Insta360: light & powerful action-oriented 360 cameras

As much as we’ve seen the push for 360 content across social media and the future it yields, consumers have been hopping onto this trend. However, the consumer-grade version of such equipment may still not have made that many advancements compared to their pro-level equivalent. Features like HDR and better seamless stitching can be a deal-breaker.

Though there have been 360 cameras from the likes of Samsung and now GoPro, you can say goodbye to those compromises. When I first heard about a company named Insta360, it just rung a bell that they’d be selling cameras. This same company just launched the consumer-friendly action-oriented One X.


What’s different by Insta360?

First thing I noticed is that the One X has a lighter and sturdier feel to it, making it a successor to the previous One model. Unlike some of the other consumer 360 cameras, the One X has a removable battery system. Yet, it’s still light enough that you don’t even feel it nor does it feel too glossy that it’ll slip from one’s hands.

In addition to filming in 1080p and 4K, this model also hyped the new FlowState Stabilization that’s even better than what’s supported inside the GoPro HERO models. Just how good is it? They’ve got a live stabilization comparison test at their CES 2019 booth, comparing it to the newly-released GoPro HERO 7. Not a single jerk of movement appeared in the live video footage. For those that hold their cameras while walking and hate the jerky movements, you’ll be jumping with joy when you film with the One X.

Another nifty time-saving feature that proves useful during the post-production process is that the footage – photo or video – doesn’t need to be stitched and it’s ready to be used with Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Unlike other brands, where the 360 photo/video is seen as 2 separate spheres which need to be processed. A big time saver which can be used for more post-processing work.

If you’ve ever wanted to recreate the bullet time experience seen in The Matrix, the One X supports this in conjunction with a special tripod which is completely invisible during the recording process. You’d probably be wondering where and how is the camera being held, and why is the user clenching something with a closed fist.

Insta360 Titan unveiled at CES 2019
Insta360 Titan unveiled at CES 2019

If you’re also looking to move up to something even more powerful, Insta360 have also released the new Titan that captures visuals at up-to 11K. Equipped with 8 micro four-thirds sensors, you’re looking at visuals that would easily surpass the minimum requirements for VR content.

All of the Insta360 models allow you to use them with either an iOS or Android smartphone for easy editing and transfer. If you’re also looking to be a bit more daring and use the One X in diving, there’s a special diving case that keeps it secure and optimizes the stitching due to the behaviour of light underwater.

I bought one when they announced it in late 2018, after seeing all the demo videos. I’ll be putting it through its paces for a more comprehensive review. Since it’s already received high honours at CES (for the One X), it’s sending a strong message to other 360 camera brands.

Author: Yasser Masood

Think of me as a grassroots community evangelist. Juggling social media while covering technology/digital trends across the Middle East and crossroads of society and culture, while unearthing other perspectives that pique my interests.

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