ZDNET’s key takeaways
- The QooCam 360 action camera is available on Amazon for $305.
- Video quality and stabilization are amazing.
- There is no way to film without the fisheye look and the micro SD card is a challenge to remove.
I love a good action camera. For years, I used a GoPro for mountain bike footage and even (after some serious tweaking of the configurations) used it to film my first vlog entries and even tutorials.
The problem with most action cameras is the horrible fisheye look. With a GoPro, you can get the fisheye (with some work) and the footage can be used for anything. Some action cams don’t bother with options to turn off the fisheye look and (from my perspective) that’s a shame.
Such is the case with QooCam 360 action camera. I have dug through the very limited documentation and there is no way (that I can find). not film in fisheye mode. However, the QooCam 360 action camera has a trick up its sleeve that many other action cameras don’t. With this camera, you can shoot from the front and back cameras simultaneously. And it’s a lot of fun.
Imagine cruising down your favorite mountain bike trail or down your favorite slope with a camera attached to your helmet or handlebars that not only shows what you see but — at the same time — the joy (or fear ) registered on your face.
Like I said, it’s a lot of fun.
But it’s not perfect. You can’t get rid of the fisheye look and you have to deal with seeing the edges of the lens hood in the footage. That’s good, because you can always turn to your favorite video editing software (I use Final Cut Pro) to crop and adjust. But because of that, you need to have experience with such software to get it.
According to QooCam, there is QooCam Studio or QooCam app, which uses optical flow to stitch fisheye videos and images from QooCam and QooCam8K to produce stitched panoramic videos and images. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a download link for QooCam Studio and the QooCam app doesn’t support 360 Action Cam. That’s too bad because it would be nice to see what apps can do to automatically join side-by-side video.
Well, good. It seems you can’t have everything with any action camera.
- Uses two ultra-wide-angle fisheye lenses to capture 360-degree footage.
- Can record at 5.7K/62MP.
- Can take a photo or video.
- Wide F1.6 aperture and two 1/1.55″ sensors with 2um pixel size.
- Six-axis gyroscope for stabilization.
- Can operate at 32°F to 104°F.
- The touchscreen makes navigating the menu and seeing what you’re filming a breeze.
As you might expect, a lesser-known brand of action camera has almost no support for third-party add-ons. And since the QooCam 360 doesn’t include any mounting options (beyond a standard-sized threaded attachment that fits under the camera), you’ll have to get creative to find a way to mount it. this.
I did some quick testing with the QooCam 360 and found that it captures decent quality video, even in low light conditions. It won’t blow you away but in good lighting, the footage can easily be used in pro-quality videos (as long as you can crop and stitch with your default video editing software).
Beyond the inability to pull off the fisheye look, the biggest problem I have with the QooCam 360 is that it’s heavy. Because of that, you might have trouble keeping it consistent with whatever mounting system you put together. Another issue I had was removing the micro SD card. You have two options: Use a pair of tweezers, or let the spring rocket the card out of the device, hoping you’ll get it. Lost an SD card using the “rocket” method.
ZDNET’s buying advice
At this price, I actually have trouble recommending the QooCam 360 action camera. Yes, it’s fun to see the front and back at the same time, but for about the same price, you can get one GoPro Hero 12 Black with more accessories, better support, and better quality footage. No, the GoPro may not have the fun 360 aspect but I believe the gimmick will quickly wear off and give way to disappointment with this camera.
Also: Is GoPro still the best action camera? Well, it depends
I’ve used enough GoPros over the years and I’d choose any of them over the QooCam 360 any day.