Insta360 One R Review: An Motion Cam That Can Do It All

Insta360 One R review: How 360-degree video ought to be

MSRP $480.00

“That is how 360-degree video ought to have been completed from the start.”

Professionals

  • Modular design
  • Wonderful stabilization
  • Sharp movies
  • Lengthy listing of additional options
  • Effectively-built enhancing app
  • Aggressive worth

Cons

  • Small display
  • Shutter lag
  • Occasional bugs

Regardless of being able to see every thing round them, 360-degree cameras have a restricted variety of makes use of. The Insta360 One R, nonetheless, isn’t your typical 360 camera. The truth is, it doesn’t need to be a 360 camera in any respect. Its modular platform means that you can swap out the 360 lens for a conventional wide-angle motion camera lens. There’s even a Leica-branded 1-inch sensor mod for capturing increased picture high quality and higher low-light photographs.

The One R is product of three essential elements — the swappable camera module, battery base, and touchscreen. Every is a separate piece, however the latter two are extra everlasting as they’re used with both camera module. The $480 Twin Version features a 5.7K 360 mod and a 4K wide-angle mod. The 1-inch Version contains the mod that homes a bigger one-inch sensor for higher picture high quality.

The Insta360 One R additionally builds in an extended listing of options and a well-designed cell app for accessing them. It doesn’t simply break 360 out of its area of interest — it competes with GoPro as an motion camera.

We cherished the Insta360 One R after we noticed it at CES 2020, and it earned our High Tech of CES award for the pictures class. Let’s see if it lives as much as our expectations.

Modular design

When assembled, the One R appears kind of like your typical motion camera. A plastic guard wraps across the prime and sides of all three items and features a GoPro-compatible mount on the base.

The camera module connects to each the core (the half with the LCD display) and the battery base. As a considerate addition for vloggers, the non-360 module may even be mounted backward, so the display is seen whereas recording your self. The camera module pops off the bottom on the pull of a tiny lever, then could be pulled free from the core with a superb tug.

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Regardless of being product of modular elements, the Insta360 One R isn’t a lot bigger than a typical motion camera. Each the camera module and the core are roughly golf-ball-sized (if golf balls have been, um, cubes). The small measurement makes for simple mounting within the conventional motion camera sense, however you want a selfie stick to maintain fingers freed from the lens to shoot the camera whereas holding it.

The 1-inch Version additionally has a screw-on protecting lens cowl for the camera mod, which will increase the camera’s total measurement barely and bumps out the mod additional within the again as properly. The lens additionally tends to get condensation inside in humid environments, however solely within the screw-on element.

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The simple controls embody an influence button on the prime proper, with the report button subsequent to it. A small door on the aspect homes a USB-C connection and MicroSD card slot.

The remaining is completed by way of the touchscreen. Most 360 cameras skip out on this and rely as an alternative on a smartphone connection, so the display is an enormous perk — large that means essential, because the precise measurement of the display is barely about an inch large. That’s one limitation of the modular design.

The on-screen controls for taking pictures and playback are intuitive, however accessing them requires realizing the correct gestures. A swipe to the left opens the taking pictures settings, whereas one to the correct is playback. A swipe towards the highest opens further settings, and one to the underside accesses completely different taking pictures modes. This isn’t too completely different from what number of motion cameras work, so it ought to be acquainted to prospects who’ve used one thing like a GoPro.

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The touchscreen will also be a bit finicky. It usually took just a few swipe makes an attempt to land on the mode I needed with out proper previous it.

The Insta360 One R is waterproof right down to about 16 ft with out an additional housing positioned round it. (The included body doesn’t provide further water safety.) We examined the camera in a snowstorm — together with flinging it off a sled right into a pile of snow — and dunked it in a lake. Moisture didn’t get contained in the camera itself, however there was some water between the modular elements after its dunk within the lake.

The modular design could also be distinctive, however the One R was nonetheless easy and simple to make use of. Remembering the gesture controls will take a while, however not more than with every other miniature camera. On the down aspect, the mode wheel continuously scrolled previous the choice we needed, and it’s simple to push buttons by chance when swapping mods.

Nonetheless, as a first-of-its-kind modular motion camera, the One R will get rather a lot proper.

Consumer expertise

Swapping lenses on an motion camera is enjoyable. In contrast to a DSLR, you’re not swapping lenses to get nearer or farther away, however based mostly on whether or not you need an immersive view, a front-facing wide-angle camera, a rear-facing wide-angle camera, or a higher-resolution 1-inch sensor. Insta360 additionally contains the choices to regulate the angle of view digitally. This may, in fact, crop the video, however earlier than throwing these pixels away, the One R makes use of the additional respiratory room from the crop to enhance the digital picture stabilization.

The on-camera controls provide sufficient which you can get away with out counting on the cell app, not that you simply’d need to skip out on it utterly. Controlling the camera from the app opens up an extended listing of choices, together with handbook publicity and RAW images. The app additionally presents tutorials for each taking pictures and enhancing.

With the 360 lens, the app additionally permits for monitoring — press and maintain on the topic, and the 360 video might be adjusted in order that particular person or object is all the time entrance and middle. This monitoring labored properly and stored up even when the chosen face was partially lined, although it does cease monitoring if blocked from view utterly. The 360 movies could be seen in three main views: Extremely-wide, large, or tiny planet (the place the entire area of view is condensed right into a circle that makes it seem like you’re strolling on a, properly, tiny planet).

The place the app actually shines is in enhancing. It felt extra full than the corporate’s desktop software program, and had extra choices than most different cell video apps. You’ll be able to simply trim clips and add filters, and even sew a number of clips collectively. You received’t discover superior enhancing controls, however for informal use, it will get the job completed.

FlashCut is an possibility from the app’s Tales part that makes use of A.I. to show a number of clips into an edited video rapidly. Beginning with a theme, you select just a few clips — you’ll be able to see which of them you need by trying on the icons for the entrance camera, rear camera, ahead movement, or faces. The app will then put them along with music and completely different particular results.

The truth is, the app is just too highly effective for my due-to-be-replaced, forever-running-out-of-space iPhone 7. It did run seamlessly on the most recent iPad, however house owners of older gadgets ought to anticipate gradual efficiency and an enormous area requirement (these 5.7K 360 information aren’t small).

If the app or the mini-touchscreen aren’t sufficient, voice management can also be included for beginning or stopping recording and marking essential moments.

Whereas the One R is each enjoyable and intuitive to make use of, I did run throughout just a few bugs. Once I performed again one of many first movies I shot, the video stuttered. An HDR photograph additionally induced the camera to freeze. Lastly, the camera froze up on the seaside and wouldn’t reply to any controls till I restarted it by disconnecting the battery base. I couldn’t get the bugs to reoccur, however the expertise wasn’t 100% seamless.

The opposite flaw with the consumer expertise is pace. The camera has some shutter lag when taking pictures stills, not sufficient to ignore the camera completely, however sufficient to be annoying and make timing nonetheless images difficult.

The Twin Lens Version

The 4K wide-angle mod snaps images from an f/2.8 lens on a roughly 12-megapixel sensor. Movies could be full-sensor 4×3 (4000 x 3000) at 30 fps, or Extremely HD (3840 x 2160) at 60 fps. HD video is on the market at as much as 200 fps for gradual movement.

The 360 mod makes use of a barely brighter f/2.0 lens. Stills are 18.4 megapixels whereas movies are 5,760 pixels large. Bear in mind, nonetheless, that pixels are unfold throughout that complete 360-by-360-degree area of view as an alternative of all being on the display without delay, so the precise decision you see is way much less.

Video from each mods met expectations for his or her respective classes, with good element and coloration. Left on auto, publicity was usually good, with solely an occasional want for a slight adjustment in submit.

Nonetheless images have been in keeping with what we anticipated from the motion camera and 360 class. The wide-angle lens causes some noticeable barrel distortion however captures a pleasant large view. Turning Coloration Plus on within the app after the very fact creates good vivid colours and boosts the shadows, however even with out it, we have been impressed by the intense blue skies and colourful particulars. HDR mode boosts the shadows just a little as properly, however takes longer and doesn’t work for transferring topics.

Within the 360 mod, the camera did have some odd stitching on objects that have been too shut, blurring particulars, creating an abrupt transition, and even inflicting a coloration to bleed up the sew line. Stitching on objects a foot or extra away regarded nice, nonetheless.

The One R’s web site reveals off a starry time-lapse, however we simply ended up with a grainy mess when trying to {photograph} the celebs with the camera’s Night time Shot mode. This isn’t stunning provided that it’s an motion camera, however it’s poor promoting.

The 1-inch Version Leica Mod

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Tiny cameras imply tiny sensors, however the 1″ Version, because the identify suggests, suits a 1-inch sensor contained in the camera mod. Bigger camera sensors collect extra gentle, which implies higher low-light photographs, higher depth of area, and a shallower depth of area.

The Leica mod presents glorious element, taking pictures 5K video at 30 fps or 4K video at 60 fps. The mod makes use of a 14.4mm equal wide-angle lens, which is large sufficient to bend the horizon however suits in loads of the motion. Colours are vivid and the small print are crisp. High quality is superb for an motion camera, and positions the camera properly for competing with choices like GoPro, particularly amongst customers most involved with picture high quality.

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Pictures get a bit noisy at ISO 1600, however I used to be impressively in a position to shoot images handheld simply after the solar slipped under the horizon. Pictures and video have been each way more spectacular coming from the 1-inch mode — I don’t see a purpose to personal each the 1″ and the wide-angle.

A shallower depth of area is usually a perk of bigger sensors, however that’s not the case right here. With the fastened autofocus, that’s typical of an motion camera like this, which is definitely barely out of focus for nearer mounts, akin to on the handlebars of a motorcycle, and would wish a little bit of finagling on an increasing selfie-stick to make use of for selfies and vlogging. The 1″ mod is one which ought to be used forward-facing and greater than an arm’s distance from the topic.

Stabilization and different extras

Stabilization from all three mods is near-tripod glorious. I examined the camera on a ship (with the Leica mod), and the horizon stays regular whereas the boat that I’m standing in pitches backwards and forwards. In that case, the stabilization is definitely higher than a tripod, as a result of a tripod sitting on a ship continues to be going to sway backwards and forwards with the waves.

The Insta360 One R brings the corporate’s options from a number of generations of cameras into one, together with an extended listing of particular options. The R goes to be a type of cameras which you can actually discover and dig into tutorials which might be constructed proper into the app — otherwise you’ll discover a new function you didn’t know you had a yr from now.

The 360 mod could make a selfie stick look invisible or seize bullet-time results. Hyper-lapses and slow-motion are constructed into each, as are HDR, Night time Shot mode, and one-touch coloration grading with Coloration Plus. The R is even appropriate with an Apple Watch app for distant taking pictures. Equipment additionally permit for including on a microphone, taking pictures from an “invisible” drone, diving deeper underwater, or boosting the battery life.

Our take

The Insta360 One R does properly at every thing an motion camera or 360 camera is able to doing properly at — after which some. Video shouldn’t be solely strong, however paired with glorious stabilization. The Insta360 One R isn’t good, with just a few minor bugs, freezes, and a shutter lag when working with stills. Insta360 launched not less than two firmware updates whereas we have been testing, so the bugs and freezes will hopefully be non permanent. However, the modular design, video high quality, and additional options — to not point out the aggressive $480 worth for the Twin Version and $550 for the Leica Version — are value placing up with just a few minor quirks.

Is there a greater various?

Solely if you wish to purchase two cameras. The Insta360 One R Twin Version is basically two cameras in a single with the 2 mods. The Rylo’s potential to reframe and the easy-to-use app make it the closest competitor, however cropping from a 360 video and swapping camera mods aren’t the identical. The tiny display, shutter lag, and occasional freezes give the GoPro Hero8 an edge, however once more, provided that you solely need an motion camera with out the 360 capabilities. And if you happen to don’t must shoot vlogs, the bigger 1-inch sensor and glorious high quality may very well be a purpose to decide on the 1″ Version as an alternative.

How lengthy will it final?

The Insta360 One survived being flung into snowbanks and dunked right into a lake with none points. However, as a modular camera, there are extra connections and issues to doubtlessly break, and there’s not sufficient historical past with modular cameras to find out if that would be the case right here or not. At the least with the mods, you don’t essentially want to exchange all the factor if one element breaks.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. In case you can’t determine between an motion camera and a 360 camera, and even if you’re simply searching for a 360 camera, purchase the Insta360 One R. The movies are nice, the flexibility is unbeatable, the app intensive, and it’s merely a blast to shoot with.

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