These Are the Best 360 Cameras for Photo and Video in 2022

It's the start of 2022, and once again the world has retreated into pandemic bubbles. If ever there was a use-case for 360 images and videos, it's now, when it's safer to experience things virtually than in-person. That's where 360 cameras come in, and here's a pretty comprehensive list of the best horse for both photo and video courses.

Coming at you from Ben Claremont, one of YouTube's most prolific 360 content producers is a yearly update to his "best 360 cameras" list. This year, however, Claremont has divided the categories into best photo and best video cameras, given that for the purposes of presenting a virtual space, a camera that excels at stills is going to be more useful than video, and the unfortunate state of the market is such that there isn't an all-around camera that's awesome at both. (Though as I've often said and Claremont echoes here, my perennial favorite Kandao QooCam 8k comes close, though as Claremont points out, it's been discontinued in favor of the QooCam 8K Enterprise at a much higher price point).

What's surprising about this list is that many of the cameras, at least in 360-camera years, are getting a bit long in the tooth. The top photo camera on this list, the Ricoh Theta Z1 has been around for an eternity, only gaining a slight memory upgrade since its release in 2019. That said, it started the game with a larger-than-the-competition 1" sensor, so its chart-topping performance isn't necessarily a surprise. What is a surprise is that the price of the camera hasn't budged. In fact, it's now $1,047, which is more than the $999 it started at. I know because I've been waiting for a price drop on it myself for years and it looks like I'm out of luck there.

The list isn't entirely devoid of new cameras, at least on the photo side. One camera that's new to the party isn't a "traditional" 360 camera with multiple lenses, but instead has one lens that spins around to take photos from four angles. The Trisio Lite2 is an intriguing entry, and while it can't take snapshots with moving subjects (since it relies on taking the time to spin around and take several photos), for interiors and real estate, it seems like a cost-effective way to high-resolution 360 still photography.

The usual video shooters top this list, with the Insta360 ONE X2 and Insta360 ONE R taking the crown over GoPro MAX 360. There doesn't seem to be an incredible amount of movement in the 360 consumer video space, but as Claremont points out, a lot of the magic is happening in the 360 software from manufacturers, making special effects that were once considered insane video edits now achievable by everyday users.

Most intriguing though are Claremont's predictions (and spoilers) for what's coming in 2022 for 360 cameras. For that, you'll have to cruise to the end of the video to see what's in store.

Do you have thoughts on Claremont's list? Any you disagree with or is there a camera that should be on the list but isn't? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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2 Comments
Will Thomas's picture

Unless you need video or don't care about quality, a DSLR or mirrorless camera will outperform all of those cameras by a wide margin. I would argue that the Canon mirrorless cameras like the R5 would be the best in terms of image quality. It would allow you to use polarizing filters or an ND behind the 8-15mm.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

360 photos made from DSLRs and mirrorless look awesome, the hard part is that if something's moving, then the time it takes to capture all the angles (not to mention the cost of something like a nodal ninja to do it right) makes them a bit less flexible than these models here.