We’ve been awash in 360-degree cameras for some time--many of them lower-end, commodity devices--but now we’re beginning to see actual VR cameras emerge. The Vuze VR camera is not just another 360-degree camera; it shoots in 3D, too, which means that you get depth and not just a wraparound image. We got our hands on one to see how well it works and how easy (or difficult) it is to shoot, edit, and share the footage.
It’s important to remember that there are two components to the Vuze camera setup--the camera itself and the accompanying software. It turns out that the latter may actually be more important than the former--an issue we’ll get into shortly--but first let’s meet the camera.
The Vuze VR camera is a flattish, squarish device that has eight cameras (two per side). All eight cameras offer FHD resolution with a 180 x 120 FoV, and together they offer full spherical coverage (360 x 180). The Vuze promises 4K video resolution at 30fps with a video recording rate of up to 120 Mbps. It records audio, too--in the AAC format, with 16-bit PCM audio via four MEMS 48Hz mics.
In addition to capturing 360-degree 3D video, the Vuze can snap 360/3D images (with the app, which we’ll discuss further down the page).
The device measures 12 x 12cm square(ish), and it’s just 3cm tall. For those of you without a metric system converter in your head, it’s about 4.72 inches square by 1.18 inches tall. In other words, it fits in the palm of a large hand, but awkwardly. That’s not much of an issue, though; there’s a screw mount under the camera so you can mount it on a standard tripod (which is definitely the preferred method of shooting), and it also comes with a little folding handle that screws into the mount. Thus, you can shoot simply by grabbing the handle and holding the camera above your head.
The camera weighs 430g (0.94 lbs), which is fairly light, but it’s a bit too heavy and bulky to fit into a pants pocket, which limits its portability a tad. For example, if you want to take the Vuze with you to shoot footage of a national monument, you can’t just stick it in your pocket; you need a purse or a backpack. (Or, if you’re a hipster or a true nerd, a fanny pack would do nicely.)
There’s a hardshell carrying case that you get with the Vuze, and it’s absolutely a crucial accessory. The lenses on the Vuze are not protected, at all. Not only are they in jeopardy of being scratched if you toss it in a bag, you have to also be careful handling the thing, because your grubby fingers can smudge them, and you probably wouldn’t notice until you see your befouled footage.