Last year was roughly the worst possible time to launch a 360-degree camera – take 360 views of yourself and all your friends having fun! It just wasn’t 2020.
Somehow, Eternity, brand he spun of the Japanese company Ricoh, managed to survive the pandemic collapse of social life and gradually improved its Iqui 360 camera. Unlike most 360 cameras, this is not an action camera. The company recently released a new version with more colors available and, more importantly, a significant update to its companion app.
Over an obstacle
360-degree content has not yet gained popularity mainly because it is not easy to work with. Unlike video taken with a smartphone or a regular camera, 360 shots need to be flattened before they can be shared online. Typical “small globe” spherical images are the most common form of 360 ° photography because they are the easiest to share.
Facebook is one exception to this rule. It allows you to share 360 images, which your friends can scroll and tilt to explore, but if you want to post your 360 images and images on Instagram, Twitter, or somewhere else, you’ll probably need to edit them first. And let’s face it, tweaking videos before you can put it on the web? That’s enough friction to keep most people away.
Where the 360-spot shots found their fingers in the action camera market. This is partly because the main brands of cameras are in this category GoPro i Insta360, released 360 cameras, but it’s also a natural fit. When you hook the camera to your head and point your mountain bike down a 30-degree slope, you have no idea what the story will be. The front view as you delete may be a good shot, but it may also miss the reason you deleted it – the Sasquatch on the left, out of the camera’s field of view.
If you had a 360-degree view of the scene, you could go back after the fact and use the editing software to move around those 360 shots, highlight Sasquatch, and then scroll back to show how you go head to head.
Video editing is complex and time consuming, and most of the software needed usually requires more powerful (and more expensive) hardware to run. Those YouTube channels you follow that make everything look professional, easy and effortless? These people are doing a bunch of work – a job that the rest of us won’t do just to share some 360-degree shots with our 20 Instagram friends.
Vecnos’ Iqui camera wants to remove most of these obstacles by simplifying the process of capturing and sharing photos and videos in 360 °. He mostly succeeds on the first goal.
More cameras, less distortion
Iqui goes a long way to making 360-camera cameras affordable for the non-professional market that doesn’t like action. Perhaps the best trick is that this is probably the only 360 camera that you won’t need in the user manual.
The design is simple and intuitive. There are three buttons: power, shutter, and switch to switch between videos and photos. The only thing you won’t find out for yourself is that you have to hold the switch to pair Iqui with your phone, but the app guides you through this.
Simplicity is nice, but Iqui uses a proprietary plug for charging. It’s not an interruption of the agreement, but it’s boring. Worse, the adapter you connect to the bottom of the Iqui has a USB-C port on the bottom, and that goes into the stand that holds it upright. But … you have to lay it on its side to fill it. Why have a charging base that holds the camera upright if you can’t charge it in that orientation? By placing it straight you risk scratching the lens, and there are plenty of lenses you can scratch on.