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The best 360 cameras in 2021

the best 360 cameras: Insta360 Pro 2
(Image credit: Insta360/MytimesVR)

The best 360 cameras have developed hugely over recent years as camera tech pushes on with ever-increasing megapixels and light sensitivity. In-camera image stabilisation, space-scanning for automatic 3D modelling and improvements in build quality and waterproofing mean they're now ideal for almost any scenario.

Whether you’re an adventurer who kayaks down white water, a real estate photographer who wants to provide the best quality 360 shots, or you simply want to strap a camera to your motorbike or car to record your holidays, there’s an option for you.

Some of the best 360 cameras have interchangeable lenses while others are perfect for job-specific work such as real estate. Therefore, it’s important you focus on what’s right for you before purchasing. Luckily, we’ve rounded up the best 360 cameras available now for you to choose from, for all kinds of uses and budgets (if you're after a bargain, keep an eye on our Black Friday hub).

If you're also on the hunt for trail cameras check out our best trail cameras guide. Or for magnificent aerial footage you’ll want to read our guide on the best camera drones. If it’s the best DSLR or mirrorless you’re after, take a look at our best cameras roundup. For now, though, read on for the best 360 cameras available today.

The best 360 cameras in 2021

Product image of Ricoh Theta Z1

(Image credit: Ricoh)

01. Ricoh Theta Z1

The best 360 camera for virtual tours

Weight: 121g
Dimensions: 45.2 x 130.6 x 22.9mm
Stills resolution: 23MP
Video resolution: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Small and compact+Doubles as live stream camera
Reasons to avoid
-High price point-Only 60 mins battery life

Ricoh’s Theta Z1 is its flagship 360 model. It's able to record spherically in 4K UHD30 and captures 360 stills at 23MP. The back-illuminated 1-inch CMOS sensor produces minimal noise in low light conditions outside or in – perfect for virtual tours. The newly developed lens unit improves optical clarity, and with an aperture range from f/2.1-5.6, it's designed to reduce flare, chromatic aberration, and ghosting as well as lengthening the depth of field.

The Theta Z1 captures images in raw (DNG) and JPEG format for flexible post-production and utilises a four-channel microphone for realistic sound recording. Able to record both video and stills, the Theta Z1 also works as a 4K live streaming device.

Product image of Matterport Pro2 3D

(Image credit: Matterport)

02. Matterport Pro2 3D

The best 360 camera for real estate

Weight: 3.4KG
Dimensions: 230 x 260 x 110 mm
Stills resolution: 36.8MP
Video resolution: 134.2MP
Reasons to buy
+High resolution images+Automatic 3D modelling
Reasons to avoid
-Big and heavy

A staple in the real estate photographer’s arsenal, the Matterport Pro2 3D works by recording 360 imagery of a space thanks to its in-built motorised mount, and then delivers a full resolution virtual tour straight to your smart device. Follow the simple setup instructions to capture indoor spaces and automatically attain a floor plan and 3D model to navigate through. After the space is processed you can even go into the model and label objects or measure them – ideal for renovations and online marketing.

It outputs at 134MP, has GPS, and can scan for up to 8 hours in a single charge with a 4.5 hour charge time, making it useful for photographing multiple properties in one day. It’s a little bigger and heavier than others in this list, and it may take a little longer to photograph (up to 30mins for a 100sq/m space) but that’s due to the 3D scanning and modelling tech.

Product image of Insta360 Pro 2

(Image credit: Insta360)

03. Insta360 Pro 2

The best 360 camera with video

Weight: 1.55KG
Dimensions: 143.0 x 143.0 x 143.0mm
Stills resolution: 144MP
Video resolution: 8K
Reasons to buy
+Compact considering specs+8K 3D video footage
Reasons to avoid
-Additional hardware expensive 

Chappie robot looks aside, the Insta360 Pro2 is a professional 360 camera with incredible specifications and performance designed for full-time videographers who need 360 photos and videos with the option of recording in 3D. It can record 8K video at 30FPS in 3D (that’s twice the amount of data to process) and can jump up to 60FPS in 2D mode, or 120FPS in 4K 2D. 

Dynamic range issues are combated with in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) recording to save highlights and shadows from clipping. In-built stabilisation comes in the form of the FlowState technology and a 9-axis gyro to provide gimbal-quality steady footage for use with Virtual Reality headsets. It does all of this in a compact body and links with Farsight live monitoring for real-time viewing.

Product image of Kandao QooCam 8K 360

(Image credit: Kandao)

04. Kandao QooCam 8K 360

The best 8K video recording in a consumer 360 camera

Weight: 245g
Dimensions: 145 x 57 x 33mm
Stills resolution: 29.5MP
Video resolution: 7.7K
Reasons to buy
+8K 360 footage+4K 120FPS slow-mo
Reasons to avoid
-Fan is quite noisy-Sadly not waterproof

A whopping 8K video resolution is a massive feat in a consumer 360 camera of this size. Capable of dropping down to 4K, it can record at 120FPS for ultra slow-mo footage. Its 6-axis gyro paired with the IMU sensor and in-built tech means footage is stabilised in-camera for smooth recording. Self-shooting from a monopod or selfie-stick is easy too as the camera automatically removes the stick for cleaner results. This 8K 360 camera can slip into a jacket pocket easily, making it ultra portable for use on the road.

Product image of GoPro Max

(Image credit: GoPro)

05. GoPro Max

The best 360 camera for motorcycles/cars

Weight: 163g
Dimensions: 64 x 69 x 40mm
Stills resolution: 16.6MP
Video resolution: 6K/5.6K stitched
Reasons to buy
+Waterproof and tough+6K video
Reasons to avoid
-Live streaming 1080p limit-Stereo audio only

GoPro is known for building action cameras that can withstand a hell of a beating and the GoPro Max is no exception. Natively waterproof to 33ft, shock resistant and tiny, it’s ideal for mounting on motorcycles, cars and other vehicles alike. GoPro bills the Max as three cameras in one. That’s because it can capture 6K video in either 360 or standard format when flipped over to HERO mode, and the Max can be used as a 1080p live streaming camera for easy vlogging. 

Shoot ultra smooth 360 timelapses using Max TimeWarp, record 270-degree panoramic shots with PowerPano and use up to 12 voice commands to control the device for hands-free operation.

Product image of Vuze 3D 360 4K VR

(Image credit: Vuze)

06. Vuze 3D 360 4K VR

The best 360 camera for VR

Weight: 450g
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 30mm
Stills resolution: 4K (per eye)
Video resolution: 4K UHD
Reasons to buy
+4K per eye (3D mode)+Compact and lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Some post-production required-Limited camera control settings

Virtual Reality (VR) is all about capturing true-to-life footage in as much detail as possible. That’s why the Vuze 3D 360 4K VR is perfect for VR use. The camera has eight Full HD lenses combined in pairs to capture 360 degree 3D video footage for more realistic VR output. At just 450g the camera is pocket-sized and can slip straight into a camera bag without any problem. A neat fold-away tripod also doubles as a selfie stick and the camera comes in four vibrant colourways

 In 3D 360 it records video at 4K30 but in 2D 360 this jumps up to 4K60. Easy to use, it requires the press of just a single button and can be edited together on a smart device or laptop before publishing.

Product image of Insta360 ONE R Twin edition

(Image credit: Insta360)

07. Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition

The best 360 camera with an interchangeable lens

Weight: 130.5g
Dimensions: 72 x 48 x 43mm
Stills resolution: 4K (wide angle) 6080 x 3040 (dual-lens 360)
Video resolution: 5.7K
Reasons to buy
+Modular interchangeable lenses+5.7K video footage
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K non-360 live streaming-Touchscreen could be bigger

Throwing a punch at GoPro, the Insta360 One R Twin Edition takes things up a notch with not one but two lens options: a 360-degree dual-lens module and a single 4K wide-angle which are easily slipped in and out of the camera for ultimate modular performance. The screen can also be rotated for use in either direction.

A big 1-inch image sensor makes it usable in low light conditions and comes equipped with FlowState image stabilisation, auto framing, hyperlapse mode, and 8x slow motion. It can also be operated via voice control and shoots 5.7K video resolution.

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Jason Parnell-Brookes

Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer, educator and writer. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and works with many high profile international clients.