Insta360 One RS 1 inch 360 Edition
“Improved resolution, low light performance and dynamic range in the best Insta360 camera yet.”
Excellent low light performance
6K high resolution sensor
Part of the One RS Modular Camera System
Robust and water resistant
Reasonably light and portable
Not fully waterproof without a dive case
A little expensive
Over the past year, I’ve been introduced to the world of 360° photography through Insta360’s many and varied new cameras. Shooting 360 photos and videos has opened up a wealth of new creative opportunities by capturing everything around me, allowing endless possibilities through the magic of post-production. However, in my experience, the one thing that held these cameras back at the consumer level was the image quality. Resolution, low light and dynamic range have been limiting factors in the cameras I’ve tested – so far.
The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition aims to fix all the issues that I have long criticized these cameras for. As the name suggests, the 1-inch 360 Camera has a 1-inch sensor, or more accurately, two 1-inch cameras that each capture a hemispherical view. But this is not the question. All you need to know is that the 1-inch 360 edition is one of the most impressive cameras in its class.
Table of Contents
The 1-inch 360 edition comes pre-assembled with the battery and An RS core contained in a bracket, above which the 360 1 inch camera itself is clipped. Ergonomically, it’s comfortable and convenient to hold, and the controls will be instantly familiar to anyone using the One RS system. Even if it’s not, it’s very simple, with straightforward touch controls alongside a power and record button.
A sealed power port is located near the bottom of the camera, and there’s a screw mount on the base where you can mount it on a tripod or selfie stick. The 1 inch 360 is compatible with Insta360’s invisible selfie stick, which works as advertised and is very high quality. The power port is USB-C and can also be used to transfer data or plug in an external microphone. If the microphone is small enough, it will even be invisible to the camera.
While the 1-inch 360 edition is larger than other Insta360 cameras, the form factor is actually really nice. I didn’t find it too big or too heavy.
Although I’ve become a fan of 360 cameras over the past year for their incredible flexibility and creative potential, my only complaint has always been that they often disappoint in the image quality department. The 1-inch 360 solves that problem with a larger, higher-resolution sensor – and the results are impressive.
On paper, the 1-inch 360’s 6K resolution doesn’t seem much bigger than the 5.7K of other Insta360 cameras (like the One X2). However, in practice this little bit of extra resolution is very noticeable and results in much sharper images. which I just paired with 360 cameras. More important is the size of the large 1-inch sensors behind its twin lenses. These let in a lot more light and provide much better dynamic range. This allows the camera to perform well in low light and high contrast situations.
A good example where these improvements are significant is in a deep, dark forest on a sunny day. You’re filming in a dark environment, but the treetops and sky above you are very bright, and there’s a lot of fine, intricate detail in the landscape around you. Previously, when shooting with 360 cameras with smaller sensors and lower resolution, I found that they struggled to produce adequate results. However, the 1 inch 360 handles these harsh conditions well and produces great video.
In all honesty, this might be the best camera available for easily capturing the night sky.
Another example of where the 1-inch sensor shines is at night, recording star intervals. In all honesty, this might be the best camera available for easily capturing the night sky. It delivers truly spectacular results that can be tweaked and customized in post-processing. Astrophotography is a tricky business because it takes a long time to capture even a short time frame. However, with the 1 inch 360 you can create half a dozen different shots from the same clip and make each one look unique by applying different effects and choosing different angles and zooms.
It’s a great feeling to shoot with a 360 camera and know you’ll get high quality results.
Durability and waterproofness
If there’s one thing I don’t like about the 1-inch 360 camera, it’s that it’s not fully waterproof unless you also put it in an optional dive case. This is a very minor issue as the camera is water resistant and can easily withstand wet conditions as long as you don’t try to dunk it in the ocean.
It’s also pretty sturdy, something I accidentally put to the test early in the morning while recording a star interrupt. A bird decided to use it as a perch and ended up tipping the tripod on the sand and stones. It arrived in perfect working order apart from a few small scratches on the lens. These scratches did not noticeably affect image quality. However, it should be noted that these large lenses are more susceptible to accidental scratches in scenarios like this due to their size.
Software and Connectivity
I’ve long been a fan of Insta360’s comprehensive and intuitive approach to letting you connect your camera to almost any device and edit footage. Android and iOS apps are excellent, as is Insta360’s desktop app and Adobe Premiere Pro plugin. I’ve used all of these rigs when testing the 1 inch 360 and can’t fault the experience. The 1 inch 360’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi system makes it easy to connect to your phone or tablet.
Insta360 rates the battery life of the 1 inch 360 camera at 62 minutes of 6K 30 fps recording time. I found it to be about accurate, and while I wouldn’t say the battery life is particularly impressive, it’s quite adequate. Star Interrupts use up battery power after about three hours, so if you plan to shoot more than one Star Interrupt per night, you’ll want to pack several spare batteries.
I never had any overheating issues, although it did get quite warm once while I was editing footage while connected wirelessly from my iPad mini 6 in 90 degree heat. This really qualifies as a stress test of the system, which it held up admirably.
Price and availability
The Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 edition is available today for $800. It’s certainly a pretty penny, but considering the size of the camera’s sensor and its exceptional capabilities, that cost is a bargain. There’s no 360 camera even close to this price that can match the image quality. An upgrade kit for One R and One RS system users is available for $650, so if you already own one of these cameras, you can get the 1-inch 360 lens for less.
The 1 inch 360 is a truly impressive option as an all-in-one content creation machine.
Our point of view
The Insta360 One RS 1 inch 360 Edition is quite simply the best 360 camera you can buy right now, by a considerable margin. It takes all of Insta360’s great software that creates stable and seamless 360 content, and implements it in a camera that offers a major upgrade in resolution, low-light performance, and dynamic range. The result is a 360 camera that’s far more versatile than anything that’s come before. Add to that its compatibility with external microphones, and the 1-inch 360 becomes a truly impressive option as an all-in-one content creation machine.
Is there a better alternative?
If you’re looking to spend less money, a Insta360 One RS with the old 360 module is a great option. Image quality isn’t as good, but it’s usable and the camera is fully waterproof without the need for an external case. It is also smaller and lighter, which can be a definite advantage. Plus, you can still take advantage of the One RS modular system and upgrade to the 1-inch 360 camera later.
Another potential alternative is the Insta360 Sphere, which attaches to a drone and can capture some truly amazing aerial footage while rendering the drone invisible in the final sequence. However, keep in mind that you will also need to have a compatible drone to use this camera.
A competing high-end 360 camera is the Ricoh Theta Z1. However, given that the Theta Z1 is much more expensive, records at a much lower resolution, and overall is starting to look very dated, the 1-inch 360 is the clear winner in this comparison.
How long will it last?
One of the benefits of Insta360’s modular system is that it extends the life of its products by allowing you to upgrade them gradually. With that in mind, you may very well be able to use the 1 inch 360 camera on multiple generations of Insta360 One series cameras and still use it for many years to come. Given that this modular platform has been around for a few years and seems to be both successful and passionately supported by Insta360, I’m confident it has a long life ahead of it.
Should I buy it?
If you’ve been waiting for a 360 camera with a higher degree of image quality, then this is this camera. Despite its steep price tag, it’s the one I’d recommend to most people interested in getting into 360 videography.