The world of real estate has been changing at a rapid pace–due partly to a global pandemic keeping everyone indoors. This meant that just about everyone had to adapt to a new way of living (and shopping.) Those looking to move were seemingly out of luck–sure, most houses are listed online, but traditional photos leave much to be desired.
That is, until 360 photography made its way to real estate, and allowed for detailed, interactive tours. High quality photography and virtual tours help ensure buyer confidence and increase the visibility of the home being sold. When the listing looks professional, it draws in a larger amount of online traffic–but hiring a professional isn’t always necessary when achieving a professional level of quality. The options are nearly endless when it comes to selecting camera equipment suited for 360 photography. Really, there are options available for nearly every budget–including an option that doesn’t require spending anything. Here’s a list of the best camera equipment for creating your very own 360 spin photography.
While there are dozens of great 360 cameras on the market right now, what works the best for you is not always as simple as choosing the most expensive camera out there. There are numerous factors to consider: budget, desired quality, and intended use to name a few. Keep in mind that when choosing a camera, the name of the game isn’t really finding the best camera on the market, it’s finding the camera that meets all your needs–and that includes hitting your desired price point.
The price of the camera should play a large role in making a purchase. While some fall into the trap of thinking the most expensive camera and the best camera are one in the same, it’s simply not true. It all comes down to intended use, and typically, the most expensive camera is not necessary. For most, the only camera they need is already sitting in their back pocket–a smartphone comes equipped with a camera that is more than capable of keeping up with most professional cameras. It may take some time learning how to properly utilize the features already present in the smartphone’s camera, but for many, no photography budget is necessary at all.
For those that are in the market for a 360 camera, be on the lookout for features that you’ll be paying for that you may not necessarily need. For example, water resistant or water-proof cameras typically cost more than their counterparts. If the camera is being used to film and photograph houses for sale, water resistance is probably not necessary. Likewise, cameras that boast a 6k image resolution are probably better suited for shooting films, not filming a master bath. Buying with the end goal in mind can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
One of the first ways to check image quality is by the number of megapixels in a photo. Megapixels are the number of “moving parts” that make up a photo, so the larger the number, the better the photo quality. Pictures with a low number of megapixels tend to come across grainy. For professionals, a large number of megapixels is necessary to keep photos looking high quality. Keep in mind, though, that the number of pixels is correlated with price, so as pixels increase in number, so will the dollar amount. For those on a budget, there are plenty of cameras that can produce professional-looking photos, even if they don’t claim to have the same pixel-producing capability as other cameras.
Just picture it: the house is staged just right, the light is streaming in at a fantastic angle, and the camera is on and ready. Maybe the first floor of the house is done, and you’ve moved on to the basement. Just as you’re about to finish up a room, the screen goes black. Sure, a dying battery isn’t the end of the world–but it sure isn’t ideal. A long-lasting battery in a camera is vital to avoiding moments like these–especially if there are multiple houses and properties to visit and record in a single day. Your camera should be able to keep up with you, not slow you down. Battery life can range anywhere from one hour to three, so keep in mind just how often you’ll need to charge when considering your purchase.
Listed below are some of the best 360 cameras available on the market now, appearing in order of price, from low to high. Any camera on this list has been deemed suitable for filming real estate, although some are considered more advanced than others. The suitability of any camera depends entirely on the user, so keep in mind your own unique needs while reading through.
This camera is a great option for those who are newer to 360 photography. This camera is compatible with not only Samsung devices, but also Apple and Android. The quality is perfectly suited for real estate, with a camera capable of capturing in 4k. While it comes with a standard tripod for filming, it’s also suitable for handheld filming (though that’s not typically encouraged.) With a price tag that can range from $150 to $229, affordability is a major green flag.
The GoPro Max is a powerhouse in a tiny package. Not only does it boast 6k quality, it’s waterproof and as durable as they come. The sound quality is also top-notch, having somehow fit six mics on such a compact object. This one comes with all the bells and whistles, and is just as handy on a house tour as it is jumping out of an airplane. Coming in at $400, keep in mind that some of those “whistles” you’re paying for may not be necessary for anyone only looking to upgrade their virtual real estate listings.
This camera truly does it all. Aside from 6k quality, a water resistant design, and a long-lasting battery, you can also look forward to stitching capabilities and an auto-stabilizing feature. With a price of $800, this one might break the bank. There’s no doubt that this camera can create a pretty nice virtual tour, but so can a camera that’s less than half the price. This may be a better option for those looking to shoot professional-grade commercials or promotional content, not necessary for anyone looking to take their real estate game to the next level.
Of course, everyone has a different opinion on what the best phone camera on the market is, but there seems to be three that continue to make the top of nearly every list. The iPhone 14 Pro, the Google Pixel 7, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra all receive unanimously high marks. However, if your phone is none of the above, don’t fret. Any smartphone released in the last few years should have a camera that is perfectly suitable for creating fantastic content.
No matter the price or quality, the one thing a camera can’t provide is the ability to edit the footage or photos you capture with it. Sure, some come equipped with simple stitching capabilities, but for more advanced editing, outside software is needed.
For a quality software program that both simplifies the process and elevates your work, check out CloudPano. Not only can you take advantage of their software, but there’s an app available as well. The app is especially useful to any smartphone users, as it allows you to use your phone’s camera and piece together a fantastic tour all in one place. No more collecting footage with a camera, then using a separate software to edit, then yet another software program and platform to actually post the tour–CloudPano is a one-stop shop. To learn more about CloudPano, and about virtual tour software itself, check out this fantastic video.
Professional photos and videos should be available to anyone, regardless of budget or experience. Remember to shop around and find what will truly work best for you and your business. When it comes time to invest in a software that has your back, consider CloudPano–check out all their raving reviews here if you’re still unsure. Virtual real estate is changing, but it shouldn’t cost a fortune to keep up–happy shopping.
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