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Insta360 ONE 4K 360 camera specifications, amazing features, samples, first impression: why this could be the best 360 camera under $300

Insta360 ONE
Insta360 ONE

Insta360 has launched its new camera, the Insta360 ONE.  Here are samples, specifications, and amazing features — there are a ton of them — and why it could become the best 360 camera under $300.
Update: added compatibility info for Android, stitching information.  Change log at the end of the article.

Insta360 ONE
Insta360 ONE

Insta360 has finally launched its exciting new camera, the Insta360 ONE.  It’s a 360 camera that attaches to your smartphone (iOS; Android TBA) but can also work as a standalone camera.  Here is a video showing the new camera:

Here are my first impressions:

SPECIFICATIONS
– two lenses, fully spherical field of view
– aperture: f/2.2
– 1/2.3-inch Sony CMOS sensor; unspecified Ambarella processor
– photo resolution: 24 mp (6912 x 3456). Supports RAW format.
– video resolution: 3840 x 1920, 30fps or 2560 x 1280 @ 60fps.  Supports LOG format.
– live streaming resolution: up to 4K 3840 x 1920. Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo.
– 6-axis gyro-based image stabilization
– shutter speed as slow as 60 seconds!
– 1/4-20 tripod connector
– MFI-certified lightning connector
– Micro SD up to 128GB; 8GB Micro SD card included
Can be remotely controlled by your smartphone via Bluetooth
– Working humidity: 30% to 80%
– Working temperature: 14F – 113F (-14C to 45C)
– compatible with GoPro action mount accessories
drone mount and waterproof case will be available
– includes combination hard case cover and stand (similar to LG 360 Cam)
– currently only for iOS; but Android version is coming “very soon”  (estimated: October 2017)

Insta360 ONE drone mount
Insta360 ONE drone mount

COMPATIBILITY
The Insta360 ONE works with iOS and around October, they will release an adapter to allow it to work on Android phones.  The phones listed as being compatible are iPhone 6 and above:

Compatible devices: iPhone 7/7 plus, iPhone 6s/6s plus, iPhone 6/6 plus, iPhone SE
iPad Pro(10.5-inch), iPad Pro(9.7-inch), iPad Pro(12.9-inch), iPad Air 2

But Lok Cheung tried the ONE with his iPhone 5S and it worked.  I’m trying to find out re Android compatibility.

FEATURES
Invisible selfie stick: the Insta360 ONE has a selfie stick accessory that is specially designed to be invisible to the camera, making it appear as if you have a flying 360 camera.

invisible selfie stick
invisible selfie stick

FreeCapture: with this feature, a single Insta360 One camera can capture all angles simultaneously, enabling it to simulate a multi-cam setup. The Insta360 One has this capability built into its app. Here’s how it works: after you record a 360 video, you can create a non-360 video out of it by moving your phone as if you had been recording the original scene with your phone.  It’s like time traveling!

Insta360 ONE Freecapture
Insta360 ONE Freecapture

Smart Tracking: with this feature, you can create a non-360 video where you identify a subject, and the camera’s view will track the subject as he or she moves around the video.

Insta360 ONE Smarttrack
Insta360 ONE Smarttrack

Bullet Time: This is a super slow motion effect, either at 60fps or 120fps (hemispherical). The desktop software can interpolate 240fps from a 120fps video.  With this feature, you can swing the camera around as the camera records in high speed and create a bullet time effect, similar to this video I made.  Because the Insta360 ONE has stabilization, you won’t need an external wing or stabilizer to keep the horizon level as you spin the camera around. The Insta360 ONE includes a 1/4-20 tripod attachment with a string for the bullet time feature.

Insta360 ONE bullet time
Insta360 ONE bullet time

Other really cool features:
– full manual exposure (ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, white balance, etc.) with shutter speed as slow as 60 seconds — long enough for night sky photos!
– true multi-shot HDR mode.
two live streaming modes (360 or tiny planet)

SAMPLE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Here are the official sample 360 videos (it’s a playlist, so you can select the video from the upper left corner):

Here are sample 360 photos in full 24mp resolution.  (Roundme accepts gigapixel resolution.)

Stitching: Photos and videos can be viewed fully stitched on the app immediately after taking them.  However, they are not stitched until they are exported.  In this sense, it’s similar to the Insta360 Nano and Air.

WHY THIS COULD BE THE BEST 360 CAMERA FOR $350 or less
Ever since I posted a video demonstrating the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere’s image stabilization, there has been a steadily growing consensus that the Mi Sphere is the best 360 camera for consumers.  But the Insta360 ONE is poised to take that crown away from the Mi Sphere.
Simply put, the Insta360 ONE has all the features of the Mi Sphere and adds several others (higher 4K resolution, 4K live streaming, RAW photos, LOG videos), including cool features most users hadn’t thought of, but will find useful.  Moreover, the direct connection to a phone is critical feature that conveys an important advantage: not only does it facilitate sharing photos and videos, but when live streaming, the phone’s Wi-Fi can be used for the internet connection, while the camera is connected via the lightning port.
I will be posting a comparison between the Insta360 ONE and the Mi Sphere (and other 360 cameras).

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Insta360 One will be available starting September 5, for $299.99 from Insta360’s store, Amazon (try also this other Amazon link – sometimes costs less) and B&H Photo.  Check back here because I may add other retailers especially for other countries!  As mentioned above, the ONE is currently only for iOS, but an Android version will be released “very soon.”

JUST FOR FUN: PREDICTION REPORT CARD
When Insta360 announced the ONE, I made 10 predictions.  How accurate were those predictions?  See for yourself.
“1. It will have in-camera stabilization, and the stabilization will not require a phone.”  Correct.
“2. It has two lenses and will be fully spherical, 2D not 3D.”  Correct.
“3. it has a high-fps mode (at least 240fps or higher).”  Mostly correct. It has 120fps, and 240fps interpolated on desktop.
“It appears that this is a fully spherical high fps mode (not just a front lens mode).”  Sadly not true.  At 120fps, it is only hemispherical.
“4. It is a compact consumer camera (not a professional 360 camera).” Correct.
“5. It will have its own memory and storage.” Correct.
“6. Excellent stitching. … The camera will likely have an optical flow mode.”  Seems to be correct.  Yes it has optical flow.
“7.  Excellent dynamic range.”  Still unknown.
“8. It will be at least 4K and more likely 5.7K.”  Mostly correct.  It is 4K.  Sadly not 5.7K.
“9.  It is probably slim.”  Somewhat correct.  ONE has an elongated shape.  but it is not very thin like Theta or Xiaomi.
“10. It will probably be compatible with both iOS and Android (either both in the same unit, or they will have two versions).”  Correct.  Android version to be available “very soon.”

 USEFUL LINKS
Official webpage for Insta360 ONE
Download the user manual here (link might not be live yet)
Download the Insta360 ONE app (iOS)
Download the latest firmware
– Download the Insta360 Studio desktop (Windows or Mac)
– For more information and to stay updated, please join the Insta360 ONE Community on Facebook.  I’ll post all new info there.

RELATED POSTS
Insta360’s new camera to be demo’d at IFA Berlin
Insta360 posts new sample from its epic new camera
 
Be the first to try Insta360’s new camera in Tokyo

How to create a bullet time tiny planet 360 video
Insta360’s new camera partially shown in teaser video
Insta360 will launch a new camera on August 28; 10 observations and predictions about Insta360’s new camera

CHANGE LOG:
8/30/17 added info re Android compatibility and stitching
added sample 360 videos and 360 photos in full resolution, added link to new Facebook group.

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Mic Ty

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