The 360fly camera has been around for the last six months, finding its place with the likes GoPro and others in the "action cam" category as 360 video and VR continued to become more "mainstream". At its heart, it is a single-lens camera that captures stitchless 360-degree video with interactive and mobile virtual reality viewing capabilities.
Today it sees an upgrade to address a complaint all too common for 360 cameras — resolution. The new 360fly 4K camera, (which was unveiled at CES earlier this year) boasts, as the name suggests, higher resolution in addition to the ability to shoot point-of-view as well as 360 video.
Other features include intuitive filming and editing advancements, and live mobile streaming capabilities.
"Since day one, it has been our goal to bring 360-degree video to the masses and democratise virtual reality through innovative products that are easily accessible and competitively priced," said Peter Adderton, 360fly CEO.
The latest camera sees a new image sensor added to the 360fly that nearly quadruples the resolution, producing 2880x2880-pixel, 360-degree 4K video.
So 360 is great, but if you don't need it, there's now an option (other than using a completely different camera of course). A front-facing cam , or "First-person POV Mode" can record video or capture a photograph in the traditional point-and-shoot style. "POV Mode" records in a 16:9 aspect ratio at 2560 x 1440-pixel resolution, with a field of view of 178 x 100 degrees (204 diagonal).
Time-lapse video mode opens up some coo possibilities. Catch a sunset or something more interesting (I can never think of anything) in 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60-second shutter intervals. The battery lasts for about 1.5 hours on recording mode so you can't exactly film any Attenborough-worthy flower openings, but it's good for shorter-term lapses.
The camera features a built-in GPS sensor to tag locations, an altimeter, and an accelerometer — all powered by an Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. So you can track altitude and speed, and use third-party apps to overlay the data into your existing 360-degree video content.
In terms of memory, you're looking at 64Gb of internal memory — double what the 360fly HD offers. So breaks between filming to upload and delete footage will be far less frequent.
One of the coolest features from my brief hands on with the camera today is the colour-coded lighting around the buttons and mounting dock. If you can see a blue light it's on, and red means it's recording. It's such a simple thing but having it visible from all angles really ups the ease of use.
One-to-one live streaming is an option through the Livit app, with full broadcast streaming expected "in around three months", 360fly says.
The 360fly 4K camera is waterproof down to 30 feet and ,like the original, comes standard with Bluetooth and built-in Wi-Fi. It is compatible with a free Android and iOS mobile app that lets you share your videos direct to Facebook and YouTube, with more platforms to come.
You'll be able to pick one up for $849.95 from this Friday 27 May online, at JB Hi Fi stores and "other specialty channels"
The 360fly HD is still available as a lower-cost lower-resolution option for $649.95.
We'll be adding some video footage ASAP, so keep an eye out!