The story of this unusual 3D camera kicked off in public in February 2022, when the authors raised their target amount in a matter of minutes on Kickstarter. Three days later, backers had already collectively raised over $200,000, and the final amount surpassed $290,000. Then, in May 2022, the product began shipping to users - but it was far from finished. Why? And how is the camera doing?Share:
The Kandao QooCam EGO 3D camera boasts several interesting features. The most obvious one is the fact that it is sold with a magnetic attachment that allows you to view the photos taken directly on its display. And we'll calmly disclose right here that this works very well, thanks to the 1440x1600 pixel touchscreen resolution, among other things.
It's also - for the first time in a long time - a 3D camera that's affordable. The first buyers on Kickstarter could get it for 269 dollars, while the regular price was between $280 and $350. At the end of 2023, it went on sale and could be bought (at least in some countries) for less than $240 including VAT. What do you get for that price?
In the package with the Kandao QooCam EGO 3D camera, you will receive a battery, pouch, strap, selfie mirror, charging cable and basic user manual in addition to the photo viewing attachment. But what you'll probably be most interested in are the specs of the device itself.
So here they are: the camera shoots 1920x1080 pixel video for each eye at 30 or 60 fps, the images have a resolution of 4000x3000 pixels for each eye, for a total of 8000x3000 pixels in one image containing both left and right shots. Photos are saved in jpg or dng format, the video codec is H.264, and gyro stabilization is available (although stabilization must be done later in a software, we didn't detect any in the camera itself).
Photos and videos are stored on a MicroSD card with a maximum capacity of 256 GB, and media can also be shared via WiFi. Charging is via a USB-C cable, through which you can also download data from the card. The camera can also be used as a webcam.
The camera is relatively small and lightweight. It measures 94x52x25 millimeters and weighs some 160 grams. It has (of course) two lenses on the front, which are placed quite a lot on the sides due to its size, so you have to be careful not to block them with your hand when taking pictures.
The body of the camera feels durable, with the manufacturer claiming waterproof and dustproof to IP67 specification. This is why it is a slightly more difficult to open door that accesses the battery, MicroSD card and charging connector, or a slightly stiffer shutter release. But you can also use the virtual trigger button on the display instead of the physical one.
The camera initially earned a number of complaints from users, mainly about the long power-on time, low battery life, the lack of a brightness of display for use in direct sunlight, the lack of autofocus, the lack of dng format or even the fact that the image for one eye is vertically shifted compared to the other eye, which is quite a problem with stereoscopy. However, the manufacturer clearly addresses those issues which he can. So what is the situation now?
We have started using the camera straight away with the latest firmware from December 2023 and there some of the mentioned problems have already disappeared (the vertical shift, the missing autofocus and the missing dng format) or are milder (the length of the power-on). Still, it takes a good 20 seconds to turn on, and when it comes to battery life (at 1340 mAh), you need to be economical and not leave the device on for unnecessarily long when you're not shooting. The charge indicator drops quickly, going from 100% to 90% (with the display on only) in about six minutes, and of course, when recording a video, the power drops even faster - from 90% to 80% in about five minutes of video. On the other hand, it is true that the camera can be used even when it is charging (e.g. from a power bank, which can definitely be recommended for more intensive use on the road).
And let's add that our camera froze several times. Always when switching on, if we pressed a button - or put on the viewing attachment - before it had fully booted up. But if we just let it turn on, it worked reliably.
The Kandao QooCam EGO is only slightly larger than a regular action camera - and its optics and electronics match to this fact. The photo and video quality matches this too, and it's up to your level of demandingness to make sure you're comfortable with it. You'll find both praise and condemnation in user reviews. We lean more towards praise.
Our experience shows that it is usually better to set the focus manually than to rely on the automatic. In both photos and videos, if the scene is chosen correctly (i.e. if there are some objects in the foreground), the 3D effect is clearly visible, the sharpness of the shots is decent and we were also satisfied with the colour rendering. For video, however, stabilisation during recording would be useful.
One of the photos taken by Kandao QooCam EGO 3D camera converted to anaglyph format
To give you a basic idea, here is a gallery of the first photos we took with the Kandao QooCam EGO. It should be added that for the purpose of displaying on the web the photos are already reduced in size. All photos shown were saved in jpg format.
Kandao is a Chinese company based in Shenzhen, which is known as a major technology center in China. Kandao focuses on the production of 360-degree cameras as well as related software. So the QooCam EGO model is a bit of a surprise, because in this case the goal is not to shoot in 360 degrees, but in 3D. Anyway, the advantage of this manufacturer is that even after a long time since the product launch, it brings software updates that further improve the camera.3DJournal, January 2024