Published on January 21st, 2018 | by Greg0
MADV: Action Cameras For Life In 360 Degrees
One of the biggest trends in photography in the past couple of years has been the rise of 360-degree videos and imaging. A few years before that, it seemed likely that light-field cameras might be the next big thing, but they haven’t become as popular as the technology is still a bit restrictive. But multi-angle takes and wide panoramas are really powerful, convenient for many professional and personal settings- from concerts and landscapes to parties and action sports.
And though you might not have heard of them, today’s company has quickly become a favorite among vloggers and folks who rely on capturing on-the-spot footage- Xiaomi launched a pretty cute and impressively successful model called the Mi Sphere, and has followed it up with a slightly higher-end version they are calling the Madventure 360, focused on Western markets. Both offer a pocketable, portable form factor, an IP67 waterproof rating allowing you to take them anywhere, and electronic image stabilization that helps reduce shakiness and improve the results. The real magic, though, comes from dual 190-degree fisheye lenses and the software inside that combines them seamlessly- just pop in a microSD card (up to 128GB).
We put both of them through a variety of tests, and there isn’t much reason not to choose the newer model considering the fairly marginal price differential (though we would have liked some other color options as the MiSphere comes in a nice matte black and the Madventure in a metallic red). Some of the extra features set it apart, like the included special selfie stick- it’s edited out by the camera, so is functionally invisible and creates a cool floating effect without the need for Photoshop. Plus, a built-in remote control on the selfie stick allows you to snap a picture. Long exposure options (up to 32 seconds) help in even the darkest conditions, and time lapses are made simple too.
The MiSphere offers a slightly lower rated resolution (3.5K overall) compared to the stated 4K of the Madventure 360 (though the true resolution appears the same). Battery life requires just a little more attention than your average action or sports camera- expect 75 minutes of video but 200ish photos before needing to recharge. We dropped the MiSphere more than once and never had an issue; these guys are well-constructed and designed despite being incredibly thin. Controls are a bit of a compromise and take some getting used to- and your shots will require some more care in composition. You’re grabbing a natural shot of the surroundings, which means editing can be very difficult, and there’s a distortion to images if you even think about using them as stills. Instead, you’ll be treated to some incredible videos,and decent smartphone/tablet apps for Android and iOS are available too, with wifi and Bluetooth both allowing instant connections anywhere. The special selfie stick isn’t as hardy as the camera itself, and the microphones and audio is merely adequate on these cameras. But there’s still every reason for anyone interested in 360-degree capture to grab the cutting-edge, surprisingly-affordable Madventure 360 or it’s sibling, the Xiaomi Mi Sphere.