Samsung announced a new camera called the 360 Round to "provide VR specialists with a durable and manageable solution for capturing, viewing, and editing VR content." The most important feature, though, is its ability to shoot with actual 3D depth, on a consumer-level device. The company isn't alone in this market—just look at the Vuze VR Camera, for example, as well as the LucidCam (180/3D)—but it's not exactly a crowded field at this point. The vast majority of commodity 360 cameras out there can't shoot in real 3D.
With the 360 Round, Samsung is trying to provide a full VR content pipeline: You can shoot with the 360 Round, edit with a Samsung laptop, and then view the results on a Samsung Gear product.
The 360 Round's design is similar to the Vuze camera. Samsung outfitted the device with 17 lenses (eight stereo pairs along the sides, one up top) and gave it enough power to livestream 4K 360 video with spatial audio and "engaging 3D images with depth." Aside from that, the 360 Round looks a lot like an oversized CD-Walkman with Samsung's easily recognized dark grey color scheme.
More important than the 360 Round's looks, however, are its protection features. Samsung said the device's IP65 weather and dust resistance as well as its fanless design meant to reduce the camera's weight and background noise. (The company did note, however, that you'll have to put the 360 Round's AC adapter in a waterproof pack if you plan on getting it wet.) That should allow you to use the 360 Round even in bad weather.
“The Samsung 360 Round is a testament to our leadership in the VR market. We have developed a product that contains innovative VR features, allowing video producers and broadcast professionals to easily produce high quality 3D content,” said Suk-Jea Hahn, Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics' Global Mobile B2B Team. “The combination of livestreaming capabilities, IP65 water and dust resistance and 17 lenses makes this camera ideal for a broad range of use cases our customers want—from livestreaming major events to filming at training facilities across various industries.”
Samsung also said the 360 Round will debut with "PC software for controlling and stitching," though it didn't offer more details about the software, other than to say that it's a one-stitch solution. The quality of that software could make or break the 360 Round—making VR content is hard, and if people struggle to make their videos look good with Samsung's proprietary software, they could turn to other cameras and apps instead.
The 360 Round will debut in the U.S. in October. Samsung said in its press release that it's the "first product to meet [content creators'] needs by combining high-quality, 360-degree imagery with advanced 3D depth at a reasonable price compared to other professional 360 cameras" but didn't share a specific price tag. We expect to learn more soon, however, given that October 31 is fast approaching.
|Samsung 360 Round
|17 cameras with:- 1/2.8'', 2M image sensor- F1.8 Lens
|- 6 internal microphones for spatial audio- 2 external microphone ports supported
|Resolution: - Livestreaming (3D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps per eye- Livestreaming (2D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps - Recording (3D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps per eye - Recording (2D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fpsFormat: MP4 (H.265/ H.264)3D: 4k x 2k per eye / 2D: 4k x 2k
|Internal: LPDDR3 10GB, eMMC 40GBExternal: UHS-II SD Card (up to 256GB), SSD (up to 2TB)
|LAN, USB Type-C
|Gyrometer and Accelerometer
|19V 2.1A Power input (with AC adaptor)
|PC Software Requirements
|2 PC software (for Camera Control / Streaming, Content Viewing)For Post Processing: - Windows 10- 64-bit OS for 4K video editing- 16 GB DDR4 RAM 2ea or more- 850W power- Intel Core i7-6700K or above- GPU NVIDIA GTX 1080 x 1eaFor Preview and Live Broadcast (as above): - Intel Core i7-6950X or above- 32GB DDR4 RAM 2ea or more- GPU NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti x 2ea
|205 x 205 x 76.8mm, 1.93kg
|IP65 Dust and Water resistance
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.