Insta360 ONE R: 360° Drone, 3D VR180, 1" Sensor Action Cam? | Hands-On First Impressions

I have been shooting with the ONE R production unit for almost a week now — and I have lots of hands-on experience to share. I will highly recommand to watch this first impressions video first:

Modular design — a camera trying to be ALL.

So the biggest selling point of ONE R is its modular design. It can shoot 360 videos in 5.7K 30fps with H.265 compression in 100Mbps bitrate. The 360 Mod has 2 F2.0 7.2mm equiv. lenses, and the casing is metal — not like ONE X — which is cheap plastic. And it can turn into a GoPro Hero 8 with the 4K wide angel Mod. It shoots 4K 60fps, and it is exactly like Hero 8.
In January 15th, they will also release a 1-inch sensor Mod co-design with Leica — with a F3.2 14.4mm equiv lens. I don’t have it yet — when I do, I will make an in-depth review of it. This makes ONE R the only sports camera with a 1-inch sensor — so if you are an action sports lover — that is huge.

There are THREE packages you can buy right now:

Insta360 ONE R — 360 Mod Specs

Twin Edition: which including the Core, Battery Base, Mounting Frame, Charge Cable, Lens Cap, Dual-lens 360 Mod, 4K Wide Angle Mod, which will cost you $479.99

Insta360 ONE R — 4K Mod Spec

A 4K Edtion without the 360 Camera Mod, which will cost $299 — It is like a cheaper version of the GoPro HERO 8, with exactly $50 dollars cheaper.

Then a 360 Editon without the 4K camera — which is $379.99 — $40 dollars more compared to the old Insta360 ONE X.

Insta360 ONE R — Leica 1" Mod Specs

The Leica 1-inch sensor version will be $549 — but the final price is not confirmed yet.

Weight of each combination

Weight of each Mod (not in the official source but I measure it for you — necessary info for FPV / drone racing community ):

360 Mod: 129g
4K Mod: 121g
1-inch Leica Mod: 157g
Case without lens guard (for FPV with minimum weight): 35g
Case with full guard and GoPro screw + mount: 83g
Here how you calculate: If you want the lightest setup and you are really good at your FPV skill (aka you won’t crash) — then 35g + the Mod you plan on using. For the rest of FPV or drone users, use the full-on case — 83g + the Mod you plan on using. So you can crash it and don’t cry. Pretty crashable if you are in the *ironman case.

360 image quality

The image quality is def better than Insta360 ONE X with HEVC or H.265 compression on a 100Mpbs bit rate. GoPro MAX is 70Mpbs — so 30Mbps more data than the MAX. It also has a better dynamic range — thanks to the newly improved HDR video. I can’t show you my result until next week, but I can tell you, it looks really good.
Although, don’t confuse HDR with the industry-standard HDR — which is Netflix and all the other HDR display use. There is no HDR in VR headset and don’t even bother submitting your Insta360 ONE R video to Netflix — it is not going to pass.
I think Insta360 should change their marketing language to a better dynamic range instead of HDR. So all the other non-colorist non-professional reviewers will not be making an inaccurate statement that the ONE R can do HDR. Well, it can not. Not by the professional standard.

FlowState 2.0 — a better 360 Stabilization

Image stabilization is crucial for any 360 camera. If you are doing over capture for action sports — this really matters to you, more so than Image quality. You can’t tell 8K or 10-bit in an Instagram Video — but you can surely tell bad stabilization — because you will get sick immediately when you see it.

I will have an in-depth comparison with GoPro MAX and Kandao Qoocam 8K regarding stabilization — so stay tuned for that. The result is not what you think

What really makes FlowState 2.0 special tho is how it deals with low light stabilization by removing motion blur in low light. Let me show you.

Insta360 ONE R vs GoPro MAX

Here we have me running like a mad man on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica at 11pm at night. What you are looking right now is captured with the brand new GoPro MAX. As you see my face — it is blurry every step I took. Look at the stores in the background — it is like an earthquake. Well, a common thing in California, but not that day. On the corner, we have a preview window of the Insta360 ONE R. Again I can’t show you the actual footage — but I can show the idea of how FlowState 2.0 works. As you see my face is crystal clear compared to GoPro MAX — same as the store in the background. Scale your screen up if you can’t see it clearly.

So it is no magic how Insta360 achieves this. You can also do that with any camera by going into Manual, set the ISO high so you can keep a faster shutter speed — I mentioned that in this GoPro MAX tutorial — to show you how to avoid motion blur in filming when using GoPro MAX.

But Insta360 makes this automatically turn on and set the best setting for you when the camera AI detects you are moving in low light. So when you import the footage in your phone or PC desktop studio, it will apply “AI remove grain” to remove high ISO noise. In the PC desktop studio, you have the option to turn this off and use a better third party noise reduction solution. Insta360 uses AI machine learning to figure out the best way to automatic remove noise for you, for free.
Using AI to remove sensor noise does increase rendering time significantly both in Phone or on PC with Nvidia GPU acceleration. It is recommand to have the latest iPhone or Android Phone with A13 chipset to increase performance. Or run the option in PC desktop with Nvidia GPU hardware acceleration. By the way, the new Insta360 Studio finally supports ProRes 422 for the ONE R stitch and render. It significantly increases editing speed in Premiere or FCPX with no compression and virtual no loss of quality. Thank you, Insta360. You finally listen to the professional editors’ requests. No more proxy is needed if you are on a Mac or a higher-end PC.

360 Photo: Night shot

Taking 360 photos got an upgrade as well. Now introduce Nightshot. If you familiar with Kandao Qoocam 8K DNG8 — it is mostly the same. Instead of using 8 DNG, ONE R just decided to use NINE and called it Nightshot. On the day of releasing, Nightshot merging and DNG to JPEG export will work already directly on Mobile App in both iOs and Android — a step ahead of the game compare to Kandao.
DNG 9 or Nightshot looks great — it really hit Qoocam 8K hard on this one. I tho Kandao has this pattened — well, I guess not.

And don’t worry Qoocam lovers. Insta360 ONE R — even with Nightshot or HDR photo mode — still only capture 6K 360 photos. Qoocam 8K captures 8K — so it still has better details.

IPX8 — waterproof to 5m.

One of the biggest complaints of Insta360 ONE X is not waterproof at all. So you can not bring it to surf, to dive, or anywhere near water — which is half of the activity people do on vacation. Dive housing is great but not practical — they are cumbersome to use and require special care to maintain. If you just want to do a quick and dirty dipping in the water shot like this — ONE X is a no go.
ONE R fix that. Even better, it can focus better underwater compared to GoPro MAX. When I first received my camera, the first thing I do, you guessed it, I drop the camera in my fish pond.

I have a full 360 underwater camera comparison with Vuze XR underwater housing, Insta36O ONE X underwater housing, GoPro MAX, and the ONE R. Check the link here when it becomes available.

So there is one drawback. The ONE R is a module design. When it combined together, it is waterproof. When it separated, it is NOT. And water goes into the little connectors between modules. So after each water activity, make sure to separate the modules as soon as possible to clear the residential water with paper towels or dry clothes. Protect your investment and taking care of your camera is very important.

Professional audio solution with AirPods and Mic Adapter

Are you a Mac user? If so, you will love the ONE R for audio solutions. Let’s face it. The camera should do camera’s job — which is capturing video. Audio should be capture with other professional capturing devices. ONE R allows USB-C to Microphone Adapter, sold separately, to connect your professional audio equipment via 3.5mm jack and sync audio monitoring using apple AirPods — which is pretty smart for 360 productions. Plus, you can control your camera remotely using Apple Watch. Now you just got more reason to get an Apple Watch and AirPods — and wave — Now Who is broke?
Disclaimer, I don’t own AirPods, and I broke as hell — spending all my money on new 360 cameras so I can make reviews for you. So maybe give me a like and say thank you in the comment session?

ONE R Aerial Edition

Do you know that Insta360 ONE R also has Aerial Edition? Yes, you can purchase Drone Mod for both DJI Mavic Pro 1 or DJI Mavic Pro 2. Here is the Mod for Mavic Pro 2.

As you see, the installation is straightforward. There are TWO cameras separated top and bottom right here. The core unit sits on the side of the drone and the battery unit side on the other side of the drone. Combine TWO lenses, you can stitch out the drone completely. Here are some sample footage shot by Insta360. The benefit of this setup is to film indoor and low altitude flight. Before ONE R — there is no way to film indoor as it will be impossible to replace the sky indoor or anywhere has objects taller than your drone. I will receive my unit in a coupled days, and I will run in-depth testing for you. If you are in Los Angeles and want to collab for some aerial 360 content — hit me up! Your boy is a Pro.
ONE THING, I have to point out. The ONE R mod for Mavic Pro 2 blocks the GPS sensors — so you have to fly without GPS. Which is pretty dangerous. So I will recommand to get the DJI Mavic Pro 1 version which will not block the GPS sensor. This thing is very light, and it won’t be any issues. I will review both Mavic Pro 1 and Mavic Pro 2 mod — so stay tuned.

ONE R 3D VR180 MOD

All the mods Insta360 ONE R offers

If you are a long term follower of this channel, you know I specialize in 3D VR180 production. I have not reviewed a VR180 camera for a while and here we go. ONE R is also a 3D VR180 camera. You can purchase 3D Mod and turn this into a VR180 camera just like what you see right here. If you have the Insta360 EVO — then you don’t need this. They are the exact same resolution — both 5.7K and has the exact same workflow. But if you don’t own EVO, and want to venture into the wonderful 3D world and create content for VR headsets like Oculus Go or Oculus Quest, then 3D Mod will be an excellent option for you. You do get H.265 compression, ProRes render, and some sweet low light and HDR feature the are unique to ONE R. I will do a review soon — so don’t worry. This is my personal favorite feature.

1-inch Sensor Leica Mod, 2x 1-inch Sensor 360 Mod

So the most exciting thing is the upcoming Leica 1-inch sensor mod. When I receive the unit, I will make an in-depth tutorial. But during the exclusive interview with CEO of Insta360 — he told me his teams are working day and night on developing the 2X 1-inch 360 Mod that with a longer CORE unit and bigger battery pack. This will be the prosumer and ever professional solution of 360 filmmaking. It will probably be under $1000 and has better image quality than even the brand new Kandao Qoocam 8K. There is no release date yet, and it is not an official confirm information. But it will help if you comment on this video and show your interests in the prosumer MOD — so Insta360 knows you are out there and you want this. Your Boi will fight for it for you if I get your supports.

Better Bullet Time

Bullet time got an upgrade. Now, it keeps the horizon level no matter how you spin it. This is great for people do not have the crazy arm strength and great for viewers not getting a headache watching your bullet time. It also has, what they called dynamic stitching — which will correct the pallarax and color/exposure difference between the two lenses. (when one of them is facing the sun). Yes, ONE R bullet time is a lot better than your ONE X bullet time.

Starlapse Mode

So Star Trail Photography is a very hard professional skillset. But now, Insta360 makes it a touch a button for you to create the same effects. Sometimes, I am scared. Eventually, Insta360 will take my job and replace it with AI. Look at this official result created by the camera. It is pretty good. I am waiting to get to Joshua Tree National Park to do one of this star trail and post a tutorial — so if you are a nighttime photographer and live in California and want to collab with your boi — hit me up on Instagram. Let’s help each other out.

AI — the new ONE R app

So one common theme of this ONE R camera and its mobile app is AI-based. It is a smart camera that can do basic edit for you, sometimes, better than you. Within the mobile app, you can click this button to let AI figure out all the keypoint for you by recognizing people, points of interest, landmarks, move cars, and cut the video for you and do the reframe animation for you with easy ease and transition. It can point to track a target — like a snowboarder — and train the AI to track it better. It can auto frame and auto timeshift for you. The App is really trying to take my job. AI denoise, AI tracking, AI reframe, AI color with Color Plus, AI wind reduction for clear audio, and AI find my dog — like this video.

Well, what is AI? Take Color Plus for example, Insta360 trains their machines to learn all the popular Instagram posts, extract their color palette and apply it to your video or photo based on similarity. It is basic stealing creative. Yeah, no thank you.

If you are like me, don’t use color plus. Develop your own color palette and shoot with LOG — which ONE R shoot beautiful and FLAT LOG. And edit manually instead of AI. Do things the hard way. It might take longer but that is every true artist does. I think AI kills creativity and makes everyone lazy to learn new creative skills — BUT, as I don’t want to fall behind — I will teach you how to AI edit with ONE R in the next tutorial.

Useful features

ONE R has voice control just like GoPro MAX and supports multiple languages — not just English. It has quick capture and points to track for AI tracking. The touch screen is tiny — smaller than GoPro MAX or Qoocam 8K — but it is reversible — great for V-logger. And better than GoPro MAX — the touch screen can pan around in 360 mod and has a live preview.
The 360 Mod has hardened glasses for those of you — like myself — that love to drop the camera. If you are extra clumsy, put your camera in your iron man case in all time to avoid scratch your lenses.

If you own Qoocam 8K — you are lucky this time. Insta360 is not after the 8K 10-bit market yet. So the Qoocam 8K is still one of its kind to capture better photos and videos with a cumbersome workflow. Yes, I know. More tutorials on helping you to maximize the Qoocam 8K is coming.

I hope this article answers some of your questions. More review of Insta360 ONE R is coming. If you are interested in getting the camera, click HERE.

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