Insta360 rolls out a new flagship action cam with next-level abilities
360-degree cameras are the action cams of the future – and Insta360 has found a way to combine their amazing capabilities with a more traditional GoPro-style setup for monster image quality. Meet the modular Insta360 One R, co-designed with Leica.
The benefits of 360-degree video are obvious: massively immersive, all-encompassing shots you can either output to VR or use to direct impossible shots by moving the viewing angle and projections around in editing software post-shooting. The drawbacks are also obvious; using a 360-degree rig as a regular action cam might give you absolutely incredible stabilization capabilities, but the image quality suffers, since you're only using a small slice of the total high-resolution video file.
Insta360 has clearly been unhappy about this trade-off, and has thus designed a modular beast of a thing called the One R that delivers impressive 360-degree capabilities but can also beat GoPro at its own game as a forward-facing action cam.
Its core unit delivers 5.7K video processing capabilities, to which you can attach one of three lens/sensor combinations: a 360-degree dual camera setup, a 4K wide-angle forward facing camera or a pretty incredible looking wide angle version featuring a wide-angle Leica lens and an enormous 1-inch sensor – the biggest sensor on an action cam so far, enabling 5.7K video with Leica color science and awesome image quality closer to what you'd expect from a compact camera than an action cam.
Because it's modular, and the screen is on the core and not the lens unit, you can flip the screen to show forward or backward for a regular or selfie mode. And despite its modular nature, the One R is waterproof even without a case down to 16.4 feet (5 m), easily enough to take snorkeling.
Whatever mode you shoot in, there's high-performance FlowState stabilization for gimbal-free shooting, voice control, two onboard mics, a mic input accessory for off-camera audio, HDR video capabilities and a bunch of editing tools. Slow motion shots are possible at lower resolutions, as per normal, and Insta360 says it's spent a lot of time on making the One R usable in low light.
If you're shooting in 360, the One R allows you to use AI-enabled auto framing that lets you pick and switch between subjects at will, as well as deep subject tracking that persists even if your subject disappears briefly behind an obstacle. This works in real time as well as post-processing, enabling you to mark a subject before you shoot and have the video auto-track it as you shoot.
The 360-degree and Leica 1-inch modules look terrific, with the regular wide-angle lens looking decent but uninspirational. Unfortunately, the One R sells in three packs - one with the 360 and wide-angle mods, another with just the wide-angle mod, and the final one with the Leica 1-inch mod, for US$479.99, $299.99 and $549.99 respectively. You can't get it with both the 360-degree and Leica 1-inch heads, and that's a real pity, even if it'd clearly get pretty pricey.
Take a look at the promo video below.