I’ve had several phone gimbals but haven’t really used them because I found them impractical. Insta360 Flow is the first gimbal that I actually love to use. It’s easy to carry and using it takes no more time than using a selfie stick. And it has insane tracking capabilities that make it a reliable smart tripod for solo shooting.
Here’s my review
0:07 Sample videos from Insta360 Flow
01:16 Executive summary
03:13 Insta360 Flow is for solo shooters
04:34 Tracking comparison of Insta360 Flow vs DJI Osmo Mobile 6
06:04 Tracking on rule of thirds
06:26 Insta360 Flow features that DJI OM6 doesn’t have (for solo shooters) – slow motion tracking
06:59 Auto zoom
07:44 Insta360 Flow is for video creators (vloggers, travel videos, social media)
07:56 Choosing focal lengths
08:22 Zoom with your feet is a myth
09:02 Insta360 Flow features for video creators
09:19 Insta360 Flow is better for low light stabilization
09:30 Insta360 Flow’s limits and disadvantages
10:21 Insta360 Flow Ease of use and convenience
11:11 Other features for convenience
12:00 Conclusion: should you by Insta360 Flow?
DO YOU REALLY NEED Insta360 Flow?
Most smartphones already have pretty good stabilization, and many people have action cams and 360 cameras with even better stabilization. Nonetheless, the Insta360 Flow has been extremely useful to me as a solo shooter for at least two reasons: first, it lets me use a longer focal length, which looks more cinematic. It improves the production value of my videos, making them look like they were shot by a camera crew.
Second, the Flow’s tracking capabilities are insanely good. Using longer focal lengths is a bit of a challenge for solo shooters like myself because you can easily move out of the frame and be forced to reshoot. With the Insta360 Flow’s tracking capabilities, I can track myself reliably so that shooting with longer focal lengths is actually easy, even from ridiculous distances of as much as 200 feet away, as demonstrated in the review video.
Moreover, the Flow has unique features that no other phone gimbals have (as of March 2023), including tracking in slow motion video mode (up to 240 fps on iPhone 13 Pro Max), and auto zoom (it will automatically zoom in as needed to keep you in the frame). I like how auto zoom keeps your head roughly in the upper line of the rule of thirds, instead of dead center in the frame. It’s perfect for talking head videos. However, I’ve also asked Insta360 to add an auto zoom option to keep the entire person (from head to toe) in the shot for skating and similar videos. I really hope they’ll do it.
IS Insta360 Flow CONVENIENT AND PRACTICAL TO USE?
Traditional phone gimbals are a hassle to use because they’re not pocketable, and they usually require you to balance the phone before using it. The Insta360 Flow is pocketable and takes no more time to use than a selfie stick. Although it isn’t the first phone gimbal to use a folding design, the Flow has an innovative folding mechanism that lets you deploy it in one motion. I also like that the phone clamp can be left attached to the gimbal. I don’t have to worry about losing it.
The most significant limitation of the Flow in my opinion is its limited tilt and roll angles. This is a tradeoff of the folding design, and all other folding phone gimbals (including the DJI OM6) have similar limits. Is the tradeoff worth it? I have several other phone gimbals that don’t have such restricted angles but guess what? I haven’t been using them, whereas the Flow has earned a permanent place in my camera bag. So in my view, the tradeoff is acceptable.
SUMMARY AND WHERE TO BUY
Insta360 Flow is the first phone gimbal that I’ve used that’s both very easy and convenient to use and extremely useful. It’s an easy and affordable way to make your videos look more cinematic. Insta360 Flow is available on Amazon or direct from Insta360.