The Matterport Pro3 is finally here! Matterport’s latest 3D scanning camera was released on the 30th of August 2022. Given that the initial release of the Pro2 was over 5 years ago, this is a moment that we and many others have been waiting for. In this article, we look at how the Matterport Pro3 compares to its predecessor, the Pro2, and if it has been worth the wait.
Speculation surrounding the Matterport Pro3
Over the past few years, there has been much speculation and rumours about what we might be able to expect from the Pro3 and when it will be released. However there has been no projected release date from Matterport themselves. I got in touch with Matterport a month ago to see if I could find out a bit more. They informed me they do not have a date or a timeline for its release. As you can see, Matterport kept the prospect of new product under wraps, until it was released a few days ago (at the time of writing).
What is the Matterport Pro3 and why is it important in the world of 3D scanning?
To create 3D virtual tours, 3D virtual tour providers such as ourselves utilise specialist camera equipment to take scans of a space. These scans are then stitched together with digital software and AI. Different cameras use different combinations of technology to collect information from the scans, from imaging sensors to infrared to LiDAR. We use a combination of cameras depending on the situation and the space to help us create the highest quality product for our clients.
Of the many cameras that can be used to create 3D virtual tours, the Matterport Pro2 cameras are possibly the most commonly utilised. The Pro3 camera is the latest release of 3D scanning camera by Matterport, which boasts a range of new and improved features including better speed, range and portability. The main advancement is that the camera now uses a high-precision LiDAR sensor over the infrared sensors used in its predecessor, the Pro2. This allows the Pro3 to capture more accurate measurements in various lighting conditions at depths of up to 100 meters.
Below we take a look at how the newly released Pro3 could allow 3D scanning providers to create even better virtual tours.
Matterport Pro2 vs. Matterport Pro3: What's new?
Scanning in daylight
As mentioned above, the Pro3 uses LiDAR technology to collect data points instead of the infrared used in the Pro2. An issue with the Pro2 cameras was that they did not scan well in outdoor conditions. A common workaround is to use a combination of cameras in one scanning session – for example the Pro2 indoors and the Leica BLK360 outside. With the new Pro3, the camera is no longer competing with the sun's infrared, so it can provide far more accurate data outdoors without a workaround. LiDAR provides is a huge benefit when scanning outside. It allows outdoor areas to be included as scans, capturing detailed spaces that have challenging lighting conditions, reflective surfaces, or a lot of foliage. This will improve the quality and navigation experience of the final tour.
As well as being able to produce 3D virtual tours, Matterport cameras can also create point cloud data. Point cloud data is a collection of millions of accurate data points. This information can be used by architects, engineers, and construction professionals to gain precise measurements of an existing space. The Matterport Pro2 collects 4 million data points per scan, while the Pro3 collects a whopping 12 million data points per scan. This is a huge imrpovement and puts the camera in line with its more high-end competors such as the Leica BLK360. The Pro3 has a margin of error of up to 20mm every 10m, giving an accuracy level of 99.8%. Combined with its improved ability to scan outdoors, this makes the Pro3 a solid contender to provide accurate high-density point cloud data for AEC scans and surveys.
The scan time of the Pro2 is 20 seconds, while the Pro3 scan time is advertised as less than 20 seconds. Case studies show that a scan using a Pro3 takes around 15 seconds to complete. While this is not significantly faster than the Pro2, it will nonetheless allow a virtual tour provider to complete a full scan in less time.
The Pro3 claims to have a scan range of up to a whopping 100m in a single scan for point cloud data, which is five times the range of their previous camera. This means generally fewer scans are required to build a point cloud model. When producing a virtual tour, it may still be necessary to keep scans close together to provide a smooth navigation experience. However, for larger commercial spaces and point cloud collection, this is a very useful development. Combined with a faster scanning speed, the improved scan range should reduce scanning time considerably and provide even more accurate data points.
Weight and design
The Pro3 camera is 30% more compact and at 2.2kg, 35% lighter than its predecessor. As a not-so-muscly woman, this is certainly a welcome upgrade from the Pro2.
It may not be a make-or-break factor for most; however, the updated design is also something to celebrate. The Pro3 is visibly different in design to the Pro2 and Pro1, which are both very similar in appearance. Just by looking at the camera, you can see it is slimmer, with a more modern appearance, and futuristic feel because of the spinning lidar sensor. I am a sucker for a bit of decent design, so this isn't something you will find me complaining about.
The downloadable image resolution is the same as Pro2 however the Matterport Pro3 advertises improved image quality within a virtual tour through its higher resolution imaging sensors. From the Pro3 example virtual tour on the Matterport website, it is somewhat impossible to distinguish the difference in image quality from the Pro2, which is already great. Whilst all improvements are welcome, we don’t think the Pro3’s image quality is something to chuck your Pro2 out for.
The battery life of the Pro3 is described by the number of scans it can do on one charge (220 scans). This equates to about 3-4 hours of battery life based on continuous use, so it is less than the Pro2’s 8 hours of battery life. The difference is that Pro3 has a removable battery system that allows for continuous scanning beyond 8 hours if you have a few charged batteries on hand. While it's convenient to be able to take just one camera out without spare batteries, we think the advantages of having a smaller, lighter camera and extending scanning sessions by swapping out batteries outweigh this.
Updates to the Scanning app and Matterport viewing platform
Along with the Pro3 camera release, Matterport has also announced some quite significant updates to its app along with the release of some upgraded features on the Matterport viewing platform.
Previously, a 3D scanning provider could only shoot a virtual tour via an app on a device. However, there is now the ability to edit a processed model directly from the app as well rather than having to switch to a laptop or desktop. This will make it easier for a virtual tour provider to edit on the go.
Matterport viewing platform:
The viewing platform is where a 3D virtual tour is explored by its users. A new productivity feature which Matterport has coined ‘Views’ will allow permission-based collaboration and management of different tasks such as virtual site inspections, remote training, space planning, personalized virtual tours, and more. This is a feature we are looking forward to trying out with our clients.
The new guided tours and enhanced tag features are will increase customer engagement, productivity, and sales conversions for our clients.
We have attempted to cover the key features of the Pro3, however, please see the full details on the Matterport website.
Is the Matterport Pro3 worth it?
We can’t talk about whether the Pro3 is worth it without discussing the price. The camera starts at a not-so-cheap £4995 (or $5995). This is the release price as of 31st August 2022. This current price range takes the camera out of affordability range for many. For example, the price tag may not make it worthwhile for estate agents who own a Pro2 to upgrade.
However, as a 3D scanning and virtual tour provider, it is quite a different story. The ability to swap out batteries and a faster scan time should make quite a difference to the overall speed of production. This allows us to complete scanning sessions faster and to give a space back to our clients quicker.
The LiDAR technology makes the Pro3 a game changer, particularly for applications within the commercial and AEC industries. This is due to the ability to scan outdoors, improved accuracy of measurements and increased scan range. There are situations in which an even higher level of accuracy may be required in which case cameras like the Leica BLK360 can be used. However, the Pro3 gives the option of a more affordable LiDAR alternative, making the technology more accessible.
Overall, it looks like the Pro3 offers some significant improvements from its predecessor, the Pro2.
Will Copy and Space be getting a Matterport Pro3?
We are always on the lookout for new technology that will allow us to produce even better results for our clients. This is definitely a camera we at Copy and Space can’t wait to add to our kit in the near future. We are looking forward to trying it out in real life to see how it matches up to the hype. Keep an eye out for our review!