Photography / Hands-on Review

Put the Power of 360° VIEW in Your Hands


Shopping in person has always held a distinct advantage over shopping online in that you could pick up the product and examine it every which way. But now, even that’s changing. The B&H Shopping Site just upped the ante with 360o VIEW. You can now cause the product to spin entirely around and enlarge it to see the tiniest detail. 

The 360o VIEW is available for select products such as cameras, camcorders, lenses and more on the B&H website. A 360o VIEW label will appear below the image, and more models are being added to 360VIEW  each day.  

Let’s say you catch sight of a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens you’d like to inspect close up. No problem. If the 360o VIEW label appears, click on it. A Flash player will load in a window along with a high-resolution view of the product. Click and drag the pointer left or right or up and down to rotate the lens. Stop the motion by simply ceasing mouse movement.

Another way to home in on a particular feature with 360o VIEW is to click on one of the listed controls to the right of the image. So, for example, a lens might list Focusing Ring, Focus Mode Switch and Image Stabilizer Switch. Clicking each control will, depending on the current view, cause the lens to turn, roll and/or flip with an informational callout pointing to the exact spot. 

To zoom in, you tug the slider to the right of the magnifier icon. Be sure to use the Full Screen button showing four arrows diverging at the bottom. Suddenly, the lens is the size of a dirigible. Still, with this enormousness, you have complete 360-degree control.

Accompanying your all-sides perspective are the labels that pop up, pointing to features on the hardware: a Hood Mount here; a Distance Scale there. When the pointer strays onto a feature label, the action is accompanied by a click-clack. You can mute the sound, but I found the effect reinforced the usability of holding a virtual product in my hands.

Whether you deem 360o VIEW a form of remote control or spin control, the fact is that you are in control.  In the world of retail browsing, the activity of “just looking” has never been easier or as richly rewarding.