Of the various 360-degree photo solutions on the market, VSN Mobil’s V.360º is positioning itself as more of a higher-end photographic tool than the selfie-oriented Ricoh Theta or action-cam themed Kodak SP360. Like both those cameras, the V.360º can create a 360 degree panoramic stills and video, sparring you the burden of having to stitch multiple frames together on your own.
The V.360º boasts a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor that’s 1/2.3 inches in size. It’s capable of capturing panoramic stills at up to 6480 x 1080 or video with identical resolution at 30 fps. The six element glass lens offers a 360 x 60-degree field of view with a fixed f/3.0 aperture.
It features a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, GPS, barometer, altimeter and accelerometer. You can pair the camera with your phone using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There’s also a micro USB port and microSD card slot for transferring stills and video to a computer. Stereo sound is recorded via a pair of built-in mice.
The V.360º can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, can take a modest bump and is sealed against dust.
You control the camera through an included remote or an app (iOS and Android). Using the app, you can switch camera modes as well as view and share images. The camera features a time lapse mode and a pair of photo filters — mono and sepia — that are available for both stills and video, although you can add more effects if you use the desktop viewer software.
You won’t have much control over exposure however, the camera only allows for control over exposure compensation and white balance and you’ll be shooting in JPEG only, with an option to export animated GIFs from the app as well.
The V.360º costs $400.
What We Liked
The app, even in pre-release form we tested, was very stable and easy to use. The V.360º paired quickly and consistently with our mobile device. You can view the remaining battery life of the camera, make adjustments to camera settings and share images and videos and more through the app’s intuitive interface. The ease of use quality extends to the hardware as well. The camera itself has no controls. Instead, you rely on an app or included remote. While controlling the V.360º using the app is the most intuitive way to operate the camera, the remote is also straightforward.
The camera is fairly versatile as well. It ships with both a surface mount and a GoPro accessory adapter and there’s a built-in bubble level to ensure you’re properly oriented. You can let more than one person view your camera feed by using a “spectator mode” that lets other mobile devices view (but not control) your camera.
We were also pleasantly surprised with how smudge-resistant the acrylic lens protector is. We barely caught sight of fingerprints even when pressing our fingers against the clear protector.
What We Didn’t Like
The still image quality on the V.360º looks more like a video screen grab and with a vertical resolution of just 1080 pixels, that’s no surprise. Try to zoom in on a panorama and the image quality degrades quickly.
Screwing in the tripod baseplate took us multiple tries as the threads really need to be aligned correctly for a snug fit, especially if you’re going underwater. The camera’s status LEDs are very small, so if you’re standing some distance away and relying only on the remote control (not the app) to trigger the camera, you may have a hard time seeing and confirming camera status.
While sharing photos off the app is easy, sharing videos is a much slower process, since the app has to first transcode the footage before delivering a shareable file. We gave up transcoding a 1:06 minute clip on an iPad Mini 2 after passing the 10 minute mark.
The V.360º isn’t producing print-quality images or videos that should be viewed on anything larger than a monitor or mobile device display. If that’s not a show stopper, you’ll find the camera to be a simple way to capture 360 degree videos and panoramic stills that will live out their immersive life online. Its sturdy design, streamlined app interface and mounting options make it an easy and versatile tool to experiment with.
Panoramas can be exported from the app as animated GIFs. Hold on to your lunch.