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Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a long boat filled with people you’ve just met, surrounded by rows of tall quaint looking buildings and houses, there’s a lone steeple in the distance over the bow of the canal boat and low stone bridge behind you. Now if you’ve been to Bruges, Belgium you may be able to envision this, but if you haven’t, hopefully you were able to picture it from my description. This is an age-old dilemma that poets, painters, and photographers have long dealt with—how to capture a scene and setting so that others can experience it as you did. It can take pages of writing, stacks of canvases, or albums full of photos to do the job. But I’ve found a solution! Use a 360º camera and capture that exact moment in time. Then you can re-live it later or use it to transport others to that place in time. Over the past 2 years, I’ve traveled with a variety of 360º cameras and used them in varying capacity to capture my adventures. I’m going to share the benefits and considerations for the different rigs, as well as the value of shooting in 360 degrees versus regular photos or video. 360 heros 10 In 2015, I brought a 10 GoPro 360º camera rig by 360 Rize (360 Heros at the time) on vacation with me. It’s a large set up, but I was driving and didn’t have to worry about baggage space. Using the “big rig” and not being in a rush, I was able to set up all 10 GoPro cameras place the tripod down AND get out of the shot. The results from it are stunning, I had true 4K 360º footage of national parks and hidden treasures of the American west. It took up more space in the car, more time to setup, and more time in post. But the quality is unbeatable (especially at that time). I can put the video into any VR headset and feel like I am there again—with great resolution. The only additional obstacle at the time, was that people didn’t know what virtual reality was—and they were pretty skeptical of the big, blinking ball of cameras that I’d place and run away from. ricoh theta S Then in 2016, I visited Los Angeles to see some old friends and brought my Ricoh Theta S along. I lived out of a carry-on bag, and had to choose equipment wisely. The Ricoh was my trusty little 360 camera that fit in an old sunglasses case and I carried it with me everywhere I went. It was also quick and discrete to use, which was ideal. I went on a few movie studio tours, and they didn’t give you a lot of time to look around and explore everything, so by taking a quick 360º photo, I was able to quickly capture the scene so I could explore more at the moment and later on. The resolution of the photos is good, but the video is pretty low-res. Considering I shot tourist-style photos, it was fine for sharing on social media and looking at on my iPhone. It also required no post production, the images were stitched automatically with the app. samsung gear 360 2017 On my most recent vacation abroad, I brought along the Samsung Gear 360 (2017 edition). I chose this camera because it was the smallest of the 360 cameras I had. I had a lot of photo, video, and audio gear to bring on the plane with me and size was a huge factor. The camera was great for capturing the scenic vistas and historic locations. Relatively quick to use and small enough to fit in my pocket. The resolution is good for social sharing, and is okay for viewing inside a virtual reality headset. It’s nowhere near the quality of the GoPro setup, but the ease-of-use was what I needed for vacation. The Ricoh and Samsung cameras didn’t perform well indoors, but I expected that. The time saved in setup and post by having the cameras auto stitch and preview-able carries a lot of value. In the mean-time, more and more camera manufacturers are working on getting higher resolution and better-quality cameras to market. I think a 360º camera should definitely be added to your travel fanny pack for capturing those vacation memories. Just think of all the 360º selfies you can take in exotic locations! 360 degree selfie