The 3 Best 360° VR Cameras Under $500

The 3 Best 360° VR Cameras Under $500

You’ve seen those cool 360° VR videos and you’re ready to take some yourself.

The cameras though… they’re pricey. But more and more are dropping below the $500 price point.

Here are my picks for the 3 best 360° cameras under $500.

Ricoh Theta S – $349.95

The Ricoh Theta S is a super portable little camera. It’s great for those who just want one for personal use.

The Theta is very intuitive and easy to use, it just has a toggle for video vs. photos and a button to capture or record.

You can stream video straight to your phone or tablet without going through a PC and shoot full 360° video.

However, there is no option for expandable memory, so you’re stuck with 8gb, and the battery isn’t removable, so you’ll be done somewhere around 260 photos until you get a charge.

Overall, the Theta S seems like an excellent entry level VR camera.

Pros

Livestream video to phoneRicoh Theta S
1080p HD at 30 fps
Full spherical 360° video
Most affordable VR camera
Highly portable

Cons

No expandable memory
Easy to accidentally damage the device
Separate apps for viewing and editing footage
Video editing app is iOS only
Only 1080p video

For the official specs of the Theta S, go to Theta’s website.

For a full review of the Theta S, check out this field test.

To see some of the pictures and videos it captures, feast your eyes on these.

 Kodak SP360 4K – $449

The Kodak SP360, coming in right under budget at $449, delivers some great results.

One of the major features of this camera is the single lens, which means no stitching of images (with multiple lenses, cameras have to “stitch” together the images from each lens to create one full 360° image).

On the downside, this also means you don’t get full 360° images or video – only 235°. It is the only camera I’ve found that gives you manual control over white balance and exposure in this price range, so if you’re looking to use it professionally this might be your best option.

It also has the sharpest image of the three on this list. Overall, this is the best option for those looking to get a VR camera for professional use without breaking the bank.

Pros

Best image quality w/ 4kKodak PixPro SP360 4k
No stitching
Manual control of white balance and exposure
One of the few 4k 360° cameras

Cons

Only captures 235°
Kodak’s software leaves a lot to be desired
Background tends to blur

For the official specs of the Kodak SP360 4K, go to Kodak’s website.

For a full review of the Kodak SP360 4K, check out this review.

To see some of the videos it captures, feast your eyes on this.

 360Fly – $400

The 360Fly is a nice single lens VR camera with a waterproof housing up to 5 meters, that looks like something out of Portal.

It’s inconspicuously designed so it doesn’t draw too much attention, includes 32gb of internal memory, and connects to both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Unfortunately, it can only capture 240 footage by itself and you can’t edit the videos on your phone. With 2, if not 2 ½, hours of battery life it’s one of the longest lasting cameras.

Overall, this camera is excellent if you’re going to record around water or want something that doesn’t stick out too much.

Pros

Waterproof to 5m w/ small cap in mic
Inconspicuous design360Fly
Compatible with GoPro accessories
Live view via phones
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Cons

Only captures 240° video
Can’t edit video from phone
Must use the app to swap between photo and video
Only 1080p video

The 360Fly 4k was also just released only on 360Fly’s website. If you like this camera and want the better quality, you can get it for just $100 more.

For the official specs of the 360Fly, go to Theta’s website.

For a full review of the 360Fly, check out this review.

To see some of the pictures and videos it captures, feast your eyes on these.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of the best budget VR cameras!

What’s your favorite 360° camera?

Let me know in the comments!

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