After a bit of a false start with the Samsung Gear 360 and GoPro Fusion a couple of years ago, 360-degree video from pocket-sized cameras is finally starting to make sense.
The latest offering is the QooCam 8K which, as the name might well suggest, records 360-degree video at 8K. That's a resolution of 7680 x 3840, which is, frankly, massive.
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For context, 4K is 3840 x 1920, and 5.6K (the limit at which the Insta360 One X and new GoPro Max 360-degree camera can shoot at) is 5376 x 2688.
Although still fairly pocket-friendly, the QooCam is larger than its rivals, but that's due to improved optics by way of a 1/1.7-inch, 20-megapixel sensor protruding from each side. But that larger body means there's space for a 2.4-inch OLED touch screen display for watching video back and adjusting settings, and the battery is a respectable 3,600 mAh with fast charging.
There's also 64GB of onboard storage (plus a microSD card slot for adding more), Bluetooth and WiFi. That means you can connect the camera to your smartphone and use QooCam's '8K express edits' feature, which smartly compresses 8K footage without destroying image quality, but makes the files small enough to quickly transfer to your phone.
Video can be viewed on the 2.4-inch OLED display before exportingQooCam
If 8K at 30 frames per second feels like overkill, the camera also shoots 4K video at 30 or 60 frames per second, and a slow motion mode can handle 4K at 120fps, which is very impressive.
Regular flat, non-360-degree video can be shot too, using a mode called SuperVlog. Speaking of vloggers, the camera offers a 3.5mm microphone socket for improving audio quality. Still images can be shot at up to 30 megapixels and in JPG or RAW.
The camera stabilizes video using both a six-axis gyroscope and software called SuperSteady; we're very interested to see how this will compare to GoPro's HyperSmooth software-only system.
Expected to ship in December, the QooCam can be pre-ordered now and costs $589, which is $90 more than the GoPro Hero Max.
2019 Update QooCam 4K 360 & 3D VR 180 Camera, Video Stabilization, Smart Clip, Facebook 3D Photos, Easy Editing