Gear

360fly 4K camera review: 360 degrees of fun

Thanks to the smartphone, the average guy or girl on the street can take a decent photo or video without too much effort. But what about capturing your experiences at a more advanced level?

Sometimes you need a better way to show just how amazing a particular setting or event is, and that can be done with a 360 camera like the 360fly 4K.

The camera is a little bit bigger than a golf ball and can attach to a number of different mounts.

You can walk around with it on a selfie stick, set it up on a tripod for a time lapse, or hang it off a hang-glider for an extreme view of the sky. The possibilities really are endless.

It helps that it’s also dust, water (down to 30 feet or nine metres) and shock proof. However, if you do happen to drop the camera on a hard surface you’re likely to scratch the fisheye lens.

It comes with a handy pouch to place it in when you’re not using it. I’d also suggest carrying a cloth to make sure the lens is always clean of fingerprints.

The 360fly is designed to make things as easy as possible

The camera has an internal hard drive of 64 gigabytes and can be synched up with the handy smartphone app (free for download on Apple and Android). The camera connects to the app via its own internal WiFi and Bluetooth, and allows the user to view what the camera is seeing in real-time. You can also control recording on the app.

The best part is you can easily delete clips from the camera hard drive or save the clips you want to the app so you’re not clogging up your phone with unnecessary files.

By default, the camera will shoot in straight 360-degree mode, although there are other settings that can be used, such as time-lapse mode, first-person POV and 360 photo mode.

Picture quality

The 360fly shoots at a maximum resolution of 2880×2880, which is more than enough for showing friends and family your epic videos. Due to the single lens, you lose some field of vision immediately below the camera (where it’s mounted) but you don’t have to worry about stitching.

Double check the settings

I took the 360fly on a tour of Britain. Unfortunately, we had rather bleak weather on our trip to Festival No.6 in Wales. The camera is best when there’s decent light and you really need to take extra care in getting the brightness and contrast settings just right on the phone before you start recording.

I only had the default settings for the first few times using the camera and realised my clips were far too dark. Fortunately, if you make that mistake you can edit brightness and contrast in post production on third party software like Adobe Premiere. This is a bit tedious to get the resolutions right so it’s best to double check the brightness and contrast before recording.

360fly tripod

The camera works best with the app

If you keep all your files in the 360fly phone app or desktop app it is a piece of cake to edit and upload directly to social channels such as Facebook and YouTube.

You can choose whether you want it to remain a 360 experience where the user gets to decide where the camera should point, or you can edit into a straight video where you choose what the camera is focused on in any particular frame.

It’s fun to experiment

I used the camera for a game of table tennis before I went on my overseas adventure. I also tried it on a mini tripod and selfie stick. In Liverpool, I mounted it to the top of a taxi.

Having the camera locked in place delivers the best experience for the user viewing your clips in the interactive mode.

Battery life

In my two and a half hour Fab Four Beatles tour around Liverpool, I had the camera on for at least 90 minutes and only ran out of battery at the very end of the trip. This means you could almost film an entire concert or event in 360 mode if you wanted to. If you’re not constantly using the camera it boasts a standby life of 14 hours, which can be triggered to turn on automatically by movement.

Charging the camera is easy with the device coming with a USB charge cradle. Once the camera is connected the lights will change to denote it is charging.

Overall

At $599, the 360fly 4K is not cheap but if you’re into extreme sports or love showing off your amazing adventures, this is the perfect camera to do that. As more people jump on the virtual reality bandwagon, this camera is already a step ahead of the game with VR support.

Not everything looks good or works well in 360 degrees, and shots works best with a bit more planning, but creative types will love it.

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