Kandao QooCam 8K 360 Camera Preview

Kandao has announced the QooCam 8K, and extremely high-resolution 360 camera. As the name suggests, it records video at 8K resolution, far higher than competing 360 cameras, which generally top out at around 5.2-5.7K resolution.

There’s also a touch screen, stabilization, extensive video framerate and photo options, and more. It’s an impressive looking 360 camera.

Here are all the details.

Big sensors

The key feature of the QooCam 8K is inside: Two 1/1.7” back-illuminated CMOS sensor sensors, which are 58% larger than the image sensors found in most 360 cameras, according to Kandao. This allows for a potentially better image, with better low-light performance. This is also what allows for the higher resolution photos and videos.

Speaking of, there’s the headline 8K video resolution, or 7680x3840 at 30 frames per second. If you want to record lower resolution 4K video, you can do so all the way up to 120 fps. It’s also 10-bit video, which is surprising. Most others are 8-bit. This is the first consumer 360 camera to be able to do any of those things. The 120 fps would allow for some pretty epic slow-motion videos. Also remember, with 360 video you need as much resolution as possible, because at any one time you’re only seeing a small portion of the image. Expect some pretty massive file sizes at that resolution, though it can encode with H.265 so that should help.

Photo resolution is the same, 7680x3840, but you can capture multiple images and the camera will combine them for a lower-noise, higher dynamic range image. Or as they describe it: “In Realtime Raw+ mode, the camera captures a rapid burst of DNG photos, aligns and blends them algorithmically to get one 16bit DNG and JPG, resulting in less noise, higher dynamic range and no ghosts HDR photo. Using computational photography, Realtime Raw+ photo is brighter, cleaner, sharper and see more details in low light with 3 times higher image quality.”

There’s 64GB of internal storage, plus an SD card slot.

To transfer, there’s WiFi, plus it comes with cables to connect to your phone for a much faster wired transfer of the big files. There are iOS and Android mobile apps, as well as Mac and PC desktop apps.

Kandao calls their stabilization method Ultra Steady, and it uses a 6-axis gyro. Their demo clip for this looks impressive, but we’ll have to see how well it works in person.

Letting you control all this is a 2.4-inch touchscreen.

There will also be accessories available a launch, like a dive case, external mic, and selfie stick (that should disappear in photos).

At $589 it’s $90 more than the GoPro Max, and $190 more than the Insta360 One X, two of the top 360 cameras right now. The specs are a lot more impressive than those cameras though.

You can pre-order now, but I don’t recommend it. The QooCam 8K isn’t Kandao’s first 360 camera, but even if the camera itself lives up to the promise of its specs, it’s really the app that’s going to make or break this camera. Until some reviewers get their hands on it and put this camera through its paces, I’d hold off. You shouldn’t have to wait too long, though, as it should start shipping next month.

QooCam 8K: $589

Kandaovr.com

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Geoff Morrison is a tech and travel writer/photographer based (occasionally) in LA. For most of the year he's a digital nomad, working while travelling around the world...