best 360 camera for virtual tour

best 360 camera for virtual tour

best 360 camera for virtual tour Virtual tours are more popular than ever, thanks to an increasing number of 360-degree shooters who are looking to create virtual tours, as well as a growing number of platforms that are adding virtual tour features. Based on my experience as a photographer since 2007, as well as my ownership of more than forty 360-degree cameras and panoramic heads, I will discuss my recommendation for the best camera for virtual tours, along with supporting evidence.

For the purposes of this comparison, only 360-degree cameras were considered. A DSLR with a panoramic head can be used to capture images with the greatest amount of detail and quality. I have a couple of them that I will be comparing in the coming weeks.


I consider the following three factors to be the most important when selecting a 360 camera for virtual tours: detail, dynamic range, and ease of use. To be clear, detail refers to the amount of actual detail that can be seen regardless of the nominal resolution. It is dependent on the camera’s lens as well as the sensor’s resolution. I also include the stitching performance, which is dependent on both the stitching algorithm as well as the lens performance at the periphery, in the detail section of the article. The dynamic range of a camera refers to the range of shadows and highlights that it is capable of capturing. We consider both the shooting controls (exposure, features such as bracketing, and so on) and the workflow when discussing usability.

Detail is the most important to me out of all of these, followed by workflow, and then dynamic range, in that order. The fact that virtual tours are almost always shot in controlled conditions makes it simple to bracket your shots and blend the exposures, which is why dynamic range is of the utmost importance to me. However, no amount of blending or bracketing will increase the amount of detail that the camera is capable of capturing, which is why I place the greatest emphasis on detail when creating virtual tours.

I compared four of the most popular 360-degree cameras for photography: the Insta360 One, the GoPro Fusion, the Ricoh Theta V, and the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere. Insta360 One is the most popular 360-degree camera for photography. However, while some professional cameras, such as the Panono and Insta360 Pro, have higher detail, they have a large minimum stitching distance, which makes them more difficult to use for indoor virtual tours. As a result, I did not include them in this comparison because of their large stitching distance.

Using the 360 camera comparison tool, I was able to compare samples taken under identical conditions.

Detail- best 360 camera for virtual tour

Here are 100% crops from each of the four cameras:

best 360 camera for virtual tour

Here is a comparison between Insta360 One and Ricoh Theta V:

best 360 camera for virtual tour

Here is a closeup comparison between Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere and GoPro Fusion:

best 360 camera for virtual tour
best 360 camera for virtual tour


While it may appear that we are heading to Home Depot to pick up the latest and greatest drill, in reality, the term “hardware” refers to the physical device that will be used to capture 360° images (the camera). Today, there are at least 30 different devices from which you can choose to capture 360-degree images.

They range from attachments for your smartphone (such as the Insta 360 nano S, which costs approximately $139) to small handheld 360 cameras, all the way up to a Kandao Obsidian or a Matterport Pro 2 (which costs approximately $3395), and everything in between.

In addition, some cameras will not work on certain platforms, so before making a snap decision, double-check that the camera will work with your platform of choice before purchasing it.

The Ricoh Theta V is the piece of hardware or camera that we recommend. It is available for purchase for between $370 and $380 brand new (Amazon). We recommend it simply because it is the best of the lower-priced cameras, is very portable, produces excellent quality, and, finally, because it has a feature known as bracketing, which will allow the user to improve the quality of their images should they ever decide to use professional editing services in the future.


While monopods are convenient, using a tripod for your 360° camera provides unmatched stability for capturing clear images with your device. With no chance of tipping over, your camera is safe.

“Hack” for a tripod recommendation: the Neewer Light stand

If you are shooting on sloping terrain, a ball head can be attached to your tripod, allowing you to make fine adjustments for perfectly straight images.

Neewer Mini Ball Head is our top-recommended ball head.

What is the purpose of monopods?

A monopod is a camera stand with only one leg, and it is used to hold a camera. One of the most important reasons to use a monopod is that they have the smallest footprint of any stand and rarely get in the way of the shot. I recommend one that is at eye level, is reasonably portable, and has a sturdy base.

One of the advantages of monopods is their slim design, which allows for quick setup and less obstruction at the bottom of your 360° images. However, because they have small feet, they are susceptible to tipping over and damaging your camera, which is especially dangerous when it is windy outside. However, they provide less stability.

Recommendations for monopods:

A180-II Cobra 2 Strike from iFootage

Bushman V2 package deal

Ricoh Theta Stand TD-1 or Ricoh Theta Stand TD-2 are two different types of Ricoh Theta stands.

Brad also uses and recommends the Ricoh Theta Extension, which is available for purchase online. These are required in order to gain access to the camera ports on Ricoh Theta cameras if you want to extend the battery life of your camera by taping a portable smart phone battery charger pack to the bottom of your tripod. This is highly recommended if you need to photograph a number of homes in a short period of time. A specialised 360° camera power bank that screws onto your tripod or monopod is what we recommend for you. The Ulanzi BG-2 is what we recommend for you.

best 360 camera for virtual tour


Most 360° cameras will require you to download software in order to be able to use and view the 360° images captured by the camera. There will be an application for each camera that will be available on the smartphone of your choice. That app will control the camera’s functions and settings both while it is recording and while it is sending the images to a third-party service provider. Other free software, such as Go Pro and Ricoh, is available to allow you to view 360-degree images on your computer screen. best 360 camera for virtual tour

You can use them to look at single 360° globes, but they will not help you in the process of creating your own virtual tour. This will have to be accomplished through our hosting platform.

You will find our 360° Image Enhancement and 360° Virtual Staging services useful if you want to edit your 360° images. These services are ideal for improving image quality or adding furniture to an empty space.

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best 360 camera for virtual tourbest 360 camera for virtual tour


In today’s marketplace, there are a plethora of options for displaying your tour, and deciding which one to use can be difficult. Social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, which accept 360° files, are excellent for bringing an immersive experience to the public’s attention quickly. If you want to upload a 360° video of yourself walking through the house you want to display, YouTube is a good place to do so, and 360° images get more engagement on Facebook than digital still images, so consider doing so.

Virtual tour providers are available in addition best 360 camera for virtual tour to the free channels. It is possible to upload any of the images you have created to so that they can be placed and displayed in a tour.

VOILA!- best 360 camera for virtual tours 2021

Our 360° Virtual Tours are available at a low cost and do not require a subscription. All of the professional tips you’ll need to take 360° photos quickly, easily, and with the best possible results are right here. Uploading your photos to our platform is simple, and we can assist you with 360° photo editing, virtual staging, and floor plans, among other services. best 360 camera for virtual tour

The output of the Virtual Tour is of high quality, providing your customers with an immersive experience.

Click here to walk through a virtual tour with and without Virtual Staging.

Here’s how I’d rank them in terms of attention to detail, in reverse order:

  • Ricoh Theta V digital camera (8.0). The level of detail (8.0) is average, though it becomes softer near the stitch line. The stitching, on the other hand, is excellent (+0.1).
  • Insta360 ONE (also known as Insta360 ONE) (8.3). There is significantly more detail than in Theta V. (note the window frame).
  • GoPro Fusion (also known as GoPro Fusion 2). (8.6). There is significantly more detail than with Insta360 ONE (note the shingles on the roof are more detailed in the Fusion than Insta360 ONE).
  • Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere (Mijia Mi Sphere) (8.8). There is significantly more detail than with GoPro Fusion (look at the shingles on the roof; you can discern the grid pattern of the net of the soccer goal).

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Controls for shooting: best 360 camera for virtual tourThe Ricoh Theta V, Insta360 One, and Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere are all capable of shooting in full manual mode, as well as in ISO priority and shutter priority. Going forward, the GoPro Fusion will let you set the ISO and has a night mode for long exposures, but you won’t be able to set shutter speeds faster than one second on the device. Xiaomi and Theta V both have bracketing, though the controls on the Theta V’s bracketing are more precise. Theta V is the only camera in this group that has built-in high dynamic range (HDR). best 360 camera for virtual tour

Raw mode: The Insta360, Fusion, and Xiaomi are all equipped with raw mode, with the Insta360 ONe being unique in that it can stitch in raw rather than just shooting in raw. There is currently no raw mode available in Theta V.

Workflow: Theta V cameras have the simplest workflow because the images are stitched together in-camera. Insta360 and Mi Sphere have workflows that are very similar, with the exception of the fact that Mi Sphere does not have a desktop application for Mac. Since April 2018, the Fusion workflow has become more time-consuming due to the inability to export a 360-degree photo as an equirectangular photo from the smartphone app.

In terms of photo usability, here’s how I’d rank them in reverse order, based on how useful I think they are. Please keep in mind that the usability rating in my comparison tool is different from the rating below because factors affecting their usability for video are excluded from the scores below.

  1. GoPro Fusion is a hybrid of the GoPro and the GoPro Fusion (7.9)
  • Raw mode is available (requires third party stitcher) o exposure control with a partial exposure
  • Cannot export 360-degree photo to a mobile device.
  1. Xiaomi Mi Sphere (Mijia Mi Sphere) (8.5)
  • The option to use brackets
  • a comprehensive set of exposure controls
  • It is possible to shoot in DNG raw, but stitching requires a third-party app.
  1. Insta360 ONE is a 360-degree camera that allows you to see everything around you (8.8)
  • stitch DNG raw images with a desktop application
  • shoot in DNG raw format
  • a comprehensive set of exposure controls
  • There is no option for bracketing.
  1. The Ricoh Theta V is a digital camera manufactured by Ricoh (9.0)
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) built-in
  • stitching done in-camera (with high quality)
  • a comprehensive set of exposure controls
  • a wide range of bracketing options
  • There is no raw mode.

Aspect Ratio Dynamic Range

The following images are cropped from each of the four cameras. The crops are depicted in a field of view that is approximately normal. best 360 camera for virtual tour

Here’s how I rank them in terms of dynamic range, from highest to lowest.

4. Ricoh Theta V (8.0 without HDR)

  • o average highlight range
  • o average shadow range
  • o average overall dynamic range

3. Xiaomi Mi Sphere (8.3)

  • + excellent shadow range
  • o average highlight range
  • + above average overall dynamic range

2. Insta360 One ver 1.16 (8.7)

  • + excellent highlight range
  • + above average shadow range
  • + excellent overall dynamic range

1. GoPro Fusion (8.8)

  • + class-leading highlight range
  • + above average shadow range
  • + excellent overall dynamic range
CameraPriceDetailUsabilityDynamic rangeOverall Rating (not an average)
GoPro Fusion6998.
Insta360 ONE (ver 1.16)2998.
Ricoh Theta V
Ricoh Theta SC
399 or
Theta SC 199
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere
Madventure 360
270 (approx.) or 309.99 for Madventure8.

Here is a summary of my recommendations:

– In my opinion, the best 360 camera for virtual tours is still the Xiaomi Mi Sphere (check here for discounts), especially if image quality is your top priority and you are willing to do some editing. The GoPro Fusion is a good choice if you want detail that is almost as good as Xiaomi but don’t want to spend a lot of time editing your photos. best 360 camera for virtual tour As of April 2018, there is no 360-degree photo export for mobile devices, so you’ll have to stitch your photos together on a desktop computer.

– If speed and the ability to take decent photos without the need for extensive post-processing are important to you, the Ricoh Theta SC is the camera to choose.

Mi Sphere (assuming you have a Windows desktop computer) or Insta360 ONE are my top recommendations if DNG processing is important to your workflow. best 360 camera for virtual tour Fusion is also a viable option, albeit with a longer RAW workflow and additional steps.

If you’re interested in seeing how other 360 cameras stack up against each other, check out the 360 Camera Comparison Tool. Also, take a look at this real estate camera comparison, which includes photos taken indoors.

best 360 camera for virtual tour best 360 camera for virtual tour

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best 360 camera for virtual tours 2021

best 360 camera for virtual tours

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