Delayed by production issues, Giroptic finally ships long-awaited 360cam

The 360cam, a 360-degree camera that had an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 (it earned $1.4 million from backers, off a pledge goal of $150,000), will begin shipping to early backers as well as those who pre-ordered. The camera will also go on sale on May 24. Which begs the question, particularly from those who’ve been waiting for the camera, what took so long?

“There were hardware delays,” Richard Ollier, the CEO and co-founder of Giroptic, maker of the 360cam, told Digital Trends. “It’s been a long road to finalize the product.”

When we last spoke with Ollier, it seemed he had a nearly completed (or close to it) prototype in his hand. In fact, the prototype had looked nearly identical to the production unit. But like many Kickstarter projects, the Giroptic encountered unexpected problems that delayed shipment (it had an original delivery date of November 2014).

For example, in March 2015, Giroptic noticed color differences in the sensors in the development units it shipped out, which it needed to sort out before production started. Throughout the process, Giroptic had been transparent with backers, updating them on progress, while at the same time, it continued to improve the software.

Ollier told us that he wanted both the Kickstarter and retail models to have the same functionalities, which is another reason for the delay. But, besides difficulties, there were design challenges too. Since the unit has to be completely waterproof without a housing, Ollier said his team had to ensure the internals don’t become flooded – a difficult task as the camera has a detachable bottom unit that works with different accessories. Other issues include making sure any radiation that’s generated does not hinder the GPS performance; the resin used to protect the Wi-Fi antenna does not hamper transmission; battery life matches what it claimed; and the heatsink is able to keep things cool.

“Thinking back, we should have made the product more simple,” Ollier said. “But I have no regrets.”

In the nearly two years between launch and shipment, several 360-degree cameras have already made it to market, like the Kodak Pixpro SP360. Ollier belives it’s great there is competition because it validates the market for 360-degree cameras as the next-generation action cam. Even though Giroptic fell behind, Ollier says the 360cam is still “the most complete 360 product for consumers.”

Compared with other consumer cameras, Ollier claims that the 360cam’s hardware and software are more sophisticated. One example he points out is the camera’s ability to stitch the 360-degree images from the three sensors, in real-time; this lets the camera support 360-degree streaming services like YouTube, which Ollier says is compatible with the 360cam.

But the biggest thing to have happened during the 360cam’s production is the rise of virtual reality. Although content created with the 360cam could be viewed through VR headsets, it isn’t a VR solution. Although 360-degree cameras are driven by VR, Ollier says, today’s consumer cameras don’t have enough resolution and can’t create the parallax (depth) that’s needed for a true VR experience, among other limitations.

“There’s no true VR capture yet,” Ollier says. “It will be a while before we can have user-generated content.”

Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

You can play these classic Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One

The Xbox One supports backward compatibility with a growing library of Xbox 360 games. These are the best Xbox 360 games that are backward compatible with Xbox One, including action games, shooters, and more.
Emerging Tech

Curiosity says goodbye to the Vera Rubin Ridge with a 360 video

The Curiosity rover has been exploring the Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars for more than a year now, and it is time for the explorer to move on. But before it departs, Curiosity has captured a 360 video of its final drill site.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Using A.I., Lightroom can now boost the resolution of RAW photos

Need to eek a bit more resolution out of a RAW file? Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw can help with a new feature called Detail Enhance. The tool uses A.I. in the demosaicing process to enhance details and reduce artifacts.

Corel VideoStudio adds tools for customizing color in simple video edits

VideoStudio is Corel's more consumer-oriented video editor but the software recently gained advanced color correction tools. The update adds custom transitions, along with speeding up performance, and adding new shortcuts.

Tight on space? Here’s how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer

Never lose any of your cherished selfies or family vacation photos from your iPhone again by learning how to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer, whether you want to use a cable or wireless transfer.

500px reveals almost 15 million users are caught up in security breach

Almost 15 million members of portfolio website 500px have been caught up in a security breach. The hack occurred in 2018 but was only discovered last week. Users are being told to change their 500px password as soon as possible.

Olympus packs an enormous zoom ability in its latest interchangeable lens

The Olympus Digital ED M.Zuiko 12-200mm F/3.5-6.3 has the widest zoom range of any interchangeable lens with a 16.6x zoom. The lens, which covers a 24-400mm equivalent, is also weather sealed.

Nikon brings a classic workhorse lens to the Z series with new 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The Nikon Z series finally has a bright zoom available without an adapter. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S offers new coatings and more customizable controls in a smaller, lighter body than the comparable F-mount lens.

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.

Fujifilm’s X-T30 is a semi-pro, feature-rich camera that’s affordable to boot

Fujifilm's newest mirrorless camera delivers the premium features of the X-T3 without the premium price, giving aspiring enthusiasts a lower-cost option that can still match the image quality of Fuji's flagship.

Fujifilm XP140 squeezes more durability, low-light ability into a waterproof cam

Fujifilm's waterproof compact can now head even further underwater. The Fujifilm XP140 features several upgrades, including a more durable body, a wider ISO range for low light, and expanded auto modes.