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360 Camera Buying Guide

Now that we have VR headsets to see a virtual world, what are you going to watch? How about making your own 360-degree videos?

There are an increasing number of 360-degree cameras, which let you capture everything going on around you. These range from the $199 LG 360 cam to the GoPro Omni rig, which costs a whopping $5,000.

The way 360-degree images are captured varies by camera. For instance, the Giroptic combines three different images, while others, like the Ricoh Theta S and the Samsung Gear 360, use just two lenses. VSN Mobil's HD Camera has just one lens, but incorporates a circular mirror to capture everything around. However, it can't capture anything directly overhead or below.

Not all of these cameras are true 360-degree cameras. For instance, the 360fly 4K camera captures a 180-degree hemisphere, but only 240 degrees vertically, as does the Kodak PixPro 360; you'll need a second Kodak to capture an entire bubble's worth of video.

You'll also have to consider the ruggedness of the camera if you plan to take it on outdoorsy activities where it might get splashed on, bounced around, or dropped.

All the cameras on this list come with a screw-style camera tripod mount, which can also be used to attach the cameras to any number of accessories, from selfie sticks to GoPro mounts to drones. But keep in mind that the heavier the camera, the larger the drone you'll need.

Then there's the matter of making your videos VR-ready. All of the cameras come with a smartphone or desktop app, where you can download (via Wi-Fi) and edit footage captured with the camera. From there, the easiest way to view your videos is by uploading them to YouTube, where you can access them on a wide range of VR devices, such as the Samsung Gear VR.

Here's a list of  360 cameras that are available now and coming soon, as well as a summary of the features they offer.

MORE: Gear 360 Camera Hands-on: VR Selfies for All

360 Cam for Android and iOS Devices


MORE: Watch Out, GoPro — Nikon's First Action Cam Shoots 360 Video

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide. He oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories, but also tests out the latest standing desks, webcams, drones, and electric scooters. He has worked at Tom's Guide for many a year; before that, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight or chagrin of his family.