360 Camera Buying Guide

360 camera prices are dropping dramatically. Check out our favorites for consumers among the ones released so far.

360 Camera Buying Guide
Consumers now have so many choices in the sub-$500 360 camera market: Clockwise from left: 360Fly 4k, Nikon KeyMission 360, Ricoh Theta S, Samsung Gear360, LG G5 Friends 360, and the Insta360 Nano.

Thanks to the rise of 360 cameras, the future in preserving memories is here (read more about why 360 cameras are the next big thing). Here, we help you get started with the top cameras under $500 for consumers interested in capturing everyday moments in 360.

Consumer 360-degree cameras are only getting smaller, easier to use, and more affordable. The early players in the market have lowered their prices dramatically too, and our guide has been updated to reflect the latest. (Note: Scroll to the end of the article to see how prices have dropped over time.)


Ricoh Theta S

Price: $319.89
Storage: 8GB of storage (1,600 images and 1 hour of video at full resolution)
Dimensions: 1.7in x 5.1in x 0.9in (4.4 oz)
Compatibility: WiFi connect to iOS or Android devices
What it’s good for: The Theta S is the third generation of Ricoh’s point-and-shoot 360 camera that debuted in 2013, so it’s had a few years to work out its kinks. It’s flat and pocket-sized, making it is easy to carry. And taking a 360 photo or video really is as simple as pushing a button, although the simplicity does lead to a slight loss in resolution and a relatively meager 8GB of un-upgradeable storage. However, Ricoh’s solid smartphone app and support from most online services more than makes up for it.

We still think this (and its cheaper sibling, the Theta SC) is the camera to beat with the best combination of quality and ease of use for most people. (Samsung’s new Gear 360 will give it a run for its money when it is released later this month, however, so watch this space)

See the full review on CNET
Buy it on Amazon

Pro Tip: If you’re not as interested in long-running video, go with the Ricoh Theta SC, which retails for $256.95 and has almost all the same features as the S, except for the max video recording time is 5 minutes (rather than 25).


Nikon KeyMission 360

Price: $496.95
Storage: Requires separate purchase of a microSD card, up to 64GB
Dimensions: 2.4in x 2.4in x 2.6in (6.9 oz)
Compatibility: WiFi, Bluetooth LE connection to Android and iOS devices
What it’s good for: The new Nikon KeyMission 360 is the esteemed brand’s foray into 360 cameras. Where the Ricoh Theta is built with handheld shooting in mind, the KeyMission is designed for a tripod/action mount (the camera’s also water-, dust-, freeze-, and shock-proof). This makes handheld applications awkward, but the onboard video stitching feature makes it ideal for shooting action. The image resolution is also higher than many competitors’ in its price class, though the overall experience is hampered by Nikon’s frustrating SnapBridge app.

Breaking: Those who are considering this camera and are in no hurry may want to wait until Kodak releases the similarly sized, similarly shaped, similarly priced, similarly-spec’d Kodak Pixpro Orbit360 4K camera, which is expected to be released later this year. It’s generating a lot of buzz as potentially being “the best intermediate 360 camera to date.”

See the full preview on CNET
Buy it on Amazon

Pro Tip: Another popular action camera is the similarly priced 360Fly 4K ($487), though it’s a single-lens camera that captures 240 degrees (rather than 360).


Samsung Gear 360

Price: $168.00
Storage: 1GB (up to 200GB w/ microSD card purchased separately)
Dimensions: 2.6in x 2.4in x 2.2in sphere (5.4 oz)
Compatibility: Can only be used with certain Samsung devices
What it’s good for: The Samsung Gear 360 offers high picture quality, ease of taking and editing images, a time-lapse video mode, and the ability to be used as a wide-lens camera. It’s also got a nifty removable tripod, and it looks like an eyeball to boot. The main thing holding this camera back from wider adoption is that it only pairs with certain Samsung devices and the editing software is Windows only, though you can make it work with other phones and OSes if you’re willing to get into the nitty-gritty.

This camera is also notable for producing most of the New York Times’ Daily 360 videos, so if you’re interested in what you can do with it, you should go check out that channel

See the full review on CNET
Buy it on Amazon

The new Gear 360 sports a handheld-friendly design and compatibility with non-Samsung devices, which should boost its appeal.

Pro Tip: The Gear 360’s price has been dramatically reduced following the announcement of a new version launching at the end of May 2017 for $229 ($100 less than the price of last year’s Gear 360 model). The form factor is changing to a more handheld-friendly one, and it’s compatible with a wider range of smartphones (including iOS devices). We’ll update this space as we have a chance to take the new Gear 360 out for spin.


Insta360 Nano (iPhone)

Price: $195.99
Storage: Depends on your iPhone’s capacity (or you can buy a 64GB microSD card)
Dimensions: .8in x 1.3in x 4.3in (2.6 oz)
Compatibility: Use with iPhone 7/7 plus or iPhone 6/6S/6 plus/6S plus, or use alone
What it’s good for: The Insta360 Nano is a glimpse into the future. This tiny device plugs directly into your iPhone’s Lightning port (it can also function as a standalone camera with a microSD card), which allows it to skip the often-cumbersome pair-over-wifi step that all other cameras require you to do, and makes downloading photos and videos to your phone a cinch. The downside is an awkward extra step (requiring you to take your phone out of its case) before taking any photos, as well as having to use your phone upside down. A promising direction for 360 cameras, but a number of kinks still need to be worked out.

See the full review on Mashable
Buy it on Amazon

Pro Tip: The Insta360 Air, a new golf-ball sized clip-on camera for Android phones, is now available and shipping on Amazon for $129.99. The reviews are in, and Insta360 is the early leader in the clip-on space. We’ll update this guide with a full write-up after we’ve had a chance to test out the Air.


LG G5 Friends 360 Cam

Price: $124.99
Storage: Requires separate purchase of a microSD card, up to 2TB
Dimensions: 3.82in x 0.98in x 1.57in (2.7 oz)
Compatibility: WiFi or Bluetooth connect to iOS or Android devices
What it’s good for: Light and lean, this camera fits easily into a pocket. It does require purchasing a separate microSD card that’s not included, but that offers flexibility in terms of storage options. For people looking for a relatively cheap point-and-shoot to start exploring what 360 is all about, the LG360 is a solid option.

See the full review on CNET
Buy it on Amazon

This guide was updated May 25, 2017 to reflect the following price changes since Nov. 16, 2016:

  • Ricoh Theta S (from $346 to $319.89)
  • Samsung Gear 360* (from $336 to $168.00)
    *A new version of the Gear 360 will retail for $229 at the end of May 2017
  • LG G5 360 Friends cam (from $199 to $124.99)

(Prices reflect cost of purchasing a new camera on Amazon.com; this can differ from the listed retail price elsewhere.)

Momento360 is a free way to upload, view, share, and discuss your 360 memories with family and friends.