How to process images of a spherical camera - PIX4Dmapper


This article provides instructions on processing images taken by a spherical camera and which cameras are already in PIX4Dmapper's camera database.

PIX4Dmapper can process images captured with spherical (full 360-degree) cameras. These cameras have many advantages because it is easy to achieve high overlap with fewer images. It is faster to capture a complete dataset. It is also efficient to process since the manufacturer calibrates the camera, and calibrating the model takes less time. 

On the other hand, some disadvantages should be taken into account: the quality of the calibration of the manufacturer affects the reconstruction very much since the remaining distortions are not considered. At the same time, 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 PIX4Dmapper, and they will be automatically detected for processing: 

  • Ladybug 5: All versions of the Ladybug camera can be exported 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 PIX4Dmapper:

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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  • Sergio Lugo


    Can I process this type of images using pix4d cloud?


    Thank you

  • Avatar
    Beata (Pix4D)

    Hi Sergio.

    Yes. Please do the following:

    1. Open the Pix4Dmapper.
    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.

    Edited by Beata (Pix4D)
  • 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

  • Avatar
    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. 



  • Avatar
    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?


  • Avatar
    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. 


  • Steve Brown

    Hi Marco/Beata,

    I have uploaded photos from a Garmin 360 Virb, which produces equirectangular photos.  However, Pix4D (desktop) is not recognizing these photos as such and, therefore, is not giving me an option to select a spherical camera.  The only options are fisheye or perspective. Any guidance would be most helpful!!

    Edited by Steve Brown
  • Alice (Pix4D)

    Hi Steve,

    Could you provide a sample of the dataset (10 images)? If you prefer, you can open a new personal request at this link: 

    Thank you

  • Steve Brown

    Hi Alice,  I am sending you a sample dataset now. 



  • Steve Brown

    Hi Alice,

    I just updated to Mapper 4.4.12 and when I upload photos from the Virb 360 into a project, the program appears to recognize the Virb 360 camera by default.  

    However, it recognizes it as a "Perspective Lens" as opposed to "Spherical".  

    Also, on the "Distortions" section at the bottom there are no values other than zero.  

    See the screenshot below:


    Does Pix4D have the values to fill this in?

    Additionally when I attempted to process some photos taken from the Virb 360 it would fail.  It gave a few errors including "uncalibrated camera".

    See the log below:

    [UI]: Image Properties Editor clicked.

    [UI]: Processing Options clicked.

    [UI]: Processing Start clicked.

    [Processing]: Step1Running

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint extraction started.

    [Processing]: Gather image information

    [Processing]: Generate normalized/thumbnail images

    [Processing]: Computing keypoints

    [Processing]: Write Keypoints.

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint extraction finished.

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint matching started.

    [Processing]: Generating pairs

    [Processing]: Computing matches

    [Processing]: Write matches.

    [Processing]: Write matches.

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint matching finished.

    [Processing]: Initialize automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Building automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Substep Camera calibration started.

    [Processing]: Analyse automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Analyse automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Compute number of matches.

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Warning]: No initial frame

    [Error]: no blocks computed

    [Processing]: Substep Camera calibration finished.

    [Error]: No calibrated cameras.

    [Processing]: Substep Report generation started.

    [Processing]: Read keypoints.

    [Processing]: Substep Report generation finished.

    [Error]: Error e0046: Processing failed. No calibrated cameras.

    [Processing]: ProjectLoaded

    I tried processing in the cloud in as well but this failed as well for the same reasons.

    How do you recommend I should proceed?

    Thanks so much!


  • Holden (Pix4D)

    Hi Steve. The info is being filled in from the image EXIF and the distortion parameters and the lens type are not typically included. This is why it is not filled in in the camera model. This would also explain the uncalibrated images. 

  • Marc Hinton


    Can you clarify your point? I am receiving the same log errors but, the image properties editor is recognizing the Garmin Virb360 as a spherical camera.

    Thank you,

  • Holden (Pix4D)

    Hi Marc. I was suggesting that you may need to generate a camera model by collecting an optimal high overlap dataset to load the optimized parameters. Similar to the calibration procedure for perspective and fisheye lenses. This procedure is not well documented for spherical images at the moment so I'm afraid we don't have a dedicated article. 

  • Cesar Moreno

    Para usar en exteriores, ¿debo quitar el cielo?, ¿cómo?. Gracias.

  • Avatar
    Marco (Pix4D)

    Hola Cesar Moreno,

    Sí, se recomienda quitar el cielo.
    Puede hacerlo usando las herramientas de anotación.

    Por favor, mire los siguientes artículos:


  • Steve Brown

    Hello Pix4D,

    Does the iStar Pulsar work with Pix4D?


  • Avatar
    Marco (Pix4D)

    Hi Steve Brown,

    The status about the iStar Pulsar has not changed since:

    If you get a data set we recommend you to follow this article and calibrate your camera yourself.
    Hope this will help.


  • adolfo bustamante

    Buenas noches: tengo una cámara Ricoh theta V y estoy tratando de generar espacios interiores, pero siempre me envía errores tanto en la aplicación de escritorio como en la aplicación en la nube. Lo único que veo que no me reconoce es la georreferencia. ¿Usted me podría ayudar? Gracias

  • Avatar
    Marco (Pix4D)

    Hola adolfo bustamante,

    No creo que su problema esté relacionado con la georreferenciación.
    Creo que la reconstrucción no es tan fácil y el software está teniendo problemas al tratar de calibrar su proyecto.
    Revisé su proyecto en la Nube y puedo decir que su superposición parece ser insuficiente. Sólo se han calibrado 4/28 cámaras.
    Esto significa que su adquisición de imágenes no es obviamente óptima.
    El procesamiento con la plantilla rápida podría ser la causa de ello. Como la escala de la imagen es demasiado baja, el algoritmo no puede encontrar puntos de coincidencia.
    Le sugiero que elija en su lugar la plantilla normal "modelos 3D" y seleccione "Todo lo anterior" para los parámetros de optimización interna. Esto podría ayudar a calibrar si hay alguna esperanza para lograrlo.


  • Goran Norling

    Is the list of spherical cameras in this thread up to date? Or is more cameras added in the database?



  • Kapil (Pix4D)

    Hello Goran, 

    The above camera models are up to date. You should be able to process the data obtained from the above-suggested camera.


  • Marc Hinton


    would the existing Ricoh Theta calibrations work without modification for models; SC2,V or Z1?

  • Kapil (Pix4D)


    The calibration parameters should be different if the camera model is different. However, if the images obtained from that camera models are equirectangular, you should be able to import and process them using Pix4Dmapper. The Pix4Dmapper will automatically export the camera parameter from the image EXIF and calibration is carried out based on the images.


    Edited by Kapil (Pix4D)
  • Brian King

    I am considering using a Insta360 One X camera to capture stream bank footage and tree survey.  The camera has proprietary INSP file format but can easily be exported to MP4 and/or jpg.  Have you all tested this camera?  Can the video and jpg images be imported into Pix4D to produce a model.  I have Pix4DMapper so I can select a spherical lens.  Is there a 360 camera tha  you have tested that is better, like the GoPRO MAX?  I am just looking for suggestions on tested cameras.  I will do the research.  Thank you, Brian


  • Holden (Pix4D)

    Hi Brian. We have not tested this camera as of now. For outdoor mapping, I generally don't recommend using 360 cameras as it captures a lot of useless data which takes time to process and produces noise. My suggestion would be to use a camera that allows you to focus the frame of the camera on what it is you are interested in modeling. 

  • abdul abnan

    Hello PIX4D team

    I'm new to this software and we have been testing with other software for 360 degree images of mobile mapping data , our issue is all the images are not geotagged and then we have blackout patches in the 360 images , once geotagged the images , we want to fill the black out patches..


    As i have attached an images for more clear understanding , your guidance is much appreciated


    Hello. Is the new Insta360 One X2 camera compatible? I hope so .. Because several software are using this camera for 3D scanning. Would you be able to check if it already has compatibility, or if you have a predicted date?

  • Oliver Gibson

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have an optical televiewer that is deployed in drill holes. The tools uses a fish eye lens and records a continuous 360 degree image of the hole (typically the holes are 96 - 130 mm is diameter). Typically each pixel is 2 mm high with 900 pixels per rotation. See example below. I normally use other tools to measure hole diameter but it would be great if I could use photogrammetry. Do you think this would be possible in your software?


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