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What’s the Best 360° Camera Under $360?

The hottest new trend in photography is 360-degree cameras. You can spend thousands of dollars outfitting your drone with a 360° camera system and get awesome video, so you might be surprised to find out the the best camera for you is likely the least expensive.

Sure you could spend a grand or more, OR  you could do what we did and pick up a 360° for less than $125 and start getting awesome 360° pictures and videos.

There are a few good cameras competing for the top spot. Keep reading to determine which is best for you.

The Contenders

To make the list of devices we would consider strapping to our drones the camera had to meet 3 basic criteria.  The cameras we picked all…

  1. Cost less than $360. An arbitrary number, but $1 per degree seemed like a reasonable benchmark.
  2. Provide complete 360° coverage. Some popular cameras, like the 360 Fly and Kodak SP360 only cover 180° to 240° – that’s just not as cool.
  3. Have the ability to record as stand-alone cameras. Other cameras, like the Insta360 Air and Huawei Honor must be attached to a smartphone to function.
360 Comparison Table

*Prices change quickly in the emerging 360° camera market. Be sure to check the latest prices with our links below.

Click here to check the current prices of these 360° cameras
LG 360 Cam

LG 360 Cam

The LG 360 Cam is small enough to fit in your pocket but big enough to capture the entire world around you. When we started looking into these cameras we were amazed to find this value option available. It’s about half the price of the much larger and less portable Samsung Gear 360.

Not only is the LG 360 Cam a good deal, it also takes awesome pictures and video. It offers crisp 16 MP images and good video resolution. You can even capture 360° time-lapse videos. Its size and weight are rivaled only by the Insta360, making it ideal for a drone. It even comes with a handy case to keep the lenses scratch-free.

Check out our 360° videos that we shot with the LG 360 Cam. You’ll notice that it even has some image stabilization software helping to smooth out the videos. We’ve attached it to a DJI Phantom and an inexpensive MJX Bugs 3 and flew around Mexico.

It is hard to beat this LG 360 Cam. Spoiler Alert: It is our top pick for 360° cameras. There are some other decent options. Keep reading to learn more.

Check the current price of the LG 360 Cam
Richo Theta S

Richo Theta S

This camera gained a lot of attention for being early to the market. The Richo has some advanced camera functions but at about $300 it is over priced for only recording in 1080 HD. It also tips the scales at 125 g, which is not ideal for flight. It is a solid option, but we can’t recommend it over the LG 360.

Samsung Gear 360

Samsung 360 camera

This camera has the best optical quality with 30 MP pictures and 4K video. Its size and weight can be a problem for drones –  it weighs twice as much as the LG. The Gear 360 tips the scales at 152 grams (0.33 lb). It also has limited device compatibility, it only works with the latest Samsung Galaxy devices. The price just dropped under $250 so it’s worth taking a look if you are a big Samsung fan and plan on staying with their Galaxy smart devices into the future.

Insta360 Nano

Insta360

This is an appealing option for sure. It is roughly the same size as the LG 360 Cam but you will need an iPhone in order to take advantage of all of its features. We were also surprised to find that photos are limited to the same 4.6 MP as the video, so don’t expect pictures to look as good as the other cameras.

The Winner

The LG 360 Cam is the clear winner. It takes good pictures and videos and the software does a nice job of stitching the images from both cameras to create the 360° content. It is compact, portable, has expandable memory and even comes with a nice hard shell case. LG even worked in three microphones for 360° audio.

Is it perfect? No. Downloading isn’t fast and you can’t turn off the “9-axis” image stabilization. The ability to turn off stabilization would make stitching video from two cameras a lot easier. Why would you want two of these cameras? We could easily see using two of these cameras to completely cut the drone out of videos by putting one under a drone and one on top. This is an especially appealing option given how affordable this camera is.

LG 360 Cam Top and Bottom

Two cameras can be used to completely remove the drone from the video.

It would also be better if stabilization could compensate for high-rate shaking, not just the slow motions that it currently corrects. Are we being picky? Maybe.

Can you find a better 360° camera for less than $125? Absolutely not. This is one awesome camera and an easy way to take you video footage to the next level.

Check the current price of the LG 360 Cam

After you have purchased your LG 360 Cam check out our best accessories for 360° cameras.

LG 360 Cam 1-Side Photo

The LG 360 Cam can take 3.4 MP snapshots with a 106° horizontal field of view (14 mm equivalent focal length). For reference, a GoPro has a 122° FOV and an iPhone only sees 59°.

 

Other Options
Low-Cost GoPro Upgrade

LensBaby 180

LensBaby Circular 180+ lens for GoPro is the best way to turn your GoPro into a 180° camera. We personally know the guys who designed this lens. They are the same top-notch group that made the most acclaimed iPhone lens on the market – the lens that was used to film the breakout film Tangerine. This little-known GoPro lens can give your Hero4 or earlier model the ability to see more than 180° in all directions. Have two GoPros? You are in business with 360° capability. Unlike integrated 360° systems, you’ll need to stitch those images together.

Waterproof option

Nikkon KeyMission

If you are an action junkie and you need a waterproof 360° camera then you’ll need to check out the Nikon KeyMission.  Not only is it waterproof, but they claim it is shockproof and even freeze proof. This durability is awesome but will cost you almost $500.

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 Drone Compatible System
Kodak SP360

Kodak SP360 4K Aerial Pack on the 3DR Solo

Kodak developed a 360° system built to work with a drone. They designed it to work with the 3DR Solo, but those creative minds out there could probably get it to work with other drones. At over $900 this isn’t a cheap option, but a good one for the drone enthusiast or the Solo owner.

GoPro Omni Rig

If you want some serious 360° video, or if you happen to own SIX GoPro Hero4 cameras then you are in luck. You will need some serious coin and two Omni Rigs to completely eliminate the drone from the view of your video. Have fun with the stitching! At least you will have the biggest drone on the block. While this is expensive, the Omni Rig can produce some mind-blowing video.

Omni Rig

At CES Drone VOLT was showing off this setup with two Omni Rigs

However…

It is hard to beat the compact, affordable and easy to use LG 360 Cam. Once you pick up your 360° camera make sure you check out our best accessories for 360° cameras.

Check the current price of the LG 360 Cam
360 camera

Image is taken from a video recorded by the LG 360 Cam

Not sure what is the best drone for you???

No worries, Half Chrome Drones has you covered. Maybe you want an aerial photography drone, or maybe you want a fun toy. Want FPV? We’ve developed an advanced system to match you to the right drone. We call it our Half Chrome Drone Cipher™, go check it out. We also are constantly updating our Best Drones Now page to help you stay current.

Best Drones Now

Maybe you want us to do the work for you???

We’ve flown, crashed and taken pictures with a ton of drones. You want to know which one we think is best? Sure. Are you on a budget? Of course. We have three great articles breaking down the best drones in your budget. Check them out.

Best Drone Under $50

Best Drone Under $100

Best Drone Under $500

Disclosure:

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Half Chrome • March 6, 2017


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