Another super high-tech gadget for iPhone has hit the market, and I was super excited to try this one. Available at the Apple Store, the Insta360 One camera kit comes with everything you could need for your first foray into the 360 degree photography arena. This kit is loaded, and for $329, you literally get everything you could want in a bundle short of a much-needed carrying case.
The bundle comes with the Insta360 One camera, a bullet-time grip, a selfie stick, tripod, charger, SD memory card, and protective case for the camera only. The One has a flip-out lightning plug, allowing the One to be mounted directly to your iPhone. But this camera doesn’t require a phone, and can be operated by the button on the unit itself. One press of the button snaps a 360 photo, two presses a 360 video, and 3 presses snaps a bullet-time effect. You can also engage the shutter controls via bluetooth directly from the Insta360 app, which works great if you are using the selfie stick or you want to use it as a timer. The camera is also capable of using up to a 128GB SD card, which I purchased immediately from Amazon before I even tried the camera out. The card must be formatted in X-Fat, and you have to do that on your Mac or PC before you even utilize the card in the camera.
So how does this thing perform? Pretty incredibly actually. It shoots 4K video and stills, but stitches together the image to achieve the 360 images from the two on board cameras. The video isn’t as crisp as you might like in 4K, but considering how much information has to be squeezed from two sensors, the video is actually pretty damn good. Nighttime video suffers a bit, but sunny shots look breathtaking. Insta360 just added a new stabilization feature to the video processing, the result is pretty smooth video. Not as smooth as the DJ Osmo Mobile 2, but pretty damn good considering it is software stabilization.
If you are using the selfie stick to capture your video, the last thing you want is to see the stick in the video. The One magically removes the stick when it does the stitching (although you’ll see its shadow on the ground obviously if it is a sunny day), and does a pretty good job. Your hand looks awkward gripping the air, and the same issue pops up when you take photos or videos directly on your phone with the One mounted to the lightning port.
I did the majority of my testing on the camera at Disneyland, my go to for testing cameras or accessories, and it performed wonderfully. I used the camera in the protective case, which basically acts as a much-needed short selfie stick, and it was easy to hold even on the fast moving Radiator Springs Racers. The video is pretty impressive.
The Insta360 One gives you multiple ways to edit your photos or videos, and even allows you to Live Stream to social media. The app is good, but not the easiest to use, but does allow cool tricks like flattening the video to traditional 1080p 16×9, or even to have the focus follow one person in the video which makes for some of the coolest selfie videos you’ve ever seen. The desktop companion app offers even more goodies, and most pros will use this over the phone app.
Overall, this is one of the coolest phone accessories on the market right now, and its easy to use with great results. I am loving having this in my iPhone photography arsenal, and I think you will too. Check it out on the Apple Store now!