- Solid construction
- Convenient tripod/hand-grip
- Easy to use
- Reliable companion app
- Disappointing video quality
- Slow video transfer and processing
- A little too big
- 2880 x 1440 resolution video
- 4896 x 2448 still images
- Dual F/2.3 200-degree lenses
- iOS and Android app
- Micro HDMI output
- IP54 water- and dust-resistance
- Manufacturer: DokiCam
- Review Price: £180.00/$270.00
WHAT IS THE DOKICAM?
The DokiCam is a self-contained VR-friendly camera capable of capturing in full 360-degrees through a pair of dual-lenses with a 200-degree field of view each. It’s able to capture 3K video (2880 x 1440 resolution), which isn’t quite as high as some rivals, with 360-degree still image capture up to 4K (4896 x 2448 resolution). The resulting video and images are ready to be shared on YouTube or Facebook without the need for any user processing.
One advantage it has over many other 360-degree cameras is dust and water-resistance, although at IP54 this does only mean splashproof without its optional waterproof case. Still, its relatively travel-friendly size and integrated tripod make it a respectable 360-degree camera – even if its video capture quality is a little disappointing.
DOKICAM – DESIGN AND CONTROLS
Contrary to the squared-off design of the Nikon KeyMission 360, the DokiCam’s main body is completely spherical and about twice the sized of a golf ball. It looks a lot like the previous generation Samsung Gear 360.
Its shape and size aren’t exactly pocket-friendly but it’ll happily go into a bag, all the while having some degree of protection from its accompanying felt travel pouch.
Tucked away behind secure covers along the sides are the Micro USB charging point and microSD slot, and on the opposite side there’s a Micro HDMI output for an external display.
At 140g it’s not particularly heavy, and a standard tripod thread on its base is designed to let you mount or place the camera in a number of different ways. Only a small set of tripod legs are included in the box, but with these folded down it makes for a decent hand grip.
You could feasibly pick up any number of action camera mounts that have a standard tripod thread if you want to use the DokiCam in more elaborate ways. During testing I paired it with a GorillaPod on a number of occasions to let me dangle or attach the camera to fixings.
All of the DokiCam’s controls are located on the top, of which there’s a power button that also toggles between photo and video, a Wi-Fi button for connecting your smartphone, and a shutter button for beginning capture.
On the front, if you can consider there being a front to a sphere, there are three corresponding LEDs that let you know what mode the DokiCam is in, whether it’s recording or the Wi-Fi status. The only problem is these LEDs are really difficult to see in bright sunlight. You also get a beep but it’s so quiet you can barely hear it in a silent room. There’s no option to change the loudness, either.
DOKICAM – APP
Instead, it’s better and more reliable to pair up your smartphone and use the companion iOS or Android app. This just requires you to connect directly to the DokiCam through Wi-Fi. You’ll need to use the app to change any settings beyond toggling between video and still images. Then, you can access other modes such as timelapse or cyclic still images. One annoying thing I discovered is that if you begin a recording through the app, you can’t then stop it at the end by hitting the shutter button on the camera. You have to return to the app or power down the camera, which seems odd.
Otherwise, the app is well designed and provides a useful live view of the camera’s sensors with only minimal delay. You’re then able to view the sensor through a number of modes including fisheye, panoramic, planet and VR. The latter requires you to use a VR headset such as a Google Cardboard. Otherwise you can pan around in 360-degrees by swiping across your screen.
You’ve also got control over camera settings including exposure compensation, ISO and white balance, giving you some tweaking abilities.
Transferring video from the DokiCam to your phone can be a little slow. The camera will cut up longer videos into 30 minute clips of 2.6GB in size, and transferring one of these will take just over 10 minutes. But then when you opt to then share it with a separate app like Facebook, the app processes the video, which can take another 10-15 minutes. It means the whole sharing process can be rather laborious.
There’s also DokiCamPlayer desktop software available to download for Mac OS or Windows, which is just a basic player that stitches together the two views into a 360-degree video. You can also use it to export 360-compatible video for YouTube. A 341MB non-stitched video resulted in a 2.33GB final video.
DOKICAM – VIDEO AND IMAGE QUALITY
With only a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440, the DokiCam’s video isn’t as high resolution as a 360 camera like the Kodak PixPro SP360 or Samsung Gear 360 (2017), both of which can do up to 4K resolution.
One advantage the DokiCam does have is its 200-degree FOV for each camera that stitches together better than a lot of other 360 cameras I’ve tested. Granted, you’re still going to get an overlapped image for objects passing closer than a metre from the camera, but it’s still more seamless than most.
Actual video quality isn’t the best, however. The video is soft towards the edge of the frame and lots of detail gets lost with a lot of noise in the shadow details, such as the astro turf on a football pitch. Chromatic aberration can also be a problem in trickier scenes such as the forest video below. Colours are also very muted and lacking any real pop.
Watching back your video looks much better on the smaller screen of your phone compared to when uploaded to YouTube or Facebook, appearing sharper and less washed out, but viewing with a VR headset does once again highlight the flaws.
Annoyingly, while the app lets you flip your video vertically to view back on your phone, attempting to rotate it and then upload to YouTube causes it to not be processed as a 360-degree video. You’ll have to pretend we’re playing five-a-side on the ceiling as I had the camera dangling upside down from the ceiling netting.
Arguably, the DokiCam does a better job with still image capture, managing a sharper image as well as giving you the ability to save in interesting ways, such as the planet view. It’s still not amazing, though. You’ll want to use the remote control function of the app so you’re not obstructing the camera.
The good news is that 360-degree photos uploaded to services like Google Photos are recognised as such, so you can pan around to your heart’s content inside your browser.
DOKICAM – BATTERY LIFE
Battery life from the DokiCam is pretty good, lasting about 1 hour 40 minutes while recording at its maximum resolution and taking occasional still images. The battery isn’t user replaceable, but you could always use an external battery pack to keep it charged for longer timelapses.
SHOULD I BUY THE DOKICAM?
The DokiCam is really well-built, if not a little large for a 360 camera, with only middling image quality. It is incredibly easy to use, however, and the accompanying app works really well with a seamless and reliable connection. The little tripod legs included are a useful addition and much easier to prop the camera up compared to the updated 2017 model of the Samsung Gear 360. However, the new Samsung Gear 360 still pips it with better video quality at 4K and an overall more portable form factor.
An extremely well-built dust and water-resistant 360 camera, but it only delivers average video quality.