360 cameras provide a fresh perspective to the content you record. Whether you’re traveling, riding a bike, or trekking your way to a mountain peak, a 360-degree camera lets you record everything around you. While 360 cameras were quite the novelty a few years back, they’ve become popular more recently and hence, more affordable too.
If you’re looking to start your vlogging journey by recording yourself and your surroundings, we’ve compiled a list of the best budget 360 cameras under $500. You can also use these cameras to provide a virtual tour of a location, building, or something like a construction site.
Before we get to the cameras, though, here are some other articles you may be interested in –
- If you’re looking for an action camera for adventurous activities, take a look at the best GoPro alternatives with 4K recording instead.
- You might want to consider installing some of the best video editing apps for your iPhone if you want to edit your 360 videos on the go.
- Plan on using a 360 camera in your car? Get a budget dashcam instead.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the cameras.
1. Kodak Orbit360
Lenses: Dual | Resolution: 4K | Screen: For modes only
360 cameras are generally small and compact but the Kodak OrBit 360 takes it to the next level with its tiny chassis. The camera is in the shape of a small cube with two lenses on either side. You can record 360 videos in up to 4K which can then be viewed in VR. This makes it one of the best 360 VR cameras in this segment. There’s also a special ultra-wide mode and dome mode for different effects.
You can use the camera with mounts and tripods depending on your use case. While this is a great 360 camera for beginners, it has its one set of downsides.
For starters, there’s no screen on the camera to view the feed. You only get a tiny 1-inch display for settings. Then, there’s the fact that the camera doesn’t perform well in low-light situations as per the reviews. It’s also slightly complex to operate initially but you should get used to it with time.
A big advantage of getting this camera is that you get a ton of accessories in the box right from a tripod to multiple mounts for various uses. It’s also splash-proof, but don’t take it to the pool!
2. Vecnos IQUI ZTQ01
Lenses: Quad | Resolution: 2K | Screen: Nil
The Vecnos IQUI ZTQ01 is the most unique-looking 360 camera on this list. It has an elongated design which is something vloggers and travelers will appreciate. It’s slim and can fit into your pockets or backpack just like a pen. Unlike most 360 cameras that have 2 lenses, this one has 4 covering the cylindrical surface. You can record videos in up to 2K resolution.
However, this camera isn’t great for videos as per the reviews. The videos look soft with little to no details and it only gets worse when it’s dark. So, if you plan on shooting more videos than photos, this camera isn’t recommended.
The design makes it good for things like group selfies, though, so you can get it solely for that purpose. There’s no display onboard either and the instructions, as per some users, are hard to follow.
3. Ricoh Theta SC2
Lenses: Dual | Resolution: 4K | Screen: For modes only
This Rico 360 camera is one of the best options for construction sites or use cases that involve real estate. Several users have reported that they have used it for 3D house tour projects and interior designing and it has worked well for them. It’s also quite compact and comes with a nice carrying case to protect the camera. The lenses protrude a bit, so this extra protection is nice.
There are two downsides to this product, though, which aren’t that big but you should be aware of them. The first one is that the HDR on the camera doesn’t seem to work well. If there’s a bright sky or light coming out of a window, the exposure will be blown out. Another issue is that if you have an iPhone, the app disconnects from the camera frequently so it’s a task to reconnect it once again. You won’t face this issue if you have an Android device.
If you can extend your budget slightly, this should be the best starter 360-degree camera for most people.
4. Insta360 X3
Lenses: Dual | Resolution: 5.7K | Screen: Touchscreen with a live feed
The Insta360 X2 was already one of the best 360 cameras out there. But, the upgraded X3 model takes it up a notch. You get two 1/2-inch sensors with a resolution of 48MP each. You can record videos in up to 5.7K with these lenses, which is mighty impressive. You also get a big display right on the camera with the live feed of what you’re recording. This is helpful when you’re vlogging.
This camera is filled with useful features like 8K timelapse, 72MP photo mode, FlowState stabilization, and 360 horizon lock. It also has this neat little trick where you can hide the selfie stick in the video so it would appear as though the camera is floating in the air while recording. Pretty cool! Since the camera is waterproof, you can take it underwater without hesitation.
It might be slightly difficult to understand all the features in the beginning but you should get accustomed to using the camera with time. If you’re seriously considering creating professional content to be shared, you cannot go wrong with the Insta360 X3. Oh, did we tell you it records at 60fps for that extra-smooth look?
5. GoPro MAX
Lenses: Dual | Resolution: 5.6K | Screen: Touchscreen with a live feed
The GoPro Max goes head-to-head with the Insta360 X3 in terms of both features and price. While both cameras record footage at the same resolution, the Insta360 X3 beats the GoPro Max in terms of frame rate. The GoPro Max can only record at 30fps while the X3 can go up to 60Hz. You get a screen on this camera as well to view the live feed.
Just like the Insta360 X3, you can use this camera with just a single lens if you want the traditional GoPro look. You don’t get as many features on this camera but there are some important ones like Horizon Levelling for excellent stabilization, stereo audio, TimeWarp, etc. You can also use this camera for streaming in 1080p, an advantage over the Insta360 X3.
In terms of size, the GoPro Max is slightly larger and heavier. If you’re spending close to $500, we suggest getting the Insta360 X3. But, if you’re already invested in the GoPro ecosystem and want the streaming feature, the GoPro Max should be your pick.
Capture All Around You
A 360 camera can make your moments more enjoyable to relive when you watch them later on. Pair the footage with a VR headset and you can revisit your memories in complete 360-degree vision!
Last updated on 17 May, 2023
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