Spherical 360 cameras are getting very trendy these days as they allow you to capture sports moments like jumping off a cliff or surfing giant waves in full 360-degree view so that you can fully relive the moment later on in a VR headset.
GoPro recently entered the spherical video biz by launching the all new GoPro Fusion with some pretty drooling specs. This waterproof beast can record videos in 5.2K resolution with its dual camera setup, one camera at the front and another on the back.
We were able to get our hands on this device and it was everything you would expect from an almost perfect 360 camera. GoPro has really hit off in their first attempt at a full surround view camera, and it’s a great start. Here is everything you need to know about the GoPro Fusion:
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First, let’s start up with the design, it is pretty similar to the HeroBlack 5 and the Session. It is roughly a 3 by 3 inch square and is almost 1 inch thick. There are only two buttons on the device but these are enough to get you through all the menus and the settings. The button placement and the controls are similar to other GoPro devices to keep things familiar and simple for existing users.
The exterior has a rubberized texture which provides a comfortable grip and hold. It even comes with a semi-rigid case for some added protection.
The cameras are placed on the front and the back and each covers 180-degree view together making one 360 degree system. There is also small monochrome screen on the front which displays basic information during shooting.
On the bottom, there are usual mounts to which you can attach the Fusion to most of the existing selection of GoPro accessories as well as some new custom designed ones. However, you can not still use this camera with your GoPro Karma drone as the size of the mount is different.
The GoPro Fusion is built to withstand water up to 5m (16ft) which isn’t impressive at all and it clearly shows that it is not designed for underwater shooting. Also due to the fish-eye lenses on either side, water refracts light too much and this will produce a less-than-unusable shot.
Waterproofing on this device only seems to be for shooting surfing and other water-based sports where it is completely fine being splashed or submerged. You can also use it while snorkeling but the video quality is extremely soft.
One weird thing about this camera is that it requires two SD Cards to function, one for each lens. You can find the SD Cards slots on the right edge covered with flaps, here you will also find the removable 2,620mAh battery. On the opposite side around there is a USB Type C port sealed behind a small hinged flap.
• Cameras And Performance:
The two 180 degree lenses capture really stunning 5.2K videos, this camera is clearly one of the best spherical video shooting cameras that you can get your hands on. The color reproduction, vibrance and contrast levels were on point, the low light performance was also really good with impressively little noise.
This camera clearly deserves an A when it comes to video quality. It can record 30 FPS in 5.2K resolution and 60 FPS if you drop down the resolution to 3K. Photo quality on the other hand is not so good. You still get the vibrance and the details but the highlights seem to be blown out in most of the cases. It captures 18 megapixel stitched photos.
The camera performance is pretty fast and stable there is almost no lag or any kind of jitter. You also get an OverCapture feature which allows you to choose a part of the scene to display in a Full HD 1080p shot on a nice flat screen.
You can also produce a “tiny planet” effect to show all of the video in on-looking sphere form. There are many other features and options which will allow the user to be able to make professional looking immersive videos, and barely lifting a finger to do it.
• Battery Life:
The battery life on this device is decent, the camera can record up to 1 hour of footage if you shoot in 5.2K resolution. If you want longer battery life you can drop down the resolution to 3K which I would not recommend doing though. However, if you don’t plan out your scene I would recommend you to carry an extra battery pack with you just in case.
• Final Verdict:
The GoPro Fusion is a really impressive 360 camera packed with some really amazing set of features. This camera is perfect if you want to record high quality 360 degree videos. The OverCapture feature is a complete game changer and allows you to take some really cool shots even if you are just a beginner. The only down point of this 360 action cam is the expensive price point, it will cost you around $699. Overall it is a delightful piece of hardware with GoPro’s name recognition and its deep integration in the action sports world.