360 Fly 4K camera review: the best way to shoot VR and 360-degree video
Software updates make this 360 Fly waterproof panoramic action cam a winner
- Good app
- Good features
- Connectivity issues resolved
- Built-in microphones are mediocre
It's taken some time but the plethora of software updates to the 360 Fly 4K camera make it feature packed, fast and reliable.
Price$ 600.00 (AUD)
We’ve been toying with the 360 Fly 4K action cam for many months now and it’s looking more and more useful all the time. Not only are Facebook’s 360-degree videos booming in popularity but Virtual Reality videos – as viewed on mobile phones with basic headsets – are too. Creating content for these set-ups (and others) can be an epic palaver and an expensive one at that...
At the high end, you have to get multiple cameras, synchronise them, use some expensive software and a powerful computer to do some serious editing, stitching, straightening, exposure adjustments and more stitching. With the 360 Fly, much of this is unnecessary and you can do most of the rest on the app on your phone – before publishing it somewhere like Facebook in just a couple of screen touches.
The camera is basically the size and shape of a large golf ball. It’s ruggedized to IP6X which means it’s dustproof, can be dropped up to 1.5m and is waterproof to one atmosphere. It can operate between -40C to 400C
The camera records a horizontal, full 360-degree plane and a large, vertical 240-degree arc. It can be a bit tricky to get your head around but you basically mount it facing up or facing down. The only area it can’t is see directly beneath the lens. What you’re generally left with is a horizontal, 360-degree panorama view plus the sky plus a significant chunk below the horizon. It sounds like a fish-eye lens – and while the images it captures can be displayed like that – the high resolution of those images means that you can look at one segment of the whole image at a time with relatively-little distortion. As such, if you’re accessing a 360-degree video or photo you start by looking in one area and then either drag the image around (or move your head with a VR headset) and look at the rest of the image. If that’s still too hard to imagine, check out these example videos, here.
Facing the camera up gives you a good first person perspective of what’s going on which can be great for immersive 360-degree videos and VR. Mounting the camera on a ceiling and facing it down generally gives you a good overview of what’s happening which is good for monitoring environments.
Recent updates to the software (which is updated frequently) mean that content can now be shared onto Facebook as a 360-degree video in just a couple of button presses.
Video is recorded at resolutions of 2,880 x 2,880 at 30fps or 24fps plus 1,728 x 1,728 at 60fps. Video is recorded to the device but you can see a live view on your phone via the app at the same time. You need to download the video from your device to use the full-resolution footage though.
There’s also a Point Of View (POV) mode whereby the camera shoots just what’s in front of the lens (you might not want to (or be allowed to) shoot the audience at a play/concert, for example). Or you just want your viewers to focus on one area without looking around too much.
Quality is impressive. While there will always be some fish-eye distortion, the camera's dynamic range is such that it can cope impressively with shots that have both bright and dark areas at the same time. Colours are natural and images are generally sharp. While content won't stand up to big-screen features in the same way that multiple, 4K, stitched-together GoPros will, that's beyond the remit of this camera which will suit everything from a large TV down.
Built in are GPS, accelerometer and gyroscope. The resulting metadata is already being used by the likes of Racerender.com to apply motor-racing-style overlaid telemetries to videos. They also assist with the accelerometer-triggered, motion-triggered and sound-triggered recording modes, all of which work very well.
Physically, the Fly 360 has a standard ¼-20 screw thread although it will also connect using QuickTwist technology on compatible mounts.
Initially, set-up was via Bluetooth and therefore could be a complete pain in the backside. However, updates mean that connecting directly by WiFi is much quicker and more reliable (you can also choose between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies).
The built-in microphones aren’t great but recent updates mean it can finally be paired with a Bluetooth microphone in the settings.
Thanks to the updates, usage is more-often-than-not a breeze. There’s only one button on the exterior and this turns the 360 Fly on or off after lengthy presses. A short press will start it recording with either the default video settings or the last settings you used in the app. It vibrates when starting and stopping. All other functions are denoted by the main button’s colourful flashing lights.
There’s 64GB of memory on-board which will provide enough space for the 2hrs continuous recording afforded by the 1,710mAh battery.
The App is (now) well-designed and very intuitive with even the most complex features being simple to set-up and adjust. We’ve also found that downloading videos to the phone takes less time than it used to thanks to improved WiFi reliability and speeds.
Once on your phone, there are now numerous ways to export content direct to social media and other apps. If you want to edit it on a Windows PC or Mac, then a 360 Fly Director Desktop program is also available for free.
Next: Accessories and Conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Dyno Introduces Modular, Motorized Camera Slider System for GoPros, Small Cameras and Smartphones
- Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixelbook, Google Home Mini & Max: Everything Announced At Today’s Google Event
- Google Certifies Insta360 Pro as First ‘Street View Auto Ready’ Camera
- Noir Matter Introduces waterproof stabiliser for GoPro & other action cameras
- Sony’s New RX10 IV combines Fast AF and 24 FPS continuous shooting with 24-600mm F2.4-F4 Zoom Lens
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Opinon: Life after KRACK
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior Business ConsultantOther
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- FTICT Infrastructure / Server EngineerSA
- FTSCRUM Master, Digital Transformation, CXOther
- CCTosca Test AutomationVIC
- FTSenior IT Project Manager - Logistics/TransportOther
- CCWindows / Unix / Linux Systems Administration / Support SpecialistNSW
- CC.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCI&CS Communications LeadVIC
- CCManager-Process Tranformation (Black Belt)NSW
- CCFull Stack DeveloperNSW
- CCDevOps Developer (Brisbane Location)NSW
- CCWindows 10 Deployment TechnicianWA
- CCJunior-Mid level .Net/Front-End DeveloperQLD
- CCSAP FICO ConsultantQLD
- FTWeb Developer - Full Stack - 3D, VR, WebGLNSW
- FTWindows DevOps EngineerQLD
- CCService DesignerACT
- FTTest Lead - Automation (energy and metering sector)Other
- FTProject Co-OrdinatorOther
- TPFront End Designer/DeveloperNSW
- FTCloud Engineer - AWSOther
- FTDigital Marketing Specialist - Senior roleOther
- FTETL DeveloperOther
- TPTechnical Business AnalystQLD