If last year was all about virtual reality, then 2016 is all about 360-degree video.
These type of videos let you look in any direction - not just where a single camera may be pointing. A 360-degree video is often created using a system of multiple cameras that simultaneously record all angles of a scene. Ever wanted to see from the perspective of a race car driver? Well, thanks to 360-degree video and virtual reality, you can do that (see this example on YouTube).
Many companies and websites now support 360-degree content, including Google-owned YouTube and Facebook, so you don't need a virtual reality headset, such as Oculus Rift, in order to view this type of media or immerse yourself in the footage. Just open the YouTube app or Facebook app, for instance, or point your browser to the video's URL, and you're good to go.
Major camera makers - like GoPro and Nikon - have even begun selling rigs specifically for recording 360-degree videos. Pocket-lint rounded up the best-known ones available now. Some of them are extraordinarily expensive, but there are cheaper ones that might pique your interest still.
Where can you find it? Gopro.com
How much does it cost? $15,000
What is it? GoPro's 360-degree camera was made with Google. It's actually a 16-camera array for filming 3D VR content. Buying the Odyssey means you get 16 of GoPro's Hero 4 Black action cameras with internal microphones, the panoramic capture rig, all the necessary cables, microSD cards, a Pelican case, and a warranty with support. The 4K-capable GoPro cameras are synced together and function as one.
Where can you find it? Ozo.nokia.com
How much does it cost? $60,000
What is it? Professional VR video isn't cheap. The Ozo, which comprises eight lenses, each with 195-degree angle of view and 100-degree cross-over with the next nearest in a pair, is capable of capturing full 360-degree spatial video and audio content. It can output to a dedicated recorder or, for work in the field or, say, when strapped to a drone, the included battery and 500GB hard drive will cater for 45-minutes of capture.
Samsung Gear VR Camera
Where can you find it? Samsung.com
How much does it cost? N/A (it'll launch in "select countries" by June 2016)
What is it? The Gear 360 is a twin-lens ball of a camera that captures spherical 30-megapixel photos at 3,840x1,920 pixels. Each of the Gear 360's f/2.0 fisheye lenses covers a 195-degree angle of view. Wen stitched together using a select Galaxy phone, it gives you a full 360x180-degree view to explore with a VR headset or dragging around your fingertips on a touchscreen or your cursor in a web browser.
Nikon KeyMission 360
Where can you find it? Nikonusa.com
How much does it cost? N/A
What is it? The Nikon KeyMission 360 action camera records 4K UHD video, is waterproof to depths of 30m/100ft, shockproof from heights up to 2m/6.6ft, and has electronic image stabilisation. It includes support for microSDHC/SDXC media cards, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, an integrated microphone, non-removable Li-Ion battery, and USB 2.0. It's thought to cost €499, but pricing and availability haven't been confirmed.
Ricoh Theta S
Where can you find it? Theta360.com | Amazon.com
How much does it cost? $346.95
What is it? Ricoh's third-generation 360 degree camera is Theta S. The Theta S adds a larger sensor for improved still and video capture, with video recording time increased to 25 minutes. It also has Full HD video-streaming capabilities, 8GB of internal memory, dual 12MP 1/2.3-inch image sensors paired with bright f/2 twin lenses, a sensitivity range from ISO 100-1600, and support for built-in Wi-Fi.
- READ: Ricoh Theta hands-on
Where can you find it? Bublcam.com
How much does it cost? $799
What is it? The Bublcam is a spherical device that features four lenses with a 190-degree field of view, each paired with 5-megapixel sensors. This allows the Bublcam to shoot video and stills with 100 per cent spherical range. Video modes for equirectangular footage are 2688 x 1344 pixels at 15 fps or 1984 x 992p at 30 fps, while equirect images are at 5,376 x 2,688 pixels. Shooting modes include HDR and time-lapse.
Where can you find it? Giroptic.com
How much does it cost? $499
What is it? Giroptic looks like a little palm-sized egg, but it's rugged like an action camera. It sports three 185 degree fisheye lenses, which the camera uses to capture and stitch together a sphere of HD video in real-time. The video is recorded to MicroSD. It's also features built-in Wi-Fi, a GPS radio, and works with a mount attachment that has light-bulb threads (so you can hang the camera in the middle of a room).
Where can you find it? Vsnmobil.com | Amazon.com
How much does it cost? $449
What is it? VSN's HD Camera Kit includes the V. 360 Sports Action Camera and various mounts. With a 360-degree lens, the V.360 can capture in HD resolution and automatically begin filming with built-in motion or audio sensors. Wi-Fi or USB connectivity lets you edit and watch films from your computer. It also supports MicroSD up to 128GB, dual stereo sound, and waterproofing up to three feet for 30 minutes.
Where can you find it? 360fly.com | BestBuy.com
How much does it cost? $399.99
What is it? This 360fly panoramic 360-degree HD video camera features Wi-Fi, a Bluetooth LE interface, and the included 360fly app. With 2.26 total megapixels, it allows you to capture footage with up to 1504 x 1504 pixels resolution. It also claims to be "the world's widest single lens field of view action camera" with waterproofing down to 120-feet with a microphone inserted. Comes with a rechargeable lithium battery.
Kodak PixPro SP360 4K
Where can you find it? Kodakpixpro.com
How much does it cost? $449
What is it? As with the SP360 predecessor, the Pixpro SP360-4K has a cube design with a dome lens. This allows it to capture immersive 360-degree photos and videos which can be panned. The lens has a F2.8 aperture and is paired with a 1/2.3-inch 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. It's capable of recording videos at resolutions of up to 4K 2880 x 2880 pixels and boasts time-lapse, burst shooting, and 10 viewing modes.
LG 360 Cam
Where can you find it? LG.com | VerizonWireless.com
How much does it cost? $199.99
What is it? This standalone camera captures photos and videos in 360 degrees. It’s equipped with two 13-megapixel cameras, each 200-degrees, allowing you to capture 180-degree or 360 degree photos and videos at 2K. It can record 5.1 surround sound via the three microphones, has 4GB of internal storage, a 1,200mAh battery for up to 70 minutes of recording, and support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Where can you find it? VuzeCamera.com
How much does it cost? $1000 (Available in August)
What is it? To capture 3D 360 as well as regular 2D, the Vuze features eight full-HD cameras with ultra-wide-angle lenses (each able to shoot 120 degrees horizontal and 180 degrees vertical for a nearly full sphere) in 4K at 30 frames per second and at a variable bit rate of 120Mbps. The images are processed in near real-time and stitched using the Vuze Studio software for Mac or PC.
Where can you find it? Allie.camera | Amazon.com
How much does it cost? $499
What is it? About the size of a baseball and featuring 8MP sensors on the front and back, the Allie Cam can capture hi-res video from all directions and stream them to mobile devices using its accompanying app. That video can also be saved to an internal microSD card. The camera can record video at 2048x2048 resolution and 22 fps rate. These videos can be streamed to YouTube and elsewhere as well.
Where can you find it? Sphericam.com
How much does it cost? $2,499.00 (pre-order)
What is it? Sphericam 2 is a portable 360-degree camera that can record video at up to 60 fps. It uses six individual cameras that can record in three different file formats, each with a resolution of 4096 x 2048. Pro-quality will record 30/60 fps at 2.4 Gbps in12-bit color. The Sphericam 2 also works with eight tri-pod mounts, and it features a micro USB port, four microphones, six microSD card slots, and a 2800 mAh battery inside.