German startup Panono has said that its ball-shaped Panono Camera, capable of shooting spherical panorama images, will cost $549/€549 when it ships worldwide in the spring of 2015. The first to receive the camera will be the backers of the crowd-funding project the company used to get started before the camera goes on general release.

Originally due for a September 2014 delivery date, the Panono uses 36 small cameras positioned to look in every direction, built into what the company describes as a grapefruit-sized ball. The cameras are triggered simultaneously and the images stitched together to create a single spherical panoramic image that contains 108 megapixels.

When presented in a normal rectangular window the Panono's panoramic images can be scrolled left to right as well as up and down, and provide a 360 degree view of the scene. The camera can be controlled via a smartphone app, by activating a timer or by pressing a shutter release button on the device itself. Wi-Fi equipped, the camera sends images back to a smartphone, or via USB to a PC, and the camera’s own memory can store up to 400 images.

Although shown most often being thrown into the air the camera can be supported on a tripod with use of an optional adapter or on a selfie stick – both of which seem automatically removed from the final image.

Since DPReview first wrote about Panono the company has added attachment points so the camera can be suspended by a rope, has improved the stitching algorithm and has introduced a warning light to advise when conditions are not conducive to good quality images.

The company says it is now doing drop-tests ‘to ensure that the camera will stand up to normal wear and tear and possible drops on the ground’.

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