Matterport is a system for creating high quality 3D virtual tours. You may have seen their unique dollhouse view which is the hallmark of a Matterport Virtual Tour. Matterport offers a hardware and software package for creating the highest quality tours possible, however their own line-up of cameras are extremely expensive.
For those who want a more budget friendly option Matterport offers software support for a small selection of 360 cameras allowing you to create three dimensional tours at a lower price. In this post we will look at all the Matterport compatible cameras available now and how they compare.
How Does It Work
Matterport claims that its software can allow you to create a “digital twin” of any space. Primarily used for real estate virtual tours, the system is also commonly used by architects, engineers and by the tourism sector.
The system works by capturing spatial data in order to map out a room in three dimensions. The software can identify and recreate objects in a room as well as measure depth and distance. The result is a digital model of a space that can be viewed in 360 degrees.
Using the Pro 2 Lidar camera developed by Matterport will give you the best results as it uses Lidar to accurately scan and map a room. These types of cameras are very expensive and may not be necessary for many use cases.
Using a standard 360 camera will result in a less accurate 3D map but will likely be good enough to create the “dollhouse” effect in smaller spaces such as apartments and smaller houses. Not all 360 cameras are currently compatible with the Matterport software, but there are a few good options that are widely available.
Best Quality: Ricoh Theta Z1
Out of the current crop of 360 cameras compatible with Matterport the Ricoh Theta Z1 is the best for quality. As I’ve mentioned in other camera comparisons, the Theta Z1 is currently the top 360 camera for photography thanks to its dual 1 inch sensors which allow it to capture more light and color.
Being able to shoot bright and vibrant images with less noise allows the Matterport software to more accurately predict depth and map out a 3D space; you’re therefore able to use the Z1 to capture larger spaces. Check out this example of a Matterport Tour of a rowing club shot with the Theta Z1
The Z1 is the best option if you are looking to use an all-in-one 360 camera for your Matterport tours, however this is also the most expensive camera on the list. Still, it’s far cheaper than the Matterport camera and can still product excellent results.
Insta360 One X
The very popular Insta360 One X has been Matterport compatible for some time, opening up the 3D system for thousands of users. The small, easy to use camera won’t match up to thw ulity of the Z1 but it’s cheaper and does a decent job in smaller spaces.
Like all camera on this list, the One X can shoot HDR images which dramatically improves the dynamic range and overall look of your photos. Here’s a few images taken from a Matterport tour shot with the One X.
The main issue with the One X is the inability to reduce overexposure in very bright areas such as windows and doors, making it difficult for the user to see outside as they would in reality. Other than this the One X does a good job and from personal experience it’s one of the easiest 360 cameras to use.
Insta360 have since released an updated version of the One X, the Insta360 One R. This is a superior camera in terms of video and photo capabilities but it is not yet compatible with Matterport. Insta360 have indicated that a future update will add compatibility so you may also want to consider this camera too.
Unfortunately Insta360 have stopped manufacturing the One X so you may struggle to find one. I’d advice to check Amazon first then try eBay for a second hand device.
Ricoh Theta V
Ricoh’s Theta V was the first all in one 360 camera to be compatible with Matterport and while it’s no match for the more advanced Theta Z1 it still performs reasonably well when creating 3D tours.
The Theta V is Ricoh’s midrange 360 camera and features excellent lens and color technology. The downside of the Theta V is the lower than average resolution of its 360 photos; this means that zooming into specific areas may result in a more blurred image.
Where the Theta V makes up for this is the automatic HDR mode which works extremely well to boost color, dynamic range and reduce overexposure.
The Theta V is another very easy to use camera and its small size makes it ideal for transporting. While the camera may be starting to show its age the tours speak for themselves, and you can still get decent quality from this well tested camera.