Samsung’s newest 360 camera makes the popular consumer Gear 360 look a bit like a toy — The Samsung 360 Round uses 17 lenses to shoot 360 videos, and unlike the Gear 360, captures in 3D as a pro-level virtual reality camera. Officially announced on October 19 during the Samsung Developer Conference 2017, Samsung is touting the 360 Round as a “superior” virtual reality experience for professionals and enthusiasts.
The 360 Round uses eight stereo pairs of f/1.8 lenses — these stereo lenses are positioned with an intentional offset like the human eye to capture the scene in 3D. Along with the eight pairs around the edge of the 360 Round, the camera uses one more at the top to create the complete 360-degree view. Six internal microphones help capture immersive audio, which can also be aided with external microphones through two ports.
Each of those 17 lenses are paired with a two-megapixel 1/2.3 inch sensor, which by itself isn’t anything outstanding, but merged together, allows for 4K recording at 30 fps with that 3D depth data. Even more impressive, the camera doesn’t need to downgrade the resolution to live-stream when paired with the PC stitching software, which requires a Windows 10 computer with a Intel Core i7-6950X processor and 32GB of RAM or higher for those live-streams.
All of those sensors, lenses, and microphones are packed into a disk-shaped body that’s only about 8 x 8 inches and less than five pounds. Samsung says the smaller body size is thanks to a uni-body chassis, a design that’s designed to minimize heat. Eliminating the cooling fan gives the camera a smaller profile while eliminating any potential background noise that fan could create. The body is also weather-sealed against dust and moisture.
The Samsung Round 360 also packs in 10 GB of internal memory, expandable through an SD card up to 265 GB or SSD up to 2TB. Ports include a USB Type-C, LAN, AC adapter for external power and two microphone ports. The camera also houses a gyrometer and accelerometer.
“The Samsung 360 Round is a testament to our leadership in the VR market. We have developed a product that contains innovative VR features, allowing video producers and broadcast professionals to easily produce high-quality 3D content,” Suk-Jea Hahn, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics’ Global Mobile B2B Team, said in a press release. “The combination of live-streaming capabilities, IP65 water and dust resistance and 17 lenses makes this camera ideal for a broad range of use cases our customers want—from live-streaming major events to filming at training facilities across various industries.”
The Round 360 appears to be the final actualization of the company’s Project Beyond, a prototype the company first started displaying two years ago.
Samsung hasn’t yet released a price, but says the 360 Round will sell “at a reasonable price compared to other professional 360 cameras.” The price range of other 3D 360 camera has a pretty wide range, from the $800 8-lens, prosumer Vuze to the $10,000 8K Obsidian R to the now-defunct $45,000 Nokia Ozo. The camera will launch this month in the U.S., with plans to expand to international markets over time.