What’s the best 360 camera for Google Street View photography?

Best Street View 360 Camera for Most People

Samsung Gear 360

30 megapixel 360 camera fully compatible with the Street View App. Upload high quality Street View images instantly.

Google Street view was the first interactive 360 experience that went mainstream, now its impossible to imagine a world where I can’t explore a random street in New York from the comfort of my London home. Hundreds of millions of people use street view, so it’s not surprising that many are keen to contribute to this huge repository of 360 images. Thankfully it’s now easier than ever to add your own images to Google Street View and you can get started for less than $200.

Don’t believe me? Here’s my Street View profile that has racked up nearly 1 million views, all with photos taken by a 360 camera that now costs $125

The number of cheaper, consumer 360 cameras has exploded in the past few years, meaning there are now many options to choose from if you want a simple, all in one solution for shooting 360 images. If you want a 360 camera specifically for uploading to Google street view there are definitely some options that are better than others. Google has minimum requirements for uploading 360 images onto its street view platform, so you’ll need to make sure you have a camera that meets their standards.

Google have actually created 4 categories for the types of cameras it recommends for street view photography:

  • Street View mobile ready: 360 cameras that can publish Street View directly from a mobile app—without requiring a desktop workflow
  • Street View auto ready: 360 cameras tailored for vehicle-based collection with the highest accuracy
  • Street View vr ready: 360 cameras or systems that collect geometry in addition to generating sets of connected 360 photos
  • Street View workflow ready: Publishing tools (sometimes bundled with cameras) that can upload to Street View accounts

If a 360 camera is compatible with Google Street view it will be certified under one of these categories, but at long as its certified under one of them you can be sure it works with Street View.

Lets simplify things a bit. I’m going to suggest 5 360 camera for creating Street View images, I’ll show you how much they cost, the quality of the 360 images and how easy the camera is to use. Some of the cameras are very expensive and some are very cheap, the more expensive ones are for professionals, however even the cheaper ones are good enough to get you Certified as a trusted photographer by Google

I’ve listed them based on their price vs value with the top one being best value for money. Any of these cameras work with Google Street view, so your final choice will probably depend on the price of the camera and the features it has.

 

Best 360 cameras for Google Street View photography

1. My recommended 360 camera – Samsung Gear 360 (2016)

The Samsung Gear 360 is my recommended 360 camera for shooting Google Street View images, particularly if you are not looking for a professional solution. This cheap but powerful 360 camera is perfectly suited to shooting 360 photos that are the right size and quality for Google Street view. One downside to this camera is that the official app that controls the camera only works with Samsung Phones. If you have a different type of phone I’d recommend using one of the other cameras on this list.

Simply connect the camera to your phone using a dedicated app, then snap your 360 photos and save them on your phone. Using the Street View app you can then upload your images to Google Street View. The camera includes GPS information in the photo files, so Street View will know where you took them and upload the photos in the correct place. All you need is the cameras and your phone (and an internet connection), no PC or other software required.

Using this camera you can shoot high quality 30 megapixel 360 photos, which is enough to quality for a Trusted by Google certificate if you upload 50 separate photos. I used this camera to attain my trusted certificate and I’ve had hundreds of thousands of people view my images on Street View.

Other features of the camera include 4K 360 video, time-lapse, splash resistance and dust resistance. This is my far the best value 360 camera for taking Street View photos, and it does so pretty well too. Make sure you get the right camera, as of now there are two types of Gear 360 cameras, click the button below to be taken to the correct one.

Samsung Gear 360

30 megapixel 360 camera fully compatible with the Street View App. Upload high quality Street View images instantly.

 

If you don’t have a Samsung Phone: Ricoh theta S

The Ricoh Theta S is one of the most popular 360 cameras ever. It can take great quality 360 photos instantly and it’s pretty cheap too. The Ricoh works perfectly with the Street View app, meaning you can snap your 360 images and upload them using the Street View App without the need for a laptop or PC. The only reason this isn’t my top choice is because it’s slightly more expensive than the Gear 360, however the Ricoh is compatible with both iOS and Android whereas the Gear 360 is only compatible with Samsung Phones.

The Ricoh is particularly noted for taking high quality photos, however its 360 video capability is somewhat limited. Never the less, this is still an excellent, low cost option for shooting 360 photos for Street View easily.

Ricoh Theta S

Compatible with all smartphones, this high quality camera can shoot excellent 360 photos. Compatible with Street View app for instant upload.

Vuze 360

360 camera for street view

The Vuze 360 is a mid range 360 camera that can also shoot in 3D. You may think that 3D is a long dead fad, but when combined with a 360 video it actually looks pretty awesome. The Vuze will be able to publish photos to Street View using desktop software included with the camera. The software will offer a “one click” option, which means it should be pretty easy to get your mages published to Google once on your desktop. The Vuze has plenty of other features to get excited about, such as internal stabilization, 360 spatial audio and excellent quality 360 video.

Vuze 360

The only affordable 360 camera that can shoot in 3D. Excellent quality images produced by 8 separate lenses. Street View compatible using desktop software (included).

 Giroptic iO

The Giroptic iO is an amazing little device that turns your smartphone into a fully fledged 360 camera. The tiny camera attached to the charging port of your phone, which you then hold upside down to shoot your 360 photos. An app will allow you to control and preview the images as well as save onto your phone and share on social media. Giroptic are one of the companies that are Google Certified for street view, which means their camera will work flawlessly with the Street View app.

So all you’ll need to shoot and share Street View images is this tiny device and your phone.

Giroptic iO

Turns your phone into a 360 camera. Available for both Android and iOS, the camera can connect to Street View instantly.

 

Professional option: Insta360 Pro

The Insta360 Pro is a 360 camera for professional film makers, so if you are just looking for a cheap solution this isn’t the camera for you. If you are looking to professional quality 360 photos that can also be uploaded to Street View then this could be the best all in one solution. The Insta360 Pro can shoot extremely high quality 360 photos using 6 individual lenses at up to 8K resolution. The Pro can also shoot video as well, making it one of the most diverse 360 cameras ever. Again, this is a professional solution but well worth the high cost if you are looking to get into professional quality shoots.

Insta360 Pro

The professional 360 camera for those who want to absolute highest quality. Certified by Google for Street View use.

 


 

That’s my pick of the best 360 camera for street view. There are plenty more out there that are compatible, in fact there will be 20 360 cameras that are officially recognized by Google by the end of 2017. My selection is based on personal experience, the overall specs of the camera and the price/value for money. I hope you’ve found this guide useful and I’ll be updating this post when newer and better 360 cameras are released.

 



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1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Steven 29th December 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Hi,
    I would agree with your recommendation of the Samsung Gear 360 camera however can I correct you on one thing.
    You can use the camera with an iPhone, the Street View app connects directly to the camera.
    I know this for sure as this the is the setup I use.
    I’m now off to check out your Instagram and YouTube.

    Steven

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