The once ill-fated Panono 360 camera escaped a near brush with death thanks to a new private investor. Under the company name of Professional360 GmbH, the Panono will again be marketed to consumers through new retail channels and a new rental program, according to the company. The product is back in production and was on display at IFA in Berlin.
The saga of the Panono began back in 2013 when a German startup took to Indiegogo to fund a revolutionary device: A 36-camera rig that produced spherical photos at up to 72 megapixels (later increased to 108). The ball-shaped camera could be mounted to a tripod, a selfie stick, or simply tossed into the air. It was one of the first products of its kind, but even by today’s standards, it remains significantly higher quality than most all-in-one 360 cams.
At the time, consumers seemed eager for such a novel product: The crowdfunding campaign raised $1.25 million. Sadly, fewer than half of the Panono’s 2,608 backers ever received a product.
The original startup, Panono GmbH, filed for bankruptcy in March. Some hope arrived later in the year when co-founder Jonas Pfeil announced the company had found a buyer in July. While it was unclear at that time whether the product would continue to be produced, it at least meant that current owners could continue to use their Panono cameras, which rely on cloud services to stitch the multiple camera angles together.
The good news is we now know that the Panono will carry on. Unfortunately for the Panono’s original contributors, the terms of the sale meant the new buyer did not acquire any of Panono GmbH’s obligations to external parties. While we’re glad to see the Panono return to service, its story remains a cautionary one: Even highly successful crowdfunding campaigns can carry a high degree of risk. Supporters are therefore unlikely to receive any special treatment from the brand’s new caretaker, Professional360. Although, in a rather heated Panono forum thread, an apparent Professional360 representative mentioned the company may come out with an offer to allow Indiegogo supporters to purchase the camera at a discount.
Digital Trends has reached out to the company for clarification and we will update this article when we hear back.