Record 360-degree videos with the LG Cam 360: this has been our experience
In recent years we have experienced an explosion of action cameras that allow us to leave our great feats or first-person travels to remember. But that is the past. In the coming months, the cameras that hope to convince you are the ones that record content in 360 degrees.
Of the options that large manufacturers will put on the market in the coming months, the first to be available is the LG CAM 360, one of the LG Friends of the LG G5, although as we tell you in our analysis of this 360-degree camera, It is not exclusive even to an Android smartphone. Are 360-degree cameras worth it? How high are your videos? We tell you in the Xataka review of the LG CAM 360 camera.
Compact, discreet but with room for improvement in design
Admittedly, it was fun taking the LG Friend CAM 360 for a walk, an external accessory that does not use the LG G5 module system and that allows us to record video and take 180 or 360 degree photos. Actually associating it with the LG G5 is not mandatory, and if we like the idea, there is no reason to limit yourself to this LG smartphone or even under Android, as it is compatible with iOS equipment. The configuration is not complex but it is not very intuitive either, at least in terminals that have not been the LG, which facilitates this task since it has previously been recognized by the LG Friends application.
What is that? Few people are able to guess as soon as they see the LG CAM 360 that it is a video and photo camera. The unit is quite compact, something that helps it to go quite unnoticed in general, with a good finish and it is protected by a casing that is very easy to remove and put on.There are no screen or direct configuration options for recording modes on Cam 360, but it wins out being very compact and discreet when we use it.
This case is one of the successes at the level of design of the CAM 360 degrees because with it we keep the camera well protected and we should not fear for it even if we carry it in a bag or backpack in any way. This case turns the camera on and off from standby mode.
The physical controls are scarce and we find the minimum ones in the form of a power button (on one side together with the LEDs that indicate which firing and recording mode we have activated) and firing. The latter has two options: a short press takes a photo, and a long press like a second, video. There is a small beep that indicates that we have taken the photo or started the video, and an LED that, if it is lighting intermittently, indicates that the video recording is active.
At the management level, there are no more options in physical controls. No button to choose for example resolution or something as basic as being able to switch between 360/180 degree photo / video mode, which only supports change via application. It wouldn't have been bad to have them directly on camera.
At the bottom we find the main connections of this accessory. Through a cover you access the charging port, which is a USB-C type, which is inconvenient for us if you do not have at least one terminal that is already loaded with this port. There is no charging cable in the LG Cam 360, and in our case on more occasions than we would have liked we have found ourselves without a battery and without assimilating that we had to carry a USB-C cable for recharging or connection to the computer.LG's 360-degree camera needs a microSD card to record, it is charged via USB-C and offers us an autonomy of one hour of continuous recording
Next to the port is the microSD card slot, which we need to have in place to record content. In this lower area is where the tripod connector is located.
If you were thinking of using it as an action camera, note one important thing: it is not waterproof or shock resistant. Regarding autonomy, in our test it has given us more or less for an hour of continuous use.
The 360 Cam Manager app
The operation of the LG 360 Cam is quite simple as we have seen, being able to do the basics without intervention from the smartphone or the application. But whether it is so that we do not appear in 360-degree photos or videos holding the camera, we can control the functions also from the application. Just place the camera where we want to take a photo or record a video and, as far as the Wifi-Direct range reaches, we can shoot as well as change parameters as if the photo / video will be 180 or 360 degrees, as well as which of the two cameras it is considered primary.
In the 360 CAM Manager application we have three clear options: camera / video, gallery to see the content and camera settings (update software, see free space on the microSD, WiFi password or time for automatic pause).
The logical thing will be to use the automatic mode, but if you need or want it, there are some manual controls such as sensitivity, something that you can take advantage of in night scenes where there is not enough light and you do not mind that noise is the protagonist of the video.
A peculiarity of the application is that it requires us to download the video that we have made before viewing it in the gallery. There is no option to play it from the camera. And they are not videos that download in a few seconds or occupy little (at maximum quality, a video of a minute and a half weighs almost 200 MB). In a camera of this type without a screen, the videos that we will surely end up discarding before sharing them or wanting to save them will be the majority, so having to download them all and then delete them is an unnecessary nuisance.The application is very well thought out, it is intuitive and complete, but it requires us to download the videos to preview them.
With the images, it is possible to preview without having to download the snapshots of the LG Cam 360. In any case, in the application gallery there is an indication by icon of the images and videos that have already been downloaded to the terminal, so that we can manage from there the content of the memory card.
Another drawback that we have found in LG's 360-degree camera is that the connection, once paired by Bluetooth, is done by Wifi, so sharing content or uploading it to services is not possible. It will be necessary to go to the configuration, disconnect from the Wi-Fi network that creates the 360-degree camera and connect to the one at home or the office to start transferring videos and photos to services such as Flickr, YouTube or Instagram.
Where and how to upload videos and photos in 360 degrees
If we are going to play and view 360-degree video and photos on the phone itself, no problem. In the application itself it can be done, and there is another called LG 360 Cam Viewer, but for playback outside the smartphone we are going to need to find a service that supports the video and photo format in 360 degrees. Youtube and Facebook for videos and Flickr for photos are the ones that have worked best for us. In the case of the best known social network, the operation is perfect.Recording does not end the 360-degree video process. You have to find the services that are compatible with our "original" content: Facebook is one of the most complete
In these sites, for both video and photo content, it is not necessary to edit any type of information for the systems to recognize them as 360-degree content, something that must be done with some other video cameras on the market.
The video recording mode offers a maximum resolution of 2560x1280 pixels, with an acceptable quality for a camera of this type but far from what dedicated action cameras leave us. Beyond the display on screens of smartphones or PCs, we will easily notice the difference. Also there is no slow motion mode.
Another handicap of this camera is that it lacks optical stabilization, and although the video mode achieves a correct stabilization when we walk or even do sports, this option we believe is essential for a camera of this type.
As for photos, the biggest attraction is that in services like Flickr, which allows you to upload 360-degree photos, we can freely move around the snapshot and gain a full view of where and how the photo was taken. Take advantage of it for something else we do not see, but it is a fun way to take photos although the quality (the maximum resolution is 16 MP) is very fair.
The LG Cam 360 can now be purchased at a price of 299 euros, quite high for the use we make of it and taking into account that beyond the 360-degree videos and photos, we do not achieve an acceptable quality. That price is in line with other similar cameras capable of recording 360-degree video.
The best we find in the videos, where the first person mode becomes more attractive and different from the classic action cameras.