Christmas has come and gone. While the excitement of new socks and underwear has subsided, I’m still excited about one gift I received. I was lucky enough to pick up a 360 Fly 4K 360 degree camera. Being super excited I opened it before I could do a legit ‘unboxing’ video but do have a few pics of what you receive and have some initial first impressions of the 360 Fly 4K camera that I’d like to go over.
If you were lucky or smart enough you would have picked this camera up right before Christmas. They were $100 off the retail of $499. That’s quite a decent discount for anything. You should be able to do a price match at most stores if you can find an online shop that still shows $399. (Wal-Mart online still showed $399 as of 12/26/16).
What is it?
The Fly 360 4K is a “consumer grade” 360 degree image video camera. From one lens, the camera captures a 360 degree image. The camera does not capture directly behind itself, so it is not a true 360 in this sense though. So if you were to wear this camera on your helmet you would not see the helmet, just everything around it. This is a bonus when it comes to certain captures but could be a negative if you did want to capture a true 360 degrees in both vertical and horizontal axes. For action cam users this shouldn’t be much of an issue. The camera does both video and stills in a variety of resolutions. It also can create “normal” non 360 images. More detailed specs can be found on the Fly360 website.
(awesome packaging and accessories)
So what do you get for $500 (hopefully $400)? The first thing you will notice is the quality of the packaging. The pill shaped case is quite impressive and is packed internally with precision. Once you peel the security sticker, you twist to open the pill. One more twist t remove the camera stand and inside you’ll find the accessories.
Included with the camera is a magnetic USB charger base, high quality USB cable, camera mount, soft carrying case, some stickers, your quick start and warranty information. The charger does not come with a standard electric outlet, so you will need your own or an open USB port to charge the camera. Internally there is 64GB of storage. No option to add a card for more storage.
The build quality of each item seems very impressive as I did my quick start install. You will need to instal the 360 Fly app (both iOS and Android) compatible to operate the camera. The instructions were quick and painless. Setup of the wifi connection was much easier than my GoPro app. I often lose signal when trying to connect my GoPro a few times before the app connects to the camera. No such issue with the 4K yet. Just like every other piece of electronics lately, no manual is included. I would strongly suggest downloading and reading the manual before you use the camera for anything serious. The quickstart doesn’t even tell you what the LEDs mean or how to know if the camera is even recording. It’s not that hard to figure out but would still be a good idea to skim the manual.
Initial Impressions on the 360 Fly 4K
If you’ve ever used an action camera before, the 360 Fly works pretty much the same. If this is your first action camera it will be pretty easy to get comfortable with. With proper lighting the videos I took looked pretty good. I would be weary of using this camera in extreme low light. It will have difficulty taking quality images in low light settings. But so does my GoPro. I was expecting this issue when purchasing the camera.
The app is really quick and loads saved images super fast. It is really easy to switch between still, videos and resolutions with just a few menus. I haven’t noticed any options being buried inside several menus. This should speed up your work.
The images and video on the phone look crisp and clear. I did have a few hiccups when trying to view 4K directly from the phone, but I would think this would be corrected if you downloaded the file to the phone first. Also be aware that most social media platforms will compress these videos so they will not be as high a resolution if you decide to share online. This is not the camera’s fault though.
The Camera has a standard screw base so it should be compatible with any tripods or mounts you currently own. The adapter included works with the same screw as my GoPro.
(size comparison: GoPro Hero Session 4 vs 360 Fly 4K)
What is it good for?
What will I be using this camera for? I’ll basically be bringing this camera anywhere I’d bring my GoPro. The 360 Fly 4k won’t be replacing my GoPro but is now it’s new partner. They are both tiny and strong enough to bring anywhere. Mount one on my chest and one on my head? LOL, probably not. But I’m excited to test the 360 out on mountain summits, interiors of large “cathedral” type buildings, drone images and music festivals. It should give a new dimension to these videos. Professionally it could be used to show interiors of homes for sale, apartments rentals and restaurants and bars. The 360 Fly will also give a whole new dimension to the infamous “selfie”.
Are there any negatives to the camera that I’ve noticed. First would be low light. You would have to spend an insane amount of money to have an action camera that can really handle low light. If you need to shot when it’s darker this won’t be the camera for you. The 1 button design. I would prefer at least 2 just to make functions without the app easier. No manual. I think it will take a little bit of patience and practice to get quality images since we’re not taught to think in 360 in most film classes currently. It will take a new mindset to get an amazing 360 image.
Final Thoughts on the 360 Fly 4K Action Camera
I’m excited. If you’re looking to get into 360 or VR imagery this camera should be a great starting off point. While there are less expensive models available 360 Fly 4K seems like a great value for the money. With proper lighting and some practice you should end up with some amazing videos and images. Coming up soon we’ll have a portfolio/gallery and a full detailed review of the 360 Fly 4K camera.