media sites or on my Samsung Gear VR device.
The Gear 360 is a ridiculously sweet-looking camera, with a bright white spherical design that looks almost like a tiny robot – think BB-8 from Star Wars – with an eye staring back at you. It’s light too, although completely the wrong shape for slinging into your pocket. The camera build quality is pretty solid overall, but being that it has two huge lenses on either side so you will not want to drop it. I wish there was some sort of screen protector I could put on the lenses to protect them. Buttons are kept to a minimum. There's a big record button on the top, with a further two buttons on the side for selecting which mode you want to use. There's a removable battery, plus a slot for a microSD card and water, dust, dirt, etc are no issue.
The 360 comes with the battery, a USB cable, a mini, and a nice draw-string carrying pouch. There is an optional accessories pack that includes a remote control, various types of mounts for the 360, and a longer tripod, so you can pop it down on a tablet and record without fear of it rolling around.
This Samsung Gear 360 is a game-changer. It’s a fun, creative, and easy to use device that allows me to take great pictures and videos to share 360 memories with my friends and family. It's a great start to what will hopefully only get better. As the whole VR craze continues to get more and more popular, I think 360 cameras will be seen more and more. Right now, everyone stares at my 360 like it’s some alien device and are very interested in what it is... but I think we'll see more people with them in the future. If you want to jump on 360 bandwagon and take photos and videos of vacations, trips, etc this is the perfect gadget for that and the best camera to start with... just make sure you have a Samsung phone.
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