Kandao Qoocam Definitive Review

Kandao announced the Qoocam back in May, and it immediately impressed with its innovative design. It was billed as the first changeable 4k 360 and VR180 camera. The simple but elegant hinge allows you to quickly switch from recording in 360 to 3D VR180.

The three lens configuration and feature set have earned not one but two international awards, the Red Dot Award and the Silver Edison Award for both cutting edge design and technology.

Here are the specs:

Lenses   Three 220-degree fisheye lenses

Aperture              f/2.2

Shutter speed    60 secs to 1/4000

ISO         100 to 3200

Video resolution (VR view)           3840 x 1920 @ 30fps

3840 x 1920 @ 60 fps

2160 x 1080 @ 120fps

Video resolution (3D 180)             3840 x 1920 30fps

3840 x 1920 60fps

Video codec       H.264 and H.265

Photo resolution (VR view mode)              4320 x 2160

Live streaming   3D video

180 3D video

360 + 180 3D video

Storage Removable micro SD up to 256GB

Battery  2600 mAh

180 mins continuous recording

Other features   depth mapping

refocusing

background editor

HDR

But there is more. The Kandao Qoocam is one well-built camera. Rather than being plastic Kandao went with a metal body. The hinge is strong, but sometimes when I am pressing the power button, the top of the camera will turn. I have found that I need to hold the top half, keeping my fingers off the lenses while pressing the power on.

Turning on the wifi is accomplished by pressing the power button again.

While it does have indicator lights, it is definitely a camera that is easier to use when using the smartphone app or with the optional Bluetooth remote controller.

The cover for the MicroSD card and the Micro USB connector are stiff, and at first, you may need to use your fingernail to pry them open, but I liked how secure they remain after extended use.

I especially love the Kandao Selfie Stick the screw on tripod base and the height of the stick when extended make it perfect for shooting. The wire style tripod feet are so small that you may not feel the need to paint them out of the image.

Let’s talk about what this camera does so well.

The Qoocam is the first consumer camera to record depth maps. A depth map is a black and white image that uses a gradient to represent the depth information in the image.

This feature allows the camera to do several things that no other camera offers.

First, it is used for creating accurate 3D stereoscopic images and video.

Second, the depth mapenablees you to adjust the back focus of the image. So you can blur the background in order to enhance your subject. This is something that is common in DSLRs but not in other small consumer cameras.

Third, ever since Apple came out with its 3D Photos, people have loved them. Now you can create the same and even better quality 3D Photos of Facebook.

The next feature that I love is DNG8 Raw+.

Image stacking eight exposures is something that you used to be able to do manually with your DSLR camera. It is a mostly manual process where you take multiple images and sandwich them together to create HDR or High Dynamic Range image.

The Qoocam does this for you all automatically. Once you shoot the image, you do have to do a little extra work in post. Kandao supplies a free app called Kandao Raw+. You load the eight images from the camera before stitching them into the Kandao Raw+ app, and it merges the images together into one HDR image.

Next, you import the images into Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust the image to bring out the stunning range of color and light. Finally, after rendering them, you import the dual images into the Qoocam Studio to stitch them together.

The results are spectacular. Landscapes and room interiors are especially stunning. With room interiors in 360, it is always difficult if not impossible to get the exposure right for the interior of the room and the bright sunshine outside. The outside areas are usually blown out and clipping badly. But as you can see with this image that I shot at an upscale condo, you can see all the details both inside and out.

If for no other reason, this feature alone is worth the cost of the camera!

I’m sure that you’ve seen the 3D Photos on Facebook. As you move your phone up and down the image moves giving you a 3D perspective. This was originally a feature that you could only do with your iPhone.

But now Qoocam has come up with a way to do it. You do need to set up the shot just the right way; otherwise, the 3D doesn’t work.

Twist your camera into the VR 180 3D profile and get your subject in place.

You want to keep the camera about 2 to 3 feet away from your subject, and you want your subject to be isolated without anything too close to him or her or it. Your color contrast and your background textures and lighting will affect how well your 3D photo will look.

Once you’ve taken your shot open up the phone app and download the image. Next press the refocus button on your subject in the app. You can adjust the strength of the background blur with the slider at the bottom of the app.

The final step involves you uploading it To the Qoocam 3 D photo page on Facebook. Qoocam Will do the rest and post your 3 D photo on the page. You can then share it to any place else that you’d like.

Another fantastic application for this feature of being able to adjust the background focus Of any of your images. This can give you very professional results with this amazing small camera. Qoocam calls this shoot first focus later.

The Qoocam App has some very handy features built in as well. Reframing or overcapture gives you the ability to shoot 360 but render like an action cam. The app reinforces this with editing giving you control of Key Points, Roll mode, and zoom mode. The ever-popular Tiny planet is also included in the app.

Qoocam encourages the user to think outside the box and be creative with things like the Dolly Zoom. Instead of needing a professional dolly or slide and a zoom lens, you can use the Qoocam to do it all.

Smart Track coupled with excellent stabilization lets you run alongside your subject and keep them centered in your frame.

Another handy edit feature is the speed control. Using this with tiny planet conversions can give you some really cool effects.

Lastly, with a little bit of planning Timelapse and Hyperlapse can be accomplished easily with the Qoocam.

Even though the Qoocam is only 4K in a field where the resolution keeps jumping higher and higher, the numbers aren’t everything. The quality of the image at 4k can often exceed what is seen on other cameras of higher resolution.

My judgment is that the Qoocam is an excellent camera, priced right with some really stellar features that propel it to the top of its class. My absolute favorite is the DNG 8 Raw+. I use it for both 360 and VR180 to get some amazing results that I would never have expected from a small camera like this.

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