What I learned while using a 360 camera

For the most part, people tend to look at cameras like 360fly the same way they look at a GoPro. It's a camera you bust out when you want to do something cool, and capture that cool thing in a unique perspective. These cameras are treated like they're a way to make someone feel like they were there when the thing happened, and frequently nothing else. While the results often are incredible, I spent some time taking a 360fly with me everywhere to see how different it was to capture things this way.

It turns out there's a lot to like about using a 360 camera the same way you think about using a regular camera. Here's what I learned.

  • People tend to be more relaxed — Pressing record and setting 360fly down on the table meant I was engaging in the conversation, and not holding my phone out in front of my face. This meant significantly fewer situations where people tense up and put on a fake smile or pose. The videos and photos tend to be a lot more human and authentic feeling.
  • It's a unique dash cam experience — Setting this camera up in the dash of my car meant I could see everything happening out in the world as well as my reactions to everything. (Well, after the fact. Don't be doing that while driving.) I caught several instances where I immediately assumed the worst about a driver cutting me off, but when looking back through the camera my position frequently softened.
  • Catching everyone's reaction to something is amazing — a big part of that more-human experience is being able to look around when something happens to see everyone's reactions. You can see who noticed something first, and watch as it spreads to the rest of the group. Our Fireside Chat Outtake video is a perfect example of this.
  • Slower, more deliberate photos are often better — While each of these currently available 360 cameras has a photo mode in one form or another, they tend to be not nearly as high quality as Google's Cardboard Camera or the Photosphere mode in your phone. Granted, these cameras can take the shot instantly and capture everything all at once, but the overall quality suffers with the current generation.
  • They are also amazing action cameras — While pressing record and capturing group of friends playing a card game or running around in a park is great, it's also incredible cool to know you can toss some of these cameras in a pool or suction cup them to the side of a vehicle to capture something truly amazing. Unlike a GoPro, however, these cameras feel like they are designed for both.

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Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter