Hello EVERYBODY! I hope you are watching me in VR right now. If not, pause this video, pick up your Oculus Go – and come join me in Virtual Reality Today, by popular request from my viewers, I am going to compare TOP 5 most popular consumer and professional VR180 cameras in 2019.
These cameras are Insta360 EVO, Vuze XR, Kandao Qoocam, Lenovo Mirage, Z Cam K1 Pro – which is a professional VR180 camera. And the Insta360 Pro 2 – which can also do VR180 with a different way to shoot 3D 180.
We will take a look at some of the image quality factors of all these cameras, including Sharpness, Chromatic Aberration, Distortion, Color Accuracy, Noise, Tonal Response, Texture Response, Dynamic Range, Contract Resolution, and Flare – which we all know it is a big issue for fisheye lens camera.
With the professional VR180 camera as the benchmark – hopefully, by the end of this series of videos, you can make a logical decision on which camera to bring on your next Virtual Reality adventure. Let’s dive right in.
Hey, what’s up, everybody. It’s your Boi Hugh here from CreatorUp. Filming me right now is the Z Cam K1 Pro. This is the best VR180 camera out in the market in term of image quality and stereoscopic quality.
It is a professional level camera and just the camera body will cause around $3000 US Dollars – if B&H is not in back order. This is the same camera shot the Joey Graceffa Escape the Night VR trailer and the Elton John concert on YouTube VR.
You can check out my detailed review and comparison here. The link is down below. Next, we have the Insta360 EVO – which is the camera everybody talking about. It is 5.7K VR180. Here is the spec on screen for this camera.
Before we talk about the image quality and stereo quality, let me explain our testing environment and where you should look in a VR headset. Disclaimer, this is not a professional testing studio with a scientific testing procedure.
This is just a busy VR filmmaker’s way to figure out which camera to use. Here is the testing environment. We have all 5 cameras filming at the same time, on top of each other in the same distance toward me.
We have a Kino Flo professional studio light as a light source with exact Daylight in 5500 Kelvin. All cameras are calibrated in 5500 daylight in white balance. We have the camera calibration chart right here, 3 feet away from all the cameras – which is the standard VR180 sweet spot.
I am standing exactly 4 feet away from the cameras In the chart, we have 11-step Grayscale bars will help you to see the bit-depth of the VR camera. It also lets you see the dynamic range of the camera – from white to black.
The color bar on the sides will help you to look at the camera color reproduction. The Siemens-stars in each corner is for image resolution. We also place objects at different distances to test out the convergence, and depth handling of each camera, aka stereoscopic quality.
The second chart is 2 feet away for the camera. The mini focus calibration chart is exactly 1 foot away from the camera. Nothing should go closer than 1 foot to avoid cross eye for your viewers Lastly, we will overlay a degree chart at the bottom so you can see the actual field of view of each camera.
So now you watched the K1Pro and EVO in the VR headset, I hope you have a clear idea of the look and feel differences between a small size sensor VR180 cameras like EVO and the K1Pro. If you can’t tell from the YouTube compression – I will highly recommend you to download the original video and sideload it on to your VR headset and check.
I provided 5.7K of this video free to download. Link it is in the description. Please do drop a like if you find the test footage helpful. Now you are looking at outdoor, real-world footage of the EVO shot at WonderCon 2019, which is held at Anaheim Conversation Center, next to Disneyland, California.
So the immediate impression is, all of them, including the Z Cam K1 Pro, has issues with compression due to block sizes. If you look back to the K1Pro introduction portion with my overlay GH5 2D footage, you can clearly see the difference.
That is why if you don’t need VR180, and 3D is not gonna help your narrative, don’t shoot VR180. 2D is still a lot better and a lot cheaper. For smaller sensor cameras like EVO, Qoocam, Vuze XR and Mirage, they all have issues with detail because of aggressive compression.
Look at the Siemens-stars or any fine details, you can immediately see the problem. Basically, just like we compare a GoPro footage to a Mirco 4/3 DSLR. You pay what you get. It is actually easy to see the difference when you see it one after the other.
Let me challenge you a little bit. Comment below and tell me what you think after seeing VR180 footage from a micro 4/3 sensor camera compare to a 1/2.3 inches sensor cameras. Bigger is better is not always the case tho.
If you pay attention to the edges of the lens, you will see more chromatic aberration from the K1 Pro. Also, if you look down at the measuring tape. Here is the K1 Pro, as you see the number 4, 5 and 6 are pretty blurry.
The new iZugar Lenes on the K1Pro will hopefully fix these issues – but since I don’t have the new model – so I don’t know. Hopefully, Kinson from Z Cam will send me a new unit so I can do an update for you guys.
The Z Cam also has some minor flicker in VR headset – like the whole frame snapping every one second. It seems like the default GOP (group of pictures) compression is 1 second. Again, this is just my guess by looking at many K1 Pro footage in a VR headset.
The EVO looks smoother in that sense. Considering the price point, the EVO image quality is very impressive with decent dynamic range and pretty even edge to edge lenses sharpness. Besides image quality, one thing I need to point out is stereoscopic quality.
All the EVO footage you saw, is fixed in Mistika VR on the ZERO sphere – which I detailed in this tutorial. Insta360 will release an official firmware update that fixes the stereo issue. So no need to worry.
Basically, this issue makes close up objects hard to see in VR headset by pushing them even closer, as you see in the mini focus chart right here. I will highly recommend putting your subject matter at least 2 Ft or 1.
5 meters away from the camera to avoid making your viewers uncomfortable, or worse, crossing their eyes. This suggestion applied to ALL VR180 cameras, not just EVO. Okay, let’s take a look at a different camera here.
Now we have the Vuze XR in the exact same take. Here is the basic spec on screen for the Vuze XR. XR, in the current firmware, actually does not provide any manual setting. You can not set your ISO, shutter speed, or even white balance.
So it is really easy to lose detail in highlight as you see from the windows here on my left. This is my biggest complaint about this camera. Vuze XR software does provide ProRes output – which removes 1 level of compression during stitching.
So the end video looks slightly clearer than EVO. Especially if you pay attention to the white wall behind me. All other cameras have 3 levels of H.264 compression – from capture to software stitch to final render.
Still, the quality difference is really minimal and most of the time you can’t really tell. So don’t get hung up on that. I also like the color representation of the XR. Look at the skin ton color blocks on the chart – I think Vuze did a pretty good job on matching the skin tone.
In term of Dynamic Range, EVO seems to be a bit better b/c of the ability to manually control everything. But some YouTubers suggest HDR of EVO will make it even better, which I think they are wrong. I detailed what is HDR in this video.
Basically, without 10-bit sensor, you can not do HDR. Take a look at this EVO footage in regular mode. Yes, the outside windows are blown out. But the base of the airplane is black and the text is white.
Take a look at the HDR version. The black base and white text are all shifted to magenta. In a sense, the black is not black and the white is not white, it is actually losing dynamic range. It also generates lots of noise in the shadow area around movement as you see from the moving plane.
So, I will suggest don’t use the HDR mode. Use the manual mode for precise control of your exposure. Now let’s quickly jump to Kandao Qoocam. I put the spec on screen. Qoocam remains one of my favor VR180 cameras for travel and when I don’t want to bring a charger with me.
The camera feels like last forever compare to others – and it is very reliable no matter how cold and how hot is the weather. It is also my backup camera if my 2 GH5 with Entaniya HAL 200 fail on set.
One noticeable feature to make this camera a must have is the ability to do super slow motion in 4K VR180, which is detailed in this video. Unfortunately, as you see here, 4K is a disadvantage compared to EVO and Vuze XR.
If you look at the charts in front of me, you can tell the aggressive compression artifacts due to low resolution. Also, Qoocam is not a full 180 degree. I overlay the degree chart so you can see it yourself.
Lately, we have Lenovo Mirage. I am actually the first person did a complete detailed VR180 review of the Mirage when it came out. You can check it out right here on CreatorUp. But I have to say, don’t get it.
It has that stereo disparity issue, actually worse than Insta360 EVO. And lower 4K resolution just like the Qoocam. The lenes have chromatic aberration if you turn and look at the windows and same focusing issue around the edge like the Z Cam K1 Pro.
It does have the advantage in price point. It only cost $256 US dollar. Thank you for watching this very in-depth VR180 comparison of the top 5 VR180 cameras. I hope this can serve as your No.1 initial buying guide.
As they all have their strong points and weaknesses. Knowing what is the best camera for the job is crucial instead of blindly following marketing hypes and biased reviews. I hope this series of VR180 videos could help you make the right choice.
As you see in the background, the next episode we will focus on the low light performance of all TOP 5 camera. The result is actually very surprising and you need to watch this if you are considering low light filming or even indoor VR180.
The third episode, we will compare Insta360 Pro 2 VR180 with all of these VR180 cameras. So if you own Insta360 Pro 2 and considering VR180 production, you have to watch episode 3. And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button if you are new here and click the bell to keep up to date.
Help me to become the most hardworking YouTuber to bring you the latest info in the VR filming industry by liking and sharing my videos. Oh, don’t forget to comment below and tell me what you think is the best VR180 cameras and why, after watching this video with VR headsets.
Your comments will also help others to decide what they should buy. And sharing is loving. Just know your action and your opinion are helping the whole industry to grow. So I hope to hear from you soon, smash that like button, and I will see you in my next low light comparison video.