Kandao QooCam EGO review: the return of the stereoscopic camera?
Do you need a compact 3D camera? While 360º cameras (opens in a new tab) have gained popularity as a new type of action camera, 3D has not been so popular. In fact, aside from the Vuze XR (opens in a new tab) and the Insta360 Evo (opens in a new tab) the third dimension has played second fiddle when it comes to the two lenses are better than one brigade.
Cue the Kandao Qoocam EGO 3D Camera, a brave attempt to popularize the signage format that comes with bags of resolution, delightfully high frame rates, and even a 3D viewer that attaches magnetically to the back. Is it up to vloggers to create 3D videos for VR headsets (opens in a new tab) like the Oculus Quest 2? For families satisfied with an all-in-one 3D shooting solution? Or can his creations also be widely shared on social networks? Here is what you need to know about the Qoocam EGO…
Specifications Kandao QooCam EGO
35mm equiv. focal distance: 27mm
Picture resolution: 8000×3000
Video resolution: 3840×[email protected]
Lester: 160g (camera), 115g (viewer)
Dimensions: 94x53x22mm (camera), 97x53x48mm (viewer)
Duration: 1 hour
Forget 360º and adopt the stereoscopic 180º. This is the message behind the design of the Qoocam EGO, whose camera has two f1.8 prime lenses, each with a 66º field of view and supported by 1/2 inch sensors. They save side-by-side 3D photos at 8000×3000 pixels (24 megapixels) as JPG files and widescreen 16:9 side-by-side 3D videos at 3840×1080 pixels (4.1 megapixels, but more importantly 1920×1080 full HD for each eye) and in 60 frames per second (fps) as H.264 files with a bit rate of 7.5 MB/sec. That’s more detail than the majority of consumer 360 cameras, and for 3D video, that’s plenty of fps. The camera also has a dual-channel stereo microphone and captures in AAC, but there’s no external microphone option, which will put off a lot of vloggers.
A rather nice feature on the Qoocam EGO is a removable battery. It’s rated at 1,340mAh and lasts around an hour, but the fact that you can keep a few spares in your pocket – or charge it from a portable battery – makes it a more serious photography product.
It’s a shame that the exposure is fixed (aside from limited compensation), but the focus has to be changed manually (and constantly). There are six focus options, with a clear number on the screen for how many centimeters your subject needs to be away from the camera to be in focus. It’s useful, but in practice it really needs an autofocus option. Shutter speed can be changed, albeit slightly; The “sport” mode gives you the choice between 1/125 and 1/1250. There is also a self-timer up to five seconds.
Build and manipulate
The Qoocam EGO is impressively designed, but its user interface is slow. Measuring 94 x 53 x 22mm and weighing 160g, the main camera – available in black and white – feels solid in the hand. The 2.54-inch (1600×1440 pixels, 2.3-megapixel) touchscreen dominates the rear of the product and was responsive in our test. On one side is a battery compartment, which houses the battery and a microSD card with a capacity of up to 256 GB. There is no built-in storage on the Qoocam EGO (it does not work at all without a microSD card installed). At the bottom is a standard 1/4-20 tripod thread.
The red viewer, which measures 97x53x48mm and weighs 115g, is just as well designed. It attaches to the back of the camera using magnets and clips. When viewing your 3D photos and videos, the viewer gives you 37 pixels per degree (PPD), which is pretty good for 3D. That’s more than that achieved by the Oculus Quest 2, which has just under 20 PPDs.
The camera is easy to use; just set the focus and shoot while remembering to keep your subject(s) the same distance from the camera at all times (failure to do so will result in a blurry image) . Once you’re done, you can attach the viewer and watch it back. However, it is slow. Switching between 3D photo mode and 3D video mode takes about four seconds. Doing anything takes about four seconds. It’s not a good camera for spontaneous moments.
For editing you need the Qoocam app, which allows basic edits and also provides some novelty templates and side effects (it also works as a remote shutter if you have the camera on a tripod) . For viewing, you can physically transfer the microSD card (opens in a new tab) to a VR headset (which some have) for viewing (as 3D footage, not tracked VR content) and upload 3D videos to YouTube, albeit horribly compressed. Or you can extract the files from the microSD card and edit them on a computer.
We found linking the app to the camera a pain largely because you have to scroll through its settings and attach it to a smartphone’s hotspot rather than just tethering your smartphone to the WiFi network of the camera. ‘camera.
The Qoocam EGO takes excellent 3D photos and widescreen videos that look authentic and accurate. It is, after all, using two lenses – it is not fake 3D. In terms of sharpness and resolution, they’re more impressive than most 360º cameras, including high-end options like the Ricoh Theta X, Insta360 One X2, and GoPro Max. (opens in a new tab).
The only caveats are that the videos have a relatively low bit rate and you have to play around with the focus. This has consequences if you are going to shoot a lot of scenes with different depths. It’s nice to have control over the focus, but you have to become completely obsessed with it while shooting. The best way to do this is to choose a scene to record, adjust the focus, then check it by attaching the red viewer to show you a live view of the 3D effect. It’s a painstaking process, but at least you can see exactly what your video will look like, and more importantly, if you’re too close or too far from objects.
Reading is easy if only you want to see it. Just take the red viewer and attach it magnetically to the camera’s touch screen. The magnets are there to guide you rather than firmly grip the viewer; it’s the clips on the side of the viewer that hold it in place. Then just look in the viewer to see your creations in 3D.
The purpose of the Qoocam EGO viewer with 37 PPD is to create a more immersive experience and avoid the “screen door effect” where the pixel grid is visible when viewing. You don’t get this using the Viewer, through which 3D footage looks excellent; brightly colored, highly detailed, clean and comfortable to look at. However, it would be nice if 3D video could be captured in a higher bitrate and 3D photos in a raw format for easier post-processing.
Video samples shot with the Kandao QooCam EGO
Kandao QooCam EGO: Verdict
We live in a 3D world, but until the metaverse and/or VR settles in properly, we’re stuck with 2D social media. Superbly designed and with excellent build quality, the Qoocam EGO has a sluggish user interface and forces the user to become obsessed with focusing, but it is capable of producing beautiful 3D photos and videos. We just don’t know what to do with them.
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