Matterport’s latest release, the Pro3 3D camera, has found the sweet spot between quality and ease of use. During our review, we tried the imaging of small rooms, large spaces and everything in between to get a complete overview of what to expect – here’s what we found.
Unpacking the Matterport Pro 3D camera was unlike most experiences we usually have with hardware. While we normally bring out a plethora of packaging, as with our standing desk unboxings, there was only a single box that opened effortlessly. The package was essentially exactly the case with the camera inside, a charger and an adapter to charge the camera on a tripod or camera stand.
The carrying case for the camera is a simple zippered hard case. This gives the camera a minimal yet premium feel, while knowing it’s protected. With no help from instructions, we were able to open the package, grab the charger and battery, and plug everything in.
Finally, there was clear instruction on how to download the companion app on iOS or Android. The app was only 650MB for our iOS testing purposes and was easy to log in, set up and prepare for use with the camera.
Our first impressions of this camera were positive. We knew what this camera was supposed to do, but it looked so minimalistic and sleek. The case, as mentioned, offers a good amount of protection against scratches, but only a little bit of protection against drops. The camera is clearly premium built and is surprisingly heavy for how small it is.
We chose to test this camera by taking it to a larger location nearby with one of our expert editors to get a full understanding of the breadth and scope of its capabilities. The building itself was a perfect testing ground, providing all the necessary elements to test in one space, including stairs, windows, doors, multi-storey, open concept spaces and also some more enclosed, smaller spaces.
We first set up our tripod, then screwed in the mounting piece to hold the camera on the tripod, took the camera out of the housing, put the fully charged battery in it, and then placed the camera on the mount. We then turned the camera on with a simple push of one button on the entire device – on the back, furthest from the camera lens. Once the camera was up and running, according to the prompt in the companion app, we connected a mobile device to the Wi-Fi signal broadcast by the camera and returned to the Matterport companion app.
When choosing the right settings for what kind of photos we wanted to take, there were several options available, ranging from full scans to simple 360° images. After this we were able to press “scan” on the phone and let the camera start. In order not to be in every frame, we chose to usually walk in a circle behind the camera as it twirled on the tripod. Sometimes, however, when the opportunity arose, we chose to hide behind a wall, in another room, etc.
Each photo took less than 10-15 seconds to complete a full rotation. Once the image or rotation was complete, a prompt on the companion app would let us know it was time to move the camera to the next spot. For testing purposes, we first took about three steps between each camera shot, before later opting to try five or so steps between each shot to see if we could notice a significant difference in image quality. While the photos are impressive throughout, we noticed a clearer shot in the areas where we chose three steps over five.
Immediately, in the accompanying app, we could see the rough sketch of where everything was located in the building we were picturing. We could see very clearly the depth drop in corridors we hadn’t gone down yet, areas just outside where we had just taken our pictures, and in mirrors/windows.
For this test in particular, we ended up needing about an hour and a half to image everything we wanted. While the app gave us near-instantaneous feedback, it took hours for the rendering for the actual 3D imaged final product to fully process. According to Matterport, 200 photos would take more than 48 hours to fully render and process. Luckily for us we took pictures just north of 50 so it probably took about six to eight hours.
> 4x faster (compared to the Pro2)
> 100m range
> 12 element lens
> Ultra-wide field of view
> 20 megapixel sensor
> 3 hours of scanning time per battery
After indicating in the app that we had finished imaging, we were asked to mark and label all windows and mirrors, as well as the exterior trim to identify the correct and correctly marked areas. There is also an option to blur post-imaging so we can block out license plates, faces, or sensitive data that we may have captured while taking photos.
This camera hits a sweet spot in the 3D imaging space. Regardless of your knowledge of 3D imaging, or even just photography knowledge, almost anyone could pick up this device and use it confidently and accurately, as just knowing how to follow digital instructions was more than enough.
The final image quality was impressive to say the least. Given how quickly we covered such a vast space with so much detail, we were able to get very detailed images of our test area.
While this can be incredibly useful for a wide variety of use cases, this is clearly designed perfectly for spaces where you want to have a walk-through or showcase a space. Now that even Google Maps has the ability to upload and use 3D images/walkthroughs of buildings, this could be beneficial for almost any business that wants to be able to show others what their building looks like.