With Facebook’s compelling social VR experience incoming, you might want to be looking into a 360 camera in the near future. Fortunately, Samsung’s offering has just become more widely available.
The electronics giant has this week announced that its Gear 360 panoramic camera is now on sale at retailers around the US including AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. Previously the company had only sold the device at select events and through its own online store but kept it away from third-party retailers despite putting a big spotlight on it at its developer conference earlier in the year. The device costs $349, making it one of the more affordable 360 degree cameras on the market right now. Those in the UK can also currently pick it up from Samsung directly.
Gear 360 consists of two 15 megapixel fisheye lenses that stitch together to create spherical, immersive videos and images. They capture video at a resolution of 3840 x 1920 at 30fps. Any content captured with the device can be viewed with Samsung’s Gear VR headset and on its more recent smartphones (not including the now deceased Galaxy Note 7). But this type of content could soon have an important function for Oculus Rift owners too.
Earlier this month at the Oculus Connect 3 developer conference Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showcased new VR features for the social networking site that allow users to put on a Rift, pick up a pair of Oculus Touch controllers and then meet with friends as virtual avatars surrounded by 360 degree images and videos. Friends could easily swap between locations they were visiting, jumping to an image of Mars, the Facebook offices, and even a video of Zuckerberg’s home.
We don’t know when these features will be available to Rift users, but having your own 360 camera so that you can decide where to visit might not be such a bad idea.