The VRDL 360 camera is a 7K photo 3K video camera that has been developed with the backing of a successful Indigogo campaign. Earlier this year the VRDL wracked up $119,000 worth of funding from over 900 backers and now the camera is just about ready to be shipped. I was given an early version of the camera to play around with and see what it can do. Backers of the Indiegogo campaign paid jut $99 for the camera, making it one of the cheapest 360 cameras ever. You can order the camera now for $199, which is still pretty cheap.
Normally I would write a full review of the camera having used it for a while now, but I don’t think it’s fair to do so with this one. The version of the camera provided to me was incomplete, with some software and hardware features missing. The final product will be different and improved. What I can do is show you some 360 footage and images taken with the camera so you roughly see what it can do.
VRDL Video Example
This is a compilation video of several short videos shot with the VRDL. The camera can shoot 3K resolution video, which is a bit on the low side compared to many other 360 cameras released this year.
This was never going to be a great video camera, but it does an OK job for the price. What I notice most is that the bright areas are very overexposed, which could be dealt with by some software modifications. The good news is that the stitching line is very accurate and there is a “night mode” which helps in low light conditions (this feature was not available when I shot the night video).
Let’s move onto the photos, which is where this camera should shine. The main selling point of the VRLD was its ability to shoot 7K photos, which is a resolution of 7000 x 3500 to be exact.
VRDL Photo Examples
The quality improvement over the video is immediately apparent, this is clearly much more of a photography camera. The 7K resolution is allowing for very sharp and detailed images which look great whether taken indoor or outdoor. I do notice quite a lot of noise in darker areas so I don’t think this camera will handle very low light situations well, but the night mode works well at dusk.
Most importantly is that the VRDL is able to capture colors as they are in reality, without adding a warm or cold tone. I’m particularly impressed at the outdoor images and the camera definitely works best with a lot of natural light; then again the camera tends to overexpose the brightest areas of an image far too much.
An excellent addition to this camera would be an automatic bracketing option that shoots an underexposed, normal exposure and an over exposed image simultaneously, this would allow you user to create a HDR image and remedy the exposure issues. I’ve also noticed a reddish tint where the stitching line would be, however this seems to have got better with subsequent firmware upgrades.
Overall I think the VRDL shoots very good 360 images given its price. 7K is roughly 24.5 megapixels, which is more than both the Insta360 One and Mi Sphere and both of these are considered great 360 cameras for photography. It takes more than a high resolution to take great images though, optics and software are equally important and the VRDL has a way to go to get the software part right.
If you are simply interested in 360 photos and nothing else (and want a cheap camera) then the VRDL looks set to be a decent option, if you’re willing to put up with software that’s really still in development.
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