I know what you think, "Becca, 360 video is dead." But what if 360 degree photography does not mean that VR or your phone moves in all kinds of weird directions to see the whole image. What if it means that you have to choose 360 degrees instead?
That also changed my mind briefly about 360 cameras.
Insta360 & # 39; s One X is a 360-degree action camera that uses double 200-degree f / 2 lenses to create truly unique 18-megapixel photos & 5.7k spherical video that can then be exported in 1080, non-360, frames. Unlike previous 360 & # 39; s, which are designed to capture video that you have watched through a VR headset or that you have bent around to see, the One X is designed to turn you on and off let you know that you are going to record what is happening around you. You will simply decide what that shot is after the fact.
The matte black housing has a microSD card slot, Micro USB port and battery compartment. Two round buttons intended to operate the camera are located under a small screen that displays your shooting mode and a very confusing camera menu, but not what you actually capture. The controls work much the same as GoPro controls: with a learning curve. It all feels very strange until you get used to it, but even then it's not the easiest to use. There is also a built-in image stabilization that Insta360 & # 39; FlowState & # 39; , making video images super smooth without external gimbal.
However, the mobile app of the One X makes up for many of the camera's hardware annoyances and is the easiest way to export camera content. You can use it to set up keyframes, aspect ratios and to export recorded video in decent quality. There is also the usual remote control and live view of the camera.
The video of the One X looks clear and impressive on a phone, but once exported and viewed on a larger screen, the image begins to fall apart. It struggles with bright highlights, such as the sky, and is almost unusable at night when high contrast light is present. The 18-megapixel photos are clear and once uploaded to a desktop computer, they stretch naturally to show the entire 360-degree photo without having to be stitched.
In both photos & videos & # 39; s, the blind spot of the camera hides a selfie stick that makes filming yourself very easy. The magic of the One X is its ability to become a personal videographer instead of driving a drone or holding a camera in front of you. The disadvantage of this is that you will have quite a few recordings of you that hold up what seems to be nothing.
The first time I used the One X, I was completely sold on this promise of unique recordings with few settings, but after having used it twice, I noticed that I was not super interested in continuing to use it. Insta360 has made 360 photo and video more accessible by not focusing on 360 degree output, but for me there are still too many steps for a completed video that I don't necessarily know what to do with.
As a technical optimist, I was ready to believe in 360 again, but sometimes more cameras just mean more work, and as a consumer you really need to know exactly what you want to do with this camera before you buy it. Tune in to the video for more examples of the One X, including a sick shot of the bumpiest boat ride I have ever taken.
Vox Media has affiliated partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media can earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. See for more information our ethical policy.