Kandao is launching Qoocam 3 (update: see hands-on review here) on September 7 at 8am EDT, claiming that it is “approaching 1-inch sensor image quality.” Could the Qoocam 3 really have image quality comparable to Insta360 One RS 1 inch 360? Here’s my analysis:
Qoocam 3 is a new consumer 360 camera by Kandao but they claim that its image quality “approaches” that of the Insta360 1-inch 360, Insta360’s flagship consumer 360 camera that costs almost twice the cost of the popular Insta360 X3. Is that possible?
Qoocam 3 will have an aperture of f/1.6, which is wider than many 360 cameras. It will also have a 1/1.55 inch sensor size, which is about 1.8x larger than a typical 1/2.3 inch sensor.
COMPARISON WITH 1-INCH 360
Kandao claims the Qoocam 3 will have comparable image quality to Insta360’s 1-inch 360 camera insofar as it will have similar light gathering capability.
In terms of surface area, a 1-inch sensor is about 2.25 times larger than the Qoocam 3 sensor, which should give the 1-inch 360 about a 1.2 stop advantage. However, Qoocam 3’s aperture is almost 1 stop wider than the Insta360 1-inch 360’s f/2.2 aperture. This means that Insta360’s 1-inch 360 has only about a 1/5th stop advantage over Qoocam 3 when you consider both aperture and sensor size.
COMPARISON WITH INSTA360 X3
Compared to Insta360 X3, Qoocam 3 will have both a wider aperture and a larger sensor size. Qoocam 3’s aperture is about 1/4th stop wider than Insta360 X3’s f/1.9 aperture. Qoocam 3’s sensor size is about 1.66 times larger than the X3’s 1/2 inch sensor, which is about a 3/4th stop difference. Considering both aperture and sensor size, Qoocam 3 theoretically has a 1-stop advantage over the X3.
LIMITATIONS OF QOOCAM 3’S CLAIM
Although Qoocam 3 does have a larger aperture, it is only an advantage in low light. In bright conditions, there would be enough light for the X3 and 1-inch 360 to shoot at base ISO, so the Qoocam 3’s larger aperture wouldn’t be an advantage in terms of noise or bit depth. On the other hand, it could enable the use of a higher shutter speed at the same ISO, and a higher shutter speed can result in less motion blur, which in some cases may help the video appear a bit sharper.
What do you think of the Qoocam 3 so far? Let me know in the comments.