Design4real VR AR Agency

180° or 360° camera: which is the right choice for your immersive video project?

180° /360° immersive video
Immersive cameras are an indispensable tool for creating VR content and offer impressive possibilities for film and photo projects. VR headsets such as the Apple Vision Pro have brought a breath of fresh air to this video technology. Only now are there VR headsets on the market that enable a sharp immersive video experience like we are used to from our TV. There are two main categories: 180° and 360° cameras. This article explains the differences between these camera types, their respective areas of application and helps you decide which camera is best suited to your project.
Canon VR Camera

180° cameras

Features and benefits

180° cameras, such as the Canon RF 5.2mm F/2.8L Dual Fisheye lens, capture a hemispherical field of view and offer high image quality. Due to the more limited recording area compared to 360° cameras, they can often offer higher resolution and better details in their field of view.
    • High image quality180° cameras often offer sharper image quality as they have to cover less image area.
    • Easier handlingThey are easier to handle as the cameraman does not have to appear in the picture.
    • Easier post-productionPost-production is much easier and faster compared to the time-consuming stitching of 360° material.
    • Costs180° cameras are generally less expensive than professional 360° cameras. The Canon Dual Fisheye lens, for example, costs around €2000.

Areas of application

180° cameras are ideal for projects where the focus is on a specific area, e.g:
    • Interviews and presentationsThe limited field of view keeps the focus on the speaker or the event.
    • Travel photographySmaller and more mobile setups make it possible to shoot from a first-person perspective without having the cameraman in the frame.

360° cameras

360° cameras have been on the market since the mid-2010s and have developed rapidly. The best-known manufacturers include Insta360, GoPro, Kandao and Ricoh. The first popular 360° camera was the Ricoh Theta, which came onto the market in 2013 and was the first to offer the possibility of taking complete all-round shots with a single camera. Since then, the technology has advanced considerably and cameras now offer impressive resolutions and frame rates.



professional 360° Cameras

Features and benefits

360° cameras such as the Insta360 Pro 2 or the Kandao Obsidian offer a complete all-round field of view, which provides a more immersive VR experience. However, these cameras are often more expensive and more complicated to use.

    • Comprehensive viewCaptures the surroundings 360° completely, ideal for picture motifs that have interesting things to discover in all directions.
    • FlexibilityThe option to subsequently reframe and cut a section of the 360° sphere. The so-called reframing.
    • IntegrationCan be easily integrated into complex VR setups.

Differences in image quality

    • Number of lenses360° cameras with only two lenses, such as the Insta360 X3, have a significantly higher level of blurring where the images from the two lenses meet. Cameras with six or more lenses offer a more homogeneous image quality. However, these cameras are larger and more expensive.
    • Light sensitivity and resolutionCheaper models such as the Insta360 X3 offer a high resolution of 8k and a high frame rate, but cannot keep up with the significantly more expensive models such as the Insta360 Titan or the Kandao Obsidian Pro in terms of image quality and light sensitivity.

Areas of application

360° cameras are ideal for projects where a fully immersive experience is desired:

    • Sports shotsFast movements and high frame rates (60 fps or more) require high-quality 360° cameras to ensure smooth and detailed recordings. Many professional 360° cameras are not capable of capturing farm sizes above 4k and recording 60 FPS at the same time. You have to look closely at the specifications here.
    • Virtual toursReal estate, museums and travel destinations can be fully explored.
    • EventsLive recordings of concerts or sporting events where the audience should experience the entire atmosphere. Professional 360° cameras are usually also able to record live streams.
    • Special effectsShooting for movies and video games that require full environmental coverage.


Budget and technical considerations


The price difference between 180° and 360° cameras is considerable. While a high-quality 180° camera such as the Canon Dual Fisheye costs around €2000, professional 360° cameras such as the Insta360 Titan cost around €17,000 and the Kandao Obsidian Pro as much as €24,000. For projects with a limited budget, the 180° solution is therefore often more attractive.

Technical requirements

    • Frame rateFor fast movements, such as in sports shots, a high frame rate (60 fps or more) is crucial. Professional 360° cameras are essential here.
    • MobilityLarge professional 360° cameras are not so easy to move and often require special equipment such as rail systems or drones to capture moving shots.
    • Image sharpness and headsetsModern VR headsets such as the Meta Quest and Apple Vision Pro have a higher image sharpness than many €6000 360° cameras can offer. These headsets can reproduce over 6k in video at 60 FPS. Only very expensive models such as the Insta360 Titan or Kandao Obsidian Pro can achieve this quality.
    •  Requires a powerful PCTo process videos with an image size of over 6k, you need an extremely powerful PC with plenty of memory and a very high-performance graphics card. Programs such as After Effects in particular tend to run out of steam when processing 360° on small computers.
    • 360° takes a long time to render: Calculation times for 360° material in video post-production are significantly longer than for conventional films. 


Conclusion: 180° or 360°?

The choice between 180° and 360° cameras depends heavily on your specific application and budget:

    • 180° cameras are ideal for projects with a limited budget and focused shots that require high image quality and mobility.
    • 360° cameras offer comprehensive immersive experiences, but are more expensive and technically more demanding to use.

For many projects, especially in the field of interviews or mobile recordings, a 180° camera such as the Canon Dual Fisheye is an excellent choice. However, for highly immersive VR experiences and more extensive productions, the investment in professional 360° cameras is justified. For sports footage and fast movements, a prosumer 360° camera such as the Insta360 X3 can be a cost-effective alternative, even if it cannot compete with the top models in terms of image quality and light sensitivity.


Final thoughts

The world of immersive cameras offers exciting possibilities for creative projects. Choosing the right camera can make the difference between a good result and an outstanding one. Consider your specific requirements and budget to make the best decision.

clarence dadson

Let us advise you.

Are you interested in developing a virtual reality or 360° video application? You may still have questions about budget and implementation. Feel free to contact me.

I am looking forward to you

Clarence Dadson CEO Design4real