360fly action camera: Pretty fly for a wide guy

360fly's unusual take on the 360 cam has its merits

There are many approaches in the race to create the ultimate action camera, but 360fly offers something a little different from the rest.

Most action cameras work on a simple principle: take a whole front and back view and stitch the two pictures together digitally. The stitching isn't entirely perfect and is perhaps the only notable flaw in the setup.

To overcome this little problem, 360fly 4K takes a drastically different approach: they use a single, ultra-wide lens 16MP camera with a 240-degree field of view. It's placed on top of a spherical magical 8-ball (it really is the size of a pool ball) and captures the top half of where it's placed. It's a fairly wide angle of view, and more importantly, there are no weird artifacts or oddities because there's nothing to blend together.

There is literally no 'downside' to this, which may or may not be a problem. The thing is, if you need pics or videos showing you teetering over a perilous drop and the potential horror that awaits you for effect, then the 360fly is pretty much like a pelican that can't see its feet, and just about as useful as one. But when it comes to the vast open skies of God's great earth, the 360fly won't leave you in stitches – in more ways than one, too.

Footage notes

At '4K', the video has a resolution of 2800 x 2800 pixels, which just about squeezes it in. However, razor-sharp images aren't its strong point, especially on the fringes of the lens and when used in bad lighting conditions. Get it outdoors with good lighting, and the camera will turn out the images you've been waiting for 

As far as 360-degree action cameras go, they're acceptable given the limitations and compromises. 

With the 360fly, you can shoot at 4K at a maximum of 30 frames per second, although you will not be able to do a live view on your mobile phone. It also has a 60fps mode, albeit at a lower resolution of 1728 x 1728.

Bear in mind, though, that the recessed microphones mean that your audio tends to have a slightly hollowed out sound, though it depends on where the camera is placed. 

The advantage of the 360fly also contributes to its weakness. After the video and photos are processed, the images understandably have less detail. It's the trade-off for a seamless image; so it becomes a question of what do you value more.

Our take is that the 360fly is better suited as a video camera because it's better at capturing the feel of the moment, where those nitty gritty pixels aren't at the top of the list of priorities.