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November 29, 2021

7 Best 360° cameras for VR in 2022

The other day I created a list of my favorite 360° VR YouTube videos. Which makes you wonder which camera you should buy to create 360° videos for yourself. Below are my favorite choices this year and why I selected them.

1) Insta 360 One X2

I personally own this camera, and it’s selling at an affordable price ($360). It’s a solid entry-level 360° camera if you’re just looking to get into the game. It was released in late-2020, so it’s probably still got a bit longer before an upgraded version comes out.

That said, if I were getting serious about 360° video, I’d prefer a higher resolution camera. Resolution is essential when filming VR videos. The 5.7k pixel image this camera can shoot just doesn’t get you to the point where things look clear in a VR headset.

Note: The Insta360 One R was released about a year before this camera and is very similar, except it’s in a more modular design akin to that of a GoPro.

2) GoPro Max

This camera debuted in late 2019, so be on the lookout for a new version coming out soon.

Currently sells for about $500, and has very similar specs to the OneX2. To me the OneX2 is a slightly better camera for a better price. But, for those that are already in the GoPro eco-system this is a good option.

3) Qoocam 8k

The downside of this camera is that people have reported having user experience issues. 360° cameras are difficult as is, and it can feel exasperating if the already difficult tech fails. So maybe hold off on this camera.

That said, this camera can record in 8k for only $600. Resolution isn’t everything, but 8K is far superior to 5K when viewing it back in a VR headset. And as you’ll see in a moment, other 8K+ cameras are significantly more expensive than this one.

4) Ricoh Theta Z1

This camera was released in 2019, so be on the lookout for a new version. Until the upgrade comes, I wouldn’t recommend it over the previous cameras on this list. It has a larger sensor than some of the other cameras (so it may do better in low light), but that’s really the main feature it has that the other cameras don’t. And it currently costs over $1,000, which is about triple what you’d pay for the Insta360 One X2.

5) Insta 360 Pro 2

Now we’re on to pro-level 360° cameras, and the price tag on these aren’t cheap. This one currently retails for about $4,499. You’re paying 10x the price of the prosumer-level devices once you get into this arena.

Why pay that much? Well, it comes to how badly you need that extra resolution. In a modern VR headset, you will need that extra resolution to get the clearest image possible. The single 5.7k image produced by the Insta360 One X2 simply won’t cut it.

This camera can film in 8k monoscopic at 60fps, 8k 3d stereoscopic at 30fps, or 4k 3d stereoscopic 120fps. And it may not sound like that much more resolution, but this produces two 180° 8k images. 4x the resolution of the One X2 (and has additional camera specs to take a better video).

6) Insta360 Titan

I swear this isn’t a big commercial for Insta360 (that said, they make good 360° cameras). The Titan is like a premium version of the Pro 2 that can shoot in 11k and 10-bit color. For the low cost of only about $15,000.

Once you pick your jaw off the floor, recognize that this is a premium device. I wouldn’t buy this unless you are professionally shooting 360° video.

7) Use Two Mirrorless Cameras (Like a Savage)

This is both a terrible and great idea at the exact same time.

It ranks dead last because rigging two cameras with 180° fish-eye lenses together and then stitching the images together yourself is extremely difficult.

That said, modern mirrorless cameras like my Sony A7Siii are dramatically better cameras than the 360 cameras in this list. They have larger sensors, would produce two crisp 4k images, can shoot 120 FPS, etc.

And so if you could pull it off you would likely get a great image at the end of the day. But, it’s likely too difficult for almost all of us.

Shaun Poore worked as a professional software developer for 15 years before transitioning into content creation and digital product businesses. Shaun's currently focused on providing as many people as possible with actionable advice and tools they can use to succeed online, without the fluff or BS that too often plagues this industry.