The Rylo came out of nowhere to shake up the 360 camera market, and perhaps even give us a glimpse of the future of all cameras. The Rylo is a 4K 360 camera, which these days are a dime a dozen; what makes the Rylo special is it’s near perfect software stabilization and re-framing mode. Having tested the camera for the past few weeks, I’ve found the Rylo to be one of the most impressive 360 cameras I’ve ever used, but it does get some of the basics wrong. Is the Rylo worth its pretty high price tag? Let’s find out.
Excellent software makes up for standard hardware. An amazing tool for both 360 and non-360 video.
- Amazing software stabilization technology
- Video editing app easy and intuitive
- Re-framing feature produces attractive 1080p video
- 4K 360 looks decent and captures fine details
- Attractive design with high quality materials
- Doesn't work well in low light
- No automatic timer
- No manual photo controls
5.8K Update – November 2018
When it was first released the Rylowas limited to shooting 4K video. In November 2018 Rylo released a free software update that unlocks 5.8K resolution mode, which means videos shot with the Rylo will be much more sharp than previously.
This is an awesome upgrade and puts the Rylo back in the game. 5.8K is actually the highest resolution of any consumer 360 camera right now. The extra pixels means your re-framed action shots will look sharper too, I already noticed a big difference! You do have to sacrifice some frame rate – 24fps down from 30fps – but I think it’s worth it for the improved quality.
A new desktop app is also available which you’ll need to use in order to get 5.8K video in the 360 format. If you are only interested in the re-framed action shots, then using your mobile will still be fine.back to menu ↑
|Number of Lenses||2 x f/2.8|
|Video Resolution||5.8K @ 24fps - 4K @ 30fps|
|Photo Resolution||6K Panoramas|
|Stabilization||Built in stabilization and horizon correction|
|Waterproof||Unknown (underwater video footage suggests yes)|
|Memory||Micro SD up to 256GB|
|Battery||830 mAh (up to 60 minutes)|
|Compatibility||iOS at release, android coming 2018|
|Other Features||Re-framing software in App, 16x timelapse|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
The Rylo is priced as a premium product, and it definitely looks the part. Packaged a bit like an iPhone, you can definitely see the influence from the founders’ backgrounds at Apple and Instagram. In the box you’ll find the camera, a charging cable, a transfer cable and some simple instructions. You’ll also get an everyday case which houses the Rylo and also acts as a small monopod.
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The Rylo is a very small but quite chunky camera, with two bulging lenses and a small LCD screen. The outer rim in clad in metal, the first 360 camera I’ve seen use metal in its body, and the remainder of the body is a high quality plastic.
The LCD screen shows battery level, mode and how much space you have left to shoot. It’s accompanied by a small button that allows you to change from video to photo mode. The only other physical button is the power button on the top of the camera.
The camera feels very well built and the materials are high quality. I find it unlikely that the camera could survive many drops, but the everyday travel case will provide some protection.back to menu ↑
Rylo Video Quality
Let’s take a look at the 360 video quality of the Rylo. The camera has two f2.8 lenses that can shoot 4K resolution, which is fairly standard for 360 cameras now. I tested the Rylo in several lighting conditions and environments and combined the footage into a single video.
Compared to other 4K 360 camera the Rylo does a decent job. It can capture details fairly well and the colors and true to reality and not over-saturated. The camera can handle direct light and the stitching is accurate as long as you keep a few feet away. The camera is at its best when moving, thanks to its epic stabilization software which I’ll go into later.
The Rylo shoots its best 360 video in daylight and struggles in low light conditions. In dark areas there is a lot of noise and the camera struggles to pick up enough light to capture any details. If you are looking for a 360 camera specifically for low-light, then this certainly isn’t it.
I compared the Rylo’s 360 video quality with the Insta360 One and Garmin VIRB 360. I shot in the same locations with all three cameras to see how the Rylo stood up to some of it’s main competitors, this is the result:
My conclusions from this test was that the Rylo could shoot slightly superior quality video to the Insta360 One (a fellow 4K camera), but couldn’t quite match up to the VIRB (a 5.7K camera). Although in moving conditions the Rylo was by far the best as it managed to smooth out even the most bumpy video.back to menu ↑
The Best Stabilization I’ve Ever Seen
So lets talk about the software stabilization in this camera, because in my opinion it’s by far its best feature. Software stabilization is designed to smooth out video after its been shot. Many other 360 cameras have this feature, but software stabilization has its limits and is never as good as using a physical gimbal while shooting. Well, until now.
When the Rylo was announced, the founders bragged of breakthrough stabilization technology which would set the camera apart from its rivals. I didn’t pay much attention to this at first, because most tech companies make similar declarations to drum up hype. When I actually got to try the feature, which is automated in the camera’s dedicated iPhone app when you transfer your clips, I was sold.
Take a look at these before and after videos, where before it video with the stabilization disabled and after has it enabled:
I speak from experience when I say that the stabilization is almost as good as using a gimbal. I say almost, because there is still some vibration and blurriness every now and then. The result of this technology is that you can attack your Rylo to a bike, car, or run with it in hand and your video will be smooth and free of judders and vibrations. No other 360 camera I’ve owned comes close to having stabilization as good as this, and I think it’s the Rylo’s no 1 selling point.
So to conclude this section I would say that the Rylo shoots decent, but not groundbreaking 360 video in terms of image quality, but the stabilization feature makes it a must have if shooting while moving is important to you.
This isn’t a feature unique to the Rylo, but I think it does it best. Re-framing is a new way of using 360 video to create normal “flat” video. After you’ve shot your 360 video you go into your editing app and “frame” the video, which means you select where you want the camera to look at which point. It allows you to mimic the motion of moving your camera, or changing shot, without ever actually having to touch it in reality.You then export this as a 1080p video.
Here’s what it looks like on the Rylo:
I personally think this is the future for 360 cameras and potentially all cameras. Imagine never having to point your camera at anything, because it’s recording the whole environment anyway. It’s like having several cameras shooting in every direction. Like I said a few 360 cameras have this feature and they all go about achieving this effect in their own way.
The Rylo uses its phone app to create re-framed video, in fact it’s almost the whole point of the app. This software is sleek, easy to use and learn-able in around 30 minutes. You can select areas for your camera to focus on, or have it allow an object for a certain period of time. You can even superimpose the image shot with the back camera onto the front camera.
Like I said, there are other cameras that having a similar feature, including the Insta360 One, VIRB 360 and Go Pro Fusion. I own all of these apart from the Fusion and have found the Rylo re-framing/overcapture experience to be the best.
There are some options that I’d like to see added, however. For example there is no way to achieve the tiny planet effect which is popular among 360 shooters. Also, you can only edit your 360 videos this way by using your phone or tablet (apple only until 2018), which can become tiresome if you want to edit a lot of videos. You also can’t combine videos in the app, so you’ll have to export them to your PC or use another app to combine multiple videos.
You also loose quite a lot of quality when re-framing, as it’s essentially zooming in on a part of your video. The specs say it renders at 1080p, but the quality looks slightly below that in anything but very bright conditions. I can’t help but wishing that the camera could shoot in 5K, which would have provided sufficient resolution to do the re-framing software justice.back to menu ↑
As with many 360 cameras, the Rylo primarily focuses its efforts on video while leaving photo as an afterthought. You can take photos with the Rylo though and they come out looking fairly decent, just make sure you have a lot of light.
The Rylo can shoot 18 megapixels photos at a resolution of 6000 x 3000, which is considered average among modern 360 cameras. Take a look at the image below to see the difference in size between a photo shot with the Rylo and one shot with the Insta360 ONE
This difference in size will effect the sharpness of the photos when in 360 mode. Having said that, let’s take a look at the photo quality in 360:
The image is decent as far as quality goes. There is no visible parallax and he colors/brightness are true to reality. The image is also reasonable sharp considering its limited resolution, but this will depend on the size of the screen you are viewing it on.
The issue I have with the photo mode on this camera is the complete lack of even the most basic controls. There is no automatic timer and you can’t trigger the shutter remotely. When you press the shutter key you are given about a second to get the camera into the position you want before it fires, which has led to many blurry, unusable photos. An automatic timer should be a given in all cameras, let alone one that costs $499.
There are also no options for manual adjustments to exposure, ISO, or light filtering, which is very unusual. In fact there are literally no settings related to the photography mode. It makes me wonder why they even bothered having a photo mode at all. I’m hoping future firmware updates will include a few basic controls and at the very least a 5 second timer.back to menu ↑
As I stated before, the Apps primary function is to edit video shot with the Rylo – it does this extremely well, but there it does very little else.
This is a good time to point out one of the quirks of this camera, which may or may not be annoying for you. Unlike all other 360 cameras you cannot connect your camera to your phone wirelessly, that means you need to connect it with a cable provided to transfer your files once you have finished shooting. This also means you can’t preview or watch back your videos until you transfer them.
This isn’t ideal, especially if you end up losing the rather small cable and don’t have a spare, but the transfer speed is very fast and this saves battery power.
The App works in either portrait or landscape mode, whichever orientation you edit in will be the orientation that your video is rendered in. The controls appear quite basic, but allows for a uprising amount of customisation.
Almost every 360 camera I’ve tested has failed in the software department, at least when first released. The App or firmware is either buggy, prone to crashing or just not working at all. It’s refreshing to use a 360 camera that just works right out of the box and Rylo have clearly focused a lot of their resources on software development.back to menu ↑
Water Resistance: The Rylo is not water resistant out of the box, but in a few weeks they will be released a special waterproof case that will protect the camera up to 3m depth.
Battery: The battery on the Rylo will last around an hour of continuous usage, which is under average but not awful. You should also note that using the Rylo App will drain your iPhone battery pretty quickly, at least that’s been my experience with the iPhone 6s.
Livestream: The camera can’t live stream as it stitches 360 images using the app.back to menu ↑
Rylo Review: Summary
There is a lot about the Rylo that excites me, and a few things that frustrate me. The stabilization is so good that it almost makes up for every other flaw. This, combined with the intuitive re-framing editor, means that this is a camera that anyone could find useful, not just those interested in 360 video.
Considering this camera was developed by a start-up, the fact that they have managed to develop a product that can compete with, and in many ways over-shine, devices from much more established companies is an impressive accomplishment. The Rylo is a great demonstration of innovative software, but there’s no escaping that the hardware is distinctly average. If this camera could shoot 5K or above, I would happily recommend it above any other similarly priced camera, but at 4K you’ll have to keep an eye on how well lit your environment is to get the best looking video.
The photo mode needs to some major work too and there needs to be many more manual control options, things like a timer should be a given. The lack of a wireless connection may appear frustrating at first, but to be honest I haven’t missed it at all. The nature of 360 video is that you don’t really need a live preview because you’re going to be recording everything anyway.
At $500 the Rylo is one of the more expensive 360 cameras, but in my opinion it’s one of the most innovative. If you want to shoot this overcapture/re-framed style video, then this is the easiest way to do so. If you want near perfect stabilization without a gimbal, this is the best 360 camera for that. You’ll have to put up with some limitations, but these could very well be fixed in future updates as has been the case with other cameras. You need to decide whether you want to create the type of content that the Rylo is designed for, and if you do, it won’t let you down.