Last year was just about the worst possible time to launch a 360-degree camera–capture 360 views of you and all your friends out having fun! This wasn’t 2020.
Vecnos, an independent brand from the Japanese Ricoh managed to survive and continue improving the Iqui 360 camera. This 360 camera is not an action camera, unlike many others. This company has recently launched a new version that includes more color options and, most importantly, an important update to the companion app.
Because these cameras can be difficult to use, 360-degree content is still not mainstream. 360 video must be flattened before being shared online, unlike a regular or smartphone-captured video. Because they are easiest to share, the typical “small globe” spherical 360 photo is the most popular.
Facebook is an exception to the rule. You can share 360 photos that your friends can tilt and pan to see, however, if you wish to post your 360 videos and images to Instagram, Twitter or other social media sites, you will need to first edit them. Let’s be honest, editing video footage is a tedious task before it can go online. This is enough to scare most people.
Where 360 footage has found a toehold is in the action camera market. That’s partly because the major camera brands in this category, like GoPro and Insta360, have released 360 cameras, but it’s also a natural fit. When you strap a camera to your head and point your mountain bike down a 30-degree slope, you have no idea what the story is going to be. A head-on view as you wipe out might be good footage, but it also might miss the reason you wiped out—the Sasquatch that was off to the left, out of the field of view of the camera.
You could have a 360 degree view and edit the footage to highlight Sasquatch and show your head.
Video editing is a time-consuming and complex task. Most of the software that you use requires faster (and often more costly) hardware. You know those YouTube channels that are professional and make it look easy? These people are hard workers. Work that the rest of us won’t do just for sharing 360-degree footage to our 20 Instagram friends.
Vecnos’ Iqui camera aims to remove most of these barriers by simplifying the process of both capturing and sharing 360 photos and videos. It largely succeeds at the first goal.
The Iqui goes a long way to making 360 cameras approachable to the non-professional, non-action-cam-loving market. The best thing about this 360 camera is the fact that you don’t have to read a manual.
It is easy to use and simple in design. The buttons are power, shutter and the switch that toggles between still and video images. You won’t be able to find the toggle button on the Iqui to pair it with your smartphone. The app will guide you.
Although the Iqui’s simplicity is appealing, it uses a proprietary charger plug. Although it’s not an issue, the plug is irritating. It’s worse: the USB-C connector on the Iqui connects to an adapter that goes into a stand. To recharge your camera, you will need to place it on its side. If you cannot charge the camera in this orientation, why have a charging stand to support it? You risk damaging the lense by laying it flat. There are many lenses.
Dual lenses are used in most 360-degree consumer cameras. One in the front, and one at the back capture 180 degrees of image. These cameras are affordable, but they can cause significant distortion around the edges. When the software stitched the images together, you often get ridiculously stretched faces or objects.
This is how the Iqui circumvents this problem: The camera has four lenses, one of which shoots horizontally while the other points straight up. Each camera’s field of view is smaller, which results in less distortion. This alone is what makes Iqui superior to other 360 cameras I have tested.
The Iqui’s image quality isn’t the best I have seen. The image looks great when it’s shared through the app’s exporting features (more details below), but you can see a lot of noise if your zoom is on shadows. They also have a lot of details, so they aren’t as sharp.
These are not noticeable when the product is shared online. However, keep in mind you will not get sharp images as you might with a traditional lens camera.
The Iquispin Android companion app and Iquispin Android are the best parts of the Iqui camera. They make it easy to share 360 photos and videos. Vecnos has simplified the process of sharing 360 videos and photos. It’s a simple and intuitive app, which is great for beginners but can be a bit cumbersome.
Here’s where I want to remind you that Vecnos is a Ricoh product. It was the company which first released a consumer-oriented 360 camera and, more importantly, a great app for sharing and editing 360 footage right from your smartphone. I found the Iqui app extremely limited when I tried it last year.
You have two choices to get your Iquispin images onto the internet: either a snapshot of one region of the 360-degree image or a video panning and tilting around the AI-composed image. You can save the entire image to your smartphone if you only need it. Although there are many filters available that attempt to enhance images intelligently, they do not always work well. It would be great to have manual control for those instances.
Recent updates to the app added some new features such as an AI facial alignment system, which uses AI to match each angle of each face in 360-degree group photos, and a beauty filter, which softens and highlights faces. The new filter is perfect for those who think beauty looks like heavily Photoshopped magazines covers.
Despite these enhancements, editing and export options remain limited. This is still a problem with the software and Vecnos can fix it by updating their app. It is much better than buying a new camera for these features.
The Iqui 360 camera will be the right choice for you if your main purpose is to capture 360 images of yourself and your friends. The ease of use and its limitations (including the absence of a MicroSD slot) easily outweigh them. It is a bit expensive for the quality you get.
Are you looking for a 360-degree camera with more features? There are many options available that can edit 360-degree footage if you have the patience and time to do so.
Publited at Thu 22 July 2021, 11:50:04 +0000