3 cameras bringing 180º VR to the market

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Last year, after noting that 75% of people who watch 360º VR videos only look at less than half of the range, Google changed its focus to 180º VR cameras. As a result, various companies started developing 180º VR cameras. Recently, we talked about Google and YI Technologies’ camera announced at CES 2018: the YI Horizon VR180. However, this wasn’t the only camera at the show, as Lenovo, and Weeview also showcased their new cameras: the Lenovo Mirage Camera, and the SID2, respectively.

Lenovo Mirage Camera

Lenovo developed the Lenovo Mirage Camera in partnership with Google to eliminate the need for specialized virtual reality videography skills and professional camera gear when shooting immersive 3D VR videos and photos. The camera is smaller than a wallet, and accessible for anyone to use: It has only three buttons—power, shutter, and function—which makes it a point-and-shoot camera.

With its WiFi connection, and Google Photos and YouTube integration, and you can upload all of your content directly to these platforms. The Lenovo Mirage Camera features dual 13MP fisheye cameras, which achieve depth in image and video by capturing the same images at slightly different angles to create a 3D effect. The two lenses also offer a 180 x 180-degree field of view (FOV) to let you see more.

Weeview’s SID cameras

Founded in 2016, the Taiwan-based company Weeview has been working on 180º VR cameras. The company’s first product, the SID 3D, promises shake-free 3D content creation, records at 3K ( 2880×1440 ) at 30 frames per second (fps), captures 32MP photos, weighs 60g only, and features built-in WiFi, and a FOV 160 / F2.4 lens. The camera started shipping in mid-2017 for Kickstarter backers, and is now available for $269, or $419 for the cinematic kit, which includes a 3-axis gimbal.

Furthermore, Weeview came to CES 2018 this year to showcase its newest product: the SID2. Although the company hasn’t mentioned any of the camera’s specifications, the SID2 will use “a built-in 3D glasses-free touchscreen” to provide intuitive operation and easy-to-use design for users.

To help with the development of the camera, Weeview plans on launching a crowdfunding campaign in the middle of 2018.

Z CAM K1 Pro

Although not present at CES 2018, Z CAM is another company working on a 180º VR camera. Certified by Google, Z CAM designed the K1 Pro for professionals, not only in features but also in cost.

With a price of $2,995, the K1 Pro equips two premium 220º fisheye f/2.8-11 lens, dual Sony EXMOR 4/3” CMOS Image Sensor, and built-in WiFi and Ethernet Port. The camera records at 6K at 30 fps or 4K at 60fps, and features coordinated auto exposure and auto white balance, as well as Z CAM Sync hardware solution to sync both cameras.

The purpose of 180º VR

Even with some exceptions, like the Z CAM K1 Pro, which targets professional photographers & videographers, it’s clear the main focus of 180º VR technology is the consumer market. However, as we have mentioned in our previous Yi Horizon VR180 article, the question remains as to how commercial and industrial markets will use 180º VR—if they use it at all.

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About Author

João Antunes

IT and videogames are João's topics of interest since a very early age. Videogames, the Internet, game consoles and computers became his normal toys, as result of being the son of a journalist writing about the infancy of the Web, the games industry and hardware in general. Small game reviews published on the first Portuguese computer games magazine, back in the early 2000s ignited a passion – writing - he now pursues, along with his other interests: programming, web designing and hardware. Technology in general makes him tick.

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