The pandemic created a paradigm shift and allowed people to work remotely from a location of their choice. Given the freedom to relocate, workers changed the entire real estate landscape as we knew it. Properties were selling unseen, and realtors needed images delivered yesterday. Time was money, and it was also becoming a dwindling resource. As a result, automation became a new currency. And that’s where the Matterport Pro3 comes into play.
Realtors now rely on virtual tours, creative content, and fast turnaround times. Matterport has been an industry leader with its immersive 3D experience. The Pro3 takes what was already working well and improves upon it. Scan times are now less than 20 seconds, and cost average-sized spaces only take a few hours to upload.
Pricing for the Matterport Pro3 camera starts at $5,999 and the brand offers add-on subscriptions for an extra monthly fee. The starter pack has a monthly fee of $9.99. It offers analytics and the ability to publish directly to the Realtor website. Is the all-in-one workhorse worth the investment? Keep reading to find out more.
Table of Contents
The Big Picture
Matterport Pro3 is a simple all-inclusive option for real estate and commercial property photographers. You only need an iPhone, iPad, or Android device and a sturdy tripod. Each scan takes less than 20 seconds, and uploads are ready promptly.
The Digital Twin Platform equips users with 3D dollhouse views and a virtual space tour. Users can take a snapshot while editing the space to be uploaded to the MLS listing. Traditional black and white floorplans are available for an extra fee.
Most untrained eyes and paying clients will be thrilled with the HDR results. Natural light images are realistic, with subtle shadows and sunlight coming in through the windows. However, non-daylight balanced light bulbs cast noticeable tints.
Working photographers may want to develop a new workflow if they aren’t already outsourcing. That is if the price of the job is right. Otherwise, the initial results are pretty sufficient for most clients.
We are giving the Matterport Pro3 four out of five stars. If it were possible to fine-tune the HDR results within the digital twin, this would receive a higher rating.
Want one? Pricing for the Matterport Pro3 camera starts at $5,999.
Pros And Cons
- Easy to use
- Ability to capture real estate images from Matterport scans
- Significantly cuts down on production time
- Most clients will be pleased with HDR results.
- Virtual tours are fun and can sell properties fast.
- 20-second capture speed
- Online spaces are simple and easy to use.
- Great all-in-one setup
- It’s expensive.
- I wish there were an option to fine-tune the HDR results.
- Lights that aren’t daylight balanced can create awkward tints and color shifts.
- The connection sometimes gets lost in old buildings with thick walls.
- Noticeable wide distortion in small spaces, as expected
We tested the Matterport Pro3 with an iPhone 11, 16″ Macbook Pro, and Vanguard Veo 3+ tripod. The Pro3 camera was a loan from Matterport.
Matterport took what was already great with its cortex AI and improved the immersive experience. Scan times are drastically faster, image quality is better, and overall accuracy is improved. All the upgrades come in a much smaller package than its predecessor. The company continues its quest to make 3D imaging widely acceptable and easy to use. Its cloud-based digital twin technology is intuitive and straightforward to use.
The Matterport Pro3 camera is ultra-portable. It spans a little more than seven inches and weighs less than five pounds. The camera comes with a padded carrying case making it easy to commute on two wheels.
The ultra-wide 12-blade lens is located on the front of the unit.
This is what it looks like from the side.
And here is a closer crop of the laser.
The power button and small display are located on the back of the Pro3.
Battery access is on the bottom. This is also where a tripod mount attaches to the Matterport camera.
Matterport’s Pro3 is small, compact, and feels solid. It comes in a padded carrying case with a strong handle. The Pro3 isn’t fully weather-proof or dustproof, but it can withstand a moderately light rain. I’d recommend letting it dry and ensuring the lens is clear before using it indoors again. It will ensure the laser isn’t refracting light through any moisture and produce the best results.
Ease Of Use
Anyone with an iOS or Android device can operate the Matterport Pro3. Download the Capture App from the app store and establish a connection between the devices. Mount the camera five feet above the ground to a tripod, get out of sight, and begin capturing your space for your digital twin. The camera will rotate four times and do the rest.
A digital twin is a digital copy of a real-world place or object. Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies enable the creation of digital twins, which are dimensionally accurate 3D digital models that can be updated quickly to reflect changes with its physical counterpart.-Matterport
A good rule of thumb for large spaces is scanning one day and then uploading overnight. Edit the space on the following day for a two-day client turnaround. Smaller spaces can be delivered within 24 hours. The quick delivery time will keep realtors at bay.
The Capture App is straightforward to use. Simply decide whether you are creating a 3D space or capturing a 360-degree scan for that space. I recommend opting for the complete scan to get the best results.
It’s easiest to start in a corner and then move through a space. Be advantageous with the placement of your scans if you plan on using snapshots for the listing.
From there, continue moving strategically throughout the space and watch the floorplan come to life. The black spots you see indicate that details are missing. Take the time to create extra scans and fill in the details. It is better to have too many scans and remove them later.
Be mindful of the user experience. I found three paces to be a good distance between scans indoors. It isn’t too jumpy and makes for a pleasant virtual tour. Outdoor areas do not require as much work. Also, mark windows, mirrors, and where you want to trim. It will yield the highest-quality result when you’re ready to upload it.
Matterport recommends completing the stairway scans and get the next floor in view for multi-level buildings. Then create a new floor and scan away. It should mitigate the hassle of any misalignment issues.
Most average-sized spaces will be available to work on within several hours after uploading. I recommend embarking on the virtual tour first to get an idea of the primary focal rooms you want to showcase. It’s a great way to get a feel of the space and a lot of fun.
Kitchens, living rooms, and master suites are always a great choice. Then enter edit mode, capture snapshots, and begin creating your project.
Matterport’s offerings allow photographers to create various packages. I would offer MLS images and a virtual tour as a standard and charge accordingly.
From there, I would offer the virtual floorplan, traditional floorplan, and dollhouse 3D view as an optional add-on. You can also take snapshots with virtual measurements if your clients request it.
If you want to begin your presentation with a floorplan or 3D dollhouse view:
- Pick the focal room as the start of the virtual tour.
- From there, navigate through the space and delete any unnecessary scans.
- Gather snapshots along the way for the MLS.
The snapshots are available under Downloads and can be delivered to your clients in one email.
The Matterport Pro3 creates realistic HDR images and balances the light with multiple exposures. There is noticeable distortion from the wide angle lens in tight spaces, as would be expected. Images are sharp with subtle shadows, adequate window pulls in most lighting situations. Dramatic light can resemble computer generated images.
The Matterport captures six images with shutter speeds ranging from 1/5th to 1/5000th of a second. The worst image gets tossed while the rest are blended and balanced for the most pleasing user experience.
The Pro3 does well in mixed lighting situations with ample natural light available. It is a good idea to recommend daylight balanced light bulbs to your clients before photographing a space. Varying lighting color temperatures can be glaringly obvious. The different shades create undesirable tints and color shifts throughout spaces just like DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
It isn’t possible to correct it within the app nor is it possible to turn down the HDR effect. These features would be fantastic additions in the future. Scenes that lack natural light and rely on other sources of light can look like CGI awfully fast. However, your average client wouldn’t get hung up on this detail. It’s also worth mentioning that often-blown window highlights are quite good.
The Pro3 also does a very nice job with natural light images. I appreciate the subtle shadows and playful light on the wall. It provides the viewer with a real look at the space by adding ambiance. The lights off crew might be less enthusiastic as they tend to prefer flat walls. Even though their images are more natural with colors, the shadowless walls are unrealistic. These photographers will also most likely opt to create an external workflow and fine tune the snapshots to their liking.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the product can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy The Matterport Pro3 Camera?
Photographers looking to improve their turnaround time while offering numerous products should buy the Matterport Pro3. The ultra-portable camera is easy to use and incredibly efficient. The 3D tours are really enjoyable.
Photographers who work in the industry may be a little more hesitant. Signature styles are a thing and the HDR images aren’t perfect. However, the only people who will scoff at that are other photographers. We hope to see Matterport add minor editing functionality in the future for even better images.
Your average client will enjoy the immersive experience and appreciate the image quality. The amount of time saved alone makes it a worthwhile investment. Real estate photographers can start reclaiming their precious time and keeping realtors happy.
The mobile platform is an impressive one-stop shop for most real estate and commercial property needs. Additionally, the Matterport system is great for insurance and disaster claims. We look forward to what Matterport has planned next.
Tech specs are from the manufacturer.
- Depth Technology: LiDar
- Laser: Class 1 (in accordance with IEC 60825-1:2014)
- Wavelength: 904nm
- Field Of View: 360° H / 295° V
- Accuracy: +/- 20mm @ 10m
- Depth Resolution: 100k points per second, 1.5M points per scan
- Min Operating Range: 0.5m
- Max Operating Range: Up to 100m (only available with E57)
- 3D Data Registration: Automatic
- Output pano pixels: 134.2 MP
- Number of exposures per HDR frame: 5
- White balance: Automatic, full model
- Capture speed: <20 seconds per scan
- Camera boot time: <40 seconds
- Remote operation: Matterport Capture App on Apple or Android mobile devices
- Wireless communication: BLE to setup WiFi connection, WiFi 802.11 5GHz communication with mobile device running Capture App
- Dimensions: 181mm x 161.4mm x 76mm
- Weight: 2.2kg
- Battery: >220 scans assuming continuous, consecutive scans
- Battery charge time: 2.5 hours 80% charge, 3.5 hours 100% charge
- Mounting mechanism: Quick release tripod mount; Female 3/8-16 thread
- GPS: Included
- Operating Temperature: 0C to 40C
- Storage Temperature: -20C to 60C
- Ingress protection: IP43