Pilot Era 360 added as Street View ready camera. Who has one?

Reading this post on the forum it appears Google is doing a major revamp of the SV program.

Looks like they are also updating the SV ready cameras with the addition of the Pilot Era. What are the thoughts on using this camera outdoors for SV photography?

I purchased the Pilot Era on IndieGogo last April (2019) on recommendation from a highly regarded photographer who had been provided a pre-release version of the camera. For the SV photographer this was theoretically the perfect, all-in-one device for doing SV captures. Philosophically this was a camera that was built from ground-up for SV work.

I sold the camera three months after receiving it as the concept did not quite pan out due to hardware and software issues. Specifically:

  1. the GPS tracking/capture was intermittent and in too many cases completely absent.

  2. The actual images were problematic/disappointing. https://goo.gl/maps/pFAeseKe2mtyf1ZDA and https://goo.gl/maps/sSRE2u3veL4btdsp9 (these were shot using all auto settings)

  3. The smartphone software start/stop button did not work all of the time.

I do understand it was an early release camera and there have since been firmware and s/w updates that may have addressed these issues. I recently checked in with the person I sold the camera to and learned that there are still many outstanding unresolved issues. I have heard similarly from others who have purchased the camera.

It seems that the camera does work well for certain individuals who were given pre-release versions.

The company Labpano recently released a new smaller and cheaper version - Pilot One. I really do hope they are able to resolve the technical issues as I do believe this could be a great camera for SV work.

What resolution are those photos @chelseabrian? They don’t look 8k!

Poor GPS tracks do not seem to be a unique complaint for the Era, I’ve noticed on almost all GoPro’s I’ve owned too (vs. my smartphone). I think camera manufacturers should be more clear with the GPS systems they’re using because next to image quality, this is the the second most important thing for SV / outdoor tour photography (which these manufacturers seem to be marketing themselves as).

I’ve started to carry a Columbus P-1 GPS tracker on all my shoots as a fall back when needed – I don’t have the patience to manually fix tracks!

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With Pilot Era you record video and it uploads directly to Google. Video was 8K.

I will have a look at the Columbus tracker as its always good to have a fallback. I have a friend who spent several weeks in Africa recording with the Insta360 Pro2. When he got home there was no GPS track detected in the video.

Is the Columbus P-1 the tracker you would still purchase today?

Actually, I use it b/c it was given to me by a friend who was no longer using it. I’d recommend it, but not sure how it shapes up to anything else in the market.

Seem GPS trackers are predominantly marketed at people who want to spy on their partners now!

The stuff of nightmares!

Bet I am that guy with an Era that Brian is referring too. I have to admit that I have become less enthousiastic about the performance of the Era and One cameras. Nevertheless, for capturing roads without obstructions to GNSS signal, it is still the best you can get for the money with an easy workflow.

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