While 360 cameras have a lot of applications the most obvious one is shooting video to watch back on a VR headset. With the release of the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest VR headsets are becoming more mainstream and one of the best accessories you can get for your headset is a 360 camera. Shooting with a camera like the Insta360 One X or Vuze XR will allow you to relive your experiences in VR which evokes a much stronger emotional response than normal video. There are lots of 360 cameras out there right now so it may be a bit confusing so I’m going to take you through the best options if you want to primarily shoot for VR.
Best 360 Camera for VR
We will be looking at 5 camera today, all of which are decent for shooting VR video because the shoot at a very high resolution. I’m only going to be focusing on consumer cameras for this post, if you are interested in professional cameras then check out the professional 360 camera section of this website. Pay attention to the specific strengths and weaknesses of each camera and think about how you want to use your camera. For example do you want to be doing lots of action shots, if so choose a camera with good stabilization. If you want your camera to be still then choose the camera with the best video quality
1. Vuze XR
The Vuze XR is a great camera for shooting VR video. It can shoot high resolution 5.7K video, among the highest resolution of any 360 camera. You can also change the lens position and shoot 180 video in 3D. Shooting 180 video only captures half the area of 360 video (duh), but the 3D aspect turns the video into something similar to what you’ll see in an Imax of 3D cinema. This looks particularly awesome on a VR headset. The Vuze XR is easy to use and even has an app for the Oculus Go which allows you to connect to the camera and view your videos immediately, so no file transferring required! You’ll also find several microphones on the body of the camera that allows it to capture ambisonic audio, perfect for VR and makes the experience more immersive.
The main weak-point for the Vuze XR is stabilization which doesn’t work as well as in other cameras, so it’s not a great camera if you want to be moving with it a lot. Overall the Vuze XR is one of the best camera for shooting VR video thanks to its very high quality video and ability to connect to a headset wirelessly. See the full Vuze XR review here.
2. Insta360 EVO
The Insta360 Evo is a similar camera in terms of functionality to the Vuze XR. This camera can also shoot both 360 video and 180 video in 3D. This is achieved by manually moving the lenses into two different positions. The Evo can also shoot high resolution 5.7K video and it also has an app that lets you connect wirelessly to an Oculus Go or Quest. One advantage the Evo has is it’s advanced stabilization technology which works brilliantly to smooth out shaeky footage. If you wanted to walk or even run with your camera then the Evo should be able to maintain a smooth experience.
I’m not a fan of the design of the Evo and its plastic body feels cheap, but that might not matter to most people. There’s also only a single microphone so no ambisonic audio. See the full Insta360 Evo review here
3. GoPro Fusion
GoPro’s first 360 camera is designed to be used for both VR and to create normal video that looks super cinematic. The reason the Fusion is great for VR video is because it uses more advanced sensors in its lenses, allowing it to capture high quality video. While the video resolution is slightly lower than in some other cameras at 5.2K this is made up for by superior color, light and dynamic range which makes all the difference when viewing video back on your headset. The Fusion has great stabilization technology so feel free to move around at your hearts content, you’ll also find multiple microphones for ambisonic audio. One quality unique feature of the Fusion is that it’s fully waterproof without a case.
While the Fusion has great hardware some of its software is not as good. I struggle to use the mobile app at all (you can control it manually thankfully) and rendering the video on your desktop can take a long time. You’ll also need two SD cards in the camera for it to work. See the full GoPro Fusion review here.
4. Insta360 One X
The Insta360 One X is similar to the GoPro Fusion but cheaper and easier to use. It can shoot 5.7K 360 video, it has the bet stabilization of any camera and can shoot HDR video. The One X is mostly designed to be used as an action camera but it can also be used for VR video. You’ll find the video quality to be decent but not quite as good as the Fusion. On the other hand the software is leagues ahead and makes the camera far easier to use.
Downsides to the One X is the poor audio capture which is not ambisonic and its low quality lenses which don’t work well in low light situations. See the full Insta360 One X review here.
5. Ricoh Theta Z1
The Theta Z1 is the most expensive camera on this list and it shoots the lowest resolution video, so why am I recommending it? If you want to shoot a lot of VR video in low light situations then the Z1 is pretty much the only camera that can do it well. This is thanks to its large one inch sensors which are able to capture much more light than the other cameras on this list. If you are also interested in photography then the Z1 is perfect for this too, remember you can also view 360 photos on a VR headset and they usually look better than video! See the full Ricoh Theta Z1 review here.
So which should you get?
It will depend on how you want to use your camera. If you are interested in shooting 180 3D video as well as 360 video then I’d recommend the Vuze XR, but if you are only interested in 360 video for VR then the GoPro Fusion would be my recommendation thanks to its high quality video and excellent audio. To be honest any camera in this list will capture good quality video that will look decent on a VR headset, so just check the reviews and see which one sticks out for you.
See Also: VR Headset Comparison Table