Monday, November 28, 2016

Insta360 Air now available for preorder on Indiegogo, and it's the most affordable spherical 360 camera


Insta360 Air, a 360 camera for your Android phone, is now live on Indiegogo and available for preorder, at a price that makes it the most affordable fully spherical 360 camera on the market.




Insta360, makers of the popular Insta360 Nano for the iPhone, have now made a 360 camera for Android.  The Air has similar specifications to the Nano but with some important differences:

- Photo resolution: 3008 x 1504 (similar to the Nano's 3040 x 1520)
- Video resolution: 3008 x 1504 or 2560 x 1280 @ 30fps.  High-end phones such as Samsung S7 series or Huawei P9 will have a resolution of 3008 x 1504, while other Android phones will have a resolution of 2560 x 1280.  I believe this is based on the connection type (USB-C will benefit from the higher resolution).  By comparison, the Nano's video resolution is 3040 x 1520 @ 30 fps.
- Electronic image stabilization:  The Air's video will have electronic image stabilization (automatic realtime vertical correction).  This is an important advantage over the Nano, which does not have stabilization for video (the Nano's photos do have automatic vertical correction when attached to the iPhone).
- Aperture: f/2.4 (the Nano's aperture is f/2, a difference of about half a stop)
- ISO: "adjustable."  The Indiegogo page does not show the ISO range, but this is also an improvement over the Nano, which has only automatic ISO.  In fact, if you can specify the ISO, this means you can control the shutter speed indirectly (using a high ISO to increase shutter speed, or a low ISO to decrease it).
- Livestreaming: the Air appears to have similar 360 livestreaming capabilities as the Nano.  However, in addition to livestreaming with a phone, the Air can be connected to a PC to be used as a 360 webcam using the included transfer cable.
- In-camera stitching.  Like the Nano, the Air will stitch photos and videos in-camera.
- No standalone operation.  Other than price, the biggest difference between the Air and the Nano is that it appears the Air cannot be used as a standalone 360 camera.  It appears to lack a battery and internal memory, and needs to be used with a phone or a laptop.

Here is a sample 360 video from the Insta360 Air:

The video quality looks similar to that of the Nano.

The target shipping date for backers is February 20, with retail distribution in April.

The retail price will be $119, but for preorders, the price is $99 for the camera plus $10 for shipping (available in black, white, pink, or gold).  This makes it the lowest-priced spherical 360 camera on the market, while providing video quality that is equal to or better than some competitors that are priced much higher.  The price will include:
- the Insta360 Air
- a rubber protective cover/sleeve
- a laptop transfer cable that can also be used for livestreaming with a laptop.

When ordering, you can choose between a Micro USB or a USB Type C port (note the difference in video resolution).  There is also a bundle available, which adds a smartphone mount, smartphone adapter, and tripod for $125 plus $20 for shipping.

I ordered a black one and will post a review when I receive it.