California startup mixes 7K photos, 3K live-streams in a $99 360 camera

Immersive 360 cameras are quickly making their way into the consumer market, but one startup is claiming a few firsts with live-streams at 3K without downsizing and still images up to 7K. VRDL360 is a the first 360 camera that merges 7K photo with 3K video, live streaming and instant sharing.

The camera is the first from VR Dongli, a 2016 Los Angeles startup. The camera uses two 16-megapixel sensors manufacturers by Sony along with a pair of f/2 lenses. That allows the camera to shoot still photos up to 7000 x 3500 pixels and 3K (3072 x 1536) videos at 30FPS. The camera also uses a built-in gyroscope to stabilize footage electronically.

While there are a few 360 cameras with 4K resolution on the market, most need to downsize the files to broadcast that footage in real-time. VR Dongli says that the VRDL360, however, can live-stream to Facebook and YouTube without downsampling the footage, allowing for spherical live broadcasts still at that 3K resolution.

The camera is wrapped up in a rectangular, handheld body, not too unlike Ricoh’s Theta series, that’s small enough to mount to a drone. The body also houses a battery that’s rated for up to 2,000 stills or two hours of video and a slot for a MicroSD card.

Through an iOS and Android app, users can shoot in auto or full manual, as well as shutter priority and aperture priority mode. The app also allows users to edit the footage into four different viewing modes, from virtual reality to the Little Planet format.

The VRDL360 launched on Indiegogo on June 12 and is already over halfway to its funding goal. If the campaign and manufacturing process is successful, early backers can get the camera for a $99 pledge, with expected delivery in September. The startup expects to launch the camera on the retail market for $219.