Do you remember Google’s Project Ara? In short, it was a modular phone concept, wherein you could just swipe in new modules upgrading the phone’s functionality. While it was cancelled, the modular revolution continues. Many products in in the market have taken up the modular approach and are succeeding in turning it into reality. Taking up the charge in the action camera area is the Insta360 One R. I got to spend some quality time with the camera and here I will be sharing my experience with the modular Insta360 One R action camera.
Insta360 One R Twin Edition: Design and build
While Insta360 is known for its 360-degree cameras, the One R is camera that takes the modular route. The modular approach helps the company to stay true to its roots, while competing with GoPro, DJI and other action camera manufacturers.
The Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition has four separate parts, which include a 4K wide angle camera module, a Dual-Lens 360 camera module, a processor unit with an integrated touchscreen, and a battery module. You can simply choose the style of video you want to shoot and then assemble all of the parts together. The process of snapping all of the modules into place is pretty easy and can be done without the scare of breaking the camera.
The 360-degree module comes with a protective sleeve, whereas, the wide angle module features toughened glass, ensuring that regular usage does not damage the lenses easily. Even if you were to damage a module, the benefit of the modular approach is that they are easily replaceable and/or upgradable.
As far as underwater durability goes, the One R is waterproof up to 5 meters with the encasing that ships with it, and you can also get a separate dive case accessory, which increases the depth to an impressive 60 meters.
Insta360 One R Twin Edition: Display module
The touch screen module feels pretty small, and is not as responsive as the new GoPro Hero 10 Black. However, I do expect that the company has improved its responsiveness in the upcoming One RS, which is expected to launch in India soon. While the GoPro includes two displays, the Insta360 takes up a unique approach, where you can simply reverse the display.
The display does feel a bit cramped and laggy, but the UI is pretty impressive, where you can simply swipe to access multiple modes and settings. Moreover, it is the first consumer-grade action camera to allow its users to access a histogram to monitor brightness levels.
The module also brings access to voice controls, which is extremely useful, especially when you cannot make use of the touchscreen.
The display module is pretty versatile, as it can connect to any of the modules easily, and feels quite sturdy.
Insta360 One R Twin Edition: Performance
Insta360 One R is extremely versatile, thanks to its modular approach. The camera can shoot 360-degree videos in 5.7K video quality at 30 fps, and 4K video at 60 fps using the wide angle module. There is a 1-inch wide angle Leica module also. However, we did not get to test out its prowess.
Using the 360-degree camera, the image stitching was pretty noticeable, which can be attributed to the lenses being arranged at a long distance from each other, which makes a big gap for the processing software to fill. Due to this, there were visible join lines that could be seen in the final footage at multiple points. However, this does not mean that the 360-degree footage is completely useless as the quality and the video perspective are pretty good. The colours look poppy and the shades are on point. While some might shoot 360-degree video and then take out a wide angle shot from it, I would not recommend this, considering the camera comes with an excellent wide-angle module.
For 360-degree video, the company’s six-axis gyroscope-powered FlowState image stabilisation software is extremely reliable. FlowState paired with the company’s invisible selfie stick works wonders and outputs great video outputs. This output will be loved by serious vloggers who like to talk to the camera while giving their audience a complete view of the surroundings.
Coming to the normal wide angle camera, the device shoots great images and videos. The camera might not be as good as the Hero 10, but it is also not a competitor to it. An added bonus is that the camera can shoot in RAW mode and if you’re willing to put in the effort, the images can rival the best of smartphones. However, the image quality does take a hit past ISO1200, which was expected.
While video also suffers from the same low light drawbacks, in good lighting conditions, the camera manages to take pretty enjoyable videos, with a good choice of frame rates, resolutions, and fields of view.
The camera includes multiple fun features like Auto TimeShift, which essentially creates a hyperlapse, a Deep Track mode, which tracks an object or a person constantly, FlashCut auto-editing, which auto-edits footage, and more.
All the footage and images captured on the Insta360 ONE R can be edited into ‘little planet’, ‘crystal ball’ and a lot of other kinds of effects, which look nice and pleasurable.
Insta360 One R Twin Edition: Verdict
Insta360 One R is a clever camera, which kills two birds with one stone, and does so very elegantly. The camera has a number of pro-level features, and is extremely versatile, allowing videographers to shoot multiple scenes with just a single unit that is pocketable.
Apart from the ability to shoot multiple scenes, the camera also allows people to swap out damaged modules easily without the need to replace the whole camera.
Both the wide-angle and the 360-degree modules are well-made, and they will survive the outdoors, even water, easily. The camera has a ton of fun features and is easy to use. Using the One R, you can get reliable footage in both 4K and 360-degrees.
The fact that this allows its users to shoot separate video types, without having to invest in two separate cameras is its USP and the reason why I recommend it to everyone. I simply cannot wait to try out the One RS, whenever it arrives in India.