For years, the GoPro Omni has set the standards for how 360-degree action cameras should look like. The camera is not for average consumers and it aims at professional photographers and filmmakers. Love it or hate it, there is no competition when it comes to versatility and features. That’s expected because it comes from the company that creates the legendary GoPro cameras. But what exactly makes it so powerful?
The Omni is a rig outfitted with 6 GoPro Heroes 4 action cameras, all working in tandem to capture a 360-degree video. And since each Hero4 camera can shoot up to 4K resolution, all the cameras combine to deliver an 8K resolution footage. GoPro also includes a Kolor software so all stitching is effectively handled. You can use a headset to view the high resolution or downscale it and watch it on YouTube.
In addition to the powerful cameras, GoPro also provides the users with an attractive package that blends well with the camera. The full Omni package includes six 32GB MicroSD cards, six mini-USB cables, a GoPro smart remote, six batteries, and the Kolor software license. The GoPro Omni is the go-to camera for VR enthusiasts. However, at a price of $5,000, the camera doesn’t come cheap and you’ll have to pinch your pocket really hard to get it.
Virtual reality is not going away, but it’s nothing without content. And that’s where the Nokia OZO comes in. Although it’s one of the most expensive 360-degree action cameras, the Nokia OZO lives up to its promises. The camera comes equipped with eight lenses, each with a 195 degrees field of view. Each lens has a 2K sensor and it shoots at 30fps, which is relatively higher that the 24 frames you usually see with film.
Nokia boasts that OZO is the first VR device to capture 360 degrees spherical videos with 360 x 360 surround sound. This way, it mirrors what we see and hears. Consumers have also viewed the OZO as the silver bullet for all VR productions. In addition, OZO cam offers live streaming, live monitoring, 3D video and audio recording, and automatic stitching. Some of the big name companies such as Sony and Disney have already inked deals with Nokia to use the OZO for production purposes.
The Insta360 is another premium camera that allows you to record 4K 360-degree videos via duo 230 degrees fisheye lenses. The dual 4K cameras record high-resolution (4,096 x 2,048) videos that don’t require post production stitching. All the content stitching takes place in the camera so you can get the results in real time.
The Insta360 versatility makes it usable for a wide range of activities. You can fly it with a drone, mount it on a tripod, or just hold it by hand. It records footage to a microSDHC memory card and has support for up to 32GB cards. Additional features include a mobile app for Android and iOS, Wi-Fi connectivity, and virtual planning when used with a mobile device.
While it requires only 2 lenses to create a 360-degree image, it has become a common consensus that the more the better. Nokia OZO, for instance, utilizes 8 lenses, which partly explains why it delivers the best content for VR. You should also consider other factors that make a 360-degree camera stand out, such as stitching capabilities. Some cameras are able to stitch the images automatically and in real time, while others may require you to use a special software or even do it manually. We hope that this article will help you to make a more informed buying decision.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.