Avoid These 3 Popular 360 Cameras When Taking 3D Tours
Disclaimer. This article is represent personal opinion of its author based on his own experience and analisys of panoramas marked their owners as made by certain camera and doesn't claim to be 100% accurate when it comes to cameras characteristics and features.
360 cameras are gaining immense popularity in the real estate industry as they provide an immersive experience to the viewers. They offer a wide range of features that make it easy for real estate agents to create virtual tours of properties.
However, there are certain characteristics that are really important when it comes to creating high-quality virtual tours with 360 cameras. These include stitching quality, horizon level, image quality, HDR, details, color balance and resolution. All these factors play an important role in creating realistic and engaging virtual tours for potential buyers or renters.
In this article, we will review these characteristics so you can avoid making mistakes when creating real estate virtual tours. By understanding what makes an effective virtual tour and paying attention to these features during production or post-production stages, you can create high-quality virtual tours that impress potential buyers.
DSLR camera vs 360 camera
Taking panorama shots with a DSLR camera usually yields much higher quality results than the panorama shots taken with 360 cameras in the price range of $500. This is because DSLR cameras are capable of capturing more details and colors, and they have better image stabilization. Furthermore, DSLR cameras have a larger sensor which allows them to capture more light, resulting in better images. On the other hand, 360 cameras are limited by their smaller sensors and lack of image stabilization, making them less suitable for taking panorama shots.
For example look at these two virutal tours make using Nikon D7500, Nikon AF DX Nikkor 10-20mm, Tripod and Panoramic Head.
DSLR camera for real estate virtual tour
- Image Stiching - 9 of 10
- Horizon leveling - 9 of 10
- Image Quality - 9 of 10
- Resolution (15,000 x 7,500) - 9 of 10
- Price - $1,500
Total Rate: 9 of 10
The Panorama qtiching quality for DSLR camera may vary depends on different factors. In the case of the virtual tours mentioned above I would say it is 9 of 10. The reason for that is that the stitching errors almost missing. The quality of stitching depends on a photographer experience and software such as PTGui or Hugin and type of equipment they are using.
Horizon leveling is important part of panorama shooting. The lack of horizon leveling may be may adversely affect the perception of the tour. When using DSLR camera photographer may adust horinzon level on the stitching stage by using feature of the progams mentioned earlier. For the tours above I would rank that the horizon level quality is 9 of 10.
For both, the image quality and image resolution I would rank the same 9 points of 10 because DSLR usually shoot in RAW which guarantee wide dynamyc range and high details by stitching multiple image in high resolution. For these particular tours resolutions of panoramas is about 15,000 x 7,500 pixels.
Rate: 9 of 10 for the $1,500 price of equipment.
DSLR Camera real estate virtual tour examples
Now let’s review from the best to worst three 360 cameras which pricing range around $500 which in my opinion you should avoid to use when making real estate virtual tours.
Insta360 One X2
- Image Stiching - 8 of 10
- Horizon leveling - 6 of 10
- Image Quality - 5 of 10
- Resolution (6,080 x 3,040) - 6 of 10
- Price - $429
Total rate: 6 of 10
Insta360 One X2 is the best of the 3 cameras you want avoid using to make professional virtual tours. I rank this camera as 6 of 10 points. This is the cheapest 360 camera of three yet the bestest. It’s price is $429.99 for February 2023 which means just for $20 more you can buy Insta360 X3 the newer version of this comprehensive camera with a larch touchscreen and much higher image resolution which important when it comes to real estate virtual tours.
I rank stitching quality as 8 points of 10 because the camera is designed with lenses as close as possible to each other to produce virtually seamless panoramic images even when shooting closely spaced subjects.
The horizon leveling for Insta360 One X2 panoramic shot I saw is pretty good in most of the cases but sometimes it is slightly crooked see couple of example below. So my rate for horizon leveling for Insta360 ONE X2 is 6 of 10 points.
The resolution of Insta360 ONE X2 is pretty high so it’s rank is 6 of 10. The image quality I ranked as 5 of 10 because shots I’ve reviewed almost doesn’t have noise even in low light condition. But the HDR is not so so good. Sometimes you will notice large areas with not information about color in highlights or shadows.
Insta360 One X2 Virtual Tours Examples
Verdict: Insta360 One X2 is the best of the 3 cameras you want avoid using to make professional virtual tours.
- Image Stiching - 6 of 10
- Horizon leveling - 4 of 10
- Image Quality - 5 of 10
- Resolution (5,760 x 2,880) - 5
- Price - $499
Total rate: 5 of 10
GoPro Max is the second after Insta360 ONE X2 cameras you want to avoid using for real estate virtual tours. The image stitching quality is rated as 6 out of 10 points because of the design features that make it a more difficult automatic stitching process. The lenses of GoPro Max are located on opposite sides of the camera slightly shifting one of another which might cause stitching errors, especially for the objects found closer to the camera.
The horizon level of GoPro Max is rated as 5 out of 10 because most of the panoramas made using this camera are leveled pretty fine but not 100%. Some of panoramas are not leveled correctly. But this disadvantage is not so important as image quality of GoPro Max wich make it a camera you should avoid for professional real estate virtual tours.
The level of noise even in a good light condition is too high which makes image really unprofessional. Denoising filters artefactes make themselves known. And the images made using GoPro Max in difficult light environments such as any room with a windows are lack of the details in shadows and highlights. To compensate that GoPro Max, probably uses their internal software algorintms that make dynamic range ot the stitched image lack the details even in the 5,760 x 2,880 panoramic image resolution.
GoPro Max Virtual Tours Examples
So my verdict for GoPro Max - don’t use it for professional real estate virtual tours, please.
PilotPano Versatile 360° AI
- Stiching - 8
- Horizon leveling - 7
- Image Quality - 3
- Resolution - 5760*2880 - 5
- Price - $479
Total rate: 5.75 of 10
And the last camera we are going to consider is the camera with a such modern name that includes AI abriveature in it. What is good about this camera is that its design and the lens placement has done in right manner. Lens located really close to each other which makes it possible to take shots even closest object without any stitching errors.
I dint have a chance to look at lot of the image examples since this camera is pretty new but the images provided by LabPano don’t give a good hope for the high quality real estate virtua tours. The horizon leveling ot PilotPaon AI camera is rated as 7 of 10 points because the manufactorred claims that this camera has a 9 axis smart stabilisation feature which hopefully will help its users to take a really stady and leveled shots and videos. The example panorama shot provided by LabPano shows such horizon leveling so probably it is good.
Anyway, in my opinion the image quality is still so low for professional real estate virtual tours. If the PilotPano AI 360 camera would has the ability to take HDR images with high dynamic range which I didn’t have a chance to prove that might saved the camera for real estate. If not (give me your feedback in a comments section) I would not recommend you to use PilotPano AI for any kind of professional real estate virtual tours.
PilotPano Versatile 360° AI Virtual Tours Examples
There three 360 cameras we were reviewed are has some outstading features such as high resolution video, stabilisation. Some of them has even live stream. But personally I would not recommend to use the for real estatate virtual tours. Consider following 360 cameras instead:
If you are not sure which of these 360 cameras to choose review following camera comparasions: