Last year was This is the worst time to launch a 360-degree camera – capture a 360-degree image where you and all your friends are having fun! This was not 2020.
Somehow Vecnos, a brand that grew out of the Japanese company Ricoh, managed to survive the pandemic collapse of social life and gradually continued to improve its Iqui 360 camera. Unlike most 360 cameras, this is not an action camera. The company recently released a new version with more colors available and, more importantly, a significant update to the companion app.
360-degree content has yet to catch on mainly because these cameras are not easy to work with. Unlike video captured with a smartphone or regular camera, 360 footage needs to be aligned before it can be published online. Typical spherical tiny globe images are the most common form of panoramic photography because they are the easiest to share.
Facebook is one exception to this rule. It allows you to share 360-degree images that your friends can pan and tilt to explore, but if you want to post your 360-degree videos and images to Instagram, Twitter, or elsewhere, you’ll probably have to edit them first. And let’s face it, setting up a video before putting it on the internet? This friction is enough to keep most people away.
Where 360-degree footage has found a foothold is in the action camera market. This is partly due to the fact that major camera brands in this category, such as GoPro and Insta360, have released 360 cameras, but that’s also natural. When you strap your camera to your head and point your mountain bike up a 30-degree incline, you have no idea what the story will be. The front view as you erase might be a good entry, but it might also miss out on the reason you destroyed – Sasquatch, which was on the left, out of view of the camera.
If you had a 360-degree view of the scene, you could go back after the fact and use your editing software to pan those 360-degree footage, highlight the Sasquatch, and then rotate back to show you are head over heels.
Editing video is a complex and time-consuming process, and most of the required software usually requires more powerful (and more expensive) hardware to run. Do those YouTube channels you follow, do they all look professional, simple and effortless? These people are doing a ton of work – work the rest of us won’t do, just to share 360-degree footage with our 20 Instagram friends.
Vecnos’ Iqui camera aims to remove most of these obstacles, making it easier to capture and share panoramic photos and videos. In many ways, it succeeds in the first goal.
More cameras, less distortion
Iqui has come a long way in making 360 ° cameras available to the non-professional action camera market. Perhaps the best trick is that this is probably the only 360 ° camera that you don’t need a manual to use.
The design is simple and intuitive. There are three buttons: power, shutter, and a switch for switching between video and still images. The only thing you won’t discover on your own is that you have to hold down the toggle button to pair the Iqui with your phone, but the app will guide you through that.
The simplicity is nice, but the Iqui uses a proprietary charging plug. It’s not a hindrance, but annoying. Worse, the adapter you plug into the bottom of the Iqui has a USB-C port at the bottom and it goes into a stand that keeps it upright. But … you need to lay it on its side to recharge. Why do you need a charging base to hold your camera upright when you can’t charge it that way? By spreading it flat, you run the risk of scratching the lenses, and you will also have to scratch many lenses.