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Kodak’s 360-degree camera takes big step up with addition of second lens

The Kodak-branded 360-degree camera may have just gotten twice as good. At Photokina in September, JK Imaging, the company licensing the Kodak name, announced the Kodak Pixpro Orbit 360 4K VR, a camera that ups the ante by moving from a single- to a dual-lens setup. The company later released pricing information at the 2017 CES, listing the new 360-degree camera at $499.

While both the original Kodak Pixpro 360 and the first Pixpro SP360 4K camera were well received for their simplicity, image quality was just mediocre, largely due to the fact that a single lens and sensor captured an expansive 360-degree view. The Pixpro Orbit 4K VR 360 not only jumps to 4K resolution, but uses a more efficient dual-lens setup.

Related: Don’t want to be in your 360 footage? There’s a robot for that.

Using two lenses and two 20-megapixel sensors, the new Pixpro captures 360-degree video and stills. While the 4K term is loosely applied as the eight megapixel 1:1 aspect ratio and not the standard 4K, the double set of lenses and sensors should bring a dramatic quality increase over the previous single-lens model.

Like the camera’s predecessors, the Orbit will also include Wi-Fi for connecting and sharing footage through the Pixpro app. The latest version will also use Bluetooth to connect to a remote control, sold separately for consumers who don’t want to use their smartphone to control the camera remotely.

While 360 is rapidly increasing in popularity, there are still relatively few options on the market — at least compared to the number of options for traditional cameras. The original 360 Pixpro, introduced two years ago, was one of the first options oriented toward consumers rather than professional producers. The Kodak 360 line faces some competition from single-lens cameras like 360Fly, as well as dual-lens setups such as the Samsung Gear 360 and Nikon Keymission 360.

The camera is expected to be available sometime in January 2017.

Updated by Hillary Grigonis on Jan. 6, 2017 to include pricing information.