Though they loved a surge in recognition when merchandise like Google Cardboard made VR extra accessible, 360-degree cameras have at all times been a distinct segment product, if solely as a result of viewing and sharing 360-degree imagery is a problem. Vecnos needs to vary that with a slick 360-degree digital camera known as the IQUI and a brand new app that converts the distinctive imagery it captures into movies simply shareable on social media.

If the identify Vecnos doesn’t ring a bell, it’s as a result of the corporate has solely existed since earlier this yr when its mum or dad firm Ricoh, which been making 360-degree cameras since 2013, spun out its consumer-focused 360-degree digital camera division a startup (which it continues to fund). The primary {hardware} product from Vecnos is the IQUI (pronounced ee-kwee) 360-degree digital camera, and since it’s designed for customers first, it addresses one of many largest points I’ve had with 360-degree cameras for years now.

Vecnos IQUI

WHAT IS IT?

A remarkably compact quad-lens 360-degree digital camera that pairs with a free app to make 360-degree photographs and movies simpler to share on social media and with others.

PRICE

$US300 ($402)

LIKE

Barely bigger than a Sharpie marker, the IQUI is the smallest and most pocketable 360-degree digital camera I’ve ever used.

DISLIKE

It is primarily focused at customers, so picture high quality cannot compete with Ricoh’s different 360 cameras. The accompanying IQUISPIN app does make it simpler to course of and share 360-degree content material, however it’s perhaps too user-friendly and would profit from extra customizability.

Cameras like Ricoh’s long-running Theta line (now positioned as a software for professionals) and different 360-degree cameras use a number of lenses and sensors to seize imagery in all instructions on the identical time, primarily producing spherical movies and photographs that allow you to go searching after the actual fact. This imagery is often saved as flat panoramic photographs the place every part seems to be warped when seen in 2D, however when seen utilizing an app that correctly shows them (like Google Pictures) it creates the impact of standing inside a spherical picture, offering a compelling approach to revisit a second in time.

However for those who’re not utilizing an app that processes and shows them correctly, taking a look at 360-degree imagery is an terrible expertise, and sharing them with others is an excellent larger problem: “Why are everybody’s faces stretched?”

I ended carrying round a 360-degree digital camera a few years in the past because of this, and I’m assuming many others did, too, which was most likely the catalyst for Vecnos to create the IQUI. The aim is to make these gadgets extra consumer-friendly and to make the pictures extra shareable on social media.

t3aebegecca4a4x68hnw - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpThe IQUI digital camera is barely bigger than a Sharpie and could be very straightforward to slide right into a pocket. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

I’ve performed with a number of 360-degree cameras over time (it’s a small market and there aren’t lots of choices) however arms down the IQUI is the smallest, sleekest, and lightest 360 digital camera I’ve ever used, weighing in at simply 60 grams. The {hardware} is gorgeous with a satisfying matte metallic end, and because it’s barely bigger than a Sharpie marker, it’s very straightforward to slide right into a pocket or a bag, so that you at all times have it readily available. It’s a redesign a majority of these gadgets have wanted desperately, however it’s not excellent.

o3tz1sn0wyp6zfbugsta - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpA singular four-lens method helps minimise distortion in 360-degree photographs. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

Most reasonably priced 360-degree cameras (priced nicely underneath $US500 ($670)) use a pair of back-to-back 180-degree lenses to seize imagery in all instructions. It really works, however there’s usually distortion on the excessive edges of the lenses, which impacts the picture high quality when the 2 photographs are stitched collectively. Regardless of its compact dimension, the IQUI manages to squeeze in three lenses paired with a fourth pointing straight up. There’s much less distortion as a result of every lens is overlaying a smaller discipline of view, and the lens on prime helps be sure that faces and individuals are correctly captured, even when the IQUI digital camera isn’t being held at eye stage when a picture or video is captured.

augqbwmblmabe1hebozt - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpWith simply three buttons it does not take lengthy to determine easy methods to use the IQUI digital camera. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

The button format on the IQUI could be very easy, with simply energy, a shutter, and a 3rd that toggles between stills and video mode. They provide further performance when held longer, akin to activating pairing mode, however in any other case it’s a digital camera that actually anybody can use with no need a tutorial first.

e9i2kvtgudy4piboc6tw - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpA proprietary charging port on the underside means you will not wish to lose the included charging stand. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

I genuinely love the IQUI’s design, which is why I’m actually disillusioned that it makes use of a proprietary charging port on the underside. The will for a glossy and consumer-friendly end additionally means there’s no slot for a microSD card to develop the IQUI’s 14.4GB of onboard storage. That also permits for round 1,500 photographs to be shot earlier than they have to be transferred to a smartphone, however having the choice to develop that’s at all times most popular.

cfpxtlqxp18hb6q0ugli - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpThe IQUI’s charging stand doubles as a tiny assist, however the placement of the USB-C charging port can typically make charging awkward. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

To cost the IQUI digital camera, you should insert it into an included charging base with a USB-C port. The bottom additionally serves as a miniature tripod so the IQUI can stand by itself (there’s no thread on the digital camera itself for securing it to an actual tripod) however as a result of the USB-C port is situated on the underside of the bottom, the entire thing has to awkwardly lay on its facet whereas charging. This looks like a bizarre oversight given how a lot thought has gone into the remainder of the gadget’s design. If the bottom was made just a little taller, with the USB-C port included on the facet, I feel this method would have labored barely higher. The best, nonetheless, could be a USB-C port on the underside of the IQUI digital camera itself.

nwdmhttp5mprlinvntdd scaled - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpWith sufficient gentle, the 360 diploma photographs snapped by the IQUI look OK. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

With an ISO vary that tops out at 1600, the IQUI most likely isn’t the best high quality digital camera in your taking pictures arsenal. When given sufficient gentle, like when taking pictures exterior on a sunny day, it snaps 5,760 × 2,880-pixel photographs that look first rate sufficient, however zooming will reveal fairly a little bit of noise, grain, and a common lack of sharpness, even for objects nearer to the lenses.

bj74kn8cjrfmrphrfhaf - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpThe automated stitching is not excellent, and it isn’t laborious to search out the seams between the lenses in photographs. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

It’s additionally not laborious to search out the seams the place a number of photographs have been stitched collectively, both, however these points are actually solely obvious once you zoom in and go searching for them.

ek4rt1kd6wqrkw9pmczu scaled - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpYou will most likely wish to keep away from taking pictures at night time or at nighttime with the IQUI except you are cool with a number of noise and grain. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

Unsurprisingly, the IQUI digital camera isn’t a champion of low-light images both. You’ll get photographs which can be nonetheless usable, however the digital camera is clearly maxing itself out to its highest ISO setting, leaving photographs with a number of seen grain and noise. It’s why Vecnos has positioned the IQUI as a 360-degree digital camera designed particularly for customers and informal shooters who don’t have any intention of placing their photographs underneath a microscope (or Photoshop’s magnifying lens, on this case). If picture high quality is your precedence, Ricoh’s Theta line is what try to be contemplating as a substitute.

The IQUI’s largest power is the accompanying IQUISPIN app obtainable for Android and iOS, however it’s in want of some updates earlier than it feels as polished because the digital camera does. For starters, after the preliminary pairing course of, the IQUI is meant to robotically hook up with the app and your gadget when it’s powered on, however most of the time I must undergo the complete pairing course of once more when making an attempt to make use of the digital camera with the app. It wasn’t utterly irritating, however it additionally didn’t really feel as straightforward because it ought to have.

qbowwwhm8jlwdhko9v5e scaled - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpThe IQUISPIN app converts 360-degree photographs into animated movies straightforward to put up on social media, however it may gain advantage from extra customizability, even when it is focused on the common client. (Screenshot: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

The app enables you to wirelessly switch photographs and movies taken with the IQUI digital camera to your smartphone, saving all of them in your digital camera roll so that they’re simply accessible. However the actual cause most individuals will wish to use the app is that it may well convert 360-degree photographs into quick, animated video recordsdata which can be able to share on companies like Instagram. The app presents a small collection of animation templates, some so simple as spinning round a 360-degree picture, whereas others create the enjoyable planet impact the place a scene seems to develop into a tiny spherical world.

jyraqbiln9ihhi6rj7zx - This Stunning 360-Diploma Digital camera Wants Its Software program to Catch UpAugmented actuality results may be added to the animations, like falling snow or leaves to boost the temper, however like most AR filters they don’t seem to be going to idiot anybody. (Photograph: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo)

When you’ve chosen an animation model and chosen what a part of a 360-degree picture you need it to start out at, you’ll be able to add augmented actuality results, akin to falling rain, snow, or leaves, and even digital objects like snowmen that look like a part of the scene because the digital camera strikes round it. Once you’re completely happy, the mini films are exported on to your digital camera roll so you are able to do with them what you please.

I like what Vecnos has accomplished right here. The app positively streamlines the method of taking pictures and sharing 360-degree photographs, making the know-how extra accessible to the common client. And whereas the animation templates make it simpler to create these 360-degree fly-throughs, I’m hoping Vecnos provides extra customizability ultimately. I do know the common client doesn’t know the very first thing about animating a digital digital camera, however even having the choice to particularly management zooms and pans to deal with precisely who or what you need in a given 360-degree picture would make the ensuing movies extra compelling.

The IQUI is a compelling redesign of digital camera know-how that almost all customers have most likely forgotten about, and it genuinely solves a number of the issues that made them forgettable within the first place. However $US300 ($402) is so much to spend for what might be most customers’ second or third digital camera, significantly when the know-how continues to be sort of a novelty. There’s little doubt that sooner or later sensible glasses and digital actuality headsets will probably be one thing we put on all day lengthy, and snapping and sharing 360 diploma photographs will probably be a well-liked factor once more, at which level I wouldn’t go away the home with out the IQUI. However that point isn’t now.

README

  • Simply the smallest, lightest, and sleekest 360-degree digital camera you should purchase.
  • Onboard storage is proscribed to 14.4GB. You’ll be able to offload photographs to your smartphone, however there’s no microSD slot to develop its capability.
  • The proprietary charging port on the underside means you’ll have to recollect to deliver the awkward USB-C charging stand with you once you journey.
  • With simply three buttons, the digital camera itself is simple to make use of, however connecting it to the IQUISPIN smartphone app most of the time requires you to undergo the pairing course of once more.
  • Picture high quality is OK with sufficient gentle, however you’ll get a number of noise and grain when taking pictures at night time or at nighttime. It’s positively not a 360-degree digital camera for professionals.
  • The IQUISPIN app does make it straightforward to transform 360-degree photographs into quick animated movies so that they’re straightforward to share and put up on social media, however there’s restricted customizability and sometimes the animation presets make some bizarre selections and deal with the improper factor in a picture.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here