I recently purchased the QooCam 8K, a 360 camera from KandaoVR. The camera is unusual in that it has a higher resolution than many other cameras but it also supports audio and video as well as live streaming (albeit at a lower resolution).

It was primarily the image side of things that drew me to the QooCam 8K. I was after a device which would allow me to quickly and easily capture 360 images without much hassle. I do have a Nikon D610 and 16mm Fisheye which allow me to capture higher resolution 360 images (with multiple shots and stitching) however, its not that easy to capture a quick 360 image, so I wanted to find a device which would let me do that.

Whilst images were my area of interest, given I was spending some money on the device I thought it would be valuable to have the ability to also capture 360 videos.

So in terms of the device itself:

  • Sensor: BSC-COMS 20MP 1/1.7”
  • 8K Photo Resolution (7680*3480), Capures in JPEG / DNG, Capable of capturing 8bit DNG, or Raw+ (12bit DNG using external software)
  • Multiple Image Capture Modes (Still image, TImed Photos, SuperHDR, Time lapse photos)
  • 8K Video Resolution (7680*3480@30fps 8/10bit), MP4 format
  • 4K Video Resolution (3480*1920@120fps 8/10bit), MP4 format
  • Multiple video capture modes (Video, Slow Motion, Sports), Live streaming with 4K mode.
  • 6-Axis IMU
  • 2.4 inch colourful touch screen
  • Automatic and manual exposure modes. Photo Manual Exposure allows for 1/6400s – 1s shutter speeds.
  • USB Type C connection
  • Internal 64GB EMMC and supports external TF card (up to 256GB)
  • 3000mAh battery

So in terms of the device, I felt it to be a managable size which could be easily held in my hand. There is a bit of weight to the device so it may not be comfortable to wear the device similar to a GoPro on something like a helmet mount.

The menu system continues to be developed, but using the menu’s for basic functions was fairly easy; you turn the device on using the power button and then slide from the right hand side to open the menu which gives access to the various camera modes. Sliding down from the top of the screen gives access to the settings and to enable WIFI whilst sliding from the left hand side gives access to previously captured images.

Within the capture mode, there are a number of different settings you can adjust (file type, capture mode et al). Clicking on the text brings up the options that can be adjusted (e.g. within photo, you may click on the file type and change to JPEG or JPEG and RAW)

Once you are ready to take the photo, you press the centre button on the QooCam which will start the capture, if there is a timer it will count down otherwise it will capture the image.

Reviewing images is fairly easy, and the camera can also stack the images in-camera or these can be stitched using the Kandao Raw+ application before being converted into equirectangular format using either the app, or QooCam Studio on Windows or Mac.

The biggest issue currently with the camera is its lack of sharpness, whilst firmware upgrades gave improved the image quality, there is still a distinct lack of sharpness as the image gets further away which limits the cameras ability to be used for professional use, some software editing can improve this but it still is somewhat of an issue.

Furthermore, if you are looking for longer exposure captures, currently the longest shutter speed available is about 1 second which is far to short for night astro and sky photography.

All in all I think the camera has promise, but until the image quality is improved, and the shutter speeds are longer I would recommend waiting, or considering a different camera.

The QooCam 8K starts from $649 USD (direct from KandaoVR).

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