Review: Insta360 ONE R Action Camera For FPV

by Oscar

It’s been over a year since Insta360 released their first 360 camera, the One X. You can capture some really interesting footage with such a camera on an FPV drone. And now they finally released a newer model with better features – the Insta360 ONE R Edition.

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Where to Buy?

Why 360 Camera?

For general users (non-FPV), it means you don’t have to think about what you are shooting, just hold the camera up and it records the whole surrounding. You can pan around when you are editing the footage and display the part that you want to show.

For FPV drones, you can create some really interesting effects, like this:

Not to mention the stabilization feature also works brilliantly for smoothing out your flight footage.

Specs and Features Overview

  • Resolutions:
    • 4K Module: 4K 60FPS, 2.7K 100FPS, 1080p 200FPS
    • 360 Module: 5.7K 30FPS
  • Encoding Format: H.264 / H.265
  • Supports Micro SD card up to 128GB
  • Recording time: 70 minutes
  • Video Bitrate: 100Mbps
  • Weight: 121g (with 4K module), 131g (with 360 module)
  • Dimension: 72x48x32.4mm / 72x48x43mm

It supports Voice Control as well as touch screen. Much easier to use than the previous ONE X which only has two buttons.

Insta360 ONE R 360 Camera screen

Only a few weeks after its release, Insta360 already made firmware updates to this camera with some major improvements. So yea, this camera will get even better over time through firmware updates.

Insta360 ONE R Modular Design

At first glance the Insta360 ONE R appears to be a GoPro style/form factor camera, but this is a completely different concept – it’s probably the first modular action camera system. You can easily take it apart and arrange it the way you want.

Insta360 ONE R 360 Camera module design

The ONE R camera consists of three modules – the battery, the core and the lens module.

Not only you can swap out the lens module, you can also flip the core around, and have the screen facing yourself, which turns it into a selfie camera for vlogging.

Insta360 ONE R 360 Camera lens

Despite the modular design, the Insta360 ONE R is actually water-resistant up to 5 meters – not water-proof though. There is a water-proof case you can purchase separately for diving and other water activities.

Different Lens Modules

In the box, it comes with two different lens modules – a 4K module and a “360-degree” module.

With the 4K module, you can shoot in maximum 4K resolution up to 60FPS (frame per second). At 2.7K it can shoot up to 100FPS, and at 1080p it can shoot up to 200FPS for extra slow motion footage.

The 360-degree module has image sensors on both front and back, combining the two gives you a 360 degree field of view. With this camera module, you can shoot at 5.7K resolution, up to 30FPS. This is actually the exact same as the older model, the Insta360 ONE X.

One of the advantages of this modular design, is that if you break the lens module, which isn’t uncommon when it comes to FPV drones, you won’t have to replace the whole camera like the GoPro. Not to mention the lens protector is also removable and replaceable, unlike the one on the GoPro Hero 8 which is fixed to the camera.

Video Stabilization

Along with the excellent resolution and frame rate, it also supports digital image stabilization. Insta360 calls this feature “FlowState”, comparable to Hypersmooth on the GoPro’s.

Video stabilization is available for both 4K and 360 lens modules. The footage looks like it’s on a gimbal, smooth and stable. You can choose the amount of stabilization you want to apply to your footage using Insta360’s video editor. The more stabilization, the more cropping around the edges (reduction in field of view).

GoPro or Insta360?

Editing footage from the Insta360 ONE R is easier than the GoPro. With the GoPro, you have to set most if not all of the parameters before recording, such as stabilization, which cannot be changed later on. With the Insta360, you can select these settings in post so it’s more flexible to work with.

However, you have to use Insta360’s own video editor because of its unique file format (.insv). But it’s a really well-designed, easy to use software, I’d say it’s better than the one from GoPro, so it’s actually a bonus and not a downside. There is also an APP you can download on your phone for editing footage right from your phone which is neat.

The image quality from the Insta360 ONE R is excellent, but you can still tell the difference from the GoPro. The raw footage from the Insta360 looks brighter, slightly flatter, and has wider dynamic range than the GoPro. However the GoPro image looks warmer and seems to be more “cinematic” in my opinion.

Insta360 ONE R 360 Camera

The Insta360 ONE R is a great camera, however it’s not perfect.

First of all, audio is not great compared to the GoPro, wind noise is really loud. Although the official video editor offers “background noise reduction”, it also reduces the useful audio. The good news is if you are serious about audio recording, you can use an external microphone with this camera.

Secondly, the FOV of the 4K lens isn’t as wide as the the GoPro and it doesn’t do Superview either.

To sum it up, if you want a “normal” camera for your FPV drone, that takes the most professional videos, I think the GoPro still edges out in terms of video quality. But if you want a 360 camera, the Insta360 is no doubt my go-to camera at this point. Not to mention it also comes with two different lens modules, so you are basically getting two cameras for the price of one.

As mentioned, with the 360 lens module, the “ONE R” has the same performance as the previous model – the “ONE X”. If you already own the “ONE X”, I don’t think you have to upgrade. But if you are looking to get a 360 camera, the ONE R is the one to get.

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1 comment

Steve Potter 22nd July 2020 - 11:26 am

Very useful info. But the one thing I did not see is whether the camera has a video out signal that can be fed to the FPV goggles during flight. If not, can one extract live video signal from the USB-C port? If so, how bad is the delay?