CES: Google Unveils VR180 Cameras From Lenovo and Yi

First announced at last year’s Vidcon, VR180 is a new YouTube video format focused on the 180° field-of-view in front of you. The video format lets you make immersive stereoscopic video without having to worry about what’s behind the camera, splitting the difference between full 360° VR video and standard video.

Since launch, there have been few creators experimenting with the new format. But for the most part, creating VR180 content has mostly been experimental. Especially as we all wait for consumer cameras to hit the market, let alone get a glimpse of them in the first place.

Now Google is finally showing us the first VR180 cameras we can expect to get our hands on this year, unveiling the Lenovo Mirage Camera and YI Technology’s YI Horizon VR180 Camera.

Lenovo Mirage VR180 Daydream Camera

Both VR180 cameras are simple in design and use, letting you just point and shoot to capture 3D photos and videos of the world around you. You can re-experience the memories you capture in VR with a headset like Cardboard, Daydream View, or the new Mirage Solo. Don’t have a VR headset? You can also view VR180 anytime in 2D on your mobile or desktop devices without a VR headset.

Expected to hit shelves starting this spring, the Lenovo Mirage Camera and YI Horizon VR180 Camera both rock dual lenses on the front and let you take photos, video, and even livestream in 4K VR180 video. It’s hard to recommend one Daydream ready camera over the other without actually shooting with it, but consumers will likely decide based on pricing and picture quality. The Lenovo Mirage Camera will start at a price of $300.

There are a few key differences between the two VR180 cameras at first glance. For starters, the YI Horizon has a 2.2 inch 640×260 touch screen display that can be make shooting video (especially selfies) easier without having to bust out your mobile device to frame the shot. The Lenovo Mirage Camera comes in a sleek form factor, is white in color (which can help reflect sunlight heat), and is touted as a complement to the company’s Lenovo Mirage Solo, the world’s first standalone Daydream VR headset.

YI Horizon VR180 Camera rotating touch screen display.

Both VR180 cameras look simple and pocketable, letting you download the VR180 app by Google to make your phone’s screen act as a viewfinder.

Lenovo Mirage VR180 Camera

We can also expect more cameras to choose from soon on top of these, with a VR180 camera from LG coming later this year. For professional creators, the Z Cam K1 Pro recently launched, and Panasonic is building VR180 support for their just-announced GH5 cameras with a new add-on.

With a range of new VR180 cameras to choose from, you’ll be able to capture your most important memories in a new way.

While there are a slew of VR cameras available today, VR180 might be just what some have been looking for to capture immersive video. There is less to think about when framing a 180° shot and the stereoscopic capture goes a long way in adding to immersion versus the monoscopic consumer 360° cameras that are popular today.

Whether a fan of the VR180 format or not, with a range of new VR180 cameras to choose from, we have more choices in the way we capture and consume immersive content. Because in the end, we all want to move beyond just looking at old photos or videos on our phone and actually relive them over again in VR.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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