Technophile

Making sure you get the full picture

Varun Aggarwal | Updated on June 28, 2018

Your world is round: The Fusion offers new ways of capturing moments

GoPro’s Fusion is an interesting 360-degree camera, but currently it’s more for the pros than the regular user

How often have you been stuck thinking that you should’ve clicked a different perspective of the place you last travelled to? Or couldn’t capture your entire group in one frame? What if you could use the same picture that you clicked during your last vacation and extract a 1000 different perspectives? And take several shots from just one?

That’s how excited we’ve been when playing with action camera-maker GoPro’s 360-degree camera, the Fusion.

The Fusion action camera combines two GoPro Hero 6 cameras into one unit, letting you capture everything around in just one shot. Yes, you click one shot and then, after you transfer the image to your phone, you can decide which part of the shot you’d like to save, or rather, which images within that one image you want to save. And the possibilities are endless.

The build

In order to capture everything, GoPro has two 12 MP spherical cameras strapped back-to-back that offer 5.2K video at 30 fps. While the Fusion is built for rugged use, the two protruding spherical fish-eye camera lenses makes it highly prone to scratches that can potentially ruin your GoPro. The action camera-maker, however for the first time, has included a safety case for the Fusion in the box itself. It’s advisable to carry your Fusion around with the casing to prevent spoiling your shots as the scratches will get amplified when you look at the final results.

As was the case with GoPro Hero 6, the Fusion comes with a highly weather resistant body, which is water resistant up to 33 feet. The best part is if you’re already a GoPro owner, all your old attachments and mounts will still work with the Fusion, despite it being the largest camera that the company has made till date.

The Fusion doesn’t come with a display. You’ll have to connect it to your phone in order to get a preview of your shots. But that in practice didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Since the Fusion captures everything around you, you can simply look around before taking a shot and then later decide to pick what part of the scene you want to keep.

That takes us to how you can navigate through the Fusion’s settings. Given the lack of a touchscreen, it isn’t all that simple to navigate, as is the case with some of GoPro’s other cameras. There are just two primary buttons on the device, which seem to make navigation an arduous task in the beginning, but after playing around with it for a few minutes, it feels as natural to use as a touchscreen interface.

It comes bundled with a large-enough selfie stick, which doubles up as a reasonably stable tripod. That pretty much gets you going with the basic accessory that you need for the Fusion, unlike all the previous GoPro products that didn’t come with such add-ons. The Fusion also comes with two memory cards, making it a complete package.

Software

Software has been the biggest strength for GoPro all these years and with regular updates, the company is trying to make the experience better. The same continues with the Fusion. GoPro launched a feature called Overcapture for the Fusion, which allows you to capture more traditional windows inside the spherical content.

While capturing pictures and videos through the Fusion, you’ll often feel it’s been taken from a drone because of something called the “angel mode”. It’s a piece of software that strips the mounting pole from the shot, making the camera look like it’s truly hovering in mid-air. Extracting 2D images from the 360-degree images that you’ve captured can be quite a task, especially when it comes to videos. The desktop software still needs a lot of work and transferring all the heavy videos on your phone to edit will have you running out of memory pretty soon even if you have a phone with 256 GB capacity. There’s no way to get quick snapshots of your images and videos and you have to individually go to each image and video and edit them to extract the perspective you want. For a lay user, that’s a lot of work and we hope GoPro is doing something to ease this process.

The new GoPro app does allow you to directly post your 360-degree images to Facebook, but that’s as far as it goes. For sharing on any other platform, you’ll first have to edit your shots. The QuikStories app that automatically creates videos from your GoPro feed also feels pretty much useless with the Fusion as it requires you to extract the edited videos before it can create a movie out of your captures.

While there are several such issues that GoPro needs to fix for the Fusion to become a mass-market product, the company has definitely created a niche photography segment with the Fusion and it’s definitely here to stay. For now it is more of a pro device.

Price: ₹60,000

Pros: A whole new way of capturing images and videos, great build quality, easy to edit videos on mobile, 5.2K video at 30 fps, overcapture feature

Cons: Scratch prone lenses, complicated process to get final footage, requires a lot of storage on the phone

Published on June 27, 2018

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