The ULTIMATE 360 Camera Christmas Buying Guide

Quick warning: this is a very long post with a lot of information. To help you find what you are looking for I’ve broken this guide up into sections and you’ll find a clickable table below where you can go straight to the section that interests you. Feel free to read the whole thing if you want the most comprehensive guide to buying a 360 camera this Christmas! 

If you’ve found this page I’m assuming you are looking to buy a 360 camera for either yourself or someone else this holiday season. If so then great, I’m sure I can help you find the perfect device. Why me? Well I’ve been writing about and using 360 camera for the past two years. I own 11 of them and have tested even more. I’m one of the biggest 360 camera nerds around and I know a lot about these cool little cameras.

360 cameras have only really existed for the past few years and this is the first Christmas season where there is a lot to choose from, so you may be a bit overwhelmed by the numerous options available. I’m going to show you which are the best 360 cameras available right now and why, so you can make an informed decision. By the end of this guide you should have a pretty good idea of what each of the top 360 cameras can do, how much they cost which one you are interested in.

 

Best All-Round 360 Cameras

#1 Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere

Video Resolution: 3.5k | Photo Megapixels: 23.8 | Max ISO: 1600 | Max Exposure: 1/6400 | Stitching: Using app | Price: Cheap | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Gearbest.com

The Xiaomi Mijia is the best all-round 360 camera you can get right now. If you are looking for an easy to use, inexpensive camera that can shoot good quality images, then this is the camera I recommend. Developed by Chinese tech brand Xiaomi, the Mi Sphere is a stand out camera; it can shoot stunning 360 photos and pretty decent video. It’s easy to use, compatible with both iOS and Android and is pretty cheap. There are better 360 cameras out there, particularly if you’re more interested in video, but for the price and the quality of the device, the Mi Shere is the one to beat.

PROS:
  • Excellent Value For Money
  • Shoots Excellent 360 Photos
  • Easy to Use
  • Many Features
  • App Works with iOS and Android

CONS:
  • No Livestream
  • 360 Video Below 4K

Check Price

 

Read my in depth review of the Mi Sphere (opens in new tab)

 

Insta360 One

Video Resolution: 4K | Photo Megapixels: 24 | Max ISO: 3200 | Max Exposure: 1/6400 | Stitching: Instant  | Price: Average | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Gearbest.com

The Insta360 One is among the newest 360 cameras to be released. Not only can it shoot great quality 4K video, but also huge 24 megapixel photos. The Insta360 One comes backed with a lot of features, including some unique video modes not found on many other 360 cameras. Freecapture and Smart Track modes let you manipulate 360 video and create normal flat 1080p video. You can attach the camera directly to your phone or use a selfie stick/tripod.

The Insta360 One comes packed with a lot of features, which makes it a great all-round 360 camera. The only reason it’s not at the top it because it’s slightly more expensive and is only compatible with iOS for now (android version coming soon). If you are willing to pay a bit extra you’ll certainly get a lot for your money with this camera, particularly when it comes to shooting 360 video.

PROS:
  • Great quality 4K 360 Video
  • Huge 24 MP Photos Look Amazing
  • Video Stabilisation
  • Unique Editing Modes

CONS:
  • App Only Available for iOS
  • App a Bit Buggy

Check Price

 

#3 Samsung Gear 360

Video Resolution: 4K | Photo Megapixels: 15 Megapixels  | Max ISO: 1600 | Stitching: Instant  | Price: Cheap | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

This is Samsung’s second generation 360 camera and it’s one of the cheapest (and most popular) 360 cams available. Don’t let the low price fool you though, this is still a pretty good device with some cool features. The Gear 360 can shoot 4K video which is considered the minimum for great quality in 360, it can also livestream to Facebook and YouTube and shoot time-lapse video. The app is one of the easiest to use and the camera is designed perfectly for either hand help use or with a tripod.

The image quality isn’t the best, and some features don’t work on iPhone’s, but this is still a great starter 360 camera.

PROS:
  • 4K Video Quality
  • User Friendly App
  • Very Cheap
  • Livestream

CONS:
  • Poor Quality Photos
  • No Video Stabilization
  • Few Extra Features

Check Price

Ready my in depth review of the Samsung Gear 360 (opens in new tab).

 

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Best for Video

#1 Garmin VIRB 360

Video Resolution: 5.7K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: 4K | Stabiliztion: Yes | Photo Megapixels: 15 Megapixels  | Max ISO: 6400 | Stitching: Desktop Software or App  | Price: Expensive | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

If you are looking for the best consumer 360 camera for video, then you’ve just found it. The Garmin VIRB 360 can shoot 5.7K 360 video, which is a huge boost over 4K. The quality of the 360 video coming out of the VIRB 360 is unmatched, unless you are willing to spend thousands. Several stabilization modes are also provided which keep your video smooth even if you shoot in bumpy circumstances.

The down sides to this camera are that it’s quite expensive (although Gamin have recently cut the price a bit) and you’ll need to hook your camera up to a PC and use the free VIRB Edit program to automatically stitch your video into the 360 format. Still, if video quality is of paramount importance to you then the VIRB is the best, I own one myself and am very happy.

PROS:
  • 5.7K 360 Video
  • Excellent Quality
  • Various Stabilization Modes
  • Hardened Case
  • Free Video Editor

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Photo Quality Not as Good

Check Price

 

#2 GoPro Fusion

Video Resolution: 5.2K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: 3K @60fps| Stabiliztion: Yes| Photo Megapixels: 18 Megapixels  | Max ISO: 6400 | Stitching: App  | Price: Expensive | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: GoPro Website

This is GoPro’s first all in one 360 camera and it certainly lives up to the company’s premium standard. The Fusion can shoot 5.2K 360 video at 30 fps. The image quality is bright, colorful and silky smooth thanks to advanced internal stabilization which GoPro says is just as good as using a mechanical gimbal. The Fusion also comes with an advanced editing app with a new mode called Overcapture, which GoPro says will revolutionise the way we make video from here on out.

If you are a fan of GoPro products this camera is a no-brainer. There are a huge number of innovative features to play with and it’s certainly a premium product.

PROS:
  • 5.2K 360 Video
  • Vibrant Image Quality
  • Advanced Stabilization
  • Overcapture Mode
  • Free Video Editor

CONS:
  • Expensive

Check Price

 

#3 Yi 360 VR

Video Resolution: 5.7K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: 4K @30fps| Stabiliztion: No| Photo Megapixels: 18 Megapixels  | Max ISO: 6400 | Stitching: App (4K Only)  | Price: Average | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: BH Photo Video

The Yi 360 VR is one of only two consumer 360 cameras that can shoot at 5.7K resolution, and is by far the cheapest. If you want a 360 camera that can shoot amazing video, but you don’t want to spend more than $400, then the Yi 360 VR is pretty much your only option. The Yi forgoes some extra features found in other cameras, but retains the extremely high video resolution at a bargain price.

PROS:
  • 5.7K 360 Video
  • Excellent Value for Money

CONS:
  • No Stabilization
  • 5.7K Video Requires Manual Stitching
  • No Extra Features

Check Price

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Best for Photography

#1 Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere

360 camera christmas 2017

Video Resolution: 3.5k | Photo Megapixels: 23.8 | Max ISO: 1600 | Max Exposure: 1/6400 | Stitching: Using app | Price: Cheap | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Gearbest.com

The Xiaomi Mijia not only the best camera for photos, it’s also the best value 360 camera overall. The Mi Sphere can shoot 360 photos at a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, resulting in sharp, clear images. The camera offers various manual controls, such as a long shutter speed and high ISO for low light conditions. There other other 360 camera which may appear to have superior specs, but in my various tests the Mi Sphere always comes out on top, producing 360 photos that are colorful and true to reality.

PROS:
  • Excellent Value For Money
  • Shoots best 360 photos of any 360 camera
  • Easy to Use
  • Timelapse Mode
  • Works Well in Low Light
  • App Works with iOS and Android

CONS:
  • No Livestream
  • 360 Video Below 4K

Check Price

 

Read my in depth review of the Mi Sphere (opens in new tab)

#2 Insta360 One

best 360 camera christmas 2017

Video Resolution: 4K | Photo Megapixels: 24 | Max ISO: 3200 | Max Exposure: 1/6400 | Stitching: Instant  | Price: Average | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Gearbest.com

The Insta360 One has several features that make it an excellent camera for 360 photos. It can shoot 360 stills at 24 megapixels and shoot in LOG mode, allowing you to retain details when editing later. There are a large range of manual controls and a huge max ISO of 3200. The camera performs OK when adjusted, but there is often a lack of detail in the darkest spots.

The Insta360 One is the second best option if 360 photos are your main priority, but remember this camera can shoot awesome 360 video too.

PROS:
  • Huge 24 MP Photos Look Amazing
  • LOG Mode
  • Wide range of Manual Controls
  • Unique Editing Modes

CONS:
  • App Only Available for iOS
  • Not as Good in Low Light

Check Price

 

#3 Ricoh Theta V

360 camera buying guide

Video Resolution: 4K | Photo Megapixels: 15 | Max ISO: 3200 | Max Exposure: 1/6400 | Stitching: Using App | Price: Average | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

This is the fourth generation 360 camera from Ricoh, and it’s by far the best. 4K video was the big upgrade this time round, but the camera is also very good at photography, with some great features not found in other cameras. The most important of all is its automatic HDR mode which combines three separate images into one, resulting in a vibrant and correctly exposed 360 photo. The camera has lens technology often found in DSLR’s and can be adjusted to shoot in low light, which it does beautifully.

The reason this isn’t my top choice for a photography camera is because the image resolution is limited to 15 megapixels. This is low compared to other cameras and may result in a blurred image when viewed on a large screen. Never the less, this is certainly one of the most feature packed 360 cameras for photographers.

PROS:
  • Auto HDR Mode
  • Good in Low Light
  • Great Range of Manual Controls
  • High Quality Lenses

CONS:
  • Limited to 15 Megapixels
  • Quite Expensive

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Read my in depth review of the Ricoh Theta V (opens in new tab)

 

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360 Action Cameras

#1 Garmin VIRB 360

 

Video Resolution: 5.7K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: 4K | Stabiliztion: Yes | Sensors: Gyroscope, Accelrometer, Speedometer, Compass | Waterproof: Yes – 10m | Shockproof: Yes | Stitching: Desktop Software or App  | Price: Expensive | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

Waterproof to 10 metres, hardened outer shell and half a dozen sensors makes the Garmin VIRB 360 the best 360 action camera. You won’t need to worry about dropping the VIRB or even submerging it, because this is a camera designed to survive a beating. The VIRB has a unique augmented reality feature where is utilises data from its sensors and overlays it on the video, a really cool feature that is unique to Garmin devices.

The 5.7K stabilized video means you’ll be able to create amazing quality 360 video that’s smooth no matter where and how you use it. The camera is compatible with several attachments provided by Garmin and can even use GoPro attachments.

PROS:
  • 5.7K 360 Video
  • Waterproof to 10m
  • Various Stabilization Modes
  • Hardened Case
  • Dozens of Extra Attachements

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Photo Quality Not as Good

Check Price

 

#2 GoPro Fusion

360 camera Christmas buying guide

Video Resolution: 5.2K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: 3K @ 60fps | Stabiliztion: Yes | Sensors: Gyroscope, Accelrometer, speedometer, Compass | Waterproof: Yes – 5m | Shockproof: Yes | Stitching: Desktop Software or App  | Price: Expensive | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

GoPro are the king of action cameras, so it’s no surprise that their only 360 camera easily fits into that category too. The Fusion is waterproof to 5 metres and has a number of sensors and connection options. What makes the GoPro a great action camera, though, is the amazing app and streamlined software. The Fusion App has an awesome editing mode called overcapture, which allows you to create traditional video from spherical footage.

Most importantly, the Fusion will have an advanced stabilization feature to ensure the 360 video shot is smooth, so even if you’re skiing down a mountain at half the speed of sound, your video will still look awesome.

PROS:
  • 5.2K 360 Video
  • Vibrant Image Quality
  • Advanced Stabilization
  • Waterproof
  • Overcapture Mode
  • Free Video Editor

CONS:
  • Expensive

Check Price

 

#3 360 Fly 4K

Video Resolution: 4K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: No | Stabiliztion: Yes | Sensors: Gyroscope | Waterproof: Yes – 3m | Shockproof: Yes | Stitching: App  | Price: Average | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

The 360 Fly is a bit of strange 360 camera, because it doesn’t actually shoot in full 360 degrees. As it only has 1 lens is has a limited view and can’t capture directly underneath the camera. Apart from this, the 360 Fly 4K is a reasonable action camera with several features that make it great for outdoor use. The camera is waterproof up to 3m, features a toughened lens glass and has a tripod attachment.

PROS:
  • Cheaper than Competitors
  • 4K Video

CONS:
  • Limited Field of View
  • Limited Water Resistance

Check Price

 

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Best for Vlogging

#1 Insta360 One

Video Resolution: 4K | Photo Megapixels: 24 | Video Editing Modes: Freecapture & Smart track | Stitching: Instant  | Price: Average | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Gearbest.com

What makes the Insta360 One the best 360 camera fro vlogging is the special video editing modes that allow you to create traditional videos from spherical footage. This means that the Insta360 One is great for shooting both standard video and 360. The app allows you to edit your video on the fly and it does so pretty smoothly. Overall the camera can shoot both great photos and videos that are easily shareable on all social media platforms.

PROS:
  • 3 Unique Video Editing Modes
  • Shoots both Traditions and 360 Video
  • Video Editing in App

CONS:
  • App Only Available for iOS

Check Price

 

#2 Rylo 360 Camera

Video Resolution: 4K | Photo Megapixels: 18 | Video Editing Modes: Re-Framing | Stitching: Instant  | Price: Average | User level: Beginners | Cheapest To Buy: Rylo Website

The Rylo is the newest 360 camera on the market and is looking to shake it up, in fact it’s the only 360 camera specifically designed for shooting re-framed, non 360 video – perfect for vlogging. Like the Insta360 One, the Rylo has a video mode that allows you to create standard video from 360 video. This shoot first and frame later approach means you don’t have to worry about where the camera is pointing, allowing you to focus all the creativity in the editing process. There are also a few other editing modes that allow you to use both lenses in unique ways.

The Rylo comes from a startup headed by former Instagram employees who intend to make their 360 camera the easiest to use. The software is designed to make editing your videos extremely simple, even using touch screens. This camera has created a lot of buzz so might be worth considering if yo want a future proof camera.

PROS:
  • Re-Framing Video Editing Feature
  • User Friendly Software
  • 4K Video
  • Advanced Stabilization

CONS:
  • No Tripod Adaptor

 

#3 GoPro Fusion

Video Resolution: 5.2K @30pfs| Other Video Modes: 3K @ 60fps | Stabiliztion: Yes | Video Editing Modes: Overcapture | Waterproof: Yes – 5m | Shockproof: Yes | Stitching: Desktop Software or App  | Price: Expensive | User level: Average| Cheapest To Buy: Amazon

Want a vlogging camera that can shoot in 360, go underwater and create awesome traditions video too? The GoPro can do all this and more making it an awesome vlogging camera for action thrill seekers who want to record their activities in glorios 5.2K. The Fusion app will feature a video editing mode called overcapture which is similar to this Insta360 Over Freecapture and Rylo Fr-Framing mode. GoPro also want to make creating this awesome video as easy as possible and they say their app is the best way to do it. The Fusion has all the bells and whistles a camera nerd could want, but it comes at a bigger price.

PROS:
  • 5.2K 360 Video
  • Vibrant Image Quality
  • Advanced Stabilization
  • Waterproof
  • Overcapture Mode
  • Free Video Editor

CONS:
  • Expensive

Check Price

 

Phew, that’s a lot of 360 cameras! If you haven’t been able to choose a 360 camera after reading all of that, then I don’t know what else to do! You can try joining my 360 Camera Facebook Group and asking any questions you want there, or leave a comment below and I’ll reply ASAP.

You should also check out my 360 camera deals page to see if any of these cameras have a discount running. I regularly check retailers to see which 360 cameras are on sale and update that page.

Tags:

360 camera expert, 360 photographer and lover of banoffee pie. Follow me on Instagram and YouTube for awesome 360 content.

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