Tech review: Kandao QooCam is an easy-to-use 360-degree camera

The Kandao QooCam comes with three fish-eye lenses instead of the usual two, thus allowing it to take 3-D still or moving images. PHOTO: Kandao Technology
The Kandao QooCam comes with three fish-eye lenses instead of the usual two, thus allowing it to take 3-D still or moving images. PHOTO: Kandao Technology

The Kandao QooCam is not your average 360-degree camera. It comes with three fish-eye lenses instead of the usual two.

This third lens lets the QooCam be used as a 3D camera, on top of being a 360-degree camera, to shoot 3D still or moving images. The resulting images can be viewed using a pair of 3D glasses or a virtual-reality headset.

In addition, you can adjust the focusing of the resulting 3D still images during post-processing to create bokeh, or out of focus, effects.

Its all-black exterior makes it look like a metallic mini-baton. On closer inspection, you will find that there are two lenses on one side and one lens on the other.

On the side with one lens is the power button. Press and hold it to power up the camera - tapping it selects the Wi-Fi network band.

On the other side, there is a shutter release button below the dual lens. A short press takes a still image, while a long press records videos.

The QooCam also has a neat trick. It can be rotated in the middle into a L-shape, with the dual lens facing outwards and the shutter release facing you. This lets you shoot 3D still images and videos.

It has a microSD card slot - with support for up to 256GB - and a micro-USB port for charging. But both the slot and the port are covered with rubber paddings that are very difficult to open. More so for the USB-port, which is used more often to charge the camera.

Without a display, you can either shoot "blind" using the shutter release button or pair the camera with the QooCam app (available on Android and iOS) via Wi-Fi to use a smartphone as a viewfinder and remote control.

Besides, you need the app to view and edit the footage stored on the microSD card. However, I would recommend transferring the footage you want to the smartphone for faster editing.

I find the QooCam's 3D stills and videos to be decent without the visible stitching seams you find in many other 360-degree cameras. But the QooCam's images and videos do not have the sharpness or details found in the GoPro Fusion and Garmin Virb 360. That said, for social media use, it is more than good enough.

Its video stabilisation is pretty good though, with minimal shake when I took videos using the QooCam while walking.

Its 3D still image "bokeh" function is a hit and miss. You can choose the focus point of your image and the app will do the rest. At times, it produces pleasing bokeh photos with a nice blurred background and the subject in focus. But there are times when we find the app mixing the background and subject with no discernible sharpness between the two.

On the upside, the QooCam's three-hour battery life is superb compared to most 360-degree cameras, which lasts around an hour on average.

With its $650 price tag, the QooCam might be cheaper than the Fusion and the Virb 360. However, with the impressive Insta360 One X 360-degree action camera going for around $670 on the Apple Store, the QooCam might be a pricey pill to swallow.

Verdict: The Kandao QooCam is an easy-to-use 360-degree camera that doubles up as a still 3D image camera. It would have been more attractive for social media addicts if it is priced lower.

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $650

LENS: 3 x 216-degree f/2.2

DISPLAY: None

CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

WEIGHT: 180g

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 3/5

PERFORMANCE: 3/5

BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

OVERALL: 3/5