I have a Nikon camera, and I was playing around with a turntable table that can rotate 360 degrees on its own trying to get a nice 360° product photography of different products like glasses and rings and thinks like that.

And then it hit me, why should I take a lot of pictures and stick them up together using software when I can use my camera and film a short video of the same product and get it right on 1 shot?.

So I have 2 questions for people that have taken 360° product photography of small objects.

Why 360° product photography when I can more easily make the object spin automatically on my turntable table and make a video of it?


What are the pros and cons of 360 photography vs 360 video of a small object?


4 Answers 4


Video is basically a very fast sequence of relatively low resolution images. Even 4K Ultra-HD is only 8 megapixels per image, so this is your main limiting factor. If your camera can only do Full HD (1080p) than that is less than 2 MP which is very low resolution for most things that would go to print.

Even if the low resolution is sufficient, there are other contributing factor that make the quality of video frames much lower than images. First is compression, in order to get all that data at a sufficiently high frame-rate, most cameras significantly compress each frame, much of the compression is redundant information but there is also a significant loss in terms of color-definition and details, unless one uses a codec like M-JPEG which some cameras do use and is comparable to out-of-camera JPEGs. RAW video does exist but is rare and limited to very high-end cameras.

Again even if you have sufficient resolution and good enough compression, video is limited by its FPS that puts a limit to how long the shutter-speed can be. If you shoot at 30 FPS, then shutter-speed can not go slower than 1/30s to allow the next frame to be captured which forces video to often be shot at a higher ISO, wider aperture which may make details softer and show more vignetting, or both. This is going to detrimentally affect image quality by making frames more noisy.

Finally, digital cameras that capture video use an electronic shutter since they cannot actuate it at the frame rate of video. This causes the lower part of the image to be captured progressively later than the lines above it, resulting in an artifact known as jello effect that causes object in video frames to appear bent.

It does not matter if you do 360° around your objects, big or small, quality of video will always be lower than images from the same camera.

  • Hey but, wouldn't this kinda thing be applied even slightly?
    – user152435
    Feb 27, 2018 at 13:03
  • Never seen it and it would drop your frame rate by a multiple, resulting in something very choppy, it couldn't do it just partly without some very complicated process.
    – Itai
    Feb 27, 2018 at 13:38
  • Many styles of digital video are actually made of a sequence of sets of one relatively high resolution image and a chain of deltas to that image.... Jan 24, 2019 at 23:01
  • Wouldn't time lapse modes offer a compromise? By lowering the frame rate, it gives the camera the time to take the picture as it would in normal photography mode, and you could just slow down the turntable to match if needed. Sep 21, 2020 at 16:57
  • @user1937198 - Depends on the implementation. Some cameras take one photo at each interval while others just take a really slow implementation. You may have better results with an Interval Timer.
    – Itai
    Sep 21, 2020 at 17:43

As others have identified, your issue is really one of photo versus video and eventually one of resolution. But, the end use is always the real driver. So,

  • If you are going to put your product images into a video medium (say a commercial) and you have a video recording device of sufficient resolution then do video. If you don't have sufficient resolution, shoot lots of images at equal rotations and find someone who is good with post production
  • If you are only going to print or still sources (such as circulars or web pages) Don't do video. It is tempting because it makes the process easier but even if you have enough resolution (likely since web images are tiny) you will still introduce more noise and less exposure control. Also bear in mind that most DSLRs shoot video in 8-bit and photos in 10-14 bit.
  • If you are going to shoot for mixed consumers consider just shooting both. If you really don't want to then shoot stills but do it in a controlled fashion. Put your lazy susan on a motor or use a turntable (check yard sales.) Set the camera to fire at constant intervals. With the object rotating smoothly and the camera firing consistently, you can stitch the frames into video later getting super high quality video and stills.

Now let me take your question in a different direction. If your chosen display medium supports it, consider a 3d object view. These originated back in the '90's the first time VR was cool (that wave crested quickly) and were known then as QTVR. that term will still get you a good number of hits on google. To shoot a QTVR you simply make an image of the object from every angle you want to display it and then use software to package them into a "VR Object." There are varying degrees of sophistication in this process ranging from laser scanning and close range photogrammetry which creates a point cloud image to be consumed by 3d modeling applications to simple programs to create QTVR files for the web. Some software for panoramas offers this feature as a plugin or added feature.

The best part is, if you create a setup to capture your still-to-video solution as mentioned in bullet 3 you can basically plug and play to record your subject and use the stills, convert to video, and create 3d object images all from one capture.


Agreed, shooting a set of 360 product images will allow for much higher resolution. You will also have the full ability to adjust your cameras settings exactly as required (ex. smaller aperture, slower shutter speed). So in this case, you wont require as much lighting (which should save you some $$$$) and likely capture better quality (as images are better quality vs. images extracted from a video).

There is automated photography turntables (seems as though these could also work for video too) that can automate the 360 capture process in a turn, stop, snap workflow. Another lower cost option would be to use a lazy susan...


Besides the lower resolution and the jello effect @Itai mentioned, a video of a rotating image will have a slight motion blur.

Someone that wants a 360 view of an object wants to rotate the image a bit, stop rotating it and see a sharp image.

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