Is Your Device Right for Capturing 360° Imagery?

Is Your Device Right for Capturing 360 Imagery?

Smartphone Devices vs. DSLRs

It goes without saying that displaying high-quality imagery is essential for highly-converting VDPs.  Your website may have the most attractive layout but if all the images are blurred, muddy or overexposed, it could be what pushes buyers to a competitor.

Obviously, you want your inventory to look crisp and clear in still photos and in your interactive 360° captures. So how do you accomplish both? The answer?  Create your 360° virtual car presentations using a smartphone device that comes equipped with the latest advancements in camera features and technology.  

Smartphone cameras have come a long way over the years.  What they lack in features and performance, they make up for in ease of use and convenience. The biggest complaint against smartphone cameras historically was that they couldn’t deliver the quality of a DSLR. But is the quality that far off from a pro-level digital camera?  

No, actually, even professional photographers admit to sometimes abandoning their DSLRs in exchange for an iPhone 8 or X.  In most settings, the difference in quality is almost unrecognizable, especially after a photo has been downscaled and resized to be displayed online as is typical for VDP photos.

Cool Camera Specs

Car360 recommends using the latest version of any device but our favorites are the iPhone 8/8s and X, Google Pixel 2/2XL and Samsung Galaxy S8/S9. Why do we love these cameras?  Let’s count the ways…

iPhone 8/8s iPhone X Google Pixel 2/2XL Samsung Galaxy S8
MegaPixels 12 MP 12 MP 12.2 MP 12 MP
Aperture f/2.4 f/2.8 f/1.8 f/1.7


First of all, the iPhone 8/8s, X, and Samsung Galaxy S8 are equipped with a 12 Megapixel camera and the Pixel 2/2Xl camera has 12.2 MP.  To simplify, the more megapixels there are, the clearer the image will look. 12 MP may not be as many as some high-end DSLR cameras have, but can you really tell the difference?

Secondly, the aperture of the phone’s camera assists with making images bright and sharp.  The iPhone X beats the rest in this department but the other recommended models will produce similar results.  Regardless of which device you decide to use, good lighting will always be your friend.

Additionally, each of Car360’s favorites is equipped with accelerometer and gyroscope sensors which are needed in order for the app to take 360 imagery.  These sensors measure movement and orientation. The devices also have sensors that help with detecting light and proximity.

Interior Spin Captures

If you’re going to take interior 360° captures you’ll also need to consider which 360° camera to use.  Car360 recommends the Ricoh Theta V due to ease of use and low cost of entry, but you can import imagery from any 360° camera you prefer.

What To Look Out For

Once you’ve chosen your preferred device, you’ll want to find a good place to take your captures.  Look for areas that will promote the vehicle and attract your viewers.  Also, remember that smartphone cameras will suffer in darkness so having ample lighting is best.  Ideal settings for captures would be when the sun is high and the clouds are sparse. However, we provide a variety of lighting modes that help when the ideal settings are not available.

Custom Lighting Available:

  • Manual – Lets you control the Shutter, ISO, and White Balance.
  • Sunny – Adjusts lighting to guard against image overexposure from the sun.
  • Low-Light – Brightens the image when low-lighting is unavoidable.
  • Flash – Shines extra lighting in dark enclosed areas, like the interior of a vehicle.

Rainy Days – Raindrops can distort your images.  If it’s raining, we recommend capturing indoors, if possible.  When it’s not an option to capture indoors, it’s best to wait for the downpour to take a break before capturing.  We’d recommend using the ‘Low-Light’ mode as well for best results.

Ugly Backgrounds – The backgrounds of your spin captures will include everything above, below and around the vehicle.  When possible, choose a location that is as clean and clear of debris as possible. Stay tuned for other options when there’s just not enough space.

*In case you’re wondering, the picture on the left was taken with the DSLR and the other was taken with the iPhone 8.

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