360-degree capture specialists enter the action camera space with a new idea for the ultra small units: Modularity.
Today, Insta360 launched the One R, a modular action camera that should ideally be a more flexible unit for catching action shots that no other camera can.
Modularity is a defining feature of larger cameras; users want the freedom to swap out recorders, lens mounts, and accessories at will to setup the camera precisely how you want it for whatever job you want it for without wasted space.
Action cameras (defined by market leader GoPro) are traditionally all-in-one units with customization focused more on accessories and mounts than fundamental camera function (though Joe Dunton did launch interchangeable lenses).
Broken up into several units, the One R is built around a core unit, fittingly named "The Core." It has the image processing, recording, and monitoring functions built in.
You can then pair this with a battery base (which is swappable, and larger than a traditional action camera battery; there is also a larger base for tripod driven work to give you longer battery time), and with multiple different imaging units. There is a twin unit, facing forward and back for 360-degree capture, a single direction wide angle view, and particularly fascinating for filmmakers, a 1" view with a lens designed in cooperation with Leica.
Once put all together it forms a cohesive unit that resembles the traditional "action camera" form factor, for good reason.
This opens up the entire world of accessories that already work with the GoPro, enabling filmmakers who have already built up their package of mounting units for the GoPro to be able to switch easily over to the One R.
As you can see in the image above, it appears that you can rig the core unit to have the monitor towards the front or the back of the unit; this is of course huge for when you are mounting the camera in awkward locations (against a wall, in a pool, etc.) so you can see your shot as you rig it up. This is one of the features we were most excited about with the Osmo Action, and we're glad to see this option here.One of the worries with a modular system is protecting it; the beauty of an all-in-one device is that it is easier to seal off from the elements. Straight out of the box, this unit is IPX8 waterproof up to depths of 16 feet (5 meters). Of course, for more protection, there are accessories on the One R -- both lens protectors and an underwater case. The underwater case is good for depths up to 60 meters and is available right out of the gate; more options will likely follow.All of this is underpinned by Insta360's expertise in stabilization, as demonstrated by their FlowState technology. As seen in the interesting 20 gram camera last year, the One GO, FlowState allows Insta360 to provide amazing in camera stabilization results that other cameras have a hard time matching.
Since the imager unit is built in to the lens, each of the currently available units comes with an different set of available recording options. Filmmakers are going to be most interested in the one-inch option, since it comes with 5K resolution, but it does only open to a 3.2, so for low-light work the wide angle option (with it's still pretty cool 4K resolution), which opens to an F2, should be kept in mind as well.
Both offer LOG recording, with an HDR video option in the 4K wide.
In order to save on record time, the One R offers voice control to make it easier to roll/cut the camera when the buttons aren't convenient.
There are two built in microphones in the One R, with a wind-noise reduction algorithm. But users can also use a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter for an external microphone.
Craziest of all is the arial adapter, for doing 360-degree aerial work that then makes the drone itself completely invisible through Insta360's algorithmic processing.
- 4K or 5K single-view capture, 6K 360-degree capture
- Voice activation
- Compatible with GoPro mounts
- Internal microphones and external microphone input via USB-C
- Log, HDR, H.264 and H.265 internal recording