Panoramic cameras

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About

I'm really interested in panoramic cameras which capture 360 degrees around the camera - and preferably up and down, like the ones on Google street view cars. Such cameras are usually mounted in a "rosette" pattern (facing outwards different directions). Finding an affordable commercially available camera has proven pretty tricky though, so on this page I'm trying to search for some. Please let me know if you find any I can add!



360 Panoramic Cameras

Ready to Buy

  • Ricoh's Theta S 360 - A wonderful little $350 device that captures 360 degree panoramas (up and down) and can stand upright and triggered to capture photos when you click a button on your iPhone 5, iPhone 4S or iPod touch (allowing you to be out of the picture). The quality isn't terribly high, but this is a really clever solution for the price, and their v2 (arrived late 2015) is pretty good quality still (12MP but little grainy) and does videos too. For more info here's a nice article and here's a sample pano from v1 device. Here's a sample video the theta S and drone.
    I am lucky enough that I was given one of these for free actually, and made this fun page about some curious way I used it: Ricoh Theta Fun
    Panoramic camera richohs theta.jpg
  • Kogeto's Dot - Plus over iPhone camera and allows camera to take 360 degrees videos. Are pretty poor quality, as you can see here, but is only $40-50 is a nice product.
    Panoramic camera kogetos dot.jpg
  • PanaCast Camera - A very neat system sponsored by kickstarter which has six cameras on a smallish device used for high definition real time panoramic vision and can be transmitted via "panacast cloud" to your laptop or smartphone to pan around. The camera on it's own appears available for $600 USD. Sadly it's design is mostly for meetings (not scenery) - it's only 200 degrees and doesn't view much up and down (looks pretty narrow in Y dimension).
    Panoramic camera panocast camera.jpg
  • Sphericam - 360 degree video camera by the creators of 360 cities I believe, but very low quality sadly.
    Panoramic camera sphericam.jpg
  • NCTech Imaging Iris 360 - a device made specifically to be compatible / easily uploadable to streetview. It's technically pre-order by August, but that's pretty close. Final resolution is 8000x4000 pixels and looking at picture on their website it's a good step up in quality from the first Richo's Theta, but also a step up in price at ~$2000.
    Panoramic camera iris 360.jpg


Pre-Order Stage

WARNING: Many kick-starters don't make it to a successful sellable product - you were warned!

  • Panono - Previously Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera (here) or a brilliant idea by Jonas Pfeil and others for a "panoramic ball camera" that shoots a panorama when it is thrown and reaches its apex. This made a lot of press in 2011, but only now in 2015 does it look like it might become a product (see here)... but we're still waiting for it to move off pre-order!  :-/
    Panoramic camera panono.jpg
  • Girocam - A very professional solution by "Giroptic", this camera has 3 fisheye lenses, 10 MP each and captures 360 x 150 degrees. You can't see all the way down, but the quality look excellent (see example) and comes with software to position each panorama and turn it into a virtual tour. Only unfortunate thing is the price: the last price I saw was 1500 euro / ~$2000 USD.. but hopefully will come way down. They also have a nice youtube channel.
    Panoramic camera girocam.jpg
  • Eye Mirror - GP 360 - this company has other products for sale, but this kickstarter project is a special mirror which fits onto a Go Pro for estimated $245. Obviously some of the sphere would be lost to mirror, and some pixels more stretched than others, but seems like a fairly serious effort.
    Panoramic camera eye mirror 360.jpg
  • Google and GoPro Array Rig - revealed at I/O, reprents an circular array of 16 GoPro cameras which take enough overlap to capture some stereo depth, and thus allow you to move your head slightly left and right within the pano! I put in pre-order stage section because... well I don't know how you order a rig... probably you follow specs to build one and 16 GoPros will cost you some serious, serious dosh.
    Panoramic camera jump array.jpg
  • Sphericam - boasts 360 video camera 4K, 60FPS... and looks impressive in video, but price is $2000
    Sphericam.jpg
  • Nokia-OZO - High end virtual reality camera - not sure if it is stereo pair like the Jump, but it does feature 3d sound. Huge price tag through - $60,000!
    Nokia ozo.png

Panoramic Rigs

  • TomShot360 - Bit expensive ($200+), but very nice system where you can rotate to 90 degree increments. Also has a nice tutorial video showing a couple of methods to get nice panoramas with or without a rig.

Panoramic Software

As an alternative to a single device which takes an image in all directions simultaneously, an alternative is to shoot video or multiple angles and have them stitch together. This is less desirable to me, but here are some notable products.

  • [1] - Free software from Google which works on Android or iOS, lets you capture 360 pano from your phone camera, or connects with various 3rd party cameras, including the Ricoh Theta, assembles the image and then uploads to Google Maps with one click.... nice interface shows you where all your photosheres were taken too!
  • Panorado - Paid for Windows software ($30) which lets you view panoramas downloaded to your computer.
  • PTGui Pro - Software Evan has started using to map photos from DSLR camera. Produces results like this.
  • Google PhotoSphere - Free software which comes automatically on Android 4.2 or greater on Nexus 4 phones. PhotoSphere camera mode makes it easy to take 360 panoramas, and upload them to google maps or embed on your site. See how-to video. < DEPRECATED BY STREET VIEW APP



See Also

  • Drones - am also interested in drones like quad-copters that are powerful enough to be fitted with cameras.


Links


Disclaimer: Any information or opinions on this page represent my own, and not the company I work for.