In the early days of 360 photography, it was no small task to take a simple, stitched 360 shot and post it on social media. I remember standing in front of Buckingham Palace 2 years ago trying to make a video with a 6-camera GoPro rig thinking… “My god, there has got to be an easier way to do this…”
We have grown so accustomed to the simplicity and accessibility of a high-quality camera in our smartphone, that the idea of carrying around a huge, heavy, expensive camera rig just for sharing vacation photos is pretty discouraging.
Now, flash forward 2 years later and the technology has finally caught up with that need.
The LyfieEye 200
The LyfieEye 200, developed by eCapture Technologies, is a small, lightweight 3k 360° camera for Android that fits in your pocket. It has a resolution of 2160×1080, does photos and videos, and offers full HD live streaming.
The first thing you will notice about the camera, which stands out from other similarly sized 360° cameras, is it’s flat, lightweight design, which makes it a perfect camera to carry around everywhere. Weighing in at 14.7 grams, this is probably the lightest 360° camera to date.
The camera is currently in preorder production. The base model is priced at $159, but, as mentioned, is currently available for pre-order via their Indiegogo campaign for a limited time price of $89.
LyfieEye 200 App
The camera functions via the LyfieEye 200 Mobile app. The app is relatively fast loading, offers a decent user experience and includes all the necessary features for browsing, sharing, editing and shooting images and video.
Given that this camera is still a first release product, I have to give it a lot of props. Right out of the box, the camera was packaged nicely and was easy to set up, using the included USBC adaptor with a Galaxy S7.
At first, I was a bit confused because I downloaded the existing LyfieEye app from the app store and the camera would not sync. Only later did I figure out that you need to download the separate LyfieEye 200 app using the QR code in the manual. Once that installed, the camera synced very quickly. (Note to self, always read the manual…)
Taking into consideration that this is still a first release product, I will have to admit that the camera lighting is a bit tricky, but still on par with similar 360° cameras. Inside shots seemed to be surprisingly clear but I found the images to be a bit dark or yellow when shooting outside on overcast days. These smaller mobile cameras definitely get better results on well lit, sunny days, however, the weather was not on my side this week.
I did notice a bit of blurring, however, so I hope they do some updating on the image stabilization.
The app renders the images immediately and using the included photo filters, you can apply some nice visual effects. The stitching on the front and back images are relatively clean and comparable to similar cameras.
Sharing images and video via the app is fast and easy. I couldn’t find a way to share content on my Facebook page, however, only to my profile or groups. I have noticed the same problem on other cameras, so this might be a facebook plugin issue, not the camera’s design. I hope this gets addressed in further updates.
There are also additional view features such as tiny planet and landscape mode.
Additional AR / VR Apps
There are two additional apps, LyfieStroll and LyfieRoam, that they will be releasing. No ETA yet on when.
LyfieStroll, will feature video capture with Deep Learning Technology to create fully immersive environments. Allows you to:
- Add notes or points of interest where you are. Include text, videos, or 3D models.
- Upload AR data you’ve built to the cloud.
- Download to view others’ AR information from the real world.
Not sure what they mean exactly by “AR data” but I will update as soon as they answer. Sounds interesting though!
LyfieRoam will captures the world in still images and builds a Virtual map from these pictures. Allows you to:
- Quickly build VR spaces after capturing 360⁰ images.
- Accurately measure the distance between captured areas.
- Easily add notes or points of interest directly into the VR space. Include text, photos, videos or hyperlinks.
- Automatically create VR maps.
- Image resolution: 3k, 2880×1440 (JPG) / 2160×1080 (JPG)
- Video resolution: 2880×1440 (@30FPS) / 2160×1080 (@30FPS)
- Live streaming: 1440p / 1080p
- Single video file storage limit: 3.7GB
- Size W x H x D (mm): 38.69 x 37.59 x 21.71
- Interface: USB type-C (U2/U3)
- Input voltage rating: 5V ± 0.25V
- Power consumption: <1.5W
- ESD: 4KV air, 8KV contact
- Price: USD 159 – 209 (with and without accessories)
- Android 5.0 or Higher
- Windows 7 or higher
The camera model we received includes a cloth carrying case, a USB C2B adaptor and a manual. There are other accessories which will be sold separately, including
LyfieFoot (Laptop Connection) for using on a PC to record live chats, LyfieLinkC2C (Type C Extension), LyfieC2A (USB-C2A), LyfieC2U (USB-C2B), LyfieCableC2C (USB-C2C), LyfieStand (Table Stand)
- Flat design and super lightweight so it easily fits in your pocket.
- The camera app is well made, fast and easy to use, making it easy to just quickly plug in the camera, take a shot and share to social media.
- Nice, natural looking photo filters
- Additional apps in development offer AR and VR functionality.
- Lots of accessories
- The lighting is somewhat dark, even in well lit, outside areas
- Image stabilization needs improvement
- No ability to post to a Facebook Page via the app, only personal and groups.
Overall, the LyfieEye 200 is a small, affordable, easy to use 360° camera that is of comparable quality to other brands in its price and feature range. Its flat design offers a nice advantage for portability and I expect great things with upcoming apps and updates.
Where to get the LyfieEye 200
Sean Earley is the podcast host and Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine, Modern Musician Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development, PR and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.