Kodak PIXPRO SP360-4K Review

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Pros

4K video recording
Ultra-wide 360×235 lens
360 videos supported by YouTube and Facebook
Twin pack can record 360×360 video
Wide range of accessories included as standard (depending on pack purchased)
Wi-Fi and NFC make it easier to control the camera

Cons

Software is difficult to use
Doesn’t cope with loud music very well
Audio quality could be better
Tripod position is near the lens

1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 32.0 mm | ISO 400

The Kodak SP360-4K is an update to the SP360, and offers 4K video at 30fps, as well as a wider-angle 360×235 degree lens. The SP360-4K is available on it’s own or as a twin pack for a full 360×360 degree view once the videos are stitched together.

Features

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K (4)

Kodak PIXPRO cameras, are produced under licence by JK Imaging Ltd, and they were one of the first manufacturers to offer a 360 ultra-wide-angle camera with the original Kodak PIXPRO SP360. With the SP360-4K the lens is a 235 degree fisheye lens, which is extremely wide-angle, considering even a wide fisheye lens such as the Lensbaby Fisheye is 185 degrees.

The camera features a 12 megapixel sensor, and can take 8 megapixel still images. The camera has a number of different shooting modes and options, which can all be set on the built in LCD screen. You can output video to Facebook, YouTube, or view with a VR headset.

Shooting modes:
  • Video
  • Stills
  • Loop Recording
  • Timelapse
  • High speed movie
  • Continuous

With Wi-Fi and NFC built in you can use the mobile app to see what you are recording. However, as the view is quite wide anyway, you don’t really need to worry too much about this, as long as it’s pointing in the right direction, the lens is likely to record everything. You can then change the view when watching the video back.

Kodak Pixpro Sp360 Sp360 4k

Kodak Pixpro SP360 (left), SP360-4K (right)

The new SP360-4K and is slightly larger than the original SP360, and this means that some of the SP360 accessories won’t fit, such as the waterproof case for the SP360, but any attachment that is compatible with GoPro mounts or tripod sockets should work.

Here we’ve had a look at how the camera compares to some of the other cameras available:

Kodak SP360 Kodak 360 4K Ricoh WG-M2 ISAW Edge 360fly
FullHD 4K (30fps) 4K (30fps) 4K (10fps) 1500×1500
10mp stills 8mp stills 8mp stills 16mp stills 2mp
360×214° Lens 360×235° Lens* 204° Lens 170° Lens 360×240° Lens
f/2.8 aperture f/2.8 aperture f/2.0 aperture f/2.5 aperture f/2.5 aperture
Stereo mics Stereo mics Stereo mics Stereo mics Mono mic
Electronic IS Electronic IS Electronic IS No IS Image Stabilisation
Black + white display Black + white display 1.5inch screen 1.5inch screen No display
Wi-Fi / NFC Wi-Fi / NFC Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
Optional WP case Optional WP case Waterproof (20m) WP (40m) with included housing  Waterproof (35m with mic plugged)
MicroSD slot MicroSD slot MicroSD slot MicroSD slot 32GB built-in
£249** £349** £269*** £169** £399** (small bundle)

* To make this 360×360 you can buy a double pack
** Depending on package purchased, these come with a bundle of accessories and attachments.
*** Does not come with ANY attachments.

With Wi-Fi and NFC built in you can connect the camera to a compatible smartphone, with iOS and Android apps available.

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K (6)

You can control the two SP360-4K cameras with the provided remote watch (which comes with the twin-pack), and you simply need to pair the watch to the two cameras in the camera’s menus. You can also use it to control one camera if you just want to use one.

Key Features
  • 12megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 360×235 degrees ultra-wide f/2.8 lens
  • Electronic image stabilisation
  • 1inch LCD control screen
  • 4K video, stereo mics
  • ISO100 to ISO800
  • Wi-Fi / NFC connectivity
  • Freezeproof and splashproof
  • Shockproof up to 2m with lens cover
  • 10fps continuous shooting

Handling

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K (1)

The cube like cameras are quite distinctive and different to nearly every other camera available, including other action cameras. The dome shaped lens on top of the camera gives the camera a unique, almost HAL 9000 look to it, particularly when viewed straight on. The camera feels well built, with weather sealed compartments, included a well padded battery cover. It’s quite tough, despite being made of mostly plastic.

There’s a generous amount of accessories, including rubber lens caps, a spare protective lens cover, and a number of mounts that let you use the cameras together or on their own. The accessories provided depends on the kit you go for. With the twin / dual pack, you get a remote control watch, which can be used to start and stop video recording of both cameras, as well as take photos.

On the side of the camera you’ll find the 1inch LCD screen, which is used for changing the mode and settings,

There’s an on/off button that is also used as the mode button, and an up button, with the down button below. You need to hold the on/off switch for around a second to switch the camera on. You can enter the menus with the down button. There’s a large record / OK button, and a Wi-Fi button next to this. On the other side is the tripod socket, with a covered USB and HDMI port, as well as the MicroSD slot. The tripod socket is plastic, and is quite near the lens, so you might be better using the attachment that lets you attach the camera to GoPro style attachments, although it’s worth checking compatibility as we had some problems when trying to attach to some other brands GoPro attachments.

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K (3)

The menus are reasonably easy to use, although by using the Wi-Fi app on your smartphone it can be easier and quicker to change camera settings, once your connection to the camera has been setup. Setting up the connection to the camera is much quicker if you can use a compatible smartphone with NFC. There are a number of options and they are also clearer and easier to read, rather than having to use the LCD screen on the camera.

Kodak Pixpro Wifi App Views Dome Kodak Pixpro Wifi App Shooting Options Kodak Pixpro Wifi App Options
Views Dome Shooting Modes Menu Options

When recording 4K videos, the camera will record a maximum of a 4GB file, which is roughly 9 minutes 20 seconds, before starting another video file. Using the software you can combine videos if necessary, or if you record at a lower resolution you can record up to 30 minutes.

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K (5)

Battery life – Battery life is rated at 160 shots according to Kodak / CIPA test results, which is a little low compared to a compact camera, but the camera can record video for 55 minutes at the highest resolution (4K, at 30fps), with Wi-Fi on, so you should be able to record for longer with Wi-Fi switched off.

Software

Kodak Pixpro Main Software

The biggest problem we found with the Kodak SP360-4K was the desktop software used to convert the video and upload to YouTube, which wasn’t particularly intuitive. For example if you want to change the path you are viewing with the software, then you need to double click the DV or Disk icons. To change brightness options, you click “More”, and there you can change the sharpness, brightness, contrast and saturation of the video.

Kodak Pixpro Sp360 Menus

To make the videos suitable for uploading to YouTube, you have to press the YouTube button, and this will process the file, and save it as an MP4 video file.

On one PC, the upload to YouTube failed, with an error message, but no reason was given as to why it failed. On another PC the upload worked, from within the software, although you can upload the file directly by selecting the output file from the software to YouTube if you want to. While the video is being exported to YouTube, you can’t do anything else, instead you have to wait for the processing to finish. Luckily the YouTube upload window is separate, so you can go back to editing and processing the next video.

4K videos can be quite large, with a 9 minute video, once processed, averaging around 10GB, which will be slow to upload to YouTube, even with a fast internet connection. If you have a slow internet connection, you might want to keep your videos much shorter.

There are a number of guides available on the Kodak PIXPRO YouTube channel, which should help you use the software, but it would be useful if the software was more intuitive.

Kodak Pixpro Output

Kodak PIXPRO Stitching software

To stitch two videos together when using two Kodak SP360-4K cameras at the same time, you need to use Kodak’s PIXPRO 360 Stitch software. The software is free to download from Kodak’s website, and lets you set the direction of view, as well as rotate the video, in case you’ve mounted the cameras upside-down. There are options for calibration and effect settings, and when exporting the video there is the option to upload to YouTube.

Kodak Pixpro 360 Stitch Main

The software interface is clearer and easier to use than the main software, although on exit there is a message that isn’t very clear. It took around 4 minutes to stitch together two 30 second 4K videos, and this then uploaded to YouTube, giving a full 360×360 view. You can view an example off this here.

Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sample Photos

4K Pano video grab

Night | 1/8 sec | f/2.8 | 0.8 mm | ISO 800

Poppy | 1/750 sec | f/2.8 | 0.8 mm | ISO 100

Wheel | 1/500 sec | f/2.8 | 0.8 mm | ISO 100

Interior | 1/15 sec | f/2.8 | 0.8 mm | ISO 607

Sample Photos – When taking photos (or video) it’s important to be careful where you put your fingers, face, arms, feet, or anything else you don’t want to be in the photo, as the lens takes in such a wide-angle view, that’s it’s very easy to end up with something in the photo that you don’t want.

Auto white balance performs well, and colour is good. The camera copes quite well with exposure considering that due to the ultra wide-angle lens it’s likely that it’s going to have to deal with a very wide dynamic range. The camera does quite well, although it would be good if there were some auto HDR options available. The camera has a very wide focus range. Purple fringing is quite low, although becomes more obvious towards the corners of the frame. Lens flare can be an issue, although this is worse with the protective cover on.

With the lens’ protective cover removed, you get a slightly wider view (235 degrees), and there’s a slight improvement in image quality, although the camera needs the protective cover to be shockproof, and the plastic protective lens cover is recommended to avoid damage.

Video – The camera records square (Global) or rectangular (16:9, Front) video aspect ratios. Square aspect ratio options are:

  • 4K video, 2880×2880, at 30fps
  • 2048×2048 at 30fps
  • 1440×1440 and 1072×1072 video at 60 or 30fps

When recording with the rectangular aspect ratio, you have the choice of standard 16:9 4K (3840×2160, 30fps), or FullHD (60,30fps) video. A high speed video mode is available that records at 120fps but is at a reduced resolution of 720 pixels.

Electronic image stabilisation should be switched off if you plan on recording with two cameras and combining the footage. With electronic image stabilisation switched on, the view changes from 235 degrees to 206 degrees.

There are a full range of white balance options, although no manual white balance. Colour options include Normal, Black and white, and Vivid. Motion detection is an option, which will automatically start recording if motion is detected.

Stereo microphones are built-in. Audio quality was a little disappointing, and didn’t cope very well with loud noise. There are options for wind reduction.

To playback the videos and view them in 360, you need to use Kodak’s software, otherwise the standard playback software just shows the circular view.

There are additional videos from the Kodak PIXPRO SP360-4K on the Kodak PIXPRO YouTube channel, along with guides on how to use the camera and software

Specifications

Manufacturer Kodak
Lens
Max Aperture f/2.8
35mm equivalent 8.2mm
Optical Zoom 0x
Image Sensor
Pixels 12.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) No Data
Pixels (H) No Data
Sensor Type Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size 1/2.33inch
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 1in
Screen resolution Black and white LCD
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Min Focus 50cm
Focusing modes
  • Fixed
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest No Data
Shutter speeds longest No Data
Exp modes
Metering
ISO sensitivity 100 – 800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Underwater
Exposure Comp +/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 10fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 4K
  • 1920×1080
Video FPS 30
Stereo Sound Yes
Optical Zoom with Video No
Other Features
Image Stabilisation No Data
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi Yes
Storage
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Lithium Ion
CIPA Rating 160
Box Contents
Box Contents Depends on kit purchased
Dimensions
Weight 128g
Width 48mm
Height 50mm
Depth 52.5mm

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K (2)

Value For Money

The Kodak PIXPRO SP360-4K is available for £379 or £749 for the twin camera pack. On it’s own, this is quite good value for money for a 4K camera, although there are other options available for less, however none offer 4K 360×360 unless you spend considerably more money.

ISAW Edge, 4K video at 10fps, 40m waterproof, Wi-Fi, £169
Sony HDR-AS50, FullHD video, 60m waterproof, Wi-Fi, £180
Polaroid Cube+, 1440p video, Wi-Fi, £125 – optional waterproof case
Olympus TG-Tracker, 4K video at 30fps, 30m waterproof, Wi-Fi, due July £279 (RRP)
Ricoh WG-M2, 4K video, 20m waterproof, Wi-Fi, £269

360×360 options
Sphericam 2 – 4K video, $2499 – not available yet
Vuze VR Kit – 4K video, $799 – not available yet
Nikon KeyMission 360 – not available yet, price tbc
Ricoh Theta S – FullHD video resolution, 2 lenses for 360 view, £299
GoPro 360 Kit – Includes 6 GoPros – around £3500.

Verdict

The Kodak SP360-4K is one of the first 4K 360 degree cameras available, and with a dual pack you can create full 360×360 4K videos, for much less than some of the competition. It’s also provided with a number of accessories in the “Dual Pro Pack” which will get you up and running straight away.

There are a good range of optional accessories as well, including a waterproof case. The software isn’t as intuitive as we’d have liked, but once you are familiar with it, it gets the job done and has a number of different options, with support for YouTube being extremely useful. Some others, such as the Ricoh Theta S require you to upload to Ricoh’s own website.

If you’re looking for a more creative way to video yourself, friends, family or events, then the Kodak SP360-4K is an excellent camera, and on it’s own the 360 video effect is very impressive, and will certainly WOW people who see it. With the dual pack you can go one step further and create full 360×360 videos. You could also get one and then add the second one at a later date. Considering the flexibility of the system, the wide range of accessories, and the good quality video produced, the Kodak PIXPRO SP360-4K is recommended.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/9cJFb2)

Comments

comments

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn