LG G5 Friends 360 CAM LG-R105
|Price:||$124.99 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Dual 13MP Sensors
- Wide-Angle Lenses
- Records 2K 360 Video
- 5.1-Channel Surround Sound
- microSD Compatible, Upload to Google Street View, YouTube360, 1200mAh Battery
- Cannot be activated without external memory inserted
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|Item Dimensions||3.82 x 0.98 x 1.57 inches|
|Item Weight||0.4 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||0.4 pounds|
Capture the world around you in all directions with the LG 360 CAM Spherical Camera. This camera uses two 13MP sensors along with two 200° wide-angle lenses to capture photos and 2K video in 360°. Three microphones record 5.1-channel surround sound. Media recorded with the 360 CAM can be uploaded to Google Street View and YouTube360, and are also viewable on the LG 360 VR as well as smartphones and other devices capable of displaying 360° content. It Cannot be activated without external memory inserted. The 1200mAh battery lets it run without a power source.
Top Customer Reviews
Edit (Feb 8, 2017): I got the Gear 360 (see new photos). Video is better on it, aside from stitching, and photos are marginally better, but it's awkward to use, doesn't play well with my Android-but-not-Samsung phone, and does't play at all with the Macs I own. I'm bumping the LG 360 to five stars because it's currently roughly a hundred bucks and is very nearly as good as the others while remaining the most easily carried and used one by far. Also, I've tested the iOS apps for this and the Theta S, and both work well. Finally, I realized I could use audio cues to handle the fact that the lights on this are hard to see outside during the day.
I brought this and the Theta S with me on a recent trip to Disney World. The intention was to take photos and movies of the trip and see how the two compared. I took many photos and videos, but I only remembered to take a couple of shots with both cameras simultaneously. I included side-by-side comparisons of parts of those photos here (unfortunately, I can't include the spherical images in a way you could view them in this review).
Here are my conclusions:
* In a nutshell: for photos and if you are near a computer often, get the Theta S. If you prefer video and/or aren't near a computer often, get the LG 360 (see below for details).
* Both are great little cameras for getting to know about spherical pictures. Neither has the resolution you'd really want, but both are fun to use and are useful.
* Both have smartphone apps (I only tested the Android versions) that let you look at and transfer photos and movies. Both apps work reasonably well. Neither are paragons of UI design. Both are free.
Comparisons to the Ricoh Theta S:
* Photos: If you look at the side-by-side images below, taken at dusk at Hollywood Studios, with me holding both cameras out and pressing the shutter buttons at the same time, it's clear that the Theta S takes better pictures. In well-lit areas (like during the day, in bright interiors, etc.), the LG 360 takes good photos too, and it has slightly better resolution, so it might be preferable in those situations, but I found that, in every situation I used both cameras (although I only took simultaneous photos twice), I preferred the results on the Theta S. The shutter is easier to press without moving the camera, so it's less shaky (most noticeable in darker shots). Colors are better. *Apparent* sharpness is better even if resolution is technically worse. Please note that the shots I've included are somewhat worst-case for the LG 360, but they do show the better quality of the Ricoh. Also, the seam between both lenses is always more apparent on the LG than on the Ricoh. However, please note that daytime photos on the LG are a lot better than these dusk photos would imply.
* Video: Conversely, video was better on the LG 360, as long as you were in reasonably bright conditions. The Theta S still had better color saturation, but the videos simply do not look as sharp, and when posted to YouTube, the LG 360 ones look far better. I can't list examples here (I'll see if I can find some links to add in the comments section), but, having seen YouTube uploads from each, I prefer the ones from the LG. The higher resolution is apparent. However, to be clear: neither camera has the resolution you'd really want for spherical imagery. But both provide the "experience"... just lower-res than you'd really hope for.
* 180 degree use: One nice plus of the LG is you can enable only one of the lenses (perhaps so you're not in photos or videos). I didn't use the feature, but you might. It's not an option on the Theta, as far as I can tell.
* Daytime standalone use: the blue indicator lights on the Theta S are readily visible even on the brightest of days. The LG 360 lights are essentially impossible to see in daylight. I lost a few videos on the LG because I thought I'd started them but couldn't tell if the light was blinking (that's how it indicates a video on progress). The Theta S not only has a separate mode (and icon) for video, but it was very obvious when it was recording. The LG requires a long-press to start videos, and it's not always clear you've started one.
* Darker-environment videos: neither camera did a good job here, but the very bright blue lights on the Theta S were distracting. I preferred using the LG 360 indoors, despite the lower quality, when recording video (it was less obnoxiously bright).
* Apps: Both have apps that allow you to use both cameras in photo or video mode with relative ease. Neither app is exemplary, but they're both usable. You can take photos or videos relatively easily, although for typical non-staged shots, you're likely just going to pull out the camera and press the shutter button. Still, if you're willing to carry a small tripod (there are some that are roughly the size of the cameras), you'll be better off for taking photos or videos around a table or the like. I prefer the desktop and smartphone apps LG has provided, because they just seem to have more options.
* Online storage: Ricoh has a very nice online presence that allows full-resolution photos and short (and I mean *short* - like 5 seconds) snippets of videos to be posted. On the other hand, the LG uses Google Photos and YouTube to provide, effectively the same result, but in a more easily shared form.
* Sharing: The LG 360 wins here in that you can upload videos directly to YouTube (you can theoretically do so from the Theta app, but it's more steps and ultimately fails). Both let you go to Facebook directly... but I prefer YouTube access. Using the desktop app for the Theta, you can upload directly to their site, which results in better video quality, and to YouTube after processing it, but, in general...it's just easier to upload via LG's apps, both on the desktop and on the phone. Both allow photo sharing pretty easily.
* Build quality: The Theta S wins here, but not by much. It's clearly a premium product in terms of look and feel, and the LG doesn't feel as "lux", but it's also perfectly good in terms of build quality and significantly cheaper. I don't consider this area to be a big win for the Theta (or loss for the LG).
* Cases: The LG 360's top cover inverts and acts as a handle. The Theta S comes with a slide-on neoprene cover. For me, the LG wins here, big time. You can safely carry it in your pocket - lenses protected - and have it out and ready in seconds, then back in your pocket. The Theta S just always feels... more at risk. I *really* like the built-in protection the LG comes with. On the flip side: it's very easy to accidentally take a photo or turn the LG on when trying to put the cover back on. You learn to avoid doing either, but they could have made the process easier (there's no *easy* way to remove the cover from the bottom and simultaneously avoid both the power button and the shutter).
* Storage: Huge win for the LG. A removable micro SD card is vastly better than the 8GB of built-in storage the Theta S provides. If the Theta S came with 64GB or so, it'd be different. But one decent video can eat up over 2GB, so the Theta S really demands frequent offloading of photos and video (video in particular).... and that's tough and slow to do "in the field." On the other hand, the LG 360 lets you pop out the micro SD card and replace it with another in just a matter of seconds, and you can copy files off the SD card quickly as well.
* Power: The micro USB port on the Theta S is (as of now) more popular, and the small HDMI port is a potentially nice plus, but made less useful by the fact the on-board storage is so limited. The USB C port on the LG 360 is the one everyone's going to have in a few years and is easier to use than the Theta's - that HDMI port is easily confused for a micro USB port, by the way.
* Portability: Both win here. Both are easily pocketable. Both have good battery life.
Overall: if I could only bring one, I'd bring the LG 360. I prefer the photos of the Ricoh Theta S (by a fair margin), but the expandable storage and included hard case cover of the LG make it a winner for me except when very close to a computer for offloading. If I were always near a computer and taking mainly photos, I'd prefer the Ricoh. However, either camera is a good item to get to try out spherical photography, knowing that much better examples will come along over the next year or two.
4 stars because of the poor low-light quality and hard-to-see-in-daylight indicator lights, but overall a fantastic camera for the price and capabilities. [Edit: bumped to 5 stars because of the current low price and the fact I can use audio cues in daylight when I can't see the lights (I'd turned off audio before and didn't think about it).]
--Relatively affordable (under $200).
--Decent image quality for most social media uses.
--Reasonably easy to use via the iOS app.
--Works well with with the Google Streetview app for taking geo located images.
--Videos supported by YouTube for 360 viewing.
--Spherical viewing of images supported by Google Photos (in desktop web browser).
--Spherical viewing of images supported by Facebook (in iOS FaceBook app and in desktop web browser).
--Spherical viewing of images in Google Streetview.
--Ability to take 180 degree panoramas or 360 spherical images.
--Pretty good manual controls (in the iOS app at least) for controlling ISO, shutterspeed, and exposure compensation and other features to get the best image.
--Image stitching is reasonably clean (though always noticeable, see Cons).
--Dynamic range of images is not very good, meaning, photos taken where there is a combination of bright light and dark shadows result in either the highlights being blown out or the shadows being too dark. It would be great if it could take HDR images to balance this out.
--Images often have quite a bit of chromatic aberration, which is colored fringing in the images. It is often in the outer edges of the images and in high contrast areas (e.g. the edges of a building against a bright sky). Many cameras have chromatic aberration in the images, but it is more pronounced on this camera, in my opinion. Still, I find it tolerable, given all of the other features this camera provides.
--Images don't get geotagged until they are transferred from the camera to the phone (with iOS app at least). The best way I have found to make sure images are geotagged immediately and accurately is to take them using the Google Streetview app, which transfers all photos from the camera to the phone immediately and geotags them at the same time.
--Low light images are very noisy (i.e. artifacts in the image --- speckled with unwanted colors and such). This can be compensated for somewhat by using the manual controls in the app to control the ISO and use longer exposures (which probably requires a the stability of a tripod or setting the camera on a stable surface). For video, I don't think there is much that can be done.
--Image stitching always leaves a noticeable seam. In bright light situations, it is least apparent. At best, the seam is a little blurry. At worst, the seam is significantly darker than the rest of the image, and it is a bit noisy. I think this is all pretty typical for 360 images taken with multiple images, but it is worth noting. It seems like something that could be improved in time with software updates.
--I've heard the desktop software for the Macintosh is bad, so I have not even tried it. I have exclusively used the iOS app on the iPhone 6s. It takes care of all of the processing of images and video. The tradeoff is that you don't really have any control of the process. I imagine that with better software, image quality overall could be improved a bit.
--Using the auto-capture method in the Google Streetview app is really two slow to be practical. This is where the camera automatically takes a photo every few seconds so they can be linked together in a navigable way (which is really cool). The camera can take an image approximately once every 8 seconds. Often it is a few seconds slower in my experience. Each photo is transferred to the app and geotagged as you go. Google recommends taking another photo every couple of steps. At a rate of a couple of steps every 8-12 seconds, it takes forever to get anywhere. Even when I have tried to follow this protocol, I have had mixed luck getting the images to link properly. And if you pause the capture, there will definitely be a disconnect in image linking. Some of this simply has to do with how the Google Streetview app works. What could be improved by LG is the rate at which images can be captured and transferred to the phone. Because of the difficulties using this method, I have decided to just take photos selectively and strategically rather than automatically.
I really to enjoy this camera a great deal. I have especially liked taking photos of landmarks, and at public events like parades and outdoor concerts. It's also pretty cool for taking photos of a group of people huddled around it, like at a dinner event. Video is fun too.
Agree the posting software is its greatest weakness but there are how-to videos which can help you with this and I might also post my own.
I'm exploring areas with this camera where very few others can go.
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