In the rapidly evolving world of 360 cameras, staying updated with the latest technology is crucial for photographers, videographers, and tech enthusiasts. Ben Claremont, a renowned figure in the 360 camera community, has recently released a comprehensive video comparing the top 360 cameras under $1,000 in 2024. This blog post delves into Claremont’s insights, offering a detailed analysis of his findings and recommendations.

The Contenders

Claremont’s video reviews a diverse range of 360 cameras, each with unique features and price points. Key contenders include:

  • Insta360 X3: The reigning champion from 2023, known for its consumer-friendly features.
  • Insta360 One RS Series: Offering modular capabilities, with the One RS 1-Inch standing out for its large sensor and superior lens.
  • Theta Series (Z1 and X): Z1, despite its age, competes well, while Theta X is the newer, more compact sibling.
  • Kandao Qoocam 3: A recent entrant with a mix of pros and cons.
  • Panox V2: A specialized option for Google Street View photographers.
  • Trisio Light 2: A budget-friendly option excelling in stitching high-quality 360 photos.
  • XPhase Scan: A new, affordable option boasting 134-megapixel photos.

Criteria for Comparison

Claremont evaluates these cameras based on critical factors:

  1. Price: The Qoocam 3, Trisio, and Panox V2 emerge as the most affordable options.
  2. Design: Factors like screen size, user interface, and fragility are considered. The Insta360 X3 and Panox V2 lead in screen size and ease of use.
  3. 360 Video Quality: Claremont removes non-video capable cameras from this category, focusing on resolution, color accuracy, and dynamic range.
  4. 360 Photo Quality: Resolution, dynamic range, and noise levels are key here, with XPhase Scan leading in resolution.
  5. Workflow: The ease and speed of processing footage and photos.


Based on his analysis, Claremont suggests:

  • For Budget-Conscious Buyers: The Trisio Light 2 and Qoocam 3 offer great value.
  • For 360 Photography: The XPhase Scan, Trisio Light 2, and Theta Z1 are top choices.
  • For 360 Video: The Insta360 X3 and One RS 1-Inch stand out.
  • Overall: The One RS 1-Inch is recommended for its versatility in both photo and video capabilities.

Predictions for the Future

Claremont anticipates new releases like the Insta360 X4 and updates to the One RS series. He also speculates on potential entries from Canon and updates from Ricoh.


Choosing the right 360 camera in 2024 depends on individual needs and budget. Claremont’s detailed review provides a valuable resource for making an informed decision. With rapid advancements in technology, staying informed is key to finding the perfect 360 camera.


Intro & Contenders

Which 360 camera should you buy in 2024? In this video, I’ll compare the top 360 cameras under $1,000 to help you figure out which is the best choice for 360 videos, 360 photography, and virtual tours, as well as which is the best all-around camera if you’re looking for a bit of both. At the end, I’ll also share my predictions for future cameras I’m expecting to see by the end of 2024. The contenders in this video are:

  • The Insta360 X3, which is the best and most popular consumer 360 camera of 2023.
  • The Insta360 One RS, a modular 360 camera and action camera. The One RS 1-Inch, another version of the One RS with a 1-inch sensor and much bigger and better lens, making it a top choice for photo and video quality.
  • The Theta Z1, a camera that is now 5 years old but still holds its own in 2024.
  • The Theta X, the newer little brother of the Z1.
  • The Kandao Qoocam 3, one of the newest cameras on this list. A camera with a lot of pros and a lot of cons which has received a few updates since it was released a few months ago.
  • The Panox V2 from the company formerly known as Lab Pano, a clone of the Insta360 X3 except more targeted towards Google Street View photographers.
  • The Trisio Light 2, not technically a 360 camera, but a camera that rotates and stitches together high-quality 360 photos. It does this so well that it’s been the best budget 360 camera of the past few years.
  • And a brand new camera that we haven’t seen before, the XPhase Scan, a smaller, cheaper version of the XPhase Pro X2 at a much lower price point and a more simple design which rotates automatically, just like the Trisio. Just like the previous XPhase, it boasts 134-megapixel 360 photos.

Links to all cameras can be found below. If you want more information beyond what’s covered in this video, feel free to check out my in-depth reviews on my channel. Also, any 360 cameras that didn’t make this list were knocked out in a previous video and, right now in 2024, are now too old and outdated and don’t buy them. Also, if you want to stay even more up-to-date on the latest 360 cameras and gear of 2024, I update my free gear guides regularly throughout the year. So, if you’re wanting to know which 360 cameras I’m using and recommend at any point throughout the year, feel free to download the gear guides completely free down below.

Now, I’m going to compare these nine cameras based on the top five factors most people look for in a 360 camera: price, design, 360 video quality, 360 photo quality, and workflow. Let’s start with price. Here they all are. The number one cheapest camera is the Qoocam 3, coming in at $349, followed by the Trisio and Panox V2 at $399. The Theta X, Z1, and One RS 1-Inch are on the high end, closer to $1,000. Everything else is somewhere in between, roughly between $400 and $600. However, just be aware that since these three cameras are the cheapest, they also come with limitations that the other cameras don’t have, which I’ll cover in a bit.

Price Comparison

The Qoocam 3, Trisio, and Panox V2 are the cheapest, with limitations compared to higher-priced models.


Now let’s talk about design. Which of these cameras has the best design? Starting with screens, the Panox V2 has the biggest screen, followed by the X3 and Theta X. These cameras have a fantastic user interface thanks to the big vertical screens that make it really easy to change camera modes and settings. They’re kind of like mini phone screens, which make them easy to operate if you’ve only got one hand free compared to the horizontal screen of the Qoocam 3, which I find a bit harder to navigate. Since less vertical screen space means everything is compressed and closer together, making it easy to press the wrong thing. It’s still better than the One RS cameras, though, which have screens so small they’re practically unusable.

In terms of screen quality, the Panox V2 is noticeably sharper than the X3, followed by all the other cameras that have screens that aren’t that sharp. What about fragility? The bigger the screen and the bigger the lens is, the more chance the camera has of breaking.


Well, the massive screen of the Panox makes it one of the most fragile cameras of the bunch since it could easily smash if you dropped the camera, which also applies to the X3, Theta X, Qoocam 3, and to an extent, the One RS and One RS 1-Inch. The Theta Z1 and One RS 1-Inch also have the biggest lenses of the lot, which means you’ll have to take extra care when using these cameras. While the XPhase Scan doesn’t have any protruding lenses or a screen, which I guess technically means it’s less fragile, it does have this USB and Wi-Fi dongle at the back, and the overall shape is just weird. I don’t know how to rate it. It’s kind of like the Tesla Cybertruck of 360 cameras. So I guess I’d say it’s not pretty, and it’s also not fragile. I’d say the least fragile of the bunch is the Trisio since it has one lens only, which means you can put it flat on its back. Also, the lens doesn’t stick out much at all, making it much harder to bump or scratch. The 360 video shooters, I’d actually say the One RS is the least fragile, mostly because of the case it comes with that keeps it nice and safe. And it’s also the smallest camera of the bunch, therefore less surface area of the camera to get damaged.


Surprisingly, only three of these cameras are waterproof the X3, the One RS, and the Qoocam 3. You’d think the Panox would be, since it’s a clone of the X3; however, it has multiple open ports around the body that would easily let water into the camera. While all cameras can last an hour or two of shooting when we take a look at the battery capacity, the numbers are very different. The smallest batteries being of the Theta X and One RS 1-Inch, and the largest being the Trisio and XPhase Scan. The rest are somewhere in between, and the Theta Z1’s is unknown. Although personally, I’ve been able to shoot for at least one full day with it. From using these cameras myself, I have noticed that the Theta X and Panox V2 drain the batteries at a faster rate than the other cameras and would likely be the first ones to run out if you want to shoot continuously. This will be due to screens, internal processing, and so on. The rest I’ve found will easily last half a day to a day if you turn the camera off when not in use. Also, in my experience, the two cameras that are the most susceptible to overheating were the Qoocam 3 and Panox V2, which don’t seem to handle hot weather very well.


Not to say the others can’t overheat because they definitely can. I timed how long each camera took to turn on, from pressing the on button to the screen being active and ready to shoot. The quickest of the bunch was the One RS and One RS 1-Inch at 4.5 seconds, followed by the X3 at 7.2 seconds, and Trisio at 7.4 seconds. The Qoocam 3 was next at 8.5 seconds, followed by the Theta X at 16.5, and Theta Z1 at 17.8. The slowest of the bunch by far were the XPhase Scan at 29.5 seconds and the Panox V2 at 30 seconds exactly, which is a really long time to wait, especially if you want a quick 360 photo or video.

Best Design?

So, which camera has the best design? Well, if you wanted the best of a few different worlds, I’d probably choose the X3 since it’s got the big color touchscreen, it’s waterproof, it’s easy to use, and also small enough to easily fit in your pocket at the expense of fragility because of the big screen. Also, the lenses, they’re standard size, but they are a liability, so you will want to consider using lens guards if you take a lot of risks with your camera. Now let’s talk about 360 video.

360 Video Comparison

Which of these cameras is the best choice for 360 video? Well firstly, I’ll start by eliminating the cameras that don’t properly shoot 360 videos, and that is the XPhase Scan, the Trisio Light 2—neither of them shoots 360 videos since they’re rotating cameras and, therefore, couldn’t shoot video in 360 mode since they don’t have lenses on the back. Also, I’m eliminating the Theta Z1 since it can only record 2-minute clips, and the resolution is 4K, which just isn’t up to speed for a 360 video camera. All of the others shoot 5.7k resolution, with the One RS 1-Inch shooting slightly more at 6K.

So here’s what you get straight out of the camera when shooting in Auto exposure with no color correction applied. They’re all decent, with the One RS being a bit higher in contrast. The Theta X colors are noticeably less saturated than the others, and the Qoocam 3 has a strong bluey-magenta tint to it and also seems about half a stop to a stop overexposed. The other three cameras perform quite well in bright sunlight and don’t necessarily need color correction applied. After I did color correct, though, I was able to even out the exposure and colors of most cameras, except with the Qoocam 3, which I found really hard to work with. This final shot is usable, but it took a fair bit of work to make it that way, and I’m still not happy with how the colors look. Also, the Theta X seems to capture skin tones more yellow than they should be, which was also hard to fix.

360 Video Sharpness

Which camera is the sharpest? Well, here I zoomed in from a wide action camera perspective to a long lens perspective to find out, and it’s pretty noticeable that the One RS 1-Inch has the highest quality, with details around the rocks being much sharper, as well as the little people walking around them, which can’t really be seen with the others. Interestingly, the Qoocam 3, Panox V2, and Theta X are the next sharpest, followed by the X3, and the One RS being the least sharp.

360 Video Dynamic Range

What about dynamic range? Well, the X3 and One RS have dedicated HDR video modes, which I turned on for this comparison, which is fair since they have them and the others don’t. All cameras perform pretty decently in mixed lighting. When I freeze the shot here with the sun behind me, the X3 and One RS are helped by the HDR video mode and therefore keep the sun under control the best. Next, I’d say the 1-Inch and Panox do a pretty good job at exposing the sky, and the Qoocam 3 and Theta X seem quite overexposed around the highlight areas of the shot. Although when I move the camera back into shade, the X3 does appear a bit hazier than the others, and the black areas aren’t as black as they should be. So that’s just something to keep in mind with the active HDR setting and not to overuse it. After color correction, all of these shots are usable, and the dynamic range is good enough for most use cases. My top three cameras of the lot for dynamic range are the 1-Inch, the X3, and the Panox V2, which performs surprisingly well here. The other three cameras will need color correction with every shot you take in order to enhance the dynamic range and colors.

Low Light

In order to get the best low light comparison possible, all cameras needed manual exposure to avoid completely blowing out my 360 neon sign. I set the ISO to the lowest setting possible and adjusted the shutter speed until the light became fully visible. The Panox has the most amount of grain by far, followed by the Theta X. One RS seems to be doing slightly better than the X3, and the two best by far are the 1-Inch and Qoocam 3. Which one is better? Hmm, that’s a tough one since they both excel at low light shooting. The 1-Inch excels because of the 1-inch sensor, and the Qoocam excels because of the f/1.6 aperture. I might give the edge slightly to the 1-Inch due to it having more natural colors; however, you should definitely consider the Qoocam as well if you shoot at night a lot.


Some cameras perform better than others in stabilization. The Theta X is good, but the horizon can be a bit bumpy, and it’s quite prone to lens flares that don’t stitch very well, causing big circles around the seam line of the camera. Ignore my camera mounting; these comparisons show what you’re seeing is just the other cameras and not a stitching issue of the camera you’re seeing. The Panox does a good job at stabilization, but the horizon can still be a bit wavy when you move the camera around. The Qoocam’s stabilization is noticeably off, especially when you move quickly. While it will recenter, it seems to get thrown off easily, which is going to be pretty noticeable for any bumpy shots. If you’re shooting action, I probably wouldn’t use the Qoocam. The One RS is much better. While not perfect, it stabilizes 95% effectively and is pretty quick to account for any bumps. The same goes with the 1-Inch. While this camera shouldn’t be used for action shots since it’s too fragile, it will still stabilize more or less on the level of an action camera. Finally, the X3 stabilization is close to perfect. Since this is the most popular 360 action camera at the moment, it seems like they put extra effort into its stabilization. After taking literally thousands of shots with it over the past year, I can’t think of any times where the shots were noticeably shaky.

Next, I tested the stitching by sacrificing my extreme good looks and turning the seam line of all six cameras directly towards my face. From a few feet away, there were no major stitching errors, but there were some minor ones with the Theta X and Panox. If you look at the brim of my hat, my head is a bit misshaped with the Qoocam, but I’ll forgive it just this once. All Insta360 cameras didn’t have any stitching errors at about a 4-foot distance. Now I’m about an arm’s length from the cameras, and there are the same issues as before. I’m now much more misshaped with the Qoocam, and the One RS and One RS 1-Inch have compressed my head just slightly, but nothing major. The X3 is easily the best of the bunch. Now adding extremely close range, not only am I misshaped, but I’m also missing half a face with most of them, which is to be expected. The X3, again, stitches much better than the others. I’d say this is because of the design being in the sweet spot of not being too thick that part of the scene is missed in the stitch line and also having lenses that aren’t too flat that they don’t fully see sideways. So stitching can definitely be considered as a big pro of the X3’s design.


What about the inbuilt mics? While you can’t expect studio-quality audio from an action camera, a better question to ask is, is the inbuilt audio usable for a vlog? I tested this on a pretty windy day here in Sydney, and here were the results: “This is a sound test 1, 2, 3. This is a sound test 1, 2, 3. This is a sound test 1, 2, 3. This is a sound test one, 2, 3. This is a sound test 1, 1, 2, 3. This is a sound test 1, 2, 3.”

Single lens mode

Also, it is worth noting that the X3 is the only camera of the bunch that has a dedicated 4K single-lens mode, whereas the others don’t, except the One RS but only when rebuilt with the 4K lens; otherwise, you have to shoot in 360 with the rest of them. Now, if you do own an Insta360 camera and you want to master 360 video shooting and editing in as little time as possible, I recently released an online course that will help you do just that. From the beginner-level basics of choosing the best gear and camera settings all the way through to professional shooting and editing techniques, 360 Video 101 is your shortcut to making viral-worthy reframed 360 videos with your Insta360 camera. You can find a link to it down below.

Now let’s talk about 360 photo quality. Which of these cameras is the best choice for virtual tours? Well, the one with the highest resolution by far is the XPhase Scan with 134 megapixels, which is crazy high, followed by the Insta360 X3 and Panox V2 with 72 megapixels and the Qoocam 3 with 62 megapixels. Now, it’s important to be aware that judging cameras just based on the spec sheet can be misleading if they’re made up of low-quality components like the sensor and the lenses. Also, companies often overinflate the spec numbers of the cameras to make them sound more impressive, and those numbers don’t live up to the quality you get when you shoot with them. So let’s take a look at what the photos look like straight out of the camera without any editing. If a camera has an inbuilt HDR mode, I used that for this first comparison. And when I zoom in extremely close on the brightest window here in my office, all cameras completely blew out the sky except for the Trisio and XPhase Scan. The XPhase did well, not so much because of the dynamic range, but rather because it generally exposes photos on the darker side, and this naturally brought the sky under control, whereas the Trisio shot the correct exposure. All other cameras did well enough to capture the roof of the house except for the Qoocam 3 and Panox. Looking at a less bright window, and it’s a similar story with all cameras except the Qoocam, being able to capture the highlights. Inside, looking at my photo wall, and again, despite being too dark, the XPhase is sharper than the rest, with the Qoocam and Theta X being the next sharpest. The others are all usable except for the X3, One RS, and Panox, all of which are too blurry to consider using for interior virtual tours, especially without any editing or enhancement.

Shots WITH color correction

In the next comparison, I color-corrected all nine shots by following the best virtual tour workflow for each individual camera, and suddenly the field became a bit more even. Going back to the bright window, the Theta Z1 performs the best by far, thanks to the Dual Fisheye plugin. It’s without question the best of the bunch for dynamic range; this shot is really impressive, followed by the Trisio. I’d put the 1-inch, X3, and XPhase Scan in third place. The Qoocam and Z1 also have the most noticeable purple fringing at the edge of the window, which I intentionally didn’t fix so you could see. At the less bright window, in terms of dynamic range, all cameras perform well, aside from the One RS and Panox. In terms of sharpness, the XPhase definitely takes the cake and is so much sharper than all the others, with the 1-inch and Theta X being close behind. The Qoocam, Panox, Theta Z1, and Trisio all do a pretty good job as well. I noticed that the Qoocam consistently had the most noise across this image, and this was even after using the DNG8 mode, which is supposed to reduce noise. It’s not a deal-breaking amount of noise and isn’t so noticeable from a wider perspective, but it’s just something to be aware of. The One RS is also pretty noisy as well, and the X3 is really hazy. This is something I’ve consistently found when shooting 360 photos with the X3 in mixed lighting, and hence why I don’t recommend it for virtual tours. It takes a lot of time to edit the contrast back into the shots, and still, you can’t often get it where it needs to be. The Theta cameras also have a fair bit of noise, and the Theta X is also really soft in this part of the shot, as that’s where the stitch line is, and blurry stitch lines are one of the biggest flaws of this camera and something you need to be aware of if you’re considering it. The top four cameras for low noise are the XPhase, which barely has a single speck of noise across this whole image, and combined with the superior sharpness is just really impressive. The Panox has surprisingly little noise as well, followed by the 1-inch and Trisio, which are also both impressive.

So based on this comparison, with all factors considered, I’d rate them in this order for virtual tours: the XPhase is definitely first for its impressive sharpness and low noise. The Theta Z1 is second for its superior dynamic range, and the 1-inch, Theta X, and Trisio are in third place for doing well enough at most aspects of 360 photography. I do think the Qoocam is usable for virtual tours, but it’s just not the obvious choice, so only consider it if you’re on a budget. The others I would personally avoid, at least for interior virtual tours. If you’re not looking to do any editing, however, I would recommend the Trisio since it has the best dynamic range straight out of the camera and has good enough all-around quality to charge for. Now I also need to point out that since the XPhase and Trisio are rotating cameras, you’ll need to mount them safely and never use them handheld or with a selfie stick; otherwise, the shots won’t stitch. They take about 20 seconds to shoot per photo since they each need to spin, engage exposure, then they need time to rotate and capture the individual photos. Also, the XPhase is heavier than the Trisio and can’t be used with a traditional monopod since it would move too much, and that would affect the stitching. So XPhase recommends using a tripod with a 10 kg payload. In this scene, I just used a cheap light stand, which worked great. But this also means the nadir is a factor with the XPhase since you’ll need a bigger stand for it, therefore, it needs more time to edit out that stand.

Now if you’re brand new to 360 cameras and want to learn how to make professional-looking virtual tours with any 360 camera, my Virtual Tour Pro course shares my entire process of planning, shooting, editing, getting clients, and getting paid for your virtual tours. Even if you’re using consumer pocket-size 360 cameras like these ones, you can still offer virtual tours in your local area as a paid service and earn up to six figures in the process. If you want to learn how to do that, you can get my full blueprint inside the Virtual Tour Pro course, which I’ll link below. Now the final factor to compare these cameras on is workflow. While each of them has its own unique workflow, the better question to ask is, does it have a fast workflow or not? And from firsthand experience using all nine of these cameras, I can tell you the answers. With the three Insta360 cameras, the answer is absolutely yes. An easy and fast workflow is one of the key selling points of Insta360 cameras, and it really is so easy to download and edit your footage in the Insta360 mobile app and desktop software, both of which are completely free for Insta360 users and are extremely user-friendly and fast. I wish I could say the same for the Theta Z1. Unfortunately, it’s a much more involved process to edit Theta Z1 virtual tour photos since, to get the best results, you need to shoot with the Dual Fisheye plugin, which shoots automatic bracketed shots that you’ll need to download, merge, color correct, and stitch yourself manually on your computer. And even though the results are worth it, it is a time-consuming process, and you will need to do them one by one. So the answer is no for the Z1. Theta X, however, is much faster since the stitching is done in-camera, so you literally just download the file to your phone or computer, and they’re good to go. With the Qoocam 3, I’m happy to say that Kandao has addressed the extremely slow workflow issues that it previously had, where it just took a ridiculous amount of time to stitch your footage that it made stitching basic clips an overnight job. Whereas now, they’ve updated the software, and it’s much faster. Not as fast as Insta360 cameras, but I’d say it now takes roughly twice as long. So like 10-20 minutes to stitch 10 minutes worth of footage compared to like 10 hours like it was before. The photo editing workflow with Qoocam 3 is pretty long and annoying because you need to use two different desktop softwares to merge and stitch your shots with a color correction software in between, making this a 5 to 10-minute process per photo to stitch a shot with basic color correction. With the Panox V2, while it does have a good feature of being able to stitch your shot in-camera, it’s kind of weird because you have to select your clip manually and tell it to stitch there on the camera. And for the exact same 10 minutes of footage I shot with all of the other cameras, on the Panox, it took about 45 minutes to stitch. And that’s kind of too long to sit there looking at your camera and also makes shooting a lot of shots impractical. With the Trisio and XPhase Scan, even though the apps of these cameras are really on the basic side, the workflow is actually pretty fast since they both shoot JPEG. You download the photo wirelessly from the camera to your phone, then save the image to your camera roll, and you’re good to go. You can then AirDrop it to your computer if you’re on Apple or send it any way you like.

So workflow is something to keep in mind. Do you have the time to wait around for your shots to stitch and take multiple steps in your workflow, or do you want something much faster?

DON’T BUY these cameras

So now that we’ve compared the price, design, 360 video quality, 360 photo quality, and workflow, which of these cameras should you buy? Well, let me start with the cameras you shouldn’t buy. Firstly, the One RS. I never fully understood the purpose of the modular 360 cameras when they behaved the exact same way as the conventional 360 cameras and they had the exact same specs. It was the case with the previous One R camera, and it’s the case with the One RS, which right now as a 360 camera is an inferior version of the X3 with the only upside being that it’s modular and it can be a 4K 360 camera. But so can the X3 with single-lens mode, making the One RS in 2024 useless. Don’t buy it. The other camera you shouldn’t buy is the Theta X, which is a tough one because you would say that it’s in the top half of cameras for virtual tours. However, it was never one or two; it has always been three and below. And why would you pay $800 for number three? Unfortunately, the Theta X just has no unique selling points, and I can’t think of any reasons why you would buy it over the other cameras.

Next, for the cameras you should consider, the first one is the Panox V2. While it did okay for 360 photos and videos, it was never in the top half for virtual tours. Despite the slightly lower price compared to the X3, it doesn’t offer much better, except the bigger screen and its Google Street View ability. Since Street View is the background of Panox, formerly known as Lab Pano, they have integrated a really good shoot and upload system to Google Street View. Where you don’t even need a phone or a computer; you sign into your Street View account on the camera, and your shots can be uploaded as you shoot with GPS. This makes it a really good choice for Google Street View photographers. Since, with Street View, you’re mostly shooting outside, you don’t need to worry about mixed lighting situations. As you saw, it performs well enough in broad daylight. So if your primary focus is Google Street View, then you should consider this camera; otherwise, don’t.

The next camera to consider is the Qoocam 3. While, when it was released a few months ago, it had more red flags than I could count, they have fixed a few of these things. For the $350 price point, it actually delivers photos and videos of really decent quality. Despite some other issues I have with the camera, like it overheating a bit too easily and the clunky workflow, I do think it’s a decent camera, and you should consider it. Just not if you’ve got a little bit more to spend.

Now, for the cameras you should buy, let’s start with 360 photography. If you’re shooting virtual tours and you’re a beginner, the camera I’d recommend is the Trisio Light 2. It is so easy to use, and the results are really impressive. While it only shoots 360 photos, it does that well enough to justify the $400 price point. It doesn’t have any advanced features like manual exposure or RAW, so only consider it if you’re a beginner. If you’re slightly more intermediate to advanced, I’d recommend either the Theta Z1 or the XPhase Scan. After looking at those comparisons, the Z1 still offers the best dynamic range of the bunch, especially when you spend the time to edit your shots properly. And the sharpness of the XPhase is undeniably better than every other camera. So if you’re considering either one, you might want to ask yourself, what do I prefer better Dynamic range or higher quality? While the XPhase can shoot decent dynamic range, it’s not on the level of the Z1, and it also has the disadvantage of being a new camera from a small company and is therefore a little bit more unpredictable than the Theta. The Theta Z1 has lasted the test of time because it was originally built with really impressive sensors and lenses that are unlikely to be beaten anytime soon. So if you don’t mind taking a bit of a gamble, try the XPhase; otherwise, the Theta Z1 won’t let you down. The noise and chromatic aberration issues that it sometimes has can easily be fixed in editing.

For 360 videos, if you’re a beginner with a budget of under $500, then the obvious choice is the Insta360 X3. This camera is feature-rich and has very few flaws. The main one being the fragility of the design. Otherwise, this is the most popular 360 camera for a reason and is still the best 360 camera under $500 in 2024. If you do have a little bit more to spend, up to say $1,000, then you want to consider the One RS 1-inch. The main reason being it shoots significantly better 360 videos than the other cameras, thanks to that 1-inch sensor and Leica lens. It’s fantastic in low light, it’s fantastic in daylight, and I see this as a great choice for intermediate 360 video creators shooting for VR and for more professional shoots where you want the best quality possible from the smallest camera possible.

So what if you want the best of both worlds, a camera that shoots great 360 photos and 360 videos? Well, my number one recommendation is the One RS 1-inch, since, as I mentioned, it shoots the best 360 videos but also shoots 360 photos good enough that you could charge for. Also, it obviously has the advantage of the faster and better workflow that all Insta360 cameras have.

Now, what about the future? What other cameras might be coming in 2024? My first prediction, well, everyone’s prediction, is the Insta360 X4. No doubt it’s going to come out. I’m predicting September will be the release date, and it will be a 5 to 10% improvement upon the X3. Slightly before that, though, I am predicting the One RS 2 and One RS 1-inch 2. Hopefully, they can think of a better name than those. They will probably be released again with a very small spec bump. Just don’t forget that this camera already has a 1-inch sensor, so there’s only so far you can improve it. I will say that the number one thing that people are requesting with the X4 are user-replaceable lenses since there have been literally hundreds and hundreds of people smashing their X3 lenses. So if they’re smart, they’ll add that. Don’t wait all year, though, for the X4 because, again, it’s only going to be like a 5 to 10% improvement and not worth waiting months and months for when the X3 is already a really good camera. Another camera that is definitely coming out in 2024 is the Qoocam 3 Ultra. This has been confirmed and displayed at CES this year. Its main features are 8K 30, 5.7k 60, and 4K 120 FPS, as well as having an HDR video mode, which does sound great on paper. But just keep in mind that all Kandao cameras over the past 5 years were released too early when they hadn’t been fully tested and ready for release. So there will be a lot of buzz around this camera when it’s released. But if you are considering it, please just wait until a few reviews are out from a few people to really find out the flaws so you don’t end up paying to be a beta tester. It looks like there’s also going to be a 360 camera from Canon, which will be their first-ever 360 camera, and it’s actually a 360/180 camera, similar to the Insta360 Evo of many years ago. And this, again, promises to be 8K 30, which could be very promising. However, 360 is a new field for Canon, so it’s not guaranteed that all the software and firmware and hardware will be fully optimized for every type of use case a 360 camera could go through. I will keep you posted, though, when that gets released. I don’t know if there’s going to be a new Theta camera or not. Ricoh is a bit unpredictable with their releases. I think there’s a chance there could be a new Theta, but don’t hold your breath.

So that’s it. I’m curious, what’s your 360 camera of choice in 2024? Let me know down below. And if you already own an Insta360 camera but you’re not quite getting the cinematic shots you’d hoped for, then check out this video here to get my top 10 tips for cinematic 360 videos.