We’ve seen 360-degree cameras before…
That’s true, but the 360cam, developed by French company Giroptic, is a bit different from the likes of the Centr Camera. It’s capable of capturing a wider field of view, for one thing – and it’s waterproof.
Wider field of view?
Yes, the 360cam’s lenses are all fish-eyes, so it captures more of the surrounding scene at the top and bottom of the frames. It’s a 360 by 300-degree field of view, in fact, so you’re only missing 60 degrees off the vertical axis.
More after the break...
It looks small
Yes, it’s only 6.9cm by 6.9cm and 180g. It’s rugged, too: waterproof to a depth of 10 metres. But there’s space for a battery, gyroscope for image stabilisation, GPS and Wi-Fi antennas and three microphones for recording surround sound. Oh, and a curved LED screen too.
You can shoot handheld or mount the camera using a standard tripod mount.
What kind of things can it record?
It can take 8MP photos, or videos at a resolution of 2048 x 1024 at 30fps. These videos can either be live streamed to a tablet/phone (there are Android and iOS apps) or computer over Wi-Fi, or saved onto the 360cam’s microSD card. Still photo modes include time lapse, burst, timer and HDR.
Oh, and it’s also compatible with Oculus Rift, so you can look around “inside” the photos and videos you’ve saved.
Anything else I should know?
Oooooh yes. An adapter lets you screw the 360cam into a light fitting like a bulb, where it can act as a 360-degree surveillance system or webcam. It takes power direct from the socket, which we think you’ll agree is pretty cool.
It is. Now I want one
Well, it’s only a Kickstarter project at the moment, but Giroptic is just shy of hitting its goal of US$150,000 with 40-odd days left, so it's almost certainly going to become a product. Pledging US$299 (£175) or more will, at the moment, secure you an early bird 360cam (the retail price will be around US$500). You’ll have to pay VAT and shipping on top of that too (a total of $80/£45 if you’re in the UK), but unlike a lot of Kickstarter projects the estimated delivery date falls within 2014 – November to be precise.