Over a year ago, at CES 2016 GoPro teased the world with the new consumer 360-degree camera called Fusion. We have not heard much about it since then… until today. After another dozen or so months in development, the company finally announced the GoPro Fusion, the latest member of GoPro’s lineup for “fully immersive virtual reality content, non-VR video, and photos”.
The camera is now expected to hit the shelves by the end of 2017 (read; more months of development ahead) and allows users to capture stunning 5.2K video at 30 frames per second and breathtaking photos in full spherical mode. Details on pricing and other specifics will be provided at launch – which is as vague information as it was when GoPro originally presented the prototype… 15 months ago. By looking at the specs, Fusion should be able to outdo Samsung’s 4K-capable Gear 360 when it comes to quality, as well as the Nikon Keymission 360. Will it beat second generation product from Samsung, Nikon and others? Time will tell.
The reason why Fusion has had such troubled birth is the list of features that it simbolizes the birth of “GoPro 2.0”, new corporate policies and approach to making content everywhere. GoPro is not a single spherical CMOS chip with a 180 degree lens, it is somewthing we’ve only seen with the $60,000 Nokia OZO commercial grade camera. “Fusion has the ability to capture every angle simultaneously… as though you had six GoPro cameras fused into one,” said GoPro founder and CEO, Nicholas Woodman. “Whether filming for VR or traditional fixed-perspective content, Fusion represents the state-of-the-art in versatile spherical capture.”
Unfortunately, if you’re tempted to try out GoPro’s take on 360-degree video, you’ll have to wait, unless you’re a “brand”, “agency”, or “content professional”, as the company is only releasing the camera to those customers this summer as part of a pilot i.e. beta testing scheme. There should be a (limited) commercial release of Fusion for Holiday season 2017, when more details on pricing should be revealed. $999 or less would make this product hardly palatable to the consumer, yet it is hard to fathom that anything much higher than $599 or $699 would be deemed acceptable.
The company is asking all those interested in a pilot program to visit the sign-up site and register their interest.