Are virtual reality capable cameras going to become the next big hit, or are they just a fad destined to the same fate as the polaroid?
Omnidirectional cameras (or 360 cams for short) hit the 'scene' recently (pun intended) as a novel way of allowing the audience to interact with footage panning around in real time on their browser. The technology has been around for long enough, it was just waiting for major online video sharing platforms (read - facebook and youtube) to support the live interaction with the footage. The technology is simple enough, the units consist of either a single camera with an exceptionally wide field of view, or multiple cameras which combine to have a 360 degree field of view which is then stitched together autonomously to create a seamless shot.
The Kaiser Baas utilises two opposing F2.0 1.1mm Lenses (yes you read that right) in front of two 4MP CMOS sensors to give a total resolution of 1920 x 960. The unit is slightly larger than a GoPro (60 x 48 x 50mm) but is easily helmet mounted. A 1/4" tripod mount on the base makes this an easy affair with GoPro compatible mounts included in the box.
With just 3 buttons (On/off, Wifi, Shoot/Record) the X360 is exceptionally easy to use. There are no shooting settings to change making for a fairly foolproof experience. The LCD display also indicates the mode (Photo or Video) that the camera is in and the elapsed recording time. Powering on is quick and the camera starts recording without a hitch. Once the actions over, hit the stop button, open the android or IOS app and beam the footage across for viewing. At this stage uploading to social media is only possible from the desktop converter software however Kaiser Baas advised us that they have plans to change this in the near future.
At well under AUD$400 the X360 is hard to look past, after all it's 2 lenses for less than the cost of a GoPro. While the video quality certainly isn't going to compete with a traditional action camera, it's still well up to the task. Footage is simple enough to convert and upload with the use of a laptop however a lack of mobile upload functionality is its Achilles heel if you're intending to upload footage while on the road. If the X360 is anything to go by then we think 360 cameras are here to stay.