Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomePhotographyFstoppers Reviews Insta360’s 1-inch Sensor Upgrade

Fstoppers Reviews Insta360’s 1-inch Sensor Upgrade


Insta360’s cameras have been using the same 360 sensor setup for about three years, and now, it’s getting a serious update. Will the quality make up for the bulk?

This camera weighs 250 grams, about 100 grams more than Insta360’s ONE X2 and regular ONE RS 360 setup. However, it feels really great in your hand. Even though it’s built out of three connecting parts, the mounting bracket holds things together nice and tight. A ONE X2 feels like a little sibling beside it.

The new “1-inch 360 edition” isn’t a toy. Insta360 is aiming beyond the regular consumer here, with a price tag of $800. If this is the best handheld 360 camera Insta360 can conjure up, then it’s going to pique the interest of videographers, creators, and businesses. The next step up is Insta360’s $4,500 Pro camera. So, I suppose this upgraded module is a happy medium between the two.

The Specs

  • 6K video at up to 30p
  • Dual 1-inch CMOS sensors
  • Dual f/2.2 lenses, with a 6.52mm focal length
  • Imaging has been “co-engineered” with Leica
  • Compatible with previous ONE R/RS setups
  • IPX3 water resistant, so not waterproof like the ONE X2

When the ONE RS was released earlier this year, I wondered if Insta360 were ever going to release a new module for the ecosystem. At the time, they had only updated the 4K fixed lens mod. While it was a welcome update, it still didn’t feel like the promise of modularity and flexibility was coming true.

However, with this 1-inch 360 mod, things are beginning to make sense. Now, users can opt between a standard 5.7K 360 module and this chunky 6K 1-inch sensor version. If you already own an ONE R or RS, then the cost to upgrade is $649.99. That’s not a cheap price, but again, this module is for a higher-end audience. This means the RS body is worth $150 alone.

Theoretically, a ONE RS user will be able to shoot with the best handheld 360 mod that Insta360 has produced and their best fixed lens mod, all onto the same SD card and camera. From a professional’s point of view, I find the idea of having a single brand of action camera on set for multiple purposes pretty appealing. This way, there’s only one application needed for post-processing. However, I do wonder if larger productions will just rent Insta360’s Pro camera, which costs about $350 a week.

Professional Features

There’s actually not a lot of pro features included here that aren’t already on Insta360’s other cameras. That’s largely because this mod is utilizing the ONE R/RS body. This setup won’t be particularly better for larger-scale productions, other than the boost in image quality. Like other models, it can shoot in a log color profile and ProRes is available from the app, although it still records in H.264.

It has a single quarter-twenty thread mount underneath the camera, built into the bottom of the battery. Interestingly, the battery has extra slots to grip onto its mount, but the case that holds it together doesn’t. SmallRig has already made a cage for the ONE R/RS, so I’m sure there’s a market for a professional cage.

The device works well with Insta360’s radio mic mount, specifically for Rode’s GO radio mics. You could use a radio mic to jam audible timecode into the Insta360 or at the very least, give it a feed from an audio engineer. I also figure you could make use of this mount for safety cables. I’m not sure I’d want to mount this to a car or ceiling without a safety cable. Thankfully, the setup can record while being powered by an external power source. This will help with live productions, long time-lapses, and anyone not looking to invest in multiple batteries.

As far as bitrates go, the 1-inch mod through the ONE RS gets around 120 Mbps. That’s not huge for a 6K image. I get the feeling that the arrival of the updated RS “brain” a few months ago should have brought higher bandwidth capabilities with it. This is probably why there aren’t any meaningful slow motion features available on the 1-inch 360 edition.

Conclusion

360 video is definitely having a moment right now. Adding more options makes sense, but I’m actually quite surprised that Insta360 released the 1-inch 360 module. This is quite a serious add-on. As a result, I’m not sure people should be considering upgrading if they already own a ONE R/RS. The original 360 camera that comes with the ONE R/RS is great, as it’s the same as the ONE X2. If you plan to shoot your daylight vacation videos, then you’ll be just fine.

Low light is better than ever. I wouldn’t use a 360 action camera at night much anyway, but for the first time, I’d be pretty comfortable bringing the 1-Inch 360 edition out into the evening. This is the best handheld 360 camera Insta360 has ever made, and in low light, it shows.

The full bundle comes in at $799.99, and the upgrade bundle is $649.99 if you already own the brain. This price tag isn’t as eye-watering as Kandao’s QooCam 8K, which sits at about $2,000, nor Theta’s Z1, at $1,050.

This module is super easy to use and also made for serious tasks. Real estate, documentary shooters, prosumers, and professional creatives will love it. The 1-inch sensors bring reliability to uncertain shooting conditions. For the first time, I feel like I can actually deliver 360 captured content to my clients.





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