I love creating 360-degree photos.
I like seeing people react the first time they see a 360 photo. It’s something between awe, delight, and disbelief, and usually ends with “How do you do that?”
There are actually many answers to the “how” question but, in my case, I’ve narrowed it down to two different methods, depending on the circumstances.
Which system you go with really comes down to choosing the right tool for the job. Different situations call for a different set-up since each method has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The first thing I bought was Ricoh Theta 360-degree camera (about $300 on Amazon). It’s fun, spontaneous, and small enough to fit in my pocket. I like it because it’s extremely portable and easy to use in tight spaces. I find it perfect for events and confined spaces. But it does have a lower image quality and lower performance in low light than you can get with a bigger SLR camera. The images look grainy in places without much natural light.
Using this method, I have to compromise on some of the quality and the ability to shoot in low light. But I can produce quick, novelty images that would be much too cumbersome with my regular DSLR camera.
For $3,000 projects and those needing higher quality images, nothing beats my DSLR setup, which consists of my Canon digital SLR camera and a fisheye lens.
Together they produce rich detail and color, even in low-light situations. And because it’s my regular camera with a nice image sensor, I have more flexibility in post-processing. The resulting photos are beautiful which makes it the perfect choice set-up for commercial business shoots, high-end hotels, and architecture. These types of clients are expecting high quality and are willing to pay for it, so you can’t shoot their establishment with the Ricoh.
For portability and tight spaces, go Ricoh Theta.
For quality and the ability to shoot in low light, go with your regular DSLR camera and a fisheye lens.