The Insta360 ONE Is This the Right 360 Camera For You?
It’s taken longer than I would have liked, but I finally got time to check out the Insta360 One. With the onslaught of 360 cameras that have come out over the past few months, it’s hard to keep up with all of them.
The Insta360 ONE follows the logic that the best camera that is the one you have with you. It’s small lightweight and connects directly to your iPhone. The company has just come out with the Android adapter. So now you’ll be able to use the Insta360 One with your Android phone as well.
Let’s start out by listing the specifications.
|Lenses||two fisheye lenses|
|Field of view||fully spherical|
|Sensors||two 1/2.3-inch Sony CMOS sensors|
|Processors||unspecified Ambarella processor|
|Photo resolution||6912 x 3456 in JPEG or DNG raw|
|Video resolution||3840 x 1920, 30fps
2560 x 1280 @ 60fps 2048 x 512 @ 120fps
mp4 (log mode available)
|Live streaming resolution:||3840 x 1920
Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo
|Shutter speed:||1/4000 to 60 seconds|
|ISO:||100 to 3200 (up to 6400 for video)|
|Stabilization:||6-axis gyro-based image stabilization|
|Connector:||1/4-20 tripod connector|
|Storage:||one Micro SD up to 128GB (8GB included)|
|Working humidity:||30% to 80%|
|Temperature:||14F – 113F (-14C to 45C)|
|Waterproof:||No (waterproof housing accessory available)|
|Connectivity:||MFI-certified lightning connector
Bluetooth LE 4.0
iPhone 8 / 8 plus
iPhone 7 / plus
iPhone 6s / 6s plus
iPhone 6 / 6 plus
iPad Pro (10.5 in, 9.7 in)
iPad mini 4
iPad Air 2
Android version shipping December 15, 2017
|Dimensions:||96 x 36.5 x 25 mm|
|Battery:||70 mins.; not removable; USB charging|
Freecast (live streaming with changeable perspective)
There is a recommended Insta360 Selfie Stick and an Original Insta360 ONE Action Camera Waterproof Case available as well and even a Drone Mount for a DJI Mavic.
The Insta360 ONE is definitely a small compact 360 camera. It weighs in almost the same as the Insta360 Nano. There is a slide switch that causes the lightning connector to pop out to connect your iPhone.
For charging there is a micro USB connector next to the lightning connector on the camera. Yes, even though the camera connects to your phone it does not draw power from it. There are both pros and cons to this. On the one hand, you don’t have to worry about draining your phone battery while shooting 360. On the other hand, you might have forgotten to charge your camera and been left unable to shoot that perfect 360 shot even though your phone is fully charged. That might be a little frustrating. I know it certainly made me a little miffed when it happened to me. The other issue is that because the lightning connector and USB are so close, you can’t charge the camera while it’s connected to the phone.
There is a sleeve that comes with the Insta360 ONE that does multiple duty as a lens protector camera holder, mini handle, and camera stand.
The microphone is at the top of the camera near the offset lenses. The offset lenses help greatly with keeping the width of the camera down and decreasing the size the nodal point for better stitching. More on the stitching later.
The MicroSD card is tucked in nicely. Maybe too nicely as anyone will attest when they try to remove it. Unless you have long fingernails, you may need a small screwdriver to eject it.
There are several features of the Insta360 ONE that stand out.
- Three ways to Shoot. You can use the camera as a stand-alone 360 camera or you can connect it to your smartphone, or you can control the camera wirelessly via Bluetooth.
- Bullet-time. This is one feature that everybody wants to try at least once. You swing your camera around while recording at 120 frames (240fps interpolated) per second video. The ad campaign for this certainly made this feature famous. I’m sure you’ve seen it. A la Matrix, you can dodge invisible bullets like Keanu Reeves. Honestly, once you’ve done it once, I don’t see a whole lot of people doing it too many times after.
- The Insta360 ONE is built-in image stabilization which keeps the horizon level no matter how its positioned. This is also great when you’re using recommended selfie stick as it will be invisible in the shot. Overall the 6-axis stabilization is excellent. You don’t have to do anything and the videos, even your live streams will be stabilized quite nicely. There is a slight problem with longer videos of more than a minute or 2 in that the stabilization will drift. The good thing is that you can turn it off.
- Smart Track allows you to follow your subject in the 360 video. When it’s turned on, you place a semi-transparent box over your subject or target. Then press record. The app will create a non-360 video with the subject being followed.
- Insta360 ONE does offer manual exposure for both photos and videos. This is one of the few consumer 360 cameras that does offer this useful feature. You get manual exposure, ISO priority, shutter priority, with shutter speeds as slow as 60 seconds and as high as 1/4000.
- Freecapture is the term coined by Insta360 for its shoot first and point later editing. With this feature, you can pull out a full HD video from within the 360 video and be able to do pans and tilts. The way that it works is during playback you hold your smartphone as if you’re shooting the video then you can move to create the Full HD video from within the 360 canvas. You can keyframe where and when you want your changes to be positioned. The only downside is that as we have become accustomed more and more to 4 K images, dropping back down to HD is not the way most people want to go. Then again, if you are watching this on your smartphone you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
- 360 Live Streaming. This feature has become increasingly in demand for 360 cameras, and the Insta360 ONE delivers quite nicely here too. With the camera connected directly to your phone, you have an ironclad connection, and your 360 live stream is even stabilized.
Overall, if you want an easy to use consumer 360 cameras with lots of cool features and live streaming to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Periscope then the Insta360 ONE is the perfect camera for you.