ARTICLE BY ALEXIS MACKLIN

Alexis Macklin is an Analyst with Greenlight Insights covering emerging technology trends at the intersection of VR, AR, and the entertainment industry. Follow her: @Alexis_Macklin.

GoPro released Fusion, its newest 360-degree camera, to a select group of influencers. The new dual lens camera is a new venture for GoPro, straying away from the 360-degree camera arrays the company released last year.

This is the first true 360-degree camera from GoPro.

Fusion is the first handheld 360-degree camera solution from GoPro.  Other released 360-degree cameras (Omni and Odyssey) were an array of GoPro Hero cameras in a camera rig. Fusion is a single camera with two 180-degree lenses. Other companies, including 360RIZE, have manufactured rigs for GoPro cameras as well.

The new camera is monoscopic, with two 180-degree lenses combining to shoot in 5.2k. If the specs hold up upon release, Fusion could be one of the top consumer handheld cameras. The camera will have a higher resolution than Ricoh Theta S, Samsung Gear 360 or any of the Insta360 consumer camera series. Live broadcasting to social media will be an important feature for GoPro to add to Fusion, but will be unlikely as none of GoPro's current cameras live stream. Garmin VIRB 360 may be able to pull sales from Fusion with its live stream features.

No needed for tedious stitching. 

The Fusion camera will not require Kolor stitching software like GoPro Omni. Fusion will use specific stitching software that is to be aimed at users who do not have stitching experience. The ease of use will be important for adoption. There will be a growing frustration from consumers if the stitching software is too hard to use, leading to fewer sales.

The easy stitching software may also turn off professionals if stitching isn't adequate. Since there is less manual control which would require professionals to rely on editing software like CaraVR and Adobe AfterEffects to fix stitching errors. So far, videos filmed on Fusion seem to have minimal parallax.

Don't let the exclusive partnerships fool you - this is a consumer product.

Although GoPro has not released a price, Fusion is in every way a consumer product. The handheld design, simplistic controls, and easy-to-use stitching software could set GoPro up to compete with Ricoh, Samsung, and Insta. The ease of use will be very important for consumer market traction and the success of Fusion.

Professionals may use Fusion as a supplement to higher quality 360-degree cameras. The camera is compatible with most mounts and water proof. Professionals and hobbyists will also find the OverCapture feature compelling. With OverCapture, users can pick a rectangle frame out of the 360-degree sphere, even being able to direct the scene with panning and tilting options.

Fusion will be a crucial product for GoPro as it looks to recover from a less successful year. An impact on both the consumer and professional markets will be important to Fusion's success.