Everyone from GoPro to Samsung to Facebook is getting in on 360-degree cameras, and now Casio has jumped on the bandwagon with a novel approach. The new EX-FR200 uses a unique, modular design: a camera body that controls two separate lens/sensor units. It’s also waterproof, freeze-proof, and impact resistant.
The camera body by itself looks a bit like a smartphone, with a large LCD screen taking up one entire side. In single-lens mode, a lens module attaches to the front of the camera body opposite the screen, for a standard shooting position. It can also stand upright in what Casio calls “selfie mode.”
What’s more, the lens unit doesn’t have to be attached to the body at all; you can place it in any remote spot and control it over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. An accessory clip allows you to tilt the lens unit up to 45 degrees when placed on the ground or another surface.
Users have a variety of output options for single-lens mode, including a 180-degree, circular fisheye look at 3,888 × 3,888 pixels, which can be “unwrapped” to produce a 7,456 × 1,864-pixel panorama. A 208-degree, ultra wide angle mode is also available.
In dual-lens mode, the modules can be attached to another accessory designed to hold them back-to-back for spherical recording. This captures 360- by 360-degree photos and 4K video that can be merged in Casio’s Exilim Album mobile app or the Exilim 360 Viewer desktop application, which can output to YouTube or other 360-degree players. The mobile app features a split-screen display that shows multiple angles simultaneously, like panels in a comic strip.
Given its versatility and ruggedness, Casio may find a niche among the outdoor adventure crowd — folks who need a sturdy but compact solution for 360-degree photography. The EX-FR200 will go on sale in Japan in mid-September. Casio plans to produce 5,000 units a month, but availability outside of Japan is still in question, according to DPReview.