I recently wrote about the Essential 360 camera, one of the MANY new 360 camera announced in the past few months. What sets this one apart? It comes from the company headed by the maker of Android, it’s a module for a very exciting new smartphone and it’s the smallest 360 camera ever! Despite its tiny size, the Essential 360 camera can shoot 4K 360 video and 360 audio with 4 mics.
Until now there hasn’t been any 360 footage shot with the Essential 360 Camera released to the public but today 5 separate videos were released, some featuring celebrity appearances.
Essential 360 Camera Example Video
The first video features YouTuber Cameron Dallas showing you his amazing house/life in what is a rather obviously staged walk through featuring a water fight and photoshoot. Despite the rather cringe setting, the video shows off the video quality of the Essential 360 Camera quite well thanks to the plentiful natural lighting. When viewed at 4K, the video is very clear with minimal blurring. Colors sometimes look a bit dull, but otherwise the video is about what I expected from a 4K 360 camera.
The next video couldn’t be more different. Shot at a concert during the night, the scene has no natural light and plenty of darkness to contend with. The cameras performs less well here, with the stitching lines much more obvious and the details of the scene only clear when the light is at its brightest. Then again, almost all 360 cameras really struggle at low light.
This very short video shot at an NBA game again tests the Essential 360 cameras ability to shoot without natural light. Even though it’s only 8 seconds long, the video does a decent job of capturing the bright yellow colors of what i can only assume is the home team kit. There is still a slight blurriness to the whole picture =, probably due to the strong artificial lights.
This is a much longer 360 video featuring YouTuber Questlove as he takes you around San Francisco Bay. You’ll probably notice that the video is very smooth and stable, that’s because he’s using a gimbal to stabilize the camera. These are sold separately so if you want your 360 videos to be as smooth as this you’ll been to fork out for one.
One issues I noticed in this video is that the stitching line is very obvious, with a greyish line present throughout the video. This doesn’t appear in any of the other videos so I’ll give Essential the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a one off issue.
The final video features a carpool with Tyga. Yeah, random. Nothing really stands out here from the other videos; image quality is decent and sound is clear, albeit a bit quiet. It would have been good if the camera came with stabilization software like the Insta360 Air, but maybe this can be added in a future update.
Considering this is a $200 camera (or $50 when bought with the essential phone), the Essential 360 Camera does a great job of shooting 360 video if all you want is to dip you toes into the medium. There are a few issues to sort out, namely the visible stitching, but these can be fixed with software updated. I’m still amazed that we’re at a point where a camera the size of your thumb can shoot 4K 360 video, can’t wait to see what the future brings!