I love producing videos !!! Having done so on the Geekanoids Channel for almost ten years, it is amazing how far technology has evolved. In the past couple of years we have seen a few 360 degree cameras come onto the market. The Ricoh Theta springs to mind, but their first product launch gave us a mediocre camera. They now have the Theta S that tops out at 1080P HD, so Kodak really have stepped up the game and given us 4K Resolution in there PixPro SP360 4K Action Camera.
I have had the pleasure of testing this camera over the past week and I must say that overall I am very impressed. However, there are a few issues which I will discuss within this review.
Let's start by taking a look at the package and the hardware. There are a few choices on the Kodak website and the version I am testing here is the Extreme Pack which includes an impressive amount of accessories and one PixPro SP360 4K action camera. The reason I mention 'one camera' is that there is a twin pack available (more on that later).
The Extreme Pack includes the following accessories;
Standard Housing (B), Bar Mount (A), Curved Adhesive Mount (A), Flat Adhesive Mount (A), Vented Helmet Strap (A&B), Head Strap Mount, Surfboard Adhesive Mount (A), Suction Cup Mount (A), Waterproof Housing (A), Protective Cover (A), QuickClip, Accessories Tool, 4 x Anti-Fog Inserts, 4 x Double Sided Adhesive, Tether.
The action camera itself is very nicely made, with a cute cuboid form and a little dome shaped lens on the top or side, depending on your camera orientation. It is splash proof and has neat little covers over the MicroSD Card slot and mini ports. There is no colour screen on the SP3604K, instead you get a monochrome display to navigate the menu and change settings. Of course with WiFi and NFC you can easily connect this to your smartphone and change settings there, as well as frame up your video with ease. Even without using the smartphone app, it is super easy to control, with menu & mode buttons alongside a nice big red record button.
The build quality overall is very good, however, the back door where you put the battery in is quite hard to open. Also, even though everything is solid with no squeaks or rattles, it is made of a plastic that does not scream "ACTION CAMERA". Having only used this for a short time, I cannot say how it will hold up to knocks, but I am sure it'll be fine. You can always use it in the protective cover if you are into the action/adventure scene.
Recording is pretty straightforward. I tried recording with the dome in both orientations (pointing upwards and sideways) and the best result from the sideways orientation is shown below. You can use the arrows to scroll in a compatible browser, or swipe with your finger on a touch screen, or even just move your smartphone around to view the scene. Now I want to bring your attention back to the 'twin pack" of cameras that is available. As you can see, in sideways orientation we only really get 180 degree of view, so you need two cameras for the ultimate setup. The Ricoh Theta S, albeit delivering a lower resolution, has a camera on both sides and does a pretty good job of joining the photo/video together.
Once you have your video you can either edit in Kodak's software (which is not very user friendly) or simply process it through Google's own YouTube 360 Metadata application and it makes the necessary changes for your video to be converted when you upload to your YouTube channel. In fact I could not get the Kodak SP360 software to work, so this is just processed through the YouTube Metadata app. As such it looks a bit stretched.
With the lens pointing upward (as shown below) the video result was not really worth showing you. I think this is partly the fault of the technology, but also the fact that YouTube zooms into the footage and the quality really decreases.
With all that said, I do think this is an action camera with big potential. As online services improve, we will see the quality improve too. What the Kodak SP360 4K really offers is an innovative package that allows you to really explore your creativity. Exciting times are ahead for sharing 360 degree immersive video.
Supplied by Kodak