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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LyfieEye's 360 Degree Camera Let's Your Audience See Literally Everything Around You

LyfieEye OTG 360 Degree Spherical Camera Review

Buy it on Amazon: LyfieEye OTG 360 Degree Spherical Camera [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Good image clarity and color, SD quality when rendered in 360. Mostly stable and smooth video w/occasional digital artifacts.

The camera comes in a semi-rigid clamshell carrying case. Inside, you’ll find the camera, a rubber connector cap, and a microUSB to USB-C adapter. In the opposite side, there’s a microfiber pouch for the camera and another containing a microUSB gooseneck extension arm. The camera is pretty small measuring about 1.5” spherically, about the size of a large gumball. There are two fisheye lenses, one on each side which each record images and video at the same time. Then the footage is stitched together into a single file, sort of like a wraparound panoramic. The camera is OTG which means it is plug-and-play and meant to be plugged directly into your phone’s microUSB charging port. If you have a phone that charges via USB-C , like my LG G5, you’ll need to use the included adapter. Your phone must support OTG devices and be running Android 5.0 or higher to use this camera.

What this camera does is take 360 degree photos and video. This type of media can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube and when people are viewing them, they’ll be able to control the perspective and look all around in all directions. The media can also be viewed through Virtual Reality goggles for an immersive experience.

This camera manages to be super light and compact because there’s no on-board storage, battery, or video processor. All the heavy lifting is done by the CPU on your phone through the app. The stitching is done in real time and allows you to use your phone as a view finder. The stitch itself is relatively seamless though sometimes you’ll be able to see when something passes through the stitch and depending on how close it is to the camera, it could look a bit distorted or disappear altogether.

The max resolution advertised for this camera is 1920x1080 which is 1080P, but once it's rendered into 360, the resolution is not actually as high. When viewing the photos and video from a particular angle it has a resolution closer to 480P, which is standard definition rather than HD. The LyfieEye doesn’t have a single-camera mode, so you can’t use just the front or rear camera as a “regular” camera. Since the images are monoscopic, they are simply flat renderings in 360 degrees and can be viewed on any screen or VR headset. While you can change perspective within the image/video, but you’ll have no real depth perception, so things won’t look 3D.

There is no wrong way to hold the camera but it’s best to hold it upright and facing you as the positioning of the lenses affect how you rotate the image when viewing it and the location of the stitches on either side. As a camera, the LyfieEye delivers image quality that’s about on par with your typical budget action camera. The colors are accurate, and it performs best outdoors with plenty of light. In dimly lit spaces, you’ll start to lose sharpness and there will be visible noise. Occasionally there is some digital noise in the video. There are no manual adjustments for the camera ISO, shutter speed, or exposure. There’s also no option to record with your phone’s screen turned off. However, the app lets you share directly to Facebook or YouTube and even broadcast Live on YT. On the computer, the sharpness is decent though once uploaded to a social network like Facebook or YouTube the file compression may cause some blurriness.

Buy it on Amazon: LyfieEye OTG 360 Degree Spherical Camera [Affiliate Link]
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