A recent trend in FPV drone videos has been the use of 360 cameras. Not only they give the user the freedom of capturing any angle without the need to adjust camera angle, it also provides impressive image stabilization to the video.
360 cameras are HD action cameras with 2 image sensors facing the opposite directions, by using software stitching, a user is able to capture the entire surrounding in one single shot.
360 FPV Videos Are Creative And Easy To Do!
You can create some interesting effects with 360 cameras, such as “third person view” and super wide field of view.
Prior to the boom in popularity of compact 360 cameras, achieving the same effect was more of a task as you would have to stitch together multiple different camera clips.
With modern 360 cameras, they’ve made it so easy to use, even mobile apps are now available for editing and fine tuning the 360 clips, either save the video for editing later on, or upload straight to your platform of choice.
So, with the ability to save the perfect clip on the go, are they worth investing in?
It makes sense with FPV drones as you won’t need a gimbal for that cinematic smooth look, as well as allowing for more creative freedom when editing the clips together.
360 Cameras Round-up
This article gives an insight into all the popular 360 cameras available to FPV drones, as well as which ones might be best suited for your type of drone and flying style.
|Price||Max Resolution||Max FPS||Weight||Dimensions||Removable Battery||Battery Life at Max Quality||Waterproof?||Max SD Card||HDR Support|
|Insta360 GO||$200||1080p @30fps||1080p @30fps||19g||15x21x49mm||No||65 mins / 5 mins per recording||IPX4 Water Resistance||Internal, 8GB||no|
|Insta360 ONE R||$480||5.7k @30fps||[email protected] 100fps||131g||43x72x48mm||yes||45 min approx @5k 30fps||Yes, up to 5m||Unknown||yes|
|Insta360 ONE X||$400||5.7k @30fps||[email protected] 100fps||115g||28x48x115mm||yes||1 hour @5k 30fps||No, but case available||256GB||yes|
|Insta360 ONE||$164||4k @30fps||[email protected] 60fps||82g||36x25x96mm||No||70 mins||IP67 water resistance||128GB||Unknown|
|GoPro MAX||$500||6k @30fps||[email protected] 60fps||154g||23x63x69mm||yes||Unknown||Yes, up to 5m||256GB||no|
|GoPro Fusion||$294||5.2k @30fps||[email protected] 60fps||226g||23x73x75mm||yes||75 minutes @5k 30fps||Yes, up to 5m||256GB||no|
Insta360 ONE R
The Insta360 ONE R seems to be the perfect match for a typical 5 inch FPV drone setup. It retains a similar “GoPro” form factor so it should fit nicely on most current frames, producing a great image whilst only weighing 131g (GoPro hero 8 is 126g).
The Insta360 ONE R is also modular; this could be particularly appealing to those that find themselves crashing often. If you were to break the camera module, you could simply buy another camera module instead of replacing the whole camera, or if the touchscreen were to break, again simply replace that part of the camera. Therefore, no need for multiple spare cameras as you can swap out the parts as you require.
Another benefit I can see with this camera is the other camera module option. The 360 module can be swapped out for an 1-inch camera sensor, capable of capturing a crisp 5.3K resolution at 30FPS. This could either be used as a backup in case you were to break the 360 module, or if you simply wanted a more professional image that would give you the highest quality video at this size.
The flexibility and creative freedom that the Insta360 ONE R offers currently seems unmatched in the 360 camera market, even if it does come at a more premium price point.
check out my overview of the Insta360 ONE R.
- Banggood: https://bit.ly/insta360-go-cam
- Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UXFDqr
- GetFPV: https://bit.ly/2Ybpccg
- RDQ: https://bit.ly/2UXFPWH
- NewBeeDrone: https://bit.ly/37F8DZr
The Insta360 GO offers impressive performance in an extremely small form factor.
It’s not really a 360 camera as it only has one image sensor instead of 2, but the wide field of view as well as excellent stabilization are worth mentioning.
With this camera you are limited to a video that is a max of 5 minutes in its “FPV mode” at a resolution of 1080p 30FPS. This might seem lackluster after reading about the ONE R, but what you might be unaware of is that the Insta360 GO is a mere 18g, measuring just 49mm in length.
Its recent popularity among the micro drone community displays its impressive stabilization and decent video quality, with a simple 3D printed mount holding the camera in place to allow for footage that previously would have been hard to capture on small quadcopters.
Note that to get the 5 minutes of recording time with this camera, you will need to change the settings on the app to enable “FPV mode”, previously this was only possible on IOS but it has allegedly been updated to also be available on Android. Without FPV mode, video clips are limited to only one minute.
Product Page: https://amzn.to/3hIeO3x
At first glance, the GoPro MAX seems far larger and bulkier than the Insta360 ONE R, but the difference may not be as large as first thought. The GoPro MAX is only 24g heavier than the ONE R and what it gains in its height, it loses in width. It’s slightly taller yet slimmer than the ONE R, appearing to have a very similar volume to its competitor. Whilst this is a good sign, i would prefer the camera to be as flat as possible to minimize the chances of it being knocked off when flying in close proximity to things above the drone.
The GoPro MAX has a screen so you can easily check your shots, as well as doing quick change on camera settings. Of course that becomes a concern when it comes to durability, being used on an FPV drone.
Purely looking at the footage that is captured (with auto settings) I prefer the look of the GoPro MAX. It appears to have better low light capabilities as well as a slightly sharper image and better contrast. The area where the image is stitched together (where the two camera’s images are joined together) appears to be far less noticeable in comparison to the Insta360 ONE R.
In relation to mounting on a drone, I feel that the ONE R is the better package because it is cheaper, has a more aerodynamic form factor, and the modularity makes that camera more desirable than the GoPro MAX.
If I had to choose based on price vs performance, I’d probably choose the Insta360 ONE R, but based on the video quality alone, I would sway more toward the GoPro MAX.
Insta360 ONE X
The Insta360 ONE X was Insta’s answer to the best compact 360 camera before the release of the ONE R. Since the release of the ONE R it has dropped in price and can be found for $400 on their website.
Whilst it is one of the lighter 360 cameras on the list weighing 115g, it is rather long and would be awkward to mount on a traditional 5 inch drone frame. It has been done with 3D printed mounts, but seems a little unnecessary now that the ONE R has been released which fits like a traditional action camera.
Whilst it is 11cm in length, the video quality that the ONE X provides is still exceptional. I feel like it would work well with a cinewhoop such as the squirt or the Diatone Taycan, as it is fairly light and the form factor of the camera would be less of an issue when going for the slow cinematic style videos. If you were going for an aggressive freestyle video, I would be concerned with a branch taking it out as it would stand up so high on the drone, similar to the GoPro MAX with its ‘taller than normal’ design (albeit the MAX is only 7cm tall).
Product Page: https://amzn.to/2UWKM2i
Although the GoPro Fusion is an old model, I feel like I should give it an honorable mention. It was released at the end of 2017 and was the predecessor to the GoPro MAX.
It’s the largest 360 camera on the list, coming in at 226 grams, as well as being much larger than the MAX in all of its dimensions. It seems that this camera is trumped by the GoPro MAX in almost every way and should probably be avoided now due to its age and size.
The main differences I can see between the Fusion and the MAX is that the Fusion has no touchscreen for easy changes on the go, as well as the Fusion requiring 2 micro SD cards whereas the MAX only needs one. The MAX also has a replaceable lens where the Fusion does not, meaning if you were to crash and break a lens you might be in trouble.
The Insta360 ONE was released at the end of 2018 in conjunction with the Insta360 ONE X Edition, while the ‘ONE’ was the cheaper of the two cameras. Because of this, this camera doesn’t achieve the same level of image quality that the more expensive options on this list can. The Insta360 ONE therefore falls in an interesting middle ground: a better image quality than the Insta360 GO, yet not as small, inferior quality to the MAX and the ONE X/R, but not as bulky.
For its price at $200, I can see it mounting to a smaller 3 inch drone quite happily as it only weighs 82 grams yet still records at 4K 30fps. It would still give you excellent stabilization due to its 360 attributes, as well as the other built in modes such as ‘smart track’ and ‘360 Hyperlapses’, even though the quality isn’t the best out there. I feel this could be utilized in those builds where weight really matters but you want better image quality than the ‘GO’ or even traditional DVR could yield.
So what’s your thought? Which camera is your favourite? Let us know in the comment section.