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This lens turns almost any run-of-the-mill DSLR into a 360-degree camera

In the ongoing effort to simplify the creation of 360 video content, a new contender has emerged.

Sphere Optics has unleashed the Sphere Pro, a new camera lens that’s capable of capturing 360-degree photos and video without the need for any specialized equipment.

Unlike other setups and rigs that require multiple cameras, Sphere Pro is able to capture images at 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically using an omnidirectional format.

The footage captured with the camera can then be dewarped in post-production or uploaded directly to online video hosting services such as YouTube, which offer integrated dewarping viewing modes. This removes the need for costly rigs and time consuming post-production, where multiple video feeds need to be stitched together.

Sphere Pro lenses come in the Nikon F mount, but can be retrofitted to multiple camera formats, including Canon, Sony, Panasonic, RED, and others. It features a fixed f/8 aperture, is best focused at 40 inches, and weighs just under four pounds.

With the convenience of a simple all-in-one solution, the trade-off is quality. Unlike 360-degree rigs with multiple cameras, the Sphere Pro relies on the sole sensor housed inside the camera its mounted on. Since the resulting image is cast onto the sensor as a circle, the resolution of the 360-degree video is limited to the smallest dimension of the sensor being used.

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line footage, the Sphere Pro probably isn’t the best bet, but if you merely want to toy around with 360-degree video without all of the hassle, it might be worth a shot.

To rent or buy a Sphere Pro, you must first inquire with Sphere Optics on its website. Sphere Optics is planning to release Sphere lenses for smartphones and GoPro cameras in the near future.