Which 360 Camera is Best for Real Estate Virtual Tours?
When it comes to real estate photography, competition can be fierce and you have to stay on top of the latest marketing trends in order to keep your listing relevant and garner enough attention to entice potential buyers.
One of the best ways to do that as a real estate agent is by offering virtual tours. Virtual tours have become very popular in the last couple of years because it offers interested homebuyers a chance to walk through properties without the need to actually be in the location itself. This is particularly advantageous to:
- Those who live overseas
- Those who do not have enough time to make the trip
- Those who are planning to view multiple properties in a given day
- Those who are more comfortable viewing from the safety of home
- Those who are still narrowing down their options
- And others
Virtual tours are also as beneficial to real estate agents and/ or home sellers as it saves them the time and energy spent meeting one potential buyer after another.
In order to achieve a clean, smooth, and high quality virtual tour, you must first invest in a 360 camera. If you have yet to learn about them, we have all the details you need in this article.
Factors to consider when choosing 360 Cameras for Real Estate
360 cameras are still relatively new in the photography world, so there may not be too broad of a range on the market just yet. Because of this, a lot of them are still in their early stages and may have some flaws to tweak for updated versions. To ensure that you still get a quality gadget with what is available for us today, zero in on the following factors:
Capturing an image intended for 360 tours can be challenging mainly because there is so much data needed to process and transfer. To compensate for this, a lot of 360 cameras do not have the most impressive resolution options or image quality.
That’s why it is crucial to check the resolution of your camera and ensure it reaches the minimum requirement to process clear, detailed, and properly exposed images. We highly recommend investing in a one with at least 14 megapixels to achieve this.
With good resolution, your virtual tour viewers have the opportunity to zoom in as they please without compromising what they see on their screens. While one with a higher resolution may cost more up front, it will make it much easier to sell the property and get your ROI faster.
Like we mentioned, there will be some flaws to today’s cameras, and one of the most common one is the battery life. Most 360 cameras do not have a very long battery life with most averaging at one hour, if you’re lucky. This limitation may not pose a challenge for smaller listings that are easier to capture, but it is always best to prioritize one that can last longer in a single charge to save you the time and hassle of plugging in mid-shoot.
Some of the notable cameras with longer better lives are:
- The GoPro Max Action 360 Camera, with up to 85 minutes of recording time on a single charge.
- The Xiami Mijia MiSphere, with up to 90 minutes of recording time on a single charge.
- The Samsung Gear 360 4K VR Camera, with up to 130 minutes of recording time on a single charge.
It’s great to venture out of still photography and add in virtual tours, but why stop there? Having a 360 camera that can also record videos makes for an even greater investment.
A camera that features built-in WiFi, a headphone jack, a microphone jack, and live streaming options can really help in taking your marketing efforts up a notch. By providing you with the opportunity to easily share your content on all relevant channels, you have a better shot at connecting with the right audience and garnering leads.
Some 360 cameras have the capability to connect directly on Facebook and publish live videos. This helps you reach your market in real time and show them everything your listing has to offer. The advantages to this is being able to provide a personalized experience for your viewers by interacting with them on the spot, answering any inquiries they may have, and addressing other concerns. These small things add up to a better user experience and a stronger foundation of trust about your audience.
Getting a powerful processor helps you get the job done while preventing your camera from the possibility of overheating. Some 360 cameras, especially those with shorter battery lives, are notorious for overheating after a few minutes of continuous recording. While the models with better sensors may cost more up front, the quality you are purchasing is worth every dollar.
As an example, the Insta360 X2 camera cannot turn on and function until it detects a connection with a smartphone. Before purchasing, ensure that the camera you are targeting is compatible with your specific phone model.
Apart from WiFi capabilities, a camera that also has USB, GPS, and Bluetooth options is perfect for a more connected experience. This helps you move your files, edit them, share them, and publish them as you please with little to no issues along the way.
There are a few 360 camera models that have their very own software, while other models are compatible with 3rd party apps. One of the most commonly used software is Adobe Lightroom.
If editing photos and/ or videos is new to you, then it is best to get a 360 camera with its own software in order to have an easier time importing, stitching together, editing, exporting, and basically producing your relevant media. Software designed specifically for the camera usually has better and smoother integration with one another.
The 360 Cameras Best for Real Estate Virtual Tours
Best Streaming Features – Kandao QooCam
The Kandao QooCam sports an impressive 1.7 inch sensor and is also capable of recording in 8k video quality at 120 frames per second. The camera offers a manual shooting mode that allows you to customize your settings for each photoshoot.
Aside from being able to record high quality videos in 8k, the Qoocam also supports live streaming for events, online gaming tournaments, vlogging, and can be integrated with webcam conferences via Skype, Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting.
This is an extremely flexible gadget, Qoocam is it can be manipulated in any angle with its all-around image capturing feature and depth sensing technology. This 2 in 1 action device houses 3 wide angle lenses paired with a Sony CMOS sensor, which assists in capturing HD stereoscopic VR photos and videos.
You can explore more possibilities by being able to capture both 4K video with 2D in 360 degree, and stereoscopic 3D in 180 degree field of view. The Qoocam is the first VR camera with the capabilities to create lifelike 3D photos that are directly shareable on your social media platforms.
This model has its very own editing software and smartphone app that can assist you in turning your high quality 2D 360 videos into standard sized footage that is easily shareable.
Its battery life is estimated to be an average of 45 minutes per charge.
Best Stabilization Features - Insta360 ONE X Camera
The Insta360 ONE X is perfect for those still starting out with 360 photographs and videos. This waterproof action camera has an impressive steady cam mode using its 6-axis FlowState image stabilization system that produces ultra smooth videos, dual lenses on both sides, cinematic slo-mo, stabilized hyperlapse, invisible selfie stick, timeshift, deeptrack, and can also shoot in super 5.7k resolution.
That’s not all. With the Insta360 ONE X, you have the power to live stream your videos and even add GPS stats on the spot. The One X app also makes editing all your content on your phone possible and simple.
Best Microphone Features - GoPro Max Action 360 Camera
GoPro has earned its name as one of the most popular action cameras in the world. It has proven its quality time and time again with its numerous products and user-friendly interface. Now, they have released their own 360 camera.
The GoPro Max Action 360 allows you to easily turn your 360 video clips into one seamless footage, stabilize your video, and create real estate media from that. It also has a 16 megapixel camera designed for taking high quality images.
It does not have its own video editing software, but you may easily import files to Adobe Lightroom and handle your post production from there.
Its battery life is about 85 minutes on one charge, which is more than a lot of 360 cameras on the market today.
Best Battery Life Span - Samsung Gear 360 4K VR Camera
This model is Samsung’s flagship 360 degree camera and is most known for its highly impressive battery life. Most cameras last about 45 minutes to an hour on a single charge, but the Samsung Gear gives you a full 130 minutes of recording, which is an ample amount to capture most medium sized houses.
It is a highly advanced model within its price range. It is capable of recording 4k video and taking 15 megapixel still images, with the following features to boot:
- Live streaming
- Auto uploads to Facebook
- Auto uploads to YouTube
- Built-in speaker and microphone for two-way audio
You have the option to choose between the following modes when recording your media:
- 360 degree
It has been reported to be one of the best 3D cameras on the market today and has high chances of capturing your property in the best possible way. It is fully compatible with a lot of Samsung devices, including the Samsung Gear VR headset. It also works well with both Windows and Mac computers.
Best In Full Experience – Matterport Pro2 3D Camera
Most of the 360 cameras on the market were designed for physical activity and sporting events. However, the Matterport Camera was built specifically for the real estate industry.
Its features and the needs it caters to center around real estate, to the point that with every purchase, you must also avail of Matterport’s services, which show high ratings.
Their camera is exceptionally good at scanning spaces of any size and property type. It even features high-quality 3D capture with a 99% accuracy. Its professional photo resolution is a stunning 134.2 megapixels.
Matterport as a company guarantees you better chances of increasing commissions, reaching a wider target market, and closing deals at a much faster pace than usual. They have 4 price plans and packages to choose from, namely:
Free plan: $0/ forever, with limited features and 1 active 360 space
Starter plan: $9.99/ month, with ample features and 5 active 360 spaces
Pro & Business plan: $69/ month, with top notch features and 25 active 360 spaces
Enterprise: Which are tailored solutions and require you to contact them for a quote
Best Budget Friendly Option – Xiaomi Mijia MiSphere
This budget friendly model retails for only $200 as of this writing, but does not compromise on quality as it is up to standard with other 360 camera models that is twice its price bracket.
It sports a uniquely square shape, which makes it all the more portable and easy to fit into snug areas such as a bag or pockets. It has a microUSB port for convenient charging, an SD card slot of storage, and a tripod thread on the bottom – serving up all the fundamental features you would want in an affordable 360 camera.
Its exceptional 23.9 megapixel sensor is great for shooting still photography. It also automatically adjusts your colors and white balance settings to your environment, which saves a lot of time during setup. Similarly, you can turn this feature off and switch to full manual mode. There, you have control of your shutter speed, ISO, and other settings.
This portable device is capable of shooting in RAW format to preserve all the details no matter how contrasting your images may be. Other key features that the Xiaomi Mijia MiSphere has are:
- Six axis stabilization
- Integrated GPS
- Interval meter to create full-quality time-lapse videos
- Bullet time capabilities
- Videos shot at 120 frames per second
While the Mi Sphere camera does not have its own stitching software, Xiaomi’s program is available on both Mac and Windows computers and is compatible with the device.
Its battery life lasts for about 90 minutes on one charge, but it does not feature removable batteries. In cases wherein there are issues with the battery, you will need to purchase a whole new camera.
Note that this camera has been reported to overheat after prolonged usage, and we highly suggest letting it rest in between shoots to prolong its lifespan.
Best Overall Value – Aleta S2C
The Aleta S2C 360 camera is designed to be very photo-centric, which is why it is able to capture rich and vivid images. It also has the ability to let you stitch your images together in-camera without going through the hassle of importing to different software.
The stout handle has a very comfortable group to it, with the top of the handle sporting a shutter button and four lenses of equal distances from each other. There is one more lens that points to the crown, and together these are capable of creating a 66 megapixel photo and 4k video. You have the option to save these as separate files and/ or as one stitched photo, and quickly save within the SD card.
The Aleta S2C has an extensive range of photo adjustment features, such as the built in High Dynamic Range system to capture bracketed images and merge them into one perfectly exposed photograph. It also has a time-lapse mode, which improves the resolution of its standard 4k videos.
Lastly, it has the capabilities of manipulating photos well enough that unwanted elements could be taken out in a few clicks!
There are two downsides to this otherwise valuable camera:
- It lacks in features that make for better video capabilities
- It is known to heat up quickly if used for long periods of time. The camera has its own cooling fans to prevent this from happening, though they are known to be quite noisy.
Best Overall Quality – Ricoh Theta Z1
The Ricoh Theta Z1 is thought to be one of the best 360 cameras on the market as of this writing, and it is also very popular among new and seasoned 360 camera users.
To take one high quality panoramic image, the Ricoh Theta Z1 takes about 15 minutes to fully process the details, which come out in sharp, smooth focus and vivid colors. The camera comes with its own tripod with every purchase, which makes taking panoramic shots even more accessible as soon as you acquire the gadget. It also has a built-in auto calibration function that guarantees you get parallel and well angled shots with every use.
This is by far a perfect example of an all in one 360 camera with notable features such as:
- Two 1 inch sensors that allow the device to efficiently process in more light
- It is capable of shooting in RAW DNG format for you to work with more details and have a more flexible post-production process.
- It has its own plug in for Adobe Lightroom for seamless transitioning when it is time to further edit your images.
- It can shoot both photographs and videos in 4k resolution
- It has dual lenses on each side that are designed to process a virtually seamless panoramic photograph with little to no stitching necessary
- It gives you the option to use its automatic HDR feature to produce vivid, and well-exposed images.
- It is user friendly and has an intuitive interface
However, it also has its own set of flaws, such as:
- It is not the most affordable option
- It does not have a MicroSD Slot
- No touch screen
- No removable battery