Panatrap: 360 Camera Comparisons (2019)

For our open-source 360 camera trap project, we wanted to evaluate the field and figure out what the most available and useful cameras to hack would be. We collected about 6 commercially available camera traps and evaluated them on their

  • Hackability
  • Image Quality

In our qualitative order, here is a ranking of those cameras we have tested and the order we want to hack them:

Camera type Object Pixel Density (front) Object Pixel Density (side) Distortion Sensitivity to infrared Price paid
MadV 127*127 133*133 None Lowest 300
Ricoh Theta V 100*100 100*100 None Highest 430
Samsung Gear 95*95 143*133 Some Low $83
Ricoh Theta S 100*100 100*100 None High 270
Zision 166*166 90*110 Most Low $60
Maginon View 50*50 45*50 Some Low $55

Basic Testing Procedure

Object Pixel Density

We took all of the cameras in a room with controlled lighting, and placed a colorful, standard-sized basketball exactly 2 meters away from each camera.

Set-up to test the cameras’ pixel resolution and level of distortion (after stitching the images).
Setup of the Theta V with the Ball 90 degrees to the side (the Theta V had the least amount of distortion after stitching)

Two pictures were taken in two camera positions, one with a lens straight in front of the subject, one with the camera sideways (or upwards for the Zision). The object is positioned at 2 meter.

IR Sensitivity

To test the cameras’ sensitivity to infrared light. We placed the same calibration object (the colorful basketball) at a distance of 2 meters, with the camera positioned between the subject and the light.

Xiaomi MADV (Mijia Sphere)

General Camera Details

$349 ($299 on sale)

Object Pixel Density + IR Sensitivity

The MadV has a resolution of 127*127 px when ball is in front of the camera and 133*133 px from side view. Its sensibility to infrared light is quite poor. With the target at a distance of 2 meter, it was not able to show anything.

Picture with infrared light



Ricoh Theta V

Video Stitching Resolution4K
Internal/External StitchingInternal Stitching
360 Stitched Video FormatInternal:3840 x 1920 at 29.97 fps (56 Mb/s MP4 via H.264) 1920 x 960 at 29.97 fps (16 Mb/s MP4 via H.264) 
Still Image ResolutionJPEG: 14 Megapixel, 5376 x 2688 (2:1)
Number of Lenses2

Camera per Lens

Sensor1-Chip 1/2.3″ CMOS

Optics per Lens

Maximum Aperturef/2
Lens Elements7
Minimum Focusing Distance4.0″ / 10.2 cm


Recording Mediax Internal Flash Memory
Built-In MicYes
Channels4.0-Channel Surround
Audio FormatAAC-LC

Exposure Control

Shutter Speed1/25000 – 1/8 Second (Photo)1/25000 – 60 Seconds (Photo)1/25000 – 1/30 Second (Video)1/25000 – 1/30 Second (Streaming)
Photo ISO Range100 – 1600 (Auto)64 – 3200 (Manual)
Video ISO Range64 – 6400 (Auto)

The Ricoh Theta V showed a resolution of 100*100 px, no matter which position the camera was in.

Picture with infrared light.



Its sensibility to infrared light is the highest of all the cameras tested.

$429 ($379 on sale)

Samsung Gear 360 4K Spherical VR Camera

Image Sensor2 x 8.4 MP CMOS
Lenses2 x f/2.2 ultra-wide lenses
Max Video Resolution360° Dual Lens: 4096 x 2048 at 24 fpsSingle Lens: 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
Video FormatMP4 (H.265)
Photo Capture Resolution360° Dual Lens: Up to 15 MP (5472 x 2736)Single Lens: Up to 3 MP (2304 x 1296)
Photo FormatJPEG
ISOUp to 1600
MicBuilt-in stereo microphone
Recording TimeUp to 130 minutes in 2560 x 1280 resolution at 30 fps
Battery1160 mAh
Card Slot1 x microSDXC card slot (supports up to 256 GB cards)
Supported Operating SystemsAndroid, iOS, Mac, Windows (360 Video Editor is not available for macOS computers)
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz)
Interface1 x USB 2.0 Type-C
SensorsGyro, accelerometer

Picture with infrared light



The Samsung Gear has a resolution of 95*95 px when positioned straight front of the ball, and 143*133 sideways. This camera shows a high level of distortion at the latter position, and has a slightly lower resolution compared to both Thetas.

It proved somewhat sensible to infrared light, though noticeably less than that of both Thetas.

$82.99 (though as of September 2019 price went up to $200)

Ricoh Theta S

Picture with infrared light



The Ricoh Theta S has, just as the Theta V, a resolution of 100*100 px for both sides. Its sensibility to infrared light was a bit less than that of the Theta V, but higher than that of the Samsung Gear.


Zision 360°Panoramic VR Full View Action Camera

Picture with infrared light



The Zision has a resolution of 166*166 px when positioned with its only lens facing the subject directly, but the picture shows highly distorted when positioned with the lens upwards.

Its sensibility to infrared light was poor, only a bit higher than that of the MadV.


Maginon View 360

50 euros (discount price)

Type of camera     Full-spectrum camera for 360° spherical panoramas

Image sensor     2x 2MP CMOS sensor

Photo resolution     8 MP (4,000 x 2,000 | interpolated), 5 MB (3,200 x 1,600 | interpolated), 3 MP (2,592 x 1,296)

Video resolution     2.048 x 1.024 (30fps)

Lens     2x 210° super wide-angle lens

Aperture     F = 2.0 | Focal length f: 0.88 mm

Recording time     Up to 120 minutes with fully charged battery (without WiFi, 2048 x 1024 / 30fps)

Memory     MicroSD card up to 32 GB (min. class 10 or faster)

Connections     Micro USB connection

Power supply     1,300 mAh lithium-ion battery

Dimensions     137 x 45 x 14 mmWeight     83 g

Picture with infrared light



The Maginon has a resolution of 50*50,  and showed a bit of distortion when the camera is positioned sideways. Its sensibility to infrared light was similar to that of the Zision.

$110,00 ($55.00 in sale)