A few years ago, it seemed as if camera manufacturers were ready to democratize immersive reality and virtual reality. With the rise in public interest in VR headsets – a la Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and even Google Cardboard – we began to see new uses for action camera systems like the GoPro Hero and much more straightforward, user-friendly options like Samsung’s Gear360. If you’re familiar with the Gear360 (2017), then the Wunder360 C1 will look like its clone but adds one feature that may be enticing to many: affordability.
C1 Key Specs via Wunder360
- Focal Length/Aperture f=0.94 F2.4
- Sensor Type CMOS FOV 360×360
- Photo Size 4096×2048
- Video Size 3040×1520@30fps / 2176×1088@60fps
- Camera Settings Auto Exposure/White Balance
- Stitching In-Camera Real-time
- IMU 6 Axis
- Microphone Built-in
- Memory Micro SD Card
- Weight 95g
- Dimensions 109.3 x 45 x 35 mm
- Livestream Facebook, YouTube etc
Ergonomics and Design
The Wunder360 C1 has a pretty minimal camera in that there with few parts to talk about. What instantly stands out is the camera’s lollipop shape (yeah, I’m going with a lollipop) sporting the dual F2.4 lenses at the top, three buttons on its sides including a tough to activate power button (more on this later), and the central shutter button on the center of the base. Oh, there’s also a 32-pixel by 64-pixel HUD here as well. The C1 is designed for simplicity: turn it on, start shooting, fix it in post. In fact, that’s the entire ethos of this camera – a 360 camera where anyone can be a director (or at least make them seem like one).
The fast F2.4 aperture helps keep everything bright even when the lighting conditions are less than optimal, and while the images we reviewed were sharp, it’s tough not to get sharp images at this wide of a lens. That said, it’s small sensor has its limits in low light, and while the camera will adjust exposure to compensate, things get muddy quick. Based on our review, this camera shines outdoors where there’s lots of natural light.
Although the C1 is not billed as an action camera, it’s definitely intended to be carried along on your next adventure. The camera has an appropriate amount of heft, and its design makes it easy to carry around without the need for a tripod or unique mounts. In the event you do need a mount, the standard 3/4-inch thread mount allows for it to easily be attached on your tripod or specialty mount of choice; during testing, we’ve mounted the C1 to a variety of dash mount adapters (for the car) and a Gorilla Pod (which does require a washer to keep it from bouncing around). If you have other action cameras or similar 360 cameras, you probably already own a mounting option should you need it. The plastic exterior appears solid but the long press required to scroll through the menus or power on/off make us a bit nervous as to how long they will last before one or more fail.
In the Field
During our review period, we took the C1 on job sites, shot interiors for Virtual Tours, shot videos of our commute, and even took it on vacation to Key West. Unfortunately, the power button on the first C1 sent over failed and got caught in the recess of the camera’s body. Our earlier concerns about the strength of those buttons were reaffirmed. The second camera sent over did not have any of those problems and does feel as if the buttons are a bit sturdier.
That mishap aside, we found it easier to use the camera from the app instead of trying to guess what we’re capturing by using the camera alone. It’s great that it’s an option, but you’re literally shooting blind as the tiny HUD does little else than tell you which mode you’re in and how much time/how many frames are left. We tested the C1 with the iOS app on the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6S and found that the app worked consistently on the latter and would have issues connecting using the former. It’s a shame because when it did work, the editing tools were super simple and sharing to your social media account of choice was a snap.
When it comes down to it, these types of cameras are excellent at what they’re intended to do – provide a quick and straightforward wide-angle (or super wide-angle in this case) set up that you can use to capture your adventures wherever they may take you. Unfortunately, my life is nowhere near as exciting enough for me to walk around capturing 360 videos. It’s a very niche product for a specific kind of videographer, and that’s okay, but until my daily commute looks like this, I may have to pass. The Wunder360 C1 is available now and will cost about $159; we’re looking forward to the latest iteration, the S1. Hopefully it corrects some of the C1’s shortcomings – 3 out of 5.
Wunder360 C1 Screenshot Gallery