Monday, March 7, 2016

Preview: Insta360 is a 360-degree 4k video camera



Insta360 is an upcoming 360-degree video camera that aims to be the first consumer spherical camera with 4k video resolution.  It uses two fisheye lenses but instead of being back to back as in the Ricoh Theta, the fisheye lenses are slightly offset from each other.  

Here are its key features:
  • fully spherical 360x360 photos and videos
  • uses two 230-degree fisheye lenses and two 8-megapixel Sony CMOS sensors
  • aperture is f/2
  • uses MicroSD cards up to 32GB
  • video resolution: 4096x2048
  • photo resolution: 4096x2048 (JPEG)
  • has a 3.5mm microphone input.  This feature is very uncommon among 360 cameras, and can be quite useful to videographers.
  • can be powered with an external AC adapter
The video is recorded in a proprietary .INSV format.  However, the included software will allow you to convert the video into MP4.




Insta360 can be controlled wirelessly via a smartphone through the Insta360 Explorer app.  The app is available for both Android and iOS.  Insta360 also has a Player app available for Android, iOS, Windows and OS X.  The player appears to be hardware agnostic and can be used to view 360 photos and videos from other cameras.  Besides navigating by swiping, you can also choose a Google Cardboard mode, which is navigated by gyro / motion control.  The player includes a sample 360 video, with impressive image quality.  (Note: The video on the iOS app is limited to 2k.)



Here is another sample video:

Here is a company video on YouTube, which seems to show that the Insta360 has live-streaming capabilities as well.


​Insta360 is available for pre-order now from B&H Photo for $899.  (In the interest of full disclosure, B&H is currently involved in a lawsuit for alleged discrimination.)  For more information, you can check out Insta360's official page.