VR & 360 Degree


Action Camera Review: Kodak PixPro Orbit360 4K

December 13, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

Action cameras are prized for delivering point-of-view thrills, but Kodak’s PixPro Orbit360 4K represents a new breed—cameras that see all.

Features

The Orbit360 has two 20-megapixel image sensors fronted by a pair of wide-angle lenses. One lens is a 197-degree f/2.4 and the second is an even wider 235-degree lens with the same fixed f/2.4 aperture. When shooting in VR mode, both lenses and image sensors combine to create a fully spherical capture at 7360 x 3680 for stills or 3840 x 2160 for video (at 24p).

You can also shoot from just one of the lenses, giving you a total of three different options for framing your scene.

Both lenses have a minimum focus distance of 30cm. There’s electronic image stabilization and a 5fps burst mode. The Orbit360 has wi-fi for wirelessly controlling the camera.

Design

The Orbit is quite compact but makes good use of its limited real estate. While we opted to adjust as much on the camera as we could using the app, the tiny LED display and menu system are fairly straightforward and easy to navigate.

It has a removable rechargeable battery, which is nice. With a protective cover on the lens, the camera is shockproof to a height of 2 meters. It’s also splash proof, but unlike rivals like Nikon’s KeyMission, you can’t dunk it underwater without a housing.

Image Quality

The Orbit360 offers typical action quality—even at 4K resolution, video won’t be overly sharp and areas of high contrast can often get swamped by over or under exposure. The spherical footage is better viewed on smartphones and browsers than in a high-powered VR headset.

You’re best shooting the Orbit during the day as its low-light capabilities are (not surprisingly) constrained by its small sensors. Colors are accurate, if a bit under-saturated at times. It’s definitely lagging GoPro when it comes to standard format (16:9) video quality, but is on par with comparably priced 360 rivals when it comes to spherical footage.

Performance

We enjoyed a very seamless wireless experience remotely operating the Orbit360. Battery life is pretty average at 160 stills per charge and about 55 minutes of 4K recording with Wi-Fi enabled.

The camera’s 5 fps burst mode is fairly poky by action camera standards, though rapid bursts aren’t all that important when shooting 360 (at least to us).

Bottom Line

If you’re in the market for a compact 360-degree camera, the Orbit’s most direct competitor is Nikon’s KeyMission 360. Unlike the Orbit, the KeyMission is waterproof and shockproof without requiring a housing. It also has better battery life, though it has been dogged by reports of poor mobile connectivity—something we never experienced with the Orbit.

If durability is less critical than image quality and functionality, Ricoh’s recently updated Theta V offers live streaming plus what looks like a nice roadmap of future features thanks to its Android OS and open software platform. Then there’s GoPro’s forthcoming Fusion, which will be pricier than the Orbit but works with the universe of GoPro mounts and looks to have some novel software.

Kodak PixPro Orbit360 4K

www.kodakpixpro.com
PROS: Easy to use; reliable app; multiple image formats; removable battery; excellent design.
CONS: Image quality trails competitors; slow burst mode.
PRICE: $500

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