The Humaneyes Vuze XR is two cameras in one. The camera’s two lenses can capture 360 videos. Then, with the press of a button, the camera transforms to shoot 180-degree 3D video. It has a top resolution of 5.7K, shoots 18MP stills and can shoot up to 60 frames per second in 4K. For just $440, the Vuze XR is a unique consumer camera for early adopters who want to explore and develop the language of 360 2D or 180 3D storytelling. And even if you don’t want to export in 360, you can use the 360 videos to create a traditional 2D video in Full HD resolution.
This thing looks wicked
The Vuze XR looks like it came from a comic book. The little robot face it makes when shooting 180 3D is nothing short of cute. With the press of a button, the camera’s lenses flip out to the sides, transforming the Vuze XR from a 360 camera to 180 camera. We felt like little kids wanting to flip it out just to close it and flip it out again. With this feature, this consumer 360 camera lets you switch over to another shooting medium for two different tools in one.
The camera’s handle makes it easy to grip. The bottom of the handle is flat so it can be set on a flat surface. Like other 360 cameras, the big trick is keeping your fingertips off of the camera lenses. The grip makes it a bit easier to refrain from touching the lenses, but it still happens. In your hand, its design and build quality immediately become apparent. Although not heavy, it has a solid feel.
The camera has four buttons: one for power, one for Wi-Fi, one for capture and the last flips it out to 180 3D capture mode. The XR does not have a removable battery and when capturing for over 30 seconds, it gets warm to the touch.
360 2D or 180 3D? Both.
The fun of this camera is its flexibility. Not all content benefits from 360 capture and not all content works in 3D. This camera gives you options for both, and you can also crop into the 360 image for traditional video output.
3D has been around for a long time and all the same the gags that work with regular 3D video work with 180 3D. Movement toward the camera is the most impactful; for instance, a hand reach toward the camera feels like its reaching out to grab the viewer. The spacing of the two cameras is meant to approximate the distance between our eyes. This gives a more realistic perspective to the images you capture.
The Vuze XR also shoots 5.7K 30p video in 360 2D. In immersive video, the more resolution, the more real the experience will fee to the viewer. The goal is to have a high enough resolution that you can’t see the pixels — even with the display right up against your face.
Moreover, the XR can capture up to 60p in 4K for shooting fast-moving subjects or shots where the camera is moving quickly.
Before getting into shooting immersive video, make sure you have a way to preview it. We recommend an Oculus Go for the most streamlined experience with the Vuze XR. It’s wireless and gives the simplest connection for watching your 360 or 180 videos.
Interfacing with the phone
To test the camera, we took it on a road trip to Las Vegas to go to a classic car auction. We were able to test it in the middle of the desert and on the Strip in Vegas. Prior to leaving for the trip, we charged up the battery, formatted the SD card, installed the Vuze XR app and connected the camera via Wi-Fi to on our iPhone XS Max.
At this time we made sure the firmware was up to date. The connection process is a bit strange, but not difficult. After turning on the camera, we turned on the Wi-Fi with the goal of connecting it to the phone. After a few moments, the camera appeared as a Wi-Fi connection. We put in the standard password 12345678, and we were connected.
We then needed to do one extra step so that the phone wouldn’t try to get the internet from the camera. To do this we wrote down the IP address, subnet mask and router number. Then, we configured the IP to manual and put in the information. We had to do this a few times over the time of testing. The first time we connected it worked as described. Other times it did not work that same way. Vuze has informed up that Apple has made some improvements in iOS 13, which makes the IP address process a bit easier, but we were not able to verify improvements during our testing period.
Because the battery life is short, to save power, we turned the camera on and off between captures. We had it automatically connect again to the phone a few times after powering the camera on, but not every time. Sometimes the Wi-Fi would connect, but once in the app, it would not recognize the camera. Other times, even though the Wi-Fi indicator told us it was transmitting Wi-Fi, it didn’t appear in the network list. This was super frustrating.
The camera does have a capture button, and that’s good. However, it lights up white when recording. A red light would be more typical for a video camera tally light. This is the only indicator that the camera is working if it’s not connected to a phone.
The app, once connected is simple and easy to use. The settings it has are as deep as you would expect for a consumer camera. There are three resolution options: 4K 30, 4K 60 and 5.7K 30. You can shoot stills in 18MP in either jpg or DNG, and you can choose to have them stitched in the camera or not.
The nice thing is that you can control the ISO up to ISO 1600, and you can adjust the shutter speed to control the exposure.
One bummer is that you can not preview 360 when shooting 4K 60. The camera has just been updated to live preview 5.7K 30. However, we found that not only does it not show a preview during capture, but it also won’t show the preview when not recording until you close the app completely and open it up again. This update was added on the last day of our testing, so we hope another fix is coming soon. The firmware was meant to provide undisclosed bug fixes and preview for 5.7K.
Vuze is currently investigating the issue, but for now, we would just use the app to review your footage and to change settings — not for shooting. Just mind the position the stitch points to point away from your subject matter.
IRL settings and battery life expectations
We recommend always shooting in 5.7K when shooting 360, the higher resolution makes a better viewing experience. Plus because the battery is built-in and only lasts between 45-50 minutes, one 64GB card isn’t likely to fill up in the middle of a shot.
We really wish the camera had exchangeable batteries. Our first day of shooting allowed us to periodically capture throughout the day and the battery lasted the full day. However, when we were working off a shot list, we had to charge it mid-day. We bought a portable power bank to keep it powered while on the go, but you can also plug the camera into the wall while recording if a wall outlet is available. Humaneyes says to expect it to take two hours to fully charge a battery.
Vuze XR image quality
If you give the camera lots of light, the image looks very nice. Outdoor shooting will look best, but shooting indoors works when light is plentiful. Beware when shooting with lots of lights, depending on where you put the stitch point, the light may look different.
When shooting in the Nevada high desert in the midday sun with scattered clouds, we were impressed with its auto exposure; it was able to capture the highlights in the clouds while preserving enough information in the shadows. With the lenses being as wide as they are, everything is in focus. However, things that are not directly near the camera appear unexpectedly far away, meaning small objects lack detail. Obviously, there is more detail in the 5.7K video than when shooting in 4K.
We expected the footage from the Vuze XR to look good with lots of light. However, its low light performance is important to consider as well. The camera has both ISO and shutter speed control if you wish to use it. We shot in the sports betting room at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas to test how well the camera captured at each ISO.
The room has a full wall of screens to watch horse racing, boxing or other pro sports, but outside of that, the rest of the room is unlit and dark. We tested the full range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. At ISO 100 the overall shot is too dark. The TV screens on the wall are in perfect exposure, but 90 percent of the shot is dark and shows noise. However, that noise has no color shift and is not distracting from the shot. At ISO 200 sharp details begin to emerge in areas of light and the footage shows less noise overall.
At ISO 400, the shot is properly exposed. It’s still a dark room, but the noise is now less present and most objects in the scene have enough detail, sharpness and contrast in them. At ISO 800 skin tones are now exposed properly, but the brighter areas of the scene, like the TV screens, are now overexposed. ISO 800 is the highest ISO we would shoot in to get good results. By ISO 1600 noise has begun to color shift and is distracting everywhere in the scene.
The quality of the stitching that converts the Vuze XR’s rectilinear footage into a viewable sphere varies greatly depending on a number of factors. The camera’s orientation in the scene affects how the light goes into the two wide lenses. When oriented in the best way possible, the stitched area should just disappear. When you add in movement, it becomes more difficult to hide the transitions. However, Vuze VR Studio does give you options for adjusting the stitch quality of your shot.
Vuze VR Studio
The camera by itself will stitch the footage for you, but only in 4K 30. All other resolutions will need to be stitched by a computer running Vuze VR Studio. With Vuze VR Studio, you can do rudimentary corrections like flipping the image 180 degrees or changing the featured center. You can even do some simple color correction.
Because you are capturing everything, the place where you hold the camera looks strange. Its where everything converges. Within VRStudio, you can place the Vuze logo or any other image in that wonky spot.
The most notable thing the program can do is stabilize your footage. There are three options: no stabilization, shake stabilization and shake and horizontal stabilization. We tested it on three different types of shots. The first was our control, a static shot. As you would think, it did nothing with shake stabilization on, but when we rendered with horizontal stabilization on the horizon had a little bump. We don’t know why you would use stabilization on an already stable shot, but there it is. The next shot we tested was when walking. The stabilization was able to get rid of the shake from the walk and worked as well as you would want it to. However, once we had more shake, like from running with the camera, the stabilization was not able to stabilize the footage completely.
Depending on the resolution captured, there are stitch parameters to adjust as well. Although there is only so much overlap between the two cameras, the control does a good job of smoothing out poor auto stitching. However, the closer objects are to the camera over the stitched area, the harder it is to make the stitch look good.
To see how it handles a difficult stitch we positioned the side of the camera toward a person, a notoriously difficult placement. After changing any and all of the adjustments, we were still not able to make the subject look normal. Once we moved the subject about 8 feet away from the camera, the stitch worked much better. It even allowed them to walk around the camera without looking odd, even over the stitch transition areas.
There are a few different render options out of Vuze VR Studio. Along with presets for YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, you can output in Apple ProRes up to 422 HQ. You can also set the bitrate and switch between Equirectangular projection and CubeMap.
Necessary and unnecessary accessories
Unlike most 360 cameras, you don’t need a stand or a grip; there’s one built-in. However, when you don’t have a flat spot to put the camera or you’d like a different viewpoint, you’ll want some other kind of support. Vuze offers a Minipod for $30; it’s grip and a mini tripod.
Because of the poor battery life, we’d recommend you save some money aside for a battery pack for powering the camera on the go. It would be a bummer if you had to be tied to a wall just to use the camera.
The next recommended accessory we think is a must is a selfie stick with a 1/4 20 thread. Connect the camera to the end of it and it will allow the camera to disappear in the shot while the hand holding the stick will look normal.
Lastly, so we don’t forget, there is also an underwater housing available for $100.
What else is out there?
There are only two other cameras currently on the market that shoot both 360 and 180. The Kandao QooCam shoots up to 4K 180 3D or 360 2D. A different form factor than the XR, the QooCam has a lower resolution but has three lenses. It costs $390.
Functioning more like the XR, the next camera is the Insta360 EVO. It’s identical in function and in its specs. It does cost $40 less at $400, but the XR uses better build materials. Overall, the EVO is clunky compared to the smart and sleek design of the XR.
Should you buy it?
The build quality of the Vuze XR is very nice. Flipping out the camera into 180 3D mode is very pleasing and the image quality is nice. The Wi-Fi connection to the app is weak, but its design is slick.
Even though 360 videos have been around for a while now, new users are still on the ground floor of writing the language of this new format. Add in 180 3D and you have a fun consumer camera that can forge the way to a new content type.
The big question, though, is whether it’s worth another $100 for the ability to switch between the two capture modes. If you are interested in just 360 videos, there are more affordable cameras out there. The same can be said if you are only into 180 3D. However, as a combination, its a better choice than its only apples-to-apples competitor, the Insta360 EVO. Be prepared for short battery life and having to frequently reconnect the app, but if you can get past those issues, the Humaneyes Vuze XR is a good buy.
- 360 2D and 180 3D video capture
- Nice Image Quality
- Short battery life
- Frustrating wifi connection
- Online Video Production
- Casual Video Production
- 360 Stitched Video Recording
- Stitching Resolution: 5.7K
- Internal/External Stitching: Internal, External Stitching
- Still Image Resolution JPEG: 18 Megapixel, 5760 x 3240
- Number of Lenses: 2
- Camera per Lens
- Sensor 1-Chip CMOS
- Sensor Resolution: 12 MP
- Optics per Lens
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.4
- Angle of View Ultra Wide: 210° (fisheye)
- Recording Media: 1 x microSD/HC/XC
- Built-In Mic: Yes
- Channels: 4.0-Channel Surround
- Audio Format: AAC
- Sampling Frequency: AAC: 48.0 kHz
- Exposure Control
- Photo ISO Range: 100 – 1600 (Manual)
- Video ISO Range: 100 – 1600 (Manual)
- Status Display: Yes
- Waterproof Depth Rating: 98.0′ / 30.0 m (Waterproof Housing)
- Wi-Fi: Yes, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
- Input/Output Connectors
- Inputs: 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C charging and data
- Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery Pack, 3.8 VDC, 1150 mAh
- Max Runtime: 1 Hours per Charge
- Charging Method: USB
- Operating Temperature: 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
- Humidity: 0 to 95%
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 6.0 x 2.2 x 1.5″ / 152.0 x 56.0 x 39.0 mm
- Weight: 7.48 oz / 212 g