Looking to take your action videos to the next level? With the unstoppable rise of VR and 360 video (you’ve seen them all over Facebook, right?) now is the time to start shooting with a 360 camera. In the past few years the number of cameras that can shoot in 360 has exploded and better yet, there are now more than a few that are designed specifically to be 360 action cameras. 360 cameras are not only able to capture the entire envirnment around you, but some are able to create completely stable footage without a gimbal.
What does a 360 action camera look like?
Everyone knows what a GoPro and its many clones looks like; small, light, robust – but what about a 360 action camera? You’ll be pleased to know that all of the 360 action cameras out right now are equally small and light, with tripod mounts and various accessories. One huge different is that you’ll find 2 large lenses on a 360 action cam instead of just one. Protection from the elements and impacts vary depending on the model you choose and what you intend to do with it, but there is something for everyone and for all budgets.
The Best 360 Action Cameras of 2018
Without further delay, let me take you through your options when hunting for a 360 action cam. I’ve tried to cover all of the bases and be as varied as possible; there are cheaper options and more expensive ones ones too, but obviously the pricier devices will offer the best quality video and more impressive action cam credentials. My minimum criteria for including a camera on this list is as follows: must shoot 360 video, must have some type of water and shock resistance and must have a standard tripod mount.
The VIRB 360 is without doubt the best 360 action camera out right now, but it’s also the most expensive. Created by action camera makers Garmin, the VIRB 360 is one of the most recently released 360 cameras and comes packed with the latest features. The VIRB is waterproof to 10m, shock and dust proof and comes with two mounts, one of with is compatible with GoPro accessories.
|Features||Garmin VIRB 360|
|Video Resolution||5.7K @ 30fps|
|Photo Resolution||15 Megapixels|
|Number of Lenses||2|
|360 Live Stream||1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps (Apple Only)|
|Waterproof||Yes, up to 10m|
|Memory||MicroSD up to 128GB (officially, also accepts 258GB)|
|Battery||1 Hour continuous video on full charge|
|Compatibility||Android and Apple smartphones|
|Other Features||Stabilization software, data overlay and augmented reality, Gyroscope, Accelrometer, 360 Audio|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
The VIRB 360 ($799) can shoot at an incredibly impressive 5.7K, which is among the highest resolution of any 360 camera under $1000. The video is sharp, clear and looks great on a headset of on social media. You can also shoot at 4K which is a bit easier to deal with, and even at this lower resolution video looks great.
What makes this the best 360 action camera is the huge number of sensors packed into its small chassis, and how the camera uses them to create augmented overlays on your video. The VIRB comes fitted with a Gyroscope, Accelrometer, Barometer, GPS, WiFI, Bluetooth and a Compass. The VIRB can combine data from all of these senors to create what it calls G-Metrix overlays. Take a look at the video below for what these overlays looks like.
This is just one of many options available for displaying data on your videos and its all done using a really easy to use app or desktop software.
As well as augmented reality, the VIRB has excellent stabilization software which should keep your video looking relatively smooth.
The VIRB has some issues with software, the app sometimes struggled to connect to the camera and live stream quality is poor, but these should not stop you getting the VIRB if you plan to use it as an action cam. Overall no over 360 camera has the specs to beat the VIRB, but you do pay a hefty $800 price for this privilege
The Rylo is one of the most innovative cameras I’ve seen in a while. What makes it such a good action camera is that shoot perfectly smooth video even if its moving. Attach the Rylo to a bike or even a motorcycle and you’ll be able to record full 360 video that lacks any vibration and shaking. Not only can you record 360 video, but you can manipulate that video to create cinematic flat video. Take a look at the examples below.
|Number of Lenses||2 x f/2.8|
|Video Resolution||5.8K @ 24fps - 4K @ 30fps|
|Photo Resolution||6K Panoramas|
|Stabilization||Built in stabilization and horizon correction|
|Waterproof||Unknown (underwater video footage suggests yes)|
|Memory||Micro SD up to 256GB|
|Battery||830 mAh (up to 60 minutes)|
|Compatibility||iOS at release, android coming 2018|
|Other Features||Re-framing software in App, 16x timelapse|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
The Rylo (available on Amazon) can shoot 4K 360 video at 30 fps. The detailing is very good however you may notice a yellowish tinge to the video, this can be easily fixed in the Rylo app which allows you to adjust color balance and saturation with just a few clicks. The overall quality of the video is certainly above average, but not the best. What the Rylo does excel at is stabilization, perfect for anyone who wants to film any moving video.
The Rylo also allows you to create ‘normal’ non 360 video using the very intuitive app. The video above is a quick example of this, however you can achieve an even more cinematic effect if you spend a bit more time editing your videos. The end result is a 1080p video that looks like it’s been professionally stabilized with multiple cameras. This is only possible by using a 360 camera and the Rylo does it best.Check Price
3. GoPro Fusion
The GoPro Fusion is an action camera designed by the king of action cam makers. The Fusion is GoPro’s first consumer 360 camera and it’s certainly one of the best. The duel lens camera shoots 5.2K 360 video and is housed in a shockproof and waterproof casing which protects it from the elements.The 360 video produced by the Fusion is second to none and could probably be classed as the best in its price rage (check amazon). You can also re-frame your 360 video to create 1080p flat video which also looks amazing.
The Fusion has excellent stabilization, but not quite as impressive as the Rylo above. The Fusion still manages to keep your video look steads as long as it’s not moving too aggressively. The video quality is really where the Fusion shines. The color balance, detailing and saturation are all pretty much on point, a rarity in this product category.
The reason the GoPro Fusion isn’t number 1 on my list is because it’s slightly more difficult to work with than other cameras. For a start, you need to use two MicroSD cards, and you’ll also need a pretty powerful computer to create the final video. Never the less, if you want the absolute best quality 360 video for your action shots then the Fusion is probably the camera to buy.Check Price
4. Samsung Gear 360
|Features||New Gear 360 (2017)|
|Number of Lenses||2|
|Video Resolution||4096 x 2160 at 24 fps|
|Photo Resolution||15 Megapixels|
|Battery||1160 mAh (130 minutes continuous video)|
|Livestream||Yes 2K resolution|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
OK, so technically this isn’t an action camera, but it doesn’t have some features that warrant being on this list, plus it’s a bargain! The latest Samsung Gear 360 was released early this year and is a second generation 360 camera. Samsung are taking VR and 360 media very seriously, so they put a lot of work into this camera to make is accessible and decent quality. 4K 360 video and live stream are headline features, it also comes with one of the best apps for controlling 360 cameras I’ve ever used.
The Gear 360 won’t survive a trip underwater, nor will it be unscathed if dropped from a great height, however it is splash-proof, dust-proof and shock proof to about 1 metre. It has a tripod mount which works with most action cam accessories and it comes fitted with a gyroscope and accelerometer. So if you are less into extreme sports and just want a 360 camera that can withstand some basic elemental challenges, the very cheap ($190) Gear 360 is probably the best value option.
Excellent value 4K 360 camera with live streaming capability. Can withstand some knocks and bumps, but not a fully fledged action camera
4. 360 Fly 4K
|Features||360 Fly 4k|
|Number of Lenses||1 f/2.5 x Fish Eye Lens|
|Field of View||Vertical 240° X Horizontal 360°|
|Video Resolution||2880 x 2880 @ 30fps|
|Photo Resolution||No Photo mode. Photos can be taken from video.|
|Waterproof||Yes, up to 30ft|
|Shockproof||Yes, up to 1.5m|
|Memory||64GB, internal only.|
|Other Features||Gyroscope, Accelerometer|
|Where to buy||Amazon Reviews|
The 360 Fly 4K was one of the first 360 action cams ever and is still once of the best. The Fly was designed with action in mind, its hard shell protects it from knocks and falls from 1.5m and it’s water-poof up to an impressive 30m. The 360 Fly can shoot 4K 360 video, however as it only uses a single lens this means the camera can only shoot a 360 x 280 field of view; this means that in the final video you won’t be able to see underneath the camera.
The Fly has has a price cut recently and it’s now one of the best value 360 action cameras considering the number of features it possesses. There are more than a dozen accessories specifically designed for the Fly, but other standard accessories will also work with it too.
Single lens 4K 360 camera. Shock proof and waterproof to 30 metres. Design is perfect for a helmet cam.
360 action cameras coming soon
360 is the perfect format for action cameras, it allows the audience to see the enter environment and become immersed in your experiences. The number of 360 cameras is only going to go up, which is great for us. Here are a few of the most exciting products coming later this year.
Yes you read that right, car maker Nissan are developing their own 360 action camera. The JukeCam is actually going to be the first 360 dash-cam, specifically designed to record your car journeys, but the camera will have a duel function as an action camera.
Developed with the creators of the 360 Fly camera, Nissan wants to make it easy for you to record in 360 from inside your car as well as your adventures outside it too. The camera will be able to shoot 4K 360 video and feature much of the same protection found on the 360 Fly (water proof, hardened case, dust proof). Specialised docks will allow you to attach your camera to the dashboard of your car or to a helmet.
No work on release date or price yet, but I’ll be sure to inform you as soon as that info is released.