The best 360 cameras in 2018

360 cameras are unlike any other type, so it’s worth spelling out what they do and what this means. 

The key is to imagine capturing a scene not in a flat rectangle, but on the inside of a sphere. You view a 360-degree image from within this sphere, moving your smart device or a window in your web browser to look around.

360-degree stills are easiest to figure out because everything is static. 360 videos are more confusing because you have the freedom to look where you like, but the action carries on regardless, which means as a viewer you kind of have control but don’t, and it’s easy to end up looking the wrong way while things are happening.

Read more: How to take 360-degree videos and photos

You can either consume 360 photos and videos directly via smart devices and websites with the necessary navigational interactivity, or as a content author you can use this spherical raw material to produce smaller, ‘flat’ windows on the scene with a lot of editing control.

For example, with 360 stills you can create wide-angle shots and panoramas. It’s 360 video that offers most potential, though, because you can shoot from a static position and than pan and zoom with moving subjects later in software.

Read more: 10 of the best 360-degree videos ever filmed

There is just one thing. These cameras sound like they’ve got good resolution for stills and videos, but it’s spread over the inside of a sphere. When you start viewing and editing smaller sections of this, that resolution doesn’t go very far.

And another thing. Broadly, there are two types of consumer 360 cameras: spherical action cams designed to survive hazardous adventures, and lifestyle cameras that are cheaper, smaller and often easier to use. 

Our buying guide has three of each 360 cameras to help you decide which is best for you.

1. Garmin VIRB 360

The VIRB 360 has everything: ruggedness, quality and features

Weight: 160g | Dimensions: 39.0 x 59.3 x 69.8mm | Waterproof: 10m | Stills resolution: 15MP | Video resolution: 5.7K | Memory: MicroSD | Mount: Various, via supplied cradles | Battery life: 65mins

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