Best overall

Samsung Gear 360

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Not only is Samsung’s latest 360-degree camera smaller, thinner, and lighter than its predecessor, but it’s also cheaper and faster! The Samsung Gear 360 is one of the easiest 360-degree cameras to use, making it possible for you to either quickly snap a photo with friends while holding it or remotely access the camera from an app loaded up with advanced features for capturing the best image.

Not only can you grab 15-megapixel spheres with lots of detail, but the video mode will capture in 4K at 30FPS with no problem. The bottom mount makes it easy to stick the camera on just about anything, and the unique microphone array in the camera makes capturing sound from every direction very easy.

Bottom line: For ease of use, $200 price tag, and sheer volume of camera features the Gear 360 is the best consumer 360-degree camera you can buy.

One more thing: This camera also works well with the iPhone!

Why the Samsung Gear 360 is the best

What it really comes down to with this camera is convenience and price. The Gear 360 software is noticeably easier to use than just about all of the other camera apps out there. You have quick access to more features, editing images and video is easier, and there’s a lot that can be done with exposure and white balance settings to make sure you get the perfect shot. Transferring images in large batches to your phone is easy as well and noticeably faster than most cameras.

As for price, the Gear 360 launched at nearly one third the price of the original 360-degree camera Samsung released last year. That’s a considerable markdown when you consider how expensive a lot of these cameras are, and even though this camera doesn’t have the highest megapixel count, the photos you get are fantastic.

Samsung’s motivation for making this camera easy to get and easier to use is simple: more people making videos that can be enjoyed inside the Samsung Gear VR headset is great for that ecosystem. To that end, the Gear 360 is one of the best 360-degree camera experiences you can get today.

Best runner-up

Ricoh Theta S

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Ricoh has been making the best 360-degree cameras longer than most, and for this experience it all comes down to the stitching. The physical design of this camera puts the two sensors very close together, which makes it so the Ricoh software can stitch the two pieces together into the closest thing to a flawless sphere you can get from a consumer camera today. It’s a fantastic camera, though its height makes using it for video when mounted to a moving surface a little less convenient.

Bottom line: This camera will give you some amazing pictures and is a lot of fun to use, but the $300 price tag makes it a little pricey.

Best Value

Insta360 Air

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It may not have the highest resolution or the most convenient software, but Insta360 has two incredible features with the Air camera. First, it’s the only USB-C 360-degree camera. This means it plugs directly into your phone with no need to ever worry about battery life or image transfer speeds. You just plug the camera in, flip your phone upside-down, and start shooting.

Second, this camera is the least expensive 360-degree camera worth buying by a long shot. The small profile and quick-launch software makes it convenient, but the $125 price tag really makes getting into 360-degree photography a lot more manageable for a lot of people.

Bottom line: If you want to give 360-degree photography a try, this is where you start.

Conclusion

There are a lot of great reasons to start exploring 360-degree photography. If you’re looking for the best camera to really dive in and start having fun, get the Gear 360 from Samsung. If you’re interested in the best sphere you can capture and love playing with settings to get the perfect shot, the Ricoh Theta S is what you want. If you’re mostly looking to play and don’t want to spend a bunch of money, get the Insta360 Air.

Best overall

Samsung Gear 360

See at Amazon

Not only is Samsung’s latest 360-degree camera smaller, thinner, and lighter than it’s predecessor, but it’s also cheaper and faster! The Samsung Gear 360 is one of the easiest 360-degree cameras to use, making it possible for you to either quickly snap a photo with friends while holding it or remotely accessing the camera from an app loaded up with advanced features for capturing the best image.

Not only can you grab 15MP spheres with lots of detail, but the video mode will capture in 4K at 30FPS with no problem. The bottom mount makes it easy to stick the camera on just about anything, and the unique microphone array in the camera makes capturing sound from every direction very easy.

Bottom line: For ease of use, $200 price tag, and sheer volume of camera features the Gear 360 is the best consumer 360-degree camera you can buy.

One more thing: This camera also works well on the iPhone!

Updated September 2017: The Samsung Gear 360 is still the best 360-degree camera you can buy.





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