Published on July 31st, 2015 | by Greg0
Shoot In Surround With VSN Mobil’s V.360 Camera
Sometimes, a camera is far more than just a way to record pictures. Whether they are small enough to fit into your smartphone allowing instant upload from anywhere, or offer pan/tilt options in your home security camera, collecting images is simply the beginning of what we expect these days. And while the format and form, the look and feel of cameras have changed greatly, they still generally require pointing and shooting, grabbing a frame from a stationary lens with a fixed angle of view.
The VSN Mobil V.360 HD Camera is different- it’s billed as the “worlds first 360-degree HD sports action camera built for extreme environments”. You’ve seen some of these features before- Bluetooth 4.0, allowing you to connect via your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet or the included remote control. Or opt to connect directly over wifi, and share the device with up to five others who can simultaneously stream and view live 360° video. Storage is handled via a micro SD card slot and there is full USB 3.0 support for quick transfers. Battery life is decent, lasting babout two hours between top ups with a 2610 mAh rechargeable lithium ion cell that is user-replaceable unlike most others we’ve seen. We liked the level on top which helps you identify balance, and there are thread for tripod mounting too.
No weird file formats here- videos are standard MP4 and images are JPEGs for easy editing and viewing. What you get in the package is far more than just a camera and the remote- you’re also getting a carrying case and the cables, a silicone sleeve for protection, an adhesive dash mount, and finally a GoPro Mount adapter too (though no memory card). If you’ve tried taking panoramas before, then you’re probably familiar with the difficulties in stitching- where movement, lighting changes, or shadows cause telltale issues, and there are blurs or artifacts. The V.360 solves those issues optically, so images are seamless, crisp and near-instant. Of course, like any such system, it is bulky and definitely will put a dent in your wallet. But for a variety of situations- from immersive real estate shots to great selfies with a big group- it’s easy to imagine the V.360 offering a one-of-a-kind set of capabilities. And those undersell it’s action-ready durability- it can handle sub-zero temperatures, is shockproof and IP67 waterproof too, though the large plastic lens does seem scratchable.
The truth is that we’re not quite ready for VR, Oculus Rift or no. The images and videos captured are impressive, but you won’t mistake them for high-definition reality, just as no one would mistake the VSN Mobil model for a traditional camera. The app was a little choppy, and low light performance is poor, but the main issue we found was with artifacting- due to compression and simple physics, you won’t want to blow footage up beyond a tablet-sized screen for the most part. There are no manual controls on the camera (which makes sense), but the V.360 is simple to use once it’s set up, and a lot of fun to experiment with. Available now online and in stores, expect to spend around $450. And be prepared to have a lot of folks want to try it out!