Ultracker Aleta S2C: The Ultimate Virtual Tour Camera?


*UFO sounds* – Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ugh. Ah, ah, Ooh! Ah. This is the Ultracker Aleta S2C. And it’s a 66 megapixel 360 camera. 66! Like do you even understand
how high that is? The best DSLR’s out there are around 50 megapixels right now, and this is 66. So it must be better right? Well, you’ll see at the end of the video. I’m just gonna say it,
this thing is massive. It looks like a spaceship
and you can’t easily fit it in the palm of your hand. But that’s okay because for
66 megapixels, I forgive it. It has one, two, three, four, five lenses. No that’s not a lens on the bottom, that’s a tripod mount. We have a battery compartment
and a micro SD slot. Two different charging ports,
an audio jack, and DC power. On button, shutter button, display. This display is super old school, it looks like you’re looking
into a DSLR viewfinder when you look at this thing. Which is fine, its just a bit weird. Now, this is what happens
when you take a photo. All right. You can’t actually change any of these settings physically, there’s no buttons to do that, you’ll need to connect
to the app to change any of your photo settings. (ufo sounds) And the batteries, look at those things. These are just cheap generic batteries, I found them on eBay already for $12. Okay, so that’s a bit of what it is. And now, what it isn’t. It isn’t a selfie camera… (playful music) Its not a decent 360 video camera. It shoots 4K 360 video
at 10 frames a second. Look at this. But where this camera really
shines is with its sharpness, with 66 megapixels, which
is 11,000 and something by 5,000 and something, there’s no denying when
you zoom in really close on anything, you can
actually see detail there. Where most 360 cameras used
to be soft and grainy, it’s still sharp. The average photo
resolution for a 360 camera in early 2019, is 20 to 30 megapixels max. This is more than double the resolution we’re used to with
point and shoot cameras. And I’ve gotta say the sharpness is just really nice to look at. Here I put the Aleta next
to the Insta 360 ONE X and took a photo inside my apartment. At first you might think huh, there’s not much of a difference here, but that’s only because we’re
in a wide viewpoint right now. When we punch in, this is
where the higher resolution is really noticeable. That massage ball on the couch is actually pretty sharp on the right, where it’s getting a bit
blotchy and soft on the left. I’m zoomed in quite far here, but the difference is impressive. Here’s an artwork on the
wall a few meters away, and yeah, my girlfriend’s South African, and for some reason South
Africans are obsessed with having African animals
all over their house. They’re just obsessed. I can’t explain it. Anyway I digress, again it’s way sharper on the right than the left. This doesn’t mean that the
ONE X is doing a bad job, rather it illustrates that in a situation where you do need that
the extra resolution, like if you’re shooting real estate and you want as much detail as possible. Investing in a middle of the
range camera like the Aleta S2C is going to give you a level of sharpness that any other point and shoot
360 camera couldn’t give you. There’s ain’t no denying
it, sharpness and resolution are the Ultracker S2C’s main draw cards. But, if you’re a fan of this channel and you’ve been here a while, you’ll know my photographic sensibilities, and you’ll know what I like
more than just pure resolution. And that is dynamic range. Here’s the same photo from before, but this time I’ve changed
the viewpoint to face outside. And both the ONE X and the
Aleta have in-built HDR, which I’ve used here. I’m sad to say it, but
things aren’t looking too bright for the Aleta. That or they’re looking way too bright. Look at those highlights,
they’re completely washed out. There’s no detail there beyond my balcony. Whereas with the ONE X, you can still see the color of the sky, you can
see all the details outside. I think it’s safe to say that the ONE X’s in-built HDR is infinitely
better than the Aleta S2C’s, and to be honest I found
the Aleta’s in-built HDR to be pretty disappointing. In the app there are three
levels of HDR to choose from, weakness, medium, and strength. And here I am on George Street in the Sydney CBD just before sunset, and I deliberately chose this
high contrasting environment to test this out. With weakness and medium, there’s no details at
all in the highlights. With strength, it’s actually a lot better, however, I’m looking kind of tan there. While I would call this unacceptable, I think we’ve established by
this point that this is more of a real estate camera
than anything else, so I don’t think it’s fair to judge based on what I look like. We should judge based on what the building and the
environment look like. And with in-built HDR on
its strongest setting, when I look around, I’m
actually kinda impressed. These buildings look really good, the dynamic range looks good, and I haven’t even
color-corrected this yet. So in terms of shooting high
contrast outdoor environments, I give this a thumbs up. If you’re considering this camera for real estate and virtual tours, then your priority is going
to be shooting interiors with strong mixed lighting, Since most locations you shoot are probably going to have windows. So this is where it
gets interesting because there is another HDR method you can use to deal with tricky
interior mixed lighting, and it’s called bracketing. You may be familiar with
bracketing from DSLRs, well it’s the exact same principle. You’re capturing three different exposures and blending them together in a HDR software like Photomatix Pro. And I’ve done that here
in one of Sydney’s oldest and most majestic buildings,
the Queen Victoria building. And the results I got after
blending the three exposures in Photomatix Pro was pretty impressive. The colors and exposure are
overall looking pretty nice. This is far from a perfect image, but I’m happy with the exposure across 90% of the photo. In some areas the highlights
are still blown out, and I’m noticing a
little bit of grain too. No doubt, a pro HDR photographer would do way better than me,
but after this experiment, I can say that blending multiple exposures gives you an okay result. You should still be careful though, because as we saw before,
this camera does struggle handling the highlights of
mixed lighting interiors. Here I’ve set up a 12K time
lapse with the Aleta S2C on my balcony here in Sydney,
and plugged it in DC power, which is handy because I want to leave this rolling for a few hours. With such high photo resolution,
lies massive potential for awesome, high quality time lapses. Combine this with the ability
to plug the camera into power, and you can leave this
camera rolling forever. Here I made a 4 1/2 hour time lapse, which I’ve now sped up to 15 seconds. The results overall were pretty good, but I’ve gotta say,
editing this in Premiere, it was impossible to reframe. I couldn’t do it. So I’m just showing you
the 12K equi-rectangular photos since I haven’t figured
out the proper workflow yet. Now let’s punch in, and while
the results are pretty good, the stitching’s moving. That building, it’s coming to life, No! It’s coming to get us, Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Yeah, that’s not good is it? You don’t want your 360 photos
moving in your time lapse, you need everything to
be as still as possible. I really, really hope they
see this video and fix this, but because of this, I would not rely on this camera for time lapses, especially if you’re
going to display as 360, since your audience will
zoom in and see this. I found the workflow to be really fast because the camera has in-built stitching, when I put my SD card into my computer, you have a fully stitched,
full resolution image waiting for you straightaway. You don’t have to do anything. Although, yes, you probably
will have to do something given the exposure issues
we just talked about. But the in-built stitching is
good, who doesn’t want that? Shooting in tight spaces with
this camera is a big no no, because the lenses are so
far away from each other, they are going to stitch stuff out. So this is why it’s not a selfie camera, and this is why you shouldn’t put it close to anything really. I saw on their website, they
recommended putting the camera no closer than 100
centimeters from anything. Like this far, and if
everything’s this far away, it will do a good job at stitching. But if it’s any closer, there
will be noticeable errors. So am I going to be the one to point out the obvious about who this camera is for? It’s for virtual tour photographers! Anyone that shoots big open locations with a lot of space and
needs a lot of resolution. And yeah, you will need
a good understanding of post-production if
you’re going to merge all of those HDR images to
get that perfect exposure. But ultimately, I see this as a camera for the resolution junkies. People who want more
pixels over everything, and don’t mind spending
all that extra time working on the post-production
of their images. Not that it will take that long once you get the workflow down pat, but it is going to take
some practice to get there. Is this a DSLR killer? No. The quality you can get
with a high-end DSLR and a nodal head will far exceed this. And I really do say this
the mid-point between point and shoot cameras
and high-end DSLRs, in terms of both workflow
and image quality. Would I do a paid job with this? Yes, the quality’s there
and high resolution justifies clients paying
a little bit more money. I definitely do see this as
a money making 360 camera, but only slightly more so than the other point and shoot cameras I
talk about on my channel. And it’s because of the high
resolution and nothing else. Should you buy this camera? Yeah, if you have $1,200
for experimental purposes, and you don’t mind buying from a company that is still quite small, where the updates are few and far between. I’ve noticed the price of the Aleta S2C go up and down a lot. At the cheapest, it’s
been just under $1,000, at the most expensive it’s around $1,200. Also if I can get my
hands on any coupon codes, I’ll leave them down
there in the description. Be sure to check out Ultracker’s website for more information about the S2C. Oh yeah, I used to have a
website like this in the 90’s. So that’s it. I’ve got a flight to catch, so hit that subscribe button
if you haven’t already, and press the like button
if you liked this video. You shall not pass! Couldn’t help myself. Bye. *UFO sounds*

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