How to process images of a spherical camera

Pix4D Desktop can process images captured with spherical, full 360 degree cameras. These cameras have many advantages because it is easy to achieve high overlap with less images, it is faster to capture a complete dataset and it is efficient to process, since the calibration of the camera is done by the manufacturer and calibrating the model takes less time. 

On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages that should be taken into account: the quality of the calibration of the manufacturer affects a lot the reconstruction since remaining distortions are not taken into account while processing, large parts of the images can be covered by sky, or undesired objects due to the wide field of view adding noise in the reconstruction and the images may need pre-processing to be converted to the required format (equirectangular).

Some spherical cameras are already included in the camera database of Pix4D Desktop and they will be automatically detected for processing: 

  • Ladybug 5: All versions of the Ladybug camera can export in the equirectangular image format.
  • NCTech iStar
  • Ricoh Theta
  • Ricoh Theta S
Important: Any spherical camera that supports the equirectangular format is also supported. For more information about the equirectangular format: What is the equirectangular Image format?.

To process a spherical project in Pix4D Desktop:

1. Create a project: Step 2. Creating a Project.
2. Import the equirectangular spherical images or video and click Next
3. (optional) If a video is imported, select the frames to be extracted in the Video Extraction Options pop-up.
4. In the Selected Camera Model section of the Image Properties window, click Edit....
5. In the Edit Camera Model window that appears, in the Camera Model Parameters section, make sure that Spherical Camera is selected and click OK.
6. Click Next
7. In the Select Output Coordinate System window, select the output coordinate system: Select Image / GCP / Output Coordinate System  and click Next.
8. In the Processing Options Template window, select 3D Models
9. Click Finish
10. Process the project.  

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Article feedback (for troubleshooting, post here)


  • Sergio Lugo


    Can I process this type of images using pix4d cloud?


    Thank you

  • Beata (Pix4D)

    Hi Sergio.

    Yes. Please do the following:

    1. Open the Pix4Dmapper Desktop.
    2. Follow the instruction from above.
    3. Upload the project to the Cloud - how to upload project files from Desktop to Cloud

    If you have any other questions, I'm here to help you.

  • Marcelo Rodacki


    I have a GoPro Fusion 360, but it is not working very well. Will Pix4D have this model in the camera database?

    Thank you

  • Marco (Pix4D)

    Hi Marcelo,

    What do you mean it is not working well? In Pix4Dmapper or Cloud?

    If the camera can provide the equirectangular format, it should work with Pix4D.

    The software has not recognized your camera model because the images were taken with the GoPro Fusion 360, which is not in our camera database at the moment.
    Have you tried to set up the camera parameters as described above?


  • Marcelo Rodacki



    In Pix4Dmapper... I'm trying to create indoor point clouds, but they are getting poor... I tried to set up the camera parameters but Pix4D doesn't allow to edit parameters of spherical cameras. 



  • Marco (Pix4D)

    Hi Marcelo,

    Normally if you are uploading spherical images there should by recognized and you should be able to see this (for iSTARPulsar):

    Make sure that your images are in the equirectangular format. If so then, you will be able to see the spherical option in the camera edition window.


  • Shahrir Yaziz


    Hi Marco. I try to process images from our project using iSTARPulsar same as your screenshot.

    However the pop up appear says license only allowed to process 55MP image only.

    We have purchase pix4d mapper perpetual license.

    are there any limit of camera megapixel in order to use this function?


  • Beata (Pix4D)


    Indeed, there is a limit. You would need to have a large-frame add-on.

    Please contact our Sales Department so they can offer you a solution. 


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