After shooting some extremely high quality 4k footage in the Drakensberg Mountains yesterday, I went a completely different direction in this episode. Today, I tested out a new gadget that I bought: the LG 360 degree camera. It’s only a $200 camera, so I didn’t really have high expectations for it from a quality standpoint. But, I do have to say it was a lot of fun.
Rather than just doing a typical (read: boring) review of the LG 360, instead I took it out on a hike in the Drakensberg Mountains and did an in-the-field review. I think it makes it a lot more fun. Look for most of my reviews in the future to be this style.
Now, check out the footage from the LG 360:
About the Camera
The camera is probably not good. That’s the short end of the discussion. The image quality is horrible. It’s soft, it’s muddy, it’s over-saturated, and the stitching is terrible. Honestly, it’s a bit of a novelty item rather than a usable camera. At only $200 that’s really how LG is selling their 360 camera I think. Even the photos are soft. I would love for them to come out with a camera of similar size that was far sharper. I would pay $800 for a camera like that. Because, these 360 videos are actually a lot of fun.
The two real strengths to this camera, though, are the audio quality (which is very good), and the app (which is also very good). Other than that, I can’t really recommend it for anything aside from using for fun with some friends.
So, yeah, for now, I won’t really be making this a staple of my photography gear. But, I may add a 360 camera at some point in the future.
Hiking Sterkhorn Peak in the Drakensberg Mountains
It’s kind of funny, I stayed at a place called Inkosana Lodge which is run by a mountaineer. I told him I was looking to do a summit and asked for some advice. Basically, he shrugged me off like it wasn’t going to be possible. Of course, he didn’t ask if I had experience, if I hike a lot, or if I have any mountaineering experience. Had he asked, he’d have found out I grew up in the mountains, and that just last month I was climbing peaks like this with a 50lb Google trekker on my back.
In the end, he recommended a peak called Sterkhorn. The way he described it, it was going to be a challenge to summit. I was told it would take about 7 hours from the car-park to the summit. So, when I hit the base of the peak in just over 2 hours, I was wondering just how demanding the climb to the top would be. I mean it looked steep, but 5 hours?
90 minutes later I was at the top.
Don’t get me wrong, the hike was a challenge. It was straight up the peak from the base and there were some dodgy bits of rock climbing near the summit. But, I started the hike at 6:30am, and was at the summit by 10am. I imagine that the owner of the lodge is either used to leading non-hikers to the peak, or at least just gives extremely slow hike times to try to keep people safe.
The hike back to the car park was a bit of a killer, though. I forgot my sunscreen and was burning up pretty good. Most of the trails up in this area are completely exposed so if you don’t have protection from the sun mid-day it can be brutal. I made it back to my car at about 1pm, and was a nice solid red. One of my better burns, for sure.
Some Photos from the Day
I actually took much fewer photos than I thought I would. The views were outstanding, but I was pretty focused on climbing and getting some shots out of the LG 360. But, I did get up at sunrise, and took a couple images along the trek as well.
I’m leaving the Drakensberg Mountains tomorrow morning. I’ll be headed to Lesotho, which will be a new country for me.