Top 5 360 Cameras in 2020: Ultimate Buying Guide

If you’re reading this post then you are probably looking to buy a 360 camera but aren’t quite sure which one to get, well, you’ve come to the right place. I own every 360 camera released in the past two years and am ready to share my knowledge with you.

I’m going to take you through the best 360 cameras available in 2020 and by the end of this post you should have a clear idea which one is best for you. While there are nearly a dozen 360 cameras available right now I’m going to keep this list down to 5;  these represent the creme of the crop and the other cameras on the market are either not good enough to make the cut or are obsolete.

Whether you are on a tight budget or you are looking for the absolute best quality there will be a camera here suitable for you. Even if you don’t spot a camera here that you are interested in you can check out my ultimate 360 camera comparison table which has every 360 camera ever release in the past 4 years.

Best 360 Cameras in 2020

Best Overall 360 Camera: Insta360 One R

  • Dual 360 and 4K action camera
  • 5.7K 360 Video
  • Amazing Stabilization
  • Fully Waterproof
  • AI Editing App
  • Night Mode for Photos
Buy on Insta360 Website

 

The Insta360 One R is the best overall 360 camera in 2020. The One R is both a 5.7K 360 camera and a 4K action camera, it features a modular design which allows you to swap out lenses and change the functionality of the camera.

The One R is waterproof to 5m and features amazing stabilization software which makes it one of the best cameras ever for action shots, it also has multiple frame rate modes for slow motion shooting.

The One R App is the best around, featuring AI editing, clip merging and color correction. You can create full length vidoes with multiple effects which would normally require a desktop editor to accomplish.

I’d recommend the One R if you are looking for an awesome 360 camera that can also switch to a “normal” action camera.

With the One R you essentially get two cameras in one and more modules are likely to be released in the future. The previous version of this camera quickly became the most popular ever and the One R looks set to build upon this success.

PROS:
  • Two Cameras in One
  • High Quality 360 Video
  • Best Editing App for a 360 Camera
  • Waterproof Design
  • High Quality Photos in Low Light
  • Amazing Stabilization

CONS:
  • Long Processing Time
  • Requires Powerful Laptop/Phone
  • Expensive with Every Module

Insta360 One R
Insta360 One R
Modular camera. High quality 360 photos and video and amazing stabilization. A top choice for best 360 camera of 2020.

 

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Best 360 Action Camera: GoPro Max

  • Second Generation GoPro 360 Camera
  • 5.7K High Quality Video with GoPro Color Technology
  • “Hero Mode” for Linear Video
  • Waterproof an Shockproof with Lens Protectors
  • Amazing Stabilization Technology
  • Excellent Editing App
Buy from Amazon

 

The GoPro Max is the second all in one 360 camera from GoPro and is one of their best ever cameras. The Max shoots some of the best quality 360 video I’ve ever seen thanks to their excellent lens, color and processing technology.

The Max is a 2 in 1 camera thanks to its Hero Mode which allows you to use just one lens to shoot normal linear video in 1440p.

What makes the Max an amazing camera for action shots is the epic stabilization technology combines with the shock and waterproof design. GoPro have made it extremely easy to reframe your videos on the go thanks to the intuitive app.

GoPro offer a huge range of accessories and most work with the Max, allowing you to attach your camera to anything from your car to a surfboard. The Max  features a total of 6 microphones on its body offering by far the best audio quality of any 360 camera out now; this makes the Max a perfect vlogging camera.

If you are looking for a camera to shoot fast moving and potentially hazardous video then I have to recommend the GoPro Max.

PROS:
  • Rugged & Waterproof Body
  • Very High Quality Video
  • Amazing Stabilization Technology
  • Two Cameras in One
  • Intuitive App
  • Multiple Microphones for Excellent Audio

CONS:
  • No Windows Desktop Editing Software
  • Limited Frame Rate Options

GoPro Max
GoPro Max
The top 360 action camera for 2020. Amazing stabilization and a well protected boy make this an awesome camera for any type of moving video.
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Best 360 Camera for Photography: Ricoh Theta Z1

  • One Inch Sensors allows for superior quality photos
  • DNG RAW and HDR Modes
  • Lightroom Plugin for Smooth Workflow
  • Excellent Indoor and Low Light Performance
  • Perfect for Virtual Tours

If you are looking for a semi-professional 360 camera for shooting virtual tours or any other kind of professional 360 photography then the Ricoh Theta Z1 is currently your best bet.

The Theta Z1 features two 1 Inch sensors in its lenses; three times larger than most other 360 cameras. The larger sensors allow for far superior quality images with excellent dynamic range and vivid colors.

Shooting with the Z1 is as easy as shooting with your phone allowing you create VR tours quickly and easily; there’s even a dedicated Lightroom Plugin for flawless stitching and editing.

While the Z1 is awesome at shooting photos it’s far less impressive when it comes to shooting video, with limited 4K resolution. Despite this the Z1 is one of the most advanced and impressive 360 cameras around, particularly if you want near professional quality 360 images for under $1000.

PROS:
  • Best Quality 360 Photos
  • DNG RAW Images for Maximum Quality
  • Auto HDR Mode
  • Easy to Use Design
  • Variable Aperture

CONS:
  • Video Quality Below Competition
  • Expensive

Ricoh Thea Z1
Ricoh Thea Z1
The best 360 camera for shooting high quality photos quickly and easily. Great for virtual tours, real estate and professional use.

 

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Best 360 Camera for Video: QooCam 8K

 

  • The Only Consumer 8K 360 Camera
  • 10bit Color and High Res Video
  • Shoots DNG 8 Photos
  • Offers the Highest Quality Video for Under $1000
Buy from Kandao

 

The QooCam 8K is the first 360 camera to offer 8K resolution for under $1000, in fact quite a lot under that figure. The QooCam is a revolutionary device that allows for super high quality 360 video in a small portable device.

Being able to shoot in 8K allows the QooCam to produce extremely sharp video which would have until recently only been possible with a very expensive professional setup. Video quality is boosted further by the including of 10bit color, allowing for millions of colors in every video, as well as slightly larger sensors than the competition.

The QooCam is perfect for shooting 360 video for viewing in a VR headset as that’s where the higher resolution will help keep the video looking as realistic as possible. You’ll also be able to reframe your video in 4K rather than 1080p as with other 360 cameras.

While the QooCam isn’t an action camera per-say, it does feature decent stabilization technology and can be used when attached to a vehicle, drone or selfie stick. You probably shouldn’t risk and extreme shots with this camera but it should work fine when moving at a decent pace.

You’ll also find the QooCam is able to shoot excellent quality 360 photos using stacked DNG8 Photo mode which massively boosts performance in low light and indoor environments.

With this being the first ever 8K 360 camera there have been some teething issues, particularly around desktop and mobile software. Make sure you have a powerful desktop to stitch your 8K video and don’t expect to get the best quality if editing only on your smartphone.

Despite some issues the QooCam is able to produce excellent quality video and has potential to be even better in the future once the kinks are ironed out.

PROS:
  • Highest Resolution Video
  • 10bit Color for radiant imagery
  • Excellent Low Light Photo Performance
  • High Bit Rate Video
  • 6 Axis Stabilisation Software

CONS:
  • Software Issues
  • Requires Powerful Hardware

 

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Best Value 360 Camera: Insta360 One X

insta360 one x review

  • High Quality 5.7K Video
  • Amazing Stabilization
  • Small and Thin for Accurate Stitching
  • Less Expensive than the Competition
  • Amazing App for Editing and Re-framing
Buy from Insta360

 

If the above options are all a little too pricey for you then definitely check out the Insta360 One X. This is last years top 360 camera and it’s still one of the best around. Small, compact, easy to use and able to shoot great quality video, the One X is definitely the best value 360 camera money can buy.

The One X shoots similar quality video to the newer Insta360 One R, however unlike the One R the One X can’t shoot 4K linear video nor can it shoot as well in low light situations, it’s also not waterproof.

Other than these differences there isn’t much to miss if you choose the One X; you’ll get the same awesome App to edit your video and the quality in daytime is pretty much the same. You’ll also be able to shoot HDR video, HDR photos and DNG RAW images for maximum quality.

You’ll find the same shooting modes as well as the amazing software stabilisation found in the more modern One R. The One X has been used to create awesome action shots by thousands of content creators (including me!).

In some ways the One X is better than newer cameras, for example it’s very small size means stitching issues are less common when the software creates your final video. There is a reason the Insta360 One X is the most used, bought and talked about 360 camera ever and in many ways it’s still worth buying in 2020. Using the link below you’ll get a free invisible selfie stick too!

PROS:
  • Excellent Quality Video
  • Uses Same App as One R
  • Great Design
  • Free Invisible Selfie Stick
  • HDR and DNG Photos
  • Cheaper Option

CONS:
  • Not Waterproof
  • Struggles in Low Light
  • No Lens Protection

Insta360 One X with FREE Invisible Selfie Stick
Insta360 One X with FREE Invisible Selfie Stick
Get an Insta360 One X with a Free invisible selfie stick with this exclusive offer.
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 Other Options

I said I’d keep this list of 360 cameras in 2020 down to five, and the cameras above do constitute your best options right now. Having said that there are several other 360 cameras available, some with unique features you might be interested in. Let’s take a quick look at them now

Best VR 180 Camera: Insta360 EVO

  • Dual 360 and 180 Camera
  • 5.7K Video Resolution
  • 3D 180 Video – Perfect for VR Headsets
  • IMAX-like Video with 3D Effects
  • HDR Video Mode

 

VR 180 Cameras are able to use two side by side lenses to shoot 3D 180 degree video. While this doesn’t give the same full 360 experience it does allow you to shoot 3D effects which look awesome when viewed in a VR headset. The format is very niche and not a huge number of people are shooting in 180, but as the number of VR headsets sold grows so does the demand for this type of video. The EVO can also transform into a 360 camera thanks to its movable body so you are not stuck shooting in just the 180 format.

Buy from Insta360

 

Best Professional 360 Camera: Insta360 Pro 2

  • Professional Quality VR Video
  • 8K 3D – High Frame Rate Options
  • Ultra High Quality 360 Photos
  • Farsight Technology for Recording Far Distances
  • Same Stabilization Tech as Insta360 Consumer Cameras

 

 

If you are looking for a professional 360 camera then the Insta360 Pro 2 has established itself as the VR workhorse in many studios around the world. The high quality video and relatively easy to use hardware makes the Pro 2 the preferred camera for shooting pro-level video. Insta360 have also develop a workflow which should help speed up the slow process of editing high quality VR video; a special Premiere Pro plugin allows you to edit proxy files then apply all the effects during the final rendering process.

The Pro 2 is an expensive piece of kit but it still ranks highly among VR creators. If you are looking to move into shooting high quality 360 video with professional production values then the pro 2 is the first camera to consider.

Buy from Insta360

 

See Also:

Ultimate 360 Camera Comparison Table 

360 Camera Reviews

 


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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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