It has been released more than a year ago, but despite this, it continues to give great satisfaction.
The design is beautiful. It is small, elegant, the white of the body broken by the lenses and by the black rectangle at the top is really nice to see.
The camera has two 15MP wide-angle sensors. Each covers an angle of 185°. The sensors are f/2.0 so the photos at night aren't very bad, but you have to be really still during the shot or put the camera somewhere and use the remote control.
On a side there is a small door with gasket that protects the battery, the micro SD and the micro-USB port. The Gear 360 is IP53, so it can be used in the rain, but can not be immersed in water.
The Gear 360 is one of the very few 360 cams to have the removable battery. It is of 1350 mAh and enough to make about 100 minutes of video.
There are 3 buttons:
1 - on/off/back
2 - change mode/bluetooth/connections
3 - shutter/OK button
All operations are assisted by 3 LEDs and a display. There are 2 orange LEDs near the lenses which indicate the active sensors. The third LED is on the side, between the buttons. It could be :
blue - when the camera connects to the smartphone via bluetooth
orange - during charging
green - when the battery is full
blue-orange-green (intermittent) - while connecting to Google Street View.
The display is 0.5" and shows everything we are doing with the camera: shooting mode, settings, connections, info on the camera etc. It is essential in stand-alone use as, not being able to control the settings with the smartphone, you are sure to not make a wrong shot.
The Samsung Gear 360 (2016) has two microphones, which also act as vents. Unfortunately both the microphones are on the same side and the sound is mono. On one side there is also the speaker for the shutter sounds.
It can also be used with only one lens of our choice. In that case we will have wide-angle photos and videos. Photo with the size 3072x1728, not editable. And videos in 2.7K at 30fps or FHD at 60fps. This type of view can be used if you want to use the Gear 360 as an action cam. Being IP 53, and therefore resistant to rain and fine dust, you can use it as an action camera and put it on a motocross helmet, downhill or any non-diving activity.
Here you can see the video recorded in FHD at 60 fps.
As 360 cam, we have photos at 7776x3888. Dimensions not reached by the 360° cams of 2017. And the quality can be noticed. Zooming the photo you can see the details very well on both the phone and PC. Obviously if you zoom too much, you will see the pixels, but no cam escapes this and, I remind you, this one costs € 90.
Here below there are 3 photos taken at the highest resolution without filters. So automatic camera settings, including exposure, white balance, ISO etc.
Videos can have the maximum resolution of 3840x1920. 4K is the bare minimum to have an acceptable 360° video quality. There are also other resolutions, but the only one worthy of note is the 2560x1280 as it is possible to record at 60 fps.
It is not the top of the top, of course. But keep always in mind that it was released in 2016 and that it costs € 90 at this time. So it's not bad. Indeed, it's a great deal.
1 min of video is about 450 MB.
The Samsung Gear 360 does not directly stitches the contents. If, after taking a photo or a video, you open the micro SD, you will find the files with two separate spheres (the parts captured by each sensor). In fact the contents must be stitched using Samsung softwares.
Gear 360 Action Director for PC/MAC or Samsung Gear 360 for Samsung smartphones.
The stitching is very good, but not perfect. The union line can be seen a little, especially if one of the two sensors captures much more light than the other. But in most cases, the stitching part is slightly blurred. If there are different colors, if the surrounding environment is very varied, the stitching will not be visible. Unfortunately this is something that will no longer be correct as the cam can be declared "old". But with a little experience you can make really great shots.
The Gear 360 can be used stand-alone or controlled via the Samsung Gear 360 app.
The app is only compatible with some of the latest Samsung devices (from S6) and connects to it via bluetooth. Unfortunately. The maximum distance, in this way, is only 10 meters and this if there are no obstacles in between.
Through the app you can have the preview of the shot, change the settings (such as quality, ISO, white balance, exposure etc), select the shooting mode or see and transfer the contents on the camera or on the device.
The transfering from the camera to the smartphone includes the stitching phase without loss of quality, so after the transfer we will have, in a dedicated folder, all the 360° content that we can also open with other apps.
On Street View you can upload a 360° photo by directly shooting it with the phone, selecting it from the storage or connecting a 360° camera to take the picture with it. This option allows you to connect also the Gear 360.
And it works on any smartphone!
However there are some limitations.
First of all, the absence of the preview. Unfortunately, before taking the picture it is impossible to see what the camera sees. And there are not any settings like ISO, white balance or exposure and you can not choose the resolution (which will be the one set previously).
Once the camera is connected and the photo is taken, the photo will be saved in a folder on the smartphone and will be already stitched. So you can use it to your liking, modify or share.
This solution only regards the photos! For the videos, at least for now, I have not found a solution.
Personal considerations :
it is useless to say that I like this camera and that I have bought one to continue to create contents of quality a bit higher than usual. The price is less than 90 € and for what this cam can do it is definitely worth buying. Even if you do not have a Samsung device of last generation. The camera can work stand-alone, or using Street View for photos, or you can shoot and then the processing must be done via the PC as the software is available for both Windows and MAC OS.
I definitely recommend to buy it. Eventually you can give it back for free within 30 days.
Below is the link to purchase on Amazon.
I leave you also the video review I made on YouTube and the 360° test in 4K, in case you want to see the real quality of the camera.
This camera is also good for making virtual tours and for adding photos on Google Maps.
At right you can see my first virtual tour
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