Insta360 One X Revolutionizes the Action Camera
Insta360's new One X 360 degree action camera promises more freedom and creative possibilities.
Today, Insta360 has revolutionized the action camera game with its release of the One X, an ultra-portable consumer 360-degree action cam. Among the camera's features are a maximum resolution of 5.7k @ 30fps, gimbal-like internal stabilization, a purpose-built editing app that let's you shoot first & frame later, and a new TimeShift feature that allows you time to remap your footage for increased dynamism and creativity.
The Insta360 One X is a consumer action camera that hopes to find its way into the backpacks and camera bags of vloggers, action shooters, and creators on-the-go who want a simplified capture-and-publish workflow without having to offload and edit footage on a computer.
No Film School was fortunate enough to get a prototype to test out and here's what we found after a few days with the new camera.
Build Quality & Ergonomics
Straight out of the box, the Insta One X feels solidly built. The camera body is comfortably sized for handheld operation. It has a very sleek design with two flush, circular buttons on the front and a matching circular LED screen for viewing menu items, camera settings, and other important info. The battery compartment is accessed through a latching door on the side of the camera and the micro SD card slot is located on the bottom.
Also on the bottom, next to the micro SD card slot, is a 1/4" - 20 threaded socket for mounting the camera on the included selfie pole or any compatible 1/4" - 20 mounting device. As with nearly all 360-degree cameras (including the $5,000 Insta360 Pro 2), the camera's lenses feel totally unprotected. Placing the camera face down on a rough surface (and virtually any drop) will risk catastrophically damaging the lenses, so be careful with it!
The Insta360 One X is really intuitive and simple to figure out. With only two buttons on the front, it's really easy to turn on and start scrolling through the menu to get started shooting. Despite its small size, the menu is bright and clearly legible. The iconography is familiar and easy to decipher so you can get shooting right away. The little button scrolls through the menu items and the large button selects.
When you're ready to shoot, the large button is your shutter/record button. The app is equally easy to figure out. To use the app, you'll need to connect to the Insta360 One X WiFi and enter the password (found in settings > WiFi > Info). Once connected, you'll be able to browse any photos/videos on your SD card as well as toggle settings for camera sounds & enable the bluetooth remote. Strangely, the app doesn't allow you to start/stop recording or switch between photo & video recording modes. It seems that in order to take advantage of the hands-free operation, you'll need an optional, separate bluetooth remote which seems to make the Insta360 OneX slightly more cumbersome as you will need to carry a third device.
Like its predecessor, the Insta360 One, the OneX takes advantage of FlowState image stabilization which allows for gimbal-like smoothness without the gimbal. In our tests, it worked as expected and provided smooth footage. This, combined with the advanced editing and re-framing functionality in the app, will make this camera a really interesting tool for all kinds of scenarios when the camera is moving. Flying this camera on a drone could yield some really interesting results and open up tons of creative options.
The Insta360 OneX mobile app is surprisingly sophisticated and robust yet easy enough to figure out without instruction. It lets you browse content that you've recorded (both content you've saved locally on your phone and content that exists on the camera) and edit your photos and videos. When you're done, you can publish to all the popular social media channels and/or save your creations to your phone's local library.
In order to access the full-featured editor, you will need to first download your media from the camera to your phone. You can do this one of two ways: via WiFi (which worked very quickly) or by connecting the phone to the camera with a cable (I didn't try it, as the wireless method was frictionless and fast enough). Once you've got your clips downloaded, you can open them up in the editor and then set in/out points to trim your footage.
But the really unique feature of the Insta360 OneX is its ability to allow you to reframe your shots after you've recorded them. By clicking the Freecapture icon (looks like a person running in the lower-right hand corner of the screen), you can set "pivot points," which are basically keyframes that allow you to transition automatically from one point of view to another. Alternatively, you can use the "SmartTrack" feature which lets you identify a point of interest in the video and automatically track it while either it or the camera is in motion. Either of these let you create awesome dynamic video clips akin to what you might do with a gimbal.
This allows the Insta360 OneX to blur the lines between traditional action cam and 360 cam because, by capturing the action in all directions and then re-framing it and delivering it with a fixed field of view, you can really stay in the moment as you film and pick the best angles later. It is a really unique workflow that has lots of creative implications.
With its ability to capture video at 5.7k resolution, the Insta360 OneX is at the higher end of the consumer action-cam resolution echelon, putting it ahead of the popular GoPro Fusion camera. Images look detailed and sharp and colors seemed accurate. As an action camera, the OneX looks great out of the box.
In addition, shooting in Log mode and then applying one of the included LUTs gives you even more control over the look and feel of your video. Still images looked equally good. I brought the OneX with me to a nighttime event and captured a few shots with it, and even in the challenging lighting conditions, the camera held its own nicely. Additionally, the stitching algorithm seems perfect. Even testing it in a supermarket with lots of fine horizontal and vertical lines, this little camera did a great job of keeping the stitch seamless.
Pricing & Availability
The Insta360 OneX is $399 and is available right now from Insta360.com and select retailers. Shipping begins October, 17th. For full technical specs, visit www.insta360.com
insp, jpeg(can be exported via App), RAW(dng)
insv, mp4(can be exported via App), LOG
Standard 360 photos
Timed 360 photos
Interval 360 photos
RAW 360 photos
HDR 360 photos
Standard 360 video
Log 360 video
FreeCapture Live (user controls visual perspective)
Manual(Shutter 1/8000s-120s, ISO 100-3200)
Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, Fluorescent, Incandescent
ONE X lasts roughly 60 min. while continuously shooting 5.7K@30FPS or 4K@50FPS video while connected to a phone via WiFi.