How much better in terms of image quality is the $15,000 Insta360 Titan vs Insta360 Pro 2 vs Insta360 ONE X? If Oculus Go and Oculus Quest max out in 5.7K, why do we film at 8K or even morseo, 11K? And what is the REAL low light performance of the Insta360 Titan in ISO1600?!
Watch this 360 video with your Oculus Go/Quest on YouTube VR and find out:
The key of this video is to compare the Insta360 Titan to the most popular prosumer class VR camera Insta360 Pro 2 and the most popular consumer class 360 camera Insta360 ONE X. This video is captured in the highest resolution, 11K, 10-BIT 8K, 8K on the Pro 2 and 5.7K on the ONE X. And I render the release video in 5.7K monoscopic — which is the highest resolution for Oculus Go or Oculus Quest.
The result should answer a question no matter what 360 camera you own — is high-end professional VR cameras have better image quality than prosumer or consumer 360 cameras if the delivery is on YouTube or Facebook. The common question I got from my viewers is that “if I can only see up to 5.7K, why do I need to capture in 8K or even 11K with a camera that as expensive as a car — or a small house in some countries”?
Let’s find out.
10-BIT 8K vs 8-BIT 11K
First of, if you have the Titan or planning to rent the Titan for your next production, let’s figure out which one is a better shooting mode: 10-bit 8K or 8-bit 11K.
You are watching the 10-bit 8K right now in LOG mode. LOG mode is ugly, but it does retain a lot more color information. Here is a light graded version of it. I am going to point out a coupled areas for you to look at. So look around but pay attention to the writing on the side of the boat in the distance. The American flag, both in the distance and close up.
Okay, now switch to 8-bit 11K capture in auto white balance and regular color mode. I do need to color correct it a little bit b/c the auto white balance in the current firmware is a little bit too blue. But the sharpness is a lot better than the 8K version. Again, take a look at the same area and compare it. You see the detail in the distance a lot better than 8K. I am watching it inside Premiere with an 8K sequence and everything is ProRes. So might look different when it hit YouTube. If that is the case, download the sample and watch it on a VR headset.
What you are looking at right now is the Insta360 Titan in 10-bit 8K in LOG mode. ISO is at 100 and shutter speed at 1/60 in 30 frames per second. I personally really love the log look on this shot, the color is dramatic and looks cinematic. If you turn to the right side, you see the Insta360 Pro 2 and me holding the Insta360 ONE X. Let’s jump to the Insta360 Pro 2 with the exact same settings. You see the blowout sunspot immediately. And it lost that beautiful red and orange color around the horizon. If you look close enough, there are banding issues around the sunset that feel like missing color. On the other hand, the 10 bit Titan footage looks closer to the actual beautiful golden red California sunset seen by human eyes. Yes, having 10-bit color is so essential in the particular shot to make it looks cinematic.
If you look down at the water in the Pro 2 footage, which is the shadow area, you see visible digital noise and compression artifacts. Just to remind you, this is an ISO 100. You don’t see any noise in the Titan 10-bit footage. Now back to the Titan footage and I add a simple color grade on top to make the color pop. Here is the final video.
What about the $400 Insta360 ONE X? Let’s first take a look at LOG mode. I overlap Titan on the left and Pro 2 on the right. The ONE X LOG is kinda ugly. But for dramatic lighting like the sunset, it is kinda necessary to bring back the highlight in POST. But the whole video is just so noisy. You ask, what about HDR mode.
Surprisingly, the HDR from the ONE X is not bad at all. The footage looks a lot clearer without noise. If you turn around, my skin tone looks good. The only thing is in shadow. Again look down at the water — you see less noise but purple patches in the water — which is not there in the Titan footage. I personally avoid using HDR mode of the ONE X b/c I can not get a crunchy black even with color grading b/c of this color issues. I am more comfortable dealing with digital sensor noise with this tutorial. But if you don’t want to worry about the noise and exposure, HDR mode of ONE X can be your life safer.
So is the $15,000 Titan that much better than the $400 ONE X? Well, you tell me in the comment below.
Extreme Low Light Test
Now, let’s go to a more extreme lighting scenario. As you see right here from the Titan footage — the only light source is the fire from the dock in the distance. If you look up, you can easily spot the moon. The sun completely set at this point, leaving just the light leak in the horizon. Let’s take a look at Insta360 Pro 2 at the exact camera setting. If you pay close attention, you see more noise than Titan. Besides noise, you see some level of in-camera denoising that makes the footage look softer than before. Let’s go back to the Titan and add a color grade to bring back some information in the dark. If you turn around, you see the people faces around me. Okay, the exact color grade on top of the Pro 2 — Bam — there you go. Now you see banding clearly even you are on YouTube. 10-bit vs 8-bit is really deal break in low light. Something that you should consider in your next low light shooting.
Hey about ONE X? Here is the ONE X in LOG mode. You see massive digital noise. It is possible to remove it in POST, but out of the box, this is unusable. What HDR? Here is HDR, it is not noise. BUT, it looks like someone put a greasy finger across the lens and everything look so blurry. The reason is that at this point, the in-camera denoiser kicked in to control the noise and make everything soft. This, unfortunately, make your footage unusable — even with POST clear up. You can always remove sensor noise in post-production b/c small sensor noise is predictable. But you can not save a blurry footage b/c the sharpness information is not there anymore. So, in this condition, it is better to put your ONE X away and enjoy the fireworks.
I hope you enjoy this in-depth comparison in 360 and answer lots of your questions. If not, comment below, and I will answer it as soon as possible. You also saw lots of stitching issues, but don’t worry. All this can be easily fixed with Mistika VR. Also, the 10-BIT Titan footage will look even better if you render it out from Mistika VR with the official Apple ProRes codec. Even tho the free Insta360 Stitcher gives you ProRes HQ — that is an FFMPEG ProRes.
Again, all the footages you see here are FREE to download. The link is in the description below. If you appreciate my effort, don’t forget to like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Share this to your camera technician. And together, we become more aware of the 360 camera industry and can make a better decision in choosing the right camera for the right job. Thank you for reading, I will see you next time in VR.
Want to learn more about the Titan, watch this in-depth review here:
Buy the Titan HERE