I have used the Samsung Gear 360 Camera in my test videos and talked a bit about the camera in this post. For the purpose of this research a more comprehensive description of the camera will be given and the reason why this will be the camera I will continue to use.
The Samsung Gear 360 was officially released in the summer of 2016 and is Samsung’s first 360-degree camera. The idea behind the camera was to have a portable and easy to use device that could shoot 360-degree photo and video. This camera uses two 180-degree wide-angle lenses that shoot at the same time. Both the 180-degree recordings are automatically merged to a 360-degree image with the Samsung Gear 360 Manager app on your phone or with the Gear 360 Action Director software on your computer.
Operating this camera is quite easy. Once you turn it on and put it in video mode you just need to press the record button and it records a 360-degree video. It is also possible to operate it with a Samsung Galaxy phone via the Gear 360 Manager app, if you connected the two devices with each other via Bluetooth. With the app you can switch between photo and video mode, start and stop recordings, change the settings of the camera, live view of the camera and playback your recordings. You also can choose to transfer the clips to your phone where you can trim and share them online.
A little tripod is included when the camera is purchased. Because of the small size of the tripod and it being positioned directly under the camera, it will not show on the 360-degree playback. Other tripods can be attached to the camera as well, but when a bigger one is used it will show back in the recordings.
In the table below the specifications for the Samsung Gear 360 camera are written down.
(“Samsung Gear 360 Specs”, CNET, 2017)
Pros and Cons
I mentioned this in a earlier blog post, but the first and most positive thing of the Samsung Gear 360 is how easy it is to operate. Apart from the easy to use buttons on the camera itself, you can also operate it with its own app on your phone. It starts up in mere seconds which allow you to record your surroundings very quick. The image quality is very impressive, especially considering that this camera is a consumer-grade 360-degree camera. The sharp price attached to this camera makes it one of the best cameras to pick when looking for a 360-degree camera.
Although the before mentioned app is great, it is the biggest drawback of his camera as well. The application only works on Samsung phones. This is an inconvience if you are not a Samsung phone user but still want to use this camera, of course. I also found that the lenses of the camera are quite easily at risk of being damaged, since when on a tripod or in your hand there is no lens protection. The app is not the only thing that works on limited devices, the same counts for the included editing software. The software only works on the Windows operating system and without the software it is quite difficult to get the recordings stitched. I also found that transferring recordings of more than a couple of minutes takes a very long time. This counts for the transferring files from camera to phone and for stitching long clips in the editing software.
Why am I using the Samsung Gear 360?
The things I like about this camera itself are already mentioned before, those do not need to be repeated, but they are the reasons why I use this camera. This camera does everything that I need of a 360-degree camera. Another important reason why I am using this camera has to due with the limitation of this project. I do not have the budget to buy any camera I want, so I have to do with what Saxion has. Luckily Saxion has the Samsung Gear 360, because that is the camera I knew the most about before starting this project. I had seen this camera in action before and therefore was more prepared to use this one compared to other cameras.
Saxion has another 360-degree camera, the Kodak PIXPRO SP360 camera. As visible in the picture below, it uses a single lense that is attached to a block-shaped device. The lense has an angle of 214 degrees, which is quite the angle when compared to a GoPro’s 170 degrees. Like Samsung’s camera, this camera also comes with an app to control the camera. Unlike Samsung’s, this app can be used on iOS and Android devices, instead of only Samsung phones. (“Kodak Digital Cameras | SP360 Action Camera”, 2017)
The reason why I did not choose for this camera has to do with a couple of things. First reason being that it does not record 4K, so it has a lesser quality than the Samsung Gear 360. The next point is that I noticed a black circle on top of the videos that it records, like the example video below.
These reasons were enough to convince me from picking the Samsung Gear 360 camera over the Kodak PIXPRO SP360.
Samsung Gear 360 (2017)
This year (2017) Samsung announced the new Samsung Gear 360. The first Gear 360, the one I am using, was designed to be mounted about anywhere by putting the battery and processor in between the lenses. This new model is build like most other 360-degree cameras. For the sake of this research, a small description of this new model.
Looking at the specifications got people a little bit worried. This version has half the megapixels to work with, has a smaller battery and does not have as wide of an aperture as its predecessor. The lenses are now closer together, which would make the stitching of the two lenses together much easier and make the 360-degree recordings more realistic. It also can record higher resolution and higher frame rate video. With the higher frame rate it should make your recordings much easier to watch on a headset, especially when more intense motion is involved. It not only records 360-degree videos, but also lets you boradcast live. When you pair the Gear 360 (2017) with your Samsung Galaxy phone or PC, you can choose a platform to stream to and your are broadcasting live. This is a very interesting feature and from what Samsung describes also very easy to do. (“Samsung Gear 360 (2017) vs. Gear 360 (2016): What’s different, what’s better”, 2017)
Compared to the older version there there are just little differences. The older version is still a solid camera and it is very useful that you can mount it everywhere. This new model has a couple of new features thar are very interesting to explore and experiment with.