Insta360 has begun taking preorders for the Insta360 Titan, its flagship 360 camera with eight Micro Four Thirds sensors and 11K resolution. Here are my hands-on impressions of the Titan from CES 2019.
Insta360 first revealed the Titan at CES 2018, and is now about to release it in 2019. Here’s the launch video:
Insta360 Titan Specifications and Features (updated Jan. 9, 2019)
Titan can capture 360 video at a resolution of up to:
– 11K monoscopic 2D 360 at 30fps
– 10K stereoscopic 3D 360 at 30fps
– 8K at 60fps (this is in 2D. In 3D, it will also be possible at a slightly lower resolution)
– 5.3K at 120fps(this is in 2D. In 3D, it will also be possible at a slightly lower resolution)
– 4K realtime stitching
It can also capture 11K 360 photos in 2D or 3D.
Titan’s Micro Four Thirds sensors are approximately 7.5 times larger than the 1/2.3-inch sensors typically used even in many professional 360 cameras. Besides its higher resolution, Titan’s larger sensor gives it much higher image quality. It captures 10-bit color, allowing for billions of color combinations and high color accuracy. It also has much higher dynamic range, and low light sensitivity than 360 cameras that use smaller sensors.
In addition to higher image quality, Titan also features 9-axis FlowState stabilization and long range low-latency wireless control with Insta360 Farsight, which is a transceiver system for smartphones or tablets with a maximum distance of 1 km (when there is a clear line of sight).
Insta360 Titan has spatial audio. However, audio will pick up the noise of the internal fan. In the future, it’s possible that Insta360 might be able to turn off the internal fan for short periods, as it did for Insta360 Pro and Pro 2.
Hands-on impressions from CES 2019
Insta360 showed the Titan at CES 2019. I was able to see the Titan and to view stitched and unstitched videos.
To enable viewing of Titan’s high-resolution videos, Insta360 has developed a technology called CrystalView, which according to Insta360 can enable high-end smartphones to view Titan videos at full resolution. When CrystalView was first released for Insta360 Pro 2, it was a bit buggy and distorted. However, at CES the CrystalView worked very well, except that the very edge of the image circle in the headset had distortion. CEO JK Liu said these distortions would be corrected.
Viewed in a headset with Crystal View, the Titan’s videos looked extremely detailed, similar to the detail of high quality 360 photos, except in video form.
I also examined unstitched Titan videos on Insta360’s 4K monitors. They looked very sharp with beautiful colors. I shot a video with my gimbal camera but the video couldn’t capture anywhere near the gamut of the video I saw.
Image quality comparisons (updated Jan. 9, 2019)
Insta360 provided these image quality comparisons, although I’m not sure with which camera they are comparing the Titan:
Resolution comparison (11K vs 8K):
Low light comparison:
Although Titan has much higher image quality, one issue is the Titan’s size. It is significantly larger than the Insta360 Pro or Insta360 Pro 2. Whereas the Insta360 Pro and Pro 2 are around the size of a honeydew melon, the Titan is about the size of a basketball. The larger size means a larger distance between lenses and hence larger minimum stitching distance. Using the Insta360 Stitcher, the minimum stitching distance is around 2.5 meters. However, using Mistika VR, a shorter stitching distance is possible.
Workflow (updated Jan. 9, 2019)
From the product photos, it appears that Titan will use 9 SD cards. It uses the same workflow as the Insta360 Pro 2. The Titan can be connected via an ethernet cable to a desktop running the Insta360 Stitching software, which will be able to read from all 9 cards and show previews of the photos and videos. Alternatively, the SD cards can be removed and inserted into SD card readers that are plugged into a multi-port USB hub. As with an ethernet connection, the desktop software will be able to read from all 9 cards and show previews.
Titan videos are shot in H.264 or H.265. However, they can be stitched as Prores 422, H.264, or H.265.
No stitch editing: Titan’s unstitched videos can also be imported directly and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, which not only saves stitching time and storage, but also improves quality by reducing the number of times the video is compressed before being published.
Price and availability
Titan is available for preorder now for $14,999 (with a $150 deposit that is fully refundable until end of February), for delivery approximately in April 2019. By comparison, Z Cam’s V1 Pro, which has nine Micro Four Thirds sensors (eight radial and one zenith), costs $33,800 and has a lower resolution of 8K monoscopic or 7K stereoscopic 360 video.