Here’s an obvious statement: The shift from film to digital changed the way we take photos and record videos. What’s less obvious about that, or at least easier to forget, is that this shift wasn’t just a one-time thing. Digital photography has given photographers, videographers, and the companies that make the tech the freedom to try out all sorts of new ideas.
Some of these experiments have stuck, like how we have miniaturized cameras to the point that we can shoot 4K video with our smartphones. Others, like 3D video, have flailed.
One of the newest experiments, virtual reality, is a grand one. And as we wait to see if that takes hold, we’re seeing some of the tech that powers VR spawn a more accessible version of the idea: consumer-level cameras that shoot 360-degree video and photos. Samsung’s new Gear 360 is already one of the most recognizable of these cameras, and it’s one of the first from a big company with major imaging resources. Like any tech that tackles a new idea, the camera has its drawbacks. If you’re looking for a tool that will let you experiment in 360 degrees right this moment, the Gear 360 is a good place to start — but only if you’ve already bought into the Samsung ecosystem. Samsung’s counting on this, too; the Gear 360 is inherently more compelling if you already own a Samsung phone and a Gear VR. If you don’t, you can still find ways to enjoy the Gear 360. It’s just going to take a lot more work.
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