When it comes to 360 cameras, no one iterates and innovates faster than Insta360, producing new cameras and features that push the industry forward.
They don’t just make solid cameras, they make great cameras at great prices.
Among their latest innovations is the completely overhauled Insta360 ONE X (available for $399 on Amazon and at B&H Photo).
This camera is so far ahead of its predecessor, Insta360 ONE, that it feels like the only thing in common is the name. But while the X takes huge leaps forward, it does have some noticeable flaws.
Although the outside was completely redesigned – slimming it down and making it taller – it’s the inside that matters most, just like our mothers have taught us.
It has two 200 degree ultra-wide An extreme wide-angle lens, with image distortion occurring at the edges of the frame. lenses paired with a Sony CMOS sensor that produces 5.7k video at 30 frames per second. Other video The number of pixels in an image, typically presented as a ratio of the total pixels on x axis to the total pixels on th... More settings include 3840×1920 at 50fps, 3840×1920 at 30fps and even 3008×1504 at 100fps. The video bitrate goes up to 120Mbps.
Using the H.264 codec, it produces an mp4 (via the app), LOG and Insta360’s insv format when directly pulled from the camera.
Stitching via app produces 4k quality video, but to get the higher 5.7K you need to use their desktop software, which is very much still in beta (it works but it’s clunky). If you stitch via SGO’s Mistika VR software, like I do, we’re waiting for them to include this camera as one of their presets.
The X also produces 18 megapixel (6080×3040) images that are jpegs (via the app), RAW (dng) and their propriety insp file when pulled from the camera.
When you open the package up, among the first things that greets you is the sticker recommending a UHS-I V30 speed class MicroSD Card. This camera needs a card that can keep up.
If you read my Insta360 ONE review, you might remember some of the issues I had with it, mainly not being able to preview the shot while recording. That’s not an issue here.
The Insta360 ONE X connects to your smart phone via WiFi and it enables you to see your shot as you set up and while you record.
How’s the stitch line, you ask? There is NO stitch line. The camera is incredible. All the videos you’ve seen are true.
In every situation I put the camera in, the resulting image was jaw dropping. I don’t think any camera seamlessly blends the footage together like the X does.
The color is much improved over their past cameras too. You can see a recent Insta360 ONE X vs GoPro Fusion shootout here.
As with other Insta360 cameras, you need another specific app to run this camera. And like the other Insta360 apps, it’s designed well and loaded with tons of features that make it an ideal mobile and social 360 camera. These are the features that make Insta360 standout compared to other 360 camera makers.
Noticeably missing from the app is bullet time. But not to worry, that feature is there and is activated directly via the camera, which is controlled by a big button and screen.
Also noticeably different is how to live stream in 360.
In order to go live in 360 via your social platforms, you need to connect your camera to your smart phone via a cable. (And they include all the cables to make sure it connects with whatever phone you might have.)
Requiring to connect the camera to your phone is a step back.
This means your mobile device will be seen in the live 360 shot and, most importantly, you have to give up your phone to dedicate it to the camera. That also means you can’t monitor the feed and comments on the same device, unless you want to be seen awkwardly close in the shot.
Solution: Use your old phone to stream and your current phone to monitor.
Perhaps the biggest step back is the battery life.
The unit I tested would drain the swappable battery fairly quickly, lasting around 20 minutes.
This is not ideal, but here are some solutions:
- Buy more batteries and swap them out.
- Connect an external battery – although you may see it on camera
- Abandon or reduce the use of the live preview feature.
There are some flaws in this camera – 5.7K only via buggy software, requiring to tether a phone for live 360 and short battery life – but the resulting footage is so damn good it makes up for the limitations.
The FlowState stabilization feature lives up to the hype. And features to do smart tracking and produce smooth 2D/flat videos are even easier than before.
The X also has more accessories than its older brother, including Insta360 Drifter football thing that seems as ridiculous as the initial bullet-time concept but can also produce some unique shots.
The design, the app, the features and the accessories make this camera great, but the quality of the images and the price make this a must have device for anyone interested in 360.
From beginner to expert, the Insta360 ONE X needs to be in your tool kit. Just make sure you have room for a charger too.