Pocket-Sized, Image-Stabilized, 360° Camera
Review by Dave Williams
The Insta360 One X2 is a 5.7K, 360° action camera that has proven itself to be capable of incredible performance, and it’s perhaps the first on the market to do so for a fair price.
Unboxing the Insta360 One X2 (I’ll call it X2 from here on) is an enjoyable experience. Within the package there’s a neoprene sleeve in which to store the camera, protecting the two lenses, and a decent lens cloth to tidy up where necessary.
The tech packed into this little X2 is fairly remarkable. It uses its vision and sensors to stabilize and correct the orientation of photos and footage with FlowState Stabilization. In real terms, and with absolute success in my hands thus far, this means the camera is always orientated with a level horizon. Insta360 has learned lessons from its previous tech, and packed a whole load of features into the X2.
stitching is amazing: The success rate I saw on the X2 far outweighs that of the Insta360 One. Where there was previously a mildly noticeable “blurry” stitch line, there is now nothing. (There was a stitch line on one image I made, but it was minimal in length and I’m pretty sure I moved the camera when the image was captured. So I’m happy to write that one off.) The two spherical lenses each have a 150° field of view, with a 35mm equivalent of 7.2mm. The overlap helps to ensure smooth stitching, and inside the lens the aperture of f/2 gives us the opportunity to flood the lens with light when conditions dictate.
Another “trick” this device does is to remove the selfie sticks from the Insta360 range. These smooth, reinforced selfie sticks are marketed as “invisible” because of the software’s ability to simply remove them in post. They feature a ¼” screw and ¼” hole, and they’re an optional add-on, available in two lengths, the longest being 120″.
On top of the regular photo mode, you can shoot in HDR photo mode, and then the X2 also offers Burst, Interval, and Night Shoot Modes, as well as PureShot and InstaPano. You can also control the camera manually, which is best done via the app. When you switch to video, you have a choice of another range of shooting modes: Standard, HDR, Timelapse, TimeShift, Bullet Time, and Steady Cam. The sound that comes with it is good quality, too. There are four microphones, one on each corner of the device, to offer direction focus and, as no DeadCat can be fitted, there’s a built-in, wind-reduction feature that works very well.
One thing I had to immediately turn off was the voice activation. Perhaps it was just my voice, but I found that the X2 was constantly taking photos, having responded to my talking to other people and clearly thinking it had heard something that it hadn’t. The only other issue I’ve encountered is the live-streaming capability. The device is approved by Facebook as one with the ability to live-stream in 360, but I just can’t get it to work. Live-streaming isn’t my primary reason for owning this device, so I don’t see this as anything more than a little niggle, but it would be better if it was as seamless as the stitching.
Overall, the Insta360 One X2 is an awesome piece of tech, a showcase of the advances in 360 camera capabilities, and something I’m including in my primary gear haul. ■