Integrated digital bubble level
Tripod and GoPro mount compatible
Real-time 360° video recording to 60fps
Bluetooth-enabled mobile device controls
As much as 4K panoramic video resolution
20MP time-lapse panoramic photos
Individual camera selection to shoot non-panoramic images
Interactive video player
Real-time video stitching
Built-in Wi-Fi for real-time video preview
Mobile video player coming soon
In my position as “mayor” of the PhotographyTalk community, I am frequently asked to provide my opinion about Kickstarter investment projects for the latest whiz-bang photography product. Of course, I want to share with you (in fact, I consider it my duty) the stories of amazing people inventing equally amazing products, but with so many requests, I’ve had to be selective and become a tough critic.
I don’t know the exact statistics, but for every new product that is both funded through Kickstarter and is then successful in the marketplace, there must be dozens, scores, even hundreds that die on the vine. I can’t, therefore, spend my time chasing rainbows and pots of gold. I want to find and share with you those that I consider significant market disrupters, the game changers, the new concepts and products that have people talking today and are likely to continue talking during the future.
I think the CENTR Cam could be one of the most disruptive forces in the imagery marketplace that I’ve seen during the past few years. Simply put, it’s a palm-size circular device with four miniature HD cameras that shoot 360-degree panoramic video that is then flawlessly stitched together into one image. The only way to describe this incredible product is a GoPro™ on steroids.
I first heard about it the morning of May 1 from a good friend of mine in the photography industry. During our conversation, I immediately went to the CENTR Kickstarter page and couldn’t wait to end our phone call politely, so I could watch the promotional video about this camera. I watched it twice and, honestly, I was floored. What innovation! I had to learn more, and was able to talk with Joey Roth, who is the project’s lead designer and one of the masterminds behind this palm-size panoramic video camera. Bill Banta founded CENTR with a group of fellow ex-Apple engineers, who worked on its camera technology for years, and other experienced technologists, such as Joey.
Joey graciously spent 34 minutes with me, explaining more of the history and the motivation that fueled this team to create such a product. The more Joey spoke, the more my mind recognized the many applications for this video camera. The Kickstarter page mentions 360° selfies for the narcissist in you as well as all the obvious uses for action sports and activities: climbing, skydiving, white water, skateboarding, surfing, etc. My mind continued to whirl with other possibilities: professional sports, fire departments, police, military, racing and auto safety. Seriously, friends…this is the just the beginning of the list!
You can’t actually appreciate what they’ve accomplished until you see photos of the prototype and the examples of video from the CENTR CAM, but I’ll try to do it justice in a few words here. The people at CENTR describe it as halo-shaped, but another metaphor that comes to mind is a mini-donut, sleekly designed, as you would expect from a bunch of former “Appleteers.”
The specs on the Kickstarter page don’t reveal the CENTR Cam’s dimensions, but it clearly fits in the palm of a hand and weighs less than 9 oz. (250 g). I will reproduce a few of the product’s highlights from its page.
The CENTR Cam shoots both 1080p and 720p video at 6,900 x 1,080 and 4,600 x 720, respectively. The battery has two hours of run time and there is 8GB of internal storage.
I’m confident I’ve piqued your curiosity with these tidbits of information, but as I stated above, you must visit the Kickstarter page to appreciate this marvel of photographic technology completely. Equally amazing to me is that Bill, Joey and their team plans to retail the CENTR Cam for only $399. They are expecting to start mass production during February 2015, which is when qualified Kickstarter backers will receive their cameras.
The company started its Kickstarter funding campaign on April 30, and had pledges totaling $315,000 (as of May 5) of the $900,000 it wants to raise by May 30. You can, of course, join as an “investor,” with the typical “rewards” for backing a Kickstarter project according to your pledged amount.
At this stage, I certainly endorse the CENTR Cam, but, of course, like any new product, it must prove itself in the marketplace. If it doesn’t revolutionize the video experience, however, then my entrepreneurial intuition has become stale.
For more information about the CENTRA Cam, please visit Kickstarter.
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.