Last year was just about the worst possible time to throw a 360 degree camera – capture 360 views of you and all your friends having fun! It just wasn’t 2020.
In a way, Vecnos, a brand spun from the Japanese company Ricoh, managed to survive the pandemic collapse of social life and gradually improved its Iqui 360 camera. Unlike most 360 cameras, it is not an action camera. The company recently released a new version with more colors available and, more importantly, a significant update to its companion app.
Above the obstacle
360-degree content has yet to reach mainstream popularity, in large part because these cameras are not easy to use. Unlike video captured with a smartphone or regular camera, 360 footage must be flattened before it can be shared online. Spherical images typical of the “little globe” are the most common form of 360 photos because they are the easiest to share.
Facebook is an exception to this rule. It lets you share 360 images that your friends can pan and tilt to explore, but if you want to put your 360 videos and images on Instagram, Twitter, or elsewhere, you will probably need to edit them first. And let’s face it, tweak the video footage before you can put it on the web? That’s enough friction to keep most people away.
360 footage has found its place in the action camera market. This is partly because the major camera brands in this category, like Go Pro and Insta360, have released 360 cameras, but it’s also a natural fit. When you attach a camera to your head and steer your mountain bike down a 30 degree incline, you have no idea what the story is going to be. A front view while you’re erasing can be good footage, but it can also miss the reason you erased – the Sasquatch that was on the left, out of the camera’s field of view.
If you had a 360 degree view of the scene, you could go back and use editing software to move through that 360 degree footage, highlight Sasquatch, then go back to show yourself headlong. .
Video editing is complex and time consuming, and most of the software you need usually requires more powerful (and more expensive) hardware. Those YouTube channels that you follow that make it look professional, easy and effortless? These people do a ton of work – the work the rest of us aren’t going to do just to share 360-degree images with our 20 Instagram friends.
Vecnos’ Iqui camera aims to remove most of these obstacles by simplifying the process of capturing and sharing 360 photos and videos. It largely succeeds on first base.
More cameras, less distortion
The Iqui goes a long way in making 360 cameras accessible to the non-professional and non-amateur action camera market. Perhaps the best tip is that this is probably the only 360 camera that you won’t need a manual to use.
The design is simple and intuitive. There are three buttons: power, shutter and a switch to switch between video and still images. The only thing you won’t find out for yourself is that you have to hold down the toggle button to pair the Iqui with your phone, but the app walks you through that.
The simplicity is nice, but the Iqui uses a proprietary charging socket. It’s not a compromise, but it’s boring. Worse yet, the adapter you plug into the bottom of the Iqui has a USB-C port on the bottom, and that goes into a holder that keeps it upright. But… you have to lay it on its side to recharge it. Why have a charging base to keep the camera upright if you can’t charge it in that orientation? Laying it flat can scratch the glasses, and there are a lot of glasses to scratch.