Labpano Pilot One Review: The Ultimate Virtual Tour & Livestream 360 Camera

Labpano, previously known as pisoftech, released the Pilot One as their second generation 360 camera. Last year they released the Pilot One as the first 8K 360 camera under 8K and marketed it as a camera well suited to creating virtual tours quickly and easily.

How does the smaller and more compact Pilot One improve on its predecessor? Apart from the improved design we find new connection to new virtual tour services as well as internal editing software which means you can create entire virtual tours without ever connecting your camera to a phone or desktop. Lets take a closer look at the Labpano and see if it’s really the best virtual tour camera available right now.

Labpano Pilot One Review

Specs

 

Specs Labpano Pilot One
Video Resolution Real-time stitching

8K (7680*3840) 7fps

6K (5760*2880) 15fps

4K (3840*1920) 30fps

2K (1920*960) 30fps

In-camera stitching

8K (7680*3840) 24fps

6K (5760*2880) 30fps

4K (3840*1920) 30fps

Photo Resolution Real-time stitching

8192 x 4096

6144 x 3072

4096 x 2048

Stabilization 6 Axis PilotSteady™ technology
Coding Format H.265 / H.264
Waterproof No – Waterproof Case Available
Connection Erthernet Port, 5G/4G, WiFi, Bluetooth
x6 Microphones / Ambisonic Audio
Livestream 8K @24fps, 4K @30fps
Sensors G-sensor, Gyro-sensor, Magnetic sensor, High Precision GPS
Battery Video recording: 2 hours (8K)

Live streaming: Up to 2 hours

Built-in 3400mAh battery

Memory 6GB RAM / 64GB ROM
Other Features Android operating system, Touchscreen
Price Available on Amazon

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Camera Design

The Pilot One is one of the smallest 360 cameras that can shoot 8K resolution video and is much smaller than professional cameras released in the past few years. With dimensions of 44mm * 44mm * 125mm and weight of 288g the camera is easy to use with even a single hand. The camera isn’t quite pocketable due to the rather thick body but it shouldn’t take up much room in your kit bag.

The camera features 4× F2.28 aspherical fisheye lenses as well as a large touch screen on one side of the body. Anyone who owned a Pilot Era will be familiar with the design which has been shrunk. In fact the Pilot One features near identical hardware specs to the Pilot Era in a more compact body.

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8K Video

One of the headline features of the Pilot One is certainly the 8K 360 video. At the best setting the Pilot One can shoot 8K 360 video at 24fps, again identical to the Pilot Era. When using that camera I noticed the lower frame rate resulted in not-so-smooth video, 30fps would certainly have resulted in better quality.

Having said that the video coming out of the Pilot One is sharp and colorful and the 8K resolution puts it ahead of most other 360 cameras. Dynamic range isn’t the best but can be improved with some post color correction.

The Pilot One 8K video isn’t suitable for viewing on a VR headset due to the 24fps frame rate which results in an uncomfortable experience for the viewer. If you wanted to shoot video for a VR headset then selected the lower resolution 6K at 30fps.

The Pilot One would be great for anyone wanting to take the 8K video and re-frame it into linear video, the resulting video would still be 4K which will look great on most screens. You will also have the advantage of Labpano’s stabilization technology which works well to smooth out most bumps and vibrations. While not suitable as an action camera the stabilization works well when walking, running or attaching your camera to a drone.

Overall the Pilot One is a decent 360 camera for video, but there are better options out there for less money. Where the Pilot One shines is its ability to shoot virtual tours quickly and efficiently.

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Virtual Tour Camera

If you are looking to start your own virtual tour business or looking for a new device to streamline your workflow then you should definitely read on. The Pilot One features several innovations that make it a virtual tour makers dream.

Will you get the best quality images you’ve ever seen? No. Will you have the fastest workflow possible with decent quality images that most clients will be happy with? Almost certainly.

The Pilot One is able to automatically create virtual tours and upload them to Labpano’s PilotTour software. All virtual tour creation is done inside the camera and will be available online soon after you upload. The Pilot One can accurately pinpoint your location when creating virtual tours and place the correct photo in the correct location in the tour.

When you are done shooting your VR tour simply select in in the gallery and upload it to the PilotTour service. You can then view and share the full tour immediately.

This workflow removes the need to transfer your 360 images from your camera to a desktop then onto a VR tour service, the whole process is done inside the camera itself.

While you don’t need to connect to a phone thanks to the full touch screen, should you need to you have full remote control of the camera from the official app. You can also color correct directly from the camera itself, further removing the need to use any kind of desktop software.

This is the fastest and easiest way to create professional quality virtual tours and the workflow is the most efficient I’ve seen. While the image quality isn’t the best available, particularly when it comes to dynamic rage, the end result is still sharp and clear. For the vast majority of clients the image quality is good enough and the workflow will save you time and money.

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Streetview

With ultra-accurate GPS and automatic stitching, the Pilot One is well placed as a great Google Street View camera. Simply select the street view mode, place your camera in an appropriate place and record your video. The images from the video will automatically be uploaded to the street view service at the highest quality possible.

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Livestream in 8K

Labpano have set up the Pilot One to be the go-to camera for next generation live-streaming. The Pilot One is the first 8K 360 camera than can livestream without the need for a wired connection to a desktop, allowing for much greater flexibility and easier workflow.

The Pilot One is all set for 5G connection which will make livestreaming VR a much easier process. For now the camera can also stream wirelessly via a WiFi connection.

In order for most of these innovations to work you will need a special “mod” which will be sold separately. For example for livestreaming wirelessly you’ll need a 4G or 4G mod and for super accurate GPS you’ll need a GPS mod. This is an extra cost which highlights that this is not a consumer camera.

 

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Summary

The Labpano Pilot One is a workhorse rather than a camera you’d use for fun. It can’t match the video quality of some cheaper cameras nor is it meant to be used as an action camera like the GoPro Max. What it can do is massively reduce the time it takes to create virtual tours and provide 8K VR livestream services.

If you are interested in pursuing either of these as a business then the Pilot One is definitely worth considering and it will no doubt save you time and money compared to other options.

 

See Also: Professional 360 Camera Comparison


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Owner of threesixtycameras.com. Writer, photographer and videographer. You can see my YouTube channel for guides of how to shoot 360 video. I've written for The Times, Digital Photography School and Sunday Express.  

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