The big question when it comes to buying a 360-degree camera right now is what do you want to do with it? If your goal is fun group shots with your friends, you probably don't need something built for rugged mounting. If you want to mount your camera on the side of a motorcycle and cruise Skyline Drive at speeds that aren't 100% in line with the posted speed limit, chances are you don't want an awkward stick hanging off the side of your tank. What you're going to do with the camera matters in a big way.
360fly has always been firmly in the action cam segment of the 360 camera market, offering a compact design that mounts to anything with a GoPro attachment and only needs a single lens to get the effect you're looking for. The first version of this camera is fun but more than a little limited, and now that there's a 4K variant out in the world it's time to see what has changed from 360fly!
At first glance, the new 360fly looks exactly like the old one. Both of these camera orbs are single lens 360-degree cameras, which means instead of a total sphere the bottom slice of the sphere is black. This design decision is deliberate, as it allows the camera to function like a GoPro. You can mount the camera anywhere and know it'll stay secure and capture everything that happens. There's a single button on the side of the camera, but the rest of the angular orb is nothing but casing and lights.
There are three significant differences between the original 360fly and the new 4K model. The first is the mounting point on the bottom of the camera. The new 4K 360fly is using a standard 1/4 mounting screw instead of the proprietary twist and lock mechanism of the original camera, which means it can be mounted just about everywhere. 360fly 4K also has a pair of microphones instead of the single camera found in the original. This means the new camera can capture much higher quality 360-degree audio, but it also means the camera is only waterproof to 30ft instead of the original 5ATM. Finally, the 360fly 4k includes a new light ring on the bottom of the camera to give you connect and record information when you can't see the light around the button.
The hardware differences are subtle, but software is vastly improved. The 360fly team has really added every feature they could think of, starting with a comprehensive photography mode. Still photos are much easier to take through the app now, and can be adjusted in real time through the 360fly software. Video modes include many of the same exposure adjustments, and can all be used to record directly through the app. You can even stream 360-degree video live through Livit, which connects to Facebook and allows all of your friends to install the app and watch the stream with a less than 20 second delay.
There's a lot to like about the new 360fly before you even press record, unless you're using the original camera for diving. We're going to be taking a much deeper dive in the coming weeks, but as first impressions go this camera stands out as the most impressive single-lens 360-degree camera released so far.