360 Fly vs GoPro (2019 Comparison): The Battle Of The Action Cams!

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One of the most significant offshoots of digital photography has been the growth in capturing video with both compact and DSLR cameras.  As a result of the technology, the video quality of video shot with digital cameras has continued to improve with TV shows and movies being shot using digital DSLR cameras.  While the technology has improved, so has the means to deliver and share video with Facebook and YouTube being very popular platforms for delivering video.

One segment that has really exploded as a result of the technology and delivery platform is “adventure” style videos where activities such as skydiving, mountain biking, skateboarding and surfing are captured and shared, often from the participant’s point of view (POV).  The growth of these “adventure “ videos is a result of the specialized cameras being offered by 360Fly and GoPro, who are the leading manufacturers of these compact lightweight video cameras.

Bottom Line Up Front Update: Originally, this was a close match-up. BUT with the release of the new GoPro Hero7 here, the price difference + additional features make the Hero7 available here the best option (no question).

The 360 Fly vs. GoPro: Get Out There!

While 360Fly and GoPro make a number of different cameras to capture basically the same thing, each manufacturer does it in a different way.  In the case of 360Fly, their cameras use a fisheye lens to capture the activity from a fixed super wide angle 240° field of view, with an app being used to create a complete 360° view.  On the other hand, GoPro uses a traditional wide-angle view lens that allows the field of view to be adjusted just like a traditional wide-angle camera lens.

Another difference between the two manufacturers approach to these cameras is in their shape.  In the case of the cameras offered by 360Fly, the body is a 61mm sphere that can be mounted to almost anything or can be easily grasped in the hand.  GoPro cameras are more rectangular in shape; making grasping it in the hand more difficult, but allowing a number of features as a result, including a rear LCD screen, which is not available on 360Fly cameras.

Some Features and Differences

The cameras offered by 360Fly also feature more built-in features including internal memory, non-removable batteries, and an internal microphone.  Their batteries are charged via a USB cord and video images are downloaded to the owner’s computer via a USB cord.  Fly360 cameras cannot accept external microphones, which greatly improve audio quality.  In contrast, GoPro uses many components that can be removed from the camera, such as a micro SD card to hold video images, as well as the battery, which is charged externally.  GoPro cameras can also use external microphones via a jack on the body.

Another major difference between the two companies is the features of the cameras with 360Fly relying primarily on the uniqueness of their fisheye lens to capture market share, while GoPro generally offers more features that would appeal to someone comfortable shooting with a DSLR camera.   Examples of this include rear LCDs; touch screens, GPS capabilities and optical stabilization.

Finally, Fly360seems to be concentrating on the upper end of the market, with their cameras being significantly more expensive than the cameras being offered by GoPro.  An example of this would be the older 360Fly HD model, which sells for $299.99, while the comparable GoPro Hero sells for $199.00 and has more impressive specifications. In addition, Fly360 seems to be concentrating their business on two camera models and related accessories, while GoPro is much more diversified, offering multiple camera models, drones, clothing and various accessories.

Let’s Compare! Similarities and Differences

Let’s see how these general observations on 360Fly and GoPro stack up against their two most recent cameras, which are the 360Fly 4K and the GoPro Hero 5 Black, both of which were introduced in 2016.  While both cameras share a number of similarities, they also are quite different as well.

As far as similarities are concerned, both cameras shoot 4K video, which is the newest video format, however, the Fly360 4K has a resolution of 2,880 x 2,880, while the GoPro has a with a resolution of approximately 3,840 x 2,160.  While the Fly360 4K cannot shoot in any other formats, the Hero 5 can shoot in a variety of other formats including HD.

Both cameras have the ability to capture still images, but the GoPro Hero 5 has voice recognition and will snap a still image by simply saying “GoPro take a photo”.  The Fly 360 does not have this capability, however.  The GoPro can take still images as a single image or multiple images in burst mode or as a series of images in a time-lapse sequence.  In addition, images can be captured as RAW or JPEGS in the GoPro.  The 360Fly does not have this capability.

The two cameras are dust and shock resistant, which is a critical feature in an “adventure” camera that can be subject to abuse and poor weather conditions.  In addition, both cameras are waterproof, with the 360Fly 4K being rated to 30’, while the GoPro Hero 5 Black is rated to 33’.  While both cameras have wireless, and WIFI capabilities, the 360Fly 4K does not have a built-in GPS receiver, while the Hero 5 Black does have one built in.

The two cameras share a significant number of differences beginning with the resolution of the cameras and the types of lenses being used.  The 360Fly has much more resolution at 16.0 megapixels compared to 12.0 megapixels in the GoPro camera.  However, the difference in resolution is hard to pick up, with both cameras featuring excellent image quality.

The Fly360 uses a fisheye lens that provides a 240° filed of view, which a proprietary “app modifies to produce a 360° view.  In contrast, the GoPro uses a standard wide-angle lens that can be set to a variety of field of views.  Somewhat related is the lack of built-in optical stabilization of the Fly360 4K, while this is a standard feature in the Hero 5 Black.

Another difference is in the type of memory that the two cameras use, with the 360Fly 4k using 64GB of internal memory, while the GoPro Hero 5 Black uses a micro SD card, which can be removed to download video.  In contrast, the Fly360 must have the video files downloaded directly from the camera.

A significant difference between the two cameras is the lack of a LCD screen on the 360Fly 4K, which relies on an app to allow the camera to be controlled with a Smartphone.  In contrast, the GoPro features a 2” rear LCD screen, which also features touch screen capabilities.

Other differences include a built-in battery in the Fly360, while the GoPro has a removable battery.  In both cameras, the battery life will allow approximately 1.5 hours of video to be shot between charges.  The Fly360 4K does not have the ability to accept an external microphone, instead relying on a built-in omnidirectional microphone.  While the GoPro Hero 5 Black uses a simple built-in microphone, it does have the capability to accept an external microphone, which will improve the audio quality of any video camera, as the audio component of these cameras is their weak point.  Finally, despite offering less features, the 360Fly 4K costs $499.99 compared to the GoPro Hero 5 Black, which has more features and only costs $399.00!

The chart below compares and contrasts the features of the 360Fly 4k and the GoPro Hero 5 Black.

Item 360Fly 4K Video Camera GoPro Hero 5 Black
Year Introduced 2016 2016
Megapixels 16.0 12.0
Optical Image Stabilization N/A Yes
Card Slots N/A 1
Card Type N/A Micro SD
Lens 8 Element Fisheye Wide-Angle With Ability To Adjust Field Of View
Zoom No No
Rear LCD N/A Yes
Rear LCD Size N/A 2.0”
Face Detection No No
Still Images Yes Yes
Video Type 4K 4K & Other Formats
Video Recording Rate 50 Mbps 25-30 Frames Per Second
Internal Storage 64GB N/A
Built-In Microphone Built-In Dual Omni Directional Mono, 48KHZ, AAC Compression With Advanced Multi-Band Automatic Gain Control; Also External Studio Quality
GPS No Yes
Wireless Yes Yes
WIFI Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Battery Built-In Removable
Battery Life Approximately 1.5 Hours Approximately 1.5 Hours
Moisture Resistant Yes Up To 30’ Yes, Up To 33’
Dust Resistant Yes Yes
Shock Resistant Yes Yes
Unique Features 240° Field Of View; Unique Shape Advanced Wind Noise Reduction; Built-In Touch Display; Auto Upload To Cloud; Time Lapse, Ability To Capture Still Images In RAW Format
Included Items Action Camera Adaptor, USB 2.0 Cable, Power Cradle, Carrying Pouch, QuickStart Guide, Warranty Card GoPro Frame, Rechargeable Battery, Curved Adhesive Mount, Flat Adhesive Mount, Mounting Buckle, USB Cable, Limited Warranty
Size 61mm Sphere 61.7mm x 44.4mm x 24.0mm
Weight 172 Grams 118 Grams
Cost $499.99 $399.99

*Information From 360Fly and GoPro Websites, including pricing.

The Final Frame: Which is Better?

While both the 360Fly and the GoPro are the leading manufacturers of “adventure” video cameras, they take a very different approach to the market for these cameras.

As we have shown in the case of the 360Fly 4K and the GoPro Hero 5 Black, 360Fly relies on the uniqueness of the video captured by the camera’s fisheye lens, while GoPro uses a more traditional approach by packing more features into their cameras and at a cheaper price point.  Time will tell which company will prosper in the future as growth in this market is slowing and continued innovation will be required to be successful.  In the meantime tale a look at the cameras offered by both 360Fly and GoPro and start shooting video!

Bottom Line: Originally, this was a close match-up. BUT with the release of the new GoPro Hero7 here, the price difference + additional features make the Hero7 available here the best option (no question).

Robert Alexander
 

A camera geek and freelance photographer, Robert (Aka "Rob" or "Bob") spends way too much time examining the finer points of cameras.

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