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360 Camera Reviews

Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition Review: Advantages and Disadvantages

Insta360 has released the One RS 1-inch 360 Edition, a 360 camera that it teased a few days ago.

Executive Summary

Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition is a 360 camera with two BSI-CMOS 1-inch sensors and Leica Summicron-A lenses at an aggressive price point.  Its key features are:  

  • 6K video.  It can capture video at 6144 x 3072 at 24fps or 25fps or 5888 x 2944 at 30fps.
  • Modular and backward compatible with Insta360 One RS and in the future, One R as well.
  • More affordable than Theta Z1.  It has the same sensor as Theta Z1 and offers more features, yet at $800, it costs 25% less than the Theta Z1 ($1050).

Should you buy it?  If you are a casual user or just getting into 360 and you are just looking for a 360 camera that is good enough, then i think you don’t need the 1-inch 360.  You can save with a lower priced camera such as Insta360 One RS or a GoPro MAX.  On the other hand, if you want a 360 camera with best overall image quality for under $1000, for photo but also especially for video, then the 1 inch 360 is the camera that I would recommend to a friend or family member if they can afford it.   Here’s why.  

Download sample photos and videos

The best way to see the 1-inch 360’s photo and video quality is to download sample files available here.

Sensor

First, let’s talk about the headline feature: the sensor.  The 1-inch 360 uses two 1 inch sensors. A 1-inch sensor is about 4x larger than a typical 1 / 2.3 inch sensor used in consumer 360 cameras such as the Insta360 One R.  It’s a little more than half the size of a Micro Four Thirds sensor, and about ⅓ the size of an APS-C sensor.  The 1 inch 360 has two 1-inch sensors, so the total size of its two sensors is actually a bit larger than a Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Video quality

Unedited framegrab from 1-inch 360 6k video
Unedited framegrab from 1-inch 360 6k video shows excellent detail

The 1-inch 360’s video resolution is 6.1k if you shoot at 24fps or 25fps (6144 x 3072) or 5.9k if you shoot at 30fps (5888 x 2944).   In the middle of the lens, it is only a little bit sharper than the GoPro Max.  But as you move to the stitch line, the Insta360’s video quality becomes very noticeable.

How important is this sharpness along the stitch line?  In the real world, most people hold their 360 cameras on a selfie stick and not on a stationary monopod unless they are shooting virtual tours.  When shooting at a typical angle of a selfie stick, the 1 inch 360 is much more detailed than the other cameras including GoPro MAX, Theta X, Theta Z1 and One R 360 mod.

With respect to flare resistance, the 1-inch 360 is not immune from flare.  The “red dot glare” on some Insta360 cameras is gone but in its place is a double green dot glare.  There can also sometimes be rays near a strong light source such as the sun.

Low light video

Framegrab from unedited low light video shows very low noise and very good saturation
Framegrab from unedited low light video shows very low noise and very good saturation

I also compared the cameras in low light and the 1 inch 360 had the best detail and least amount of noise compared to the other cameras.  It’s the best low light camera I’ve seen at this price range.

Audio quality

In terms of audio quality, the in-camera microphone is better than the Insta360 One R in that I don’t hear any noises when you touch the bracket.  However, the sound is a bit muffled.  I prefer the in-camera audio quality of the GoPro MAX for example.

However, to get truly good audio quality, what users really need is a wireless microphone.  In this regard, the 1 inch 360 does have an invisible microphone option.  It has its own version of the cold shoe mount, a new insta360 microphone adapter, and can be used with a Rode wireless Go or similar microphone, which will be invisible to the 1-inch 360.

Photo Quality

The 1-inch 360 can capture photos in Adobe DNG and stitch them automatically in Insta360 Studio.  Remarkably, the mobile app can also use the higher dynamic range of the DNG file and export it as an AI-edited JPG version called Pureshot.  To my knowledge, no other 360 camera app has been able to read DNG files.

The 1-inch 360 can shoot a Raw+JPG HDR bracket of up to 9 shots, up to 1EV apart.  The capture process is fast and takes only a few seconds.  Insta360 Studio will stitch and merge the exposures together with no 3rd party software needed.  It will also give you the option to export individual exposures that are stitched the same way so you can merge them in your own HDR software if you wish.

The primary competitor for the 1-inch 360 is the Theta Z1.  For detail, the Theta Z1 is more detailed toward the middle of the lens, while the 1 inch 360 is more detailed toward the stitch line.  The 1 inch 360 also has less fringing than Z1.

The advantage of the Theta Z1 is that its aperture can be stopped down to f/5.6 and its shutter goes as high as 1/25,000.  The 1 inch 360’s aperture is fixed at f/2.2 and its fastest shutter is ⅛,000.  This means that the Theta Z1 can capture brighter highlights.  However, the 1-inch 360 may have ND filters in the future that can mitigate this advantage.

Battery life and endurance

I tested the 1 inch 360 indoors with no air conditioning and it was able to record 60 minutes, which was broken into two 30 minute files.  There was no fogging, no blur, and no drifting (i.e., the stabilized view did not drift to the left or to the right for the entire duration of the 60-minute video).  The 1 inch 360 can also record while charging, or it can record without the battery if it is powered via USB.

Ruggedness

The 1 inch 360 is not waterproof but it is water resistant.  I tested it under a shower and it survived.  Please note that you must ensure the USB cover is secure and that the bracket is fully attached to all the mods. 

The 1 inch 360’s lenses can get scratched, just like other 360 cameras.  Insta360 showed me a prototype of a removable lens protector but it won’t be ready at launch, and they did not commit to releasing it.

Other factors to consider

Not for slow motion:  the 1-inch 360 is not great for slow mo.  It can shoot at 50fps but only at 3k resolution.  So if you want slow motion, this is not the best camera for that.

Another possible issue for some users is that the camera is a bit heavy.  If you use it on a long selfie stick, you’ll start to feel the strain on your wrist after a while.

The memory card is also a bit inconvenient to access.  I usually transfer files via USB cable.

One very significant and unique advantage is that it is upgradeable.  The 1 inch 360 can use the One RS core and in the future, it will also be backward compatible with the One R core after a firmware update.  When Insta360 released the One R in 2020, no one knew if the One R would just be a one-off, or would truly be an upgradeable camera.  Since then, Insta360 has kept releasing updates for it, including the new RS core with faster processor, the 4K boost with 6k video, and now the 1 inch 360 edition.  This shows that the One R and One RS are truly upgradeable, like a DSLR.  When you buy a new camera body, you can continue to use the old lenses.  If you buy new lenses, you can continue to use them on older bodies.  This is a feature that no other 360 camera has at the moment.

For me, that upgradeability is what makes it a compelling option compared to other cameras.  Technology is always advancing and users have been wary of purchasing a camera only to have it superseded a few months later.  But with the Insta360 One R and One RS, your investment can be upgraded and can last longer.

Where to buy

Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition is now available for $799 direct from Insta360 or from Amazon.  Thank you for using my affiliate link at no additional cost to you so I can do more tests and reviews.  For my Insta360 affiliate link, you’ll receive a free selfie stick.

About the author

Mic Ty

46 Comments

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  • Thanks for the great review Mic! Are there any disadvantages to using the original One R core module?
    PS – don’t kill yourself on that 1-wheeled thing!

    • Thanks Doug. Yes there are a couple of differences. The RS Core also has new “buttons” for on the screen for accessing presets and changing the FOV. The RS Core also seems faster to respond. I haven’t tested how they differ for endurance.
      Re the electric unicycle, thanks. fwiw, it appears that they have a lower rate of accidents than scooters 🙂 It’s fun and relieves stress!

  • The firmware for the One R has been release today as well, supporting 4k Boost and 1″ 360 Lenses.

  • It’s nice to see Insta360 evolving and upgrading the One R/RS camera system. But where is that VR180 mod for it which was promised as far as in 2020?

    And another thing … it was rather shameless for Insta360 to promote that release as a new/next camera. It’s barely a new lens module for already existing RS core mod.

    • Hi Vlad. I think it’s a new lens mod and a new battery mod, and the performance is significantly different from the previous 360 mod. I think it’s fair to call it a new camera.

      Re VR180, Insta360 recently produced the Sphere which uses the same lens module as VR180, so VR180 is still possible. I think they just haven’t seen enough demand for it. But if there is demand, they can definitely still do it.

  • Hey Mic, thanks for the review!

    Between Theta X & this one inch edition, which do you think is better for real estate virtual tour?

    • Hi Denzel. Insta360 recently produced the Sphere which uses the same lens module as VR180, so VR180 is still possible. I think they just haven’t seen enough demand for it. But if there is demand, they can definitely still do it.

  • Thanks for the review, Mic. This is the first camera in quite a while that has me seriously considering upgrading from the GoPro Fusion for 360 videos.

    As far as 360 photos are concerned, I’m well covered with my Nodal Ninja panoramic head for my DSLR and a Theta Z1. Despite the more cumbersome workflow, I’d not seen any dramatic improvements in image quality from any 360 cameras released since the Fusion to make me consider an upgrade.

    I was hoping for Insta360’s version of the Qoocam 8K (maybe even with 60fps recording) but that’s a big ask of a sub-$1000 prosumer camera. The edge-to-edge detail and low light capabilities are certainly of interest to me and make this camera sound worthy of consideration.

    Thanks,

    Andy

    • Hey Andy. I agree — this is the first consumer 360 camera that offers significantly better image quality than GoPro Fusion. And yes I think this is like Insta360’s version of Qoocam 8k, but with no blur issues. I wish it was 10-bit but nonetheless there is still a significant improvement as you can see from the sample. Definitely better than Qoocam 8k.

      • Hi Simon,

        No, not yet I’m afraid. I’ve been using the Theta Z1 to capture 360 images for work purposes (I’m a visual effects artist) but haven’t had the need to capture any video yet.

        I think I’ll hold on until there’s a sale, possibly a black Friday deal later in the year? 😉

  • I look forward to upgrading my Insta360 One R one day. Hopefully it won’t be overheating.
    Also, where is the VR180 3d mod? I have bought a spare 4k mod for this!

    • Hi Sven. It is very resistant to overheating, based on my tests. Re VR180, Insta360 recently produced the Sphere which uses the same lens module as VR180, so VR180 is still possible. I think they just haven’t seen enough demand for it. But if there is demand, they can definitely still do it.

  • I agree with Denzel. Nothing particularly new here.
    Mic, it’s strange that in your comparisons with other cameras, you never mentioned the ONE X2 …. why?
    My idea however is that this camera cannot cost twice as much as the ONE X2, for the improvements it provides….

    • this camera cannot cost twice as much as the ONE X2

      … don’t forget that you need to pay for that evil red dot Leica logo 🙂

      • LOL! I am a fan of smartphone photography, I have studied a lot of stuff with Leica lenses, Hasselblad and who knows what else, but a famous name does not always mean better quality.

        • Hi Sergio that’s somewhat true although i think Leica may have helped them with color science too because the colors on this are really good.

      • Hi Vlad. The Titan is $15,000, or about 35x more expensive than One X2. That doesn’t mean it’s 35X better than One x2. Because of diminishing returns, it becomes increasingly expensive to make incremental improvements to image quality. In fact, speaking of Titan, I don’t have it but Hugh Hou said he thinks the image quality of this 1-inch 360 is comparable to Titan. So this is actually a really good deal.

    • Hi Sergio. I didn’t mention One X2 because I was trying to make the video as short as possible. But I will post a more detailed comparison. Suffice to say, the improvement is significant vs One x2.

      As for cost, the Titan is $15,000, or about 35x more expensive than One X2. That doesn’t mean it’s 35X better than One x2. Because of diminishing returns, it becomes increasingly expensive to make incremental improvements to image quality. In fact, speaking of Titan, I don’t have it but Hugh Hou said he thinks the image quality of this 1-inch 360 is comparable to Titan. So this is actually a really good deal.

  • Hi Mic, Great review. Do you have a link to the raw 6K files pulled from the camera so I can take look at the file specs and topography layout of the fisheye video. I’m debating on building a 3DX360 design and I need to check the feasibility if my time is worth this monument-is effort to make this concept happen and bring into reality. 🙂 I just can’t stop building 3D tools for 3DX360 capture.

  • How does the video look on a big screen? Is it sharp and clear unlike present cameras which look good on a phone, but suffer when placed on a big screen.
    I think we really need 8k video. What do you think?

      • What I would like to see is a video reframed without the spheres. The one with the stars is a special thing and does not show me what a regular reframed video would. That’s what I would like to see Mic.
        Can you provide it? That would be greatly appreciated.

  • “The capture process is fast and takes only a few seconds”

    It would be beneficial if you could measure the actual time between frames here.

    I can look into possibly whipping up a pattern generator program you could use to achieve this. (Put up a changing pattern on a computer screen, and measure time between frames based on how much the pattern changes from one frame to another.)

    • Hi Andy. For a 9-shot Raw+INSP HDR indoors, the capture part was about 3 seconds or less. The saving part took another 8 seconds or so. Total time was 11 seconds, not including the self-timer.

      • So about 3 frames per second – not horrible but not great. Unless that was dominated by the exposure time of the longer shots in the bracket? What was the longest exposure time in that series?

        “up to 1EV apart” – that’s kind of disappointing, unless it’s possible to trade off number of shots for bigger EV step. I’d much rather have 3 shots at 3EV steps (despite 2EV less DR) or 5 shots at 2EV (same DR, fewer shots unless you do some extremely fancy weighting scheme) than 9 shots at 1EV

        • Hi Andy. Yes for a 3 shot bracket, it can go as high as 4EV interval (adjustable in 1/3 stop increments), although doing that is not recommended for such a small sensor, imho.

  • Hi, did you know when a underwater housing is available? By the large head of the camera, it should actually be possible to produce a housing where you cannot see the nadir in the picture, what do you think?
    regards Reto

  • My Rylo does as good a job as the Insta360 One RS with regard to video. They both lack detail and sharpness. The Rylo has slightly better stabilization. This new Insta360 One 360 is how much better? Is it worth $800.00? I hope so, but I am skeptical. I will buy it on Amazon because if it is not much better, then a return is no problem.

      • What I would like to see is a video reframed without the spheres. The one with the stars is a special thing and does not show me what a regular reframed video would. That’s what I would like to see Mic if you can provide it. A video (insv) of you in the back yard which you provided long ago would do the job. I could see the detail and sharpness better.

  • can it really take video of stars and aurora borealis or is that using time lapse?

    Thanks,

    Rupert

  • Mic any chance you will take Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 to DisneyLand for some night time and indoor ride video? I did a lot of video at DisneyWorld and Universal with the Insta360 One and the GoPro Max and most of it is unusable due to pixilation and blurry video when moving. I’m curious how well the 1 inch lens would do in low light with ride movement?

  • Hi Mic, how does the 360 HDR video of this compare to previous models? The reviews and specs of this completely ignored mentioning or comparing the absence or quality of HDR video, which was there even in 4 year old models.

  • This is an important review for me. Thank you. Please tell, is there a recording restriction in 30 minutes video on the camera?

    • Thanks Nick. It can record longer than 30 minutes but after recording for 30 minutes, it needs to write the cache into the card, so there will be around a 10 second gap, and then it will continue recording again. The maximum I was able to record before it ran out of battery was 1 hour.

  • After having it for 24 hours I finally got the firmware upgraded, wasted time using the computer to try. requires a mobile phone, when it tries to connect and does nothing, over and over again, the secret is to click on the camera’s name that it is looking for, then it works.

    It connected to my One X2 no problems.

    I do not look forward to editing on the phone, the added features are so you can be tethered – hardly worth it.

    Note Popeye’s forearms, you may want a set.

  • Dear Mic Ty! thank you for your wonderful website that allows you to touch the delightful world of 360! Not so long ago you had an article about “invisible drones”. As you can probably see, the new Insta 360 Owners 1-inch 360 Edition camera raises the level of shooting. It would be cool if this camera became part of an invisible drone. I don’t see serial development of drones for this camera. Maybe you know about enthusiasts working on quadrocopters for the Insta360 Owners 1-inch 360 Edition camera?

    • Thanks Anton. I think it is definitely doable. The Newbeedrone Invisi360 design looks like it can be easily modified to be used with the 1-inch 360. The issue is whether there is sufficient demand. I don’t know the answer to that. Invisi360 has sold several batches, but it’s up to Newbeedrone to decide whether to create a version of it for 1-inch 360.