Insta360 releases new X3 camera

Insta360 X3

The world leader in consumer 360° cameras, Shenzhen’s Insta360, has just released a new camera. It’s a step up from the popular ONE X2, featuring new sensors, better resolution and new features.

This is the next logical evolution in what had been the ONE series. First came the ONE, then the ONE X, followed by the ONE X2. Now, Insta 360 has ditched the “ONE” and upped the ante with the X3. The specs look impressive on paper, and the new camera has some pretty nifty features that will appeal to action/adventure types, social media creators – and anyone else who likes the post-production versatility that quality 360 cameras offer.

The big picture

First off, that’s what 360 cameras do. They capture ‘the big picture’ – meaning everything in the scene, whether you’re shooting in still or video modes (though the X3 does have a trick up its sleeve here that we’ll get to later). The X3 accomplishes this with two exceedingly wide-angle lenses, each of which features new 1/2″ sensors. The opposing lenses each capture more than a 180° field of view, then stitch them together in a single file.

Each lens captures half of the 360° image…

In fact, the lenses on the X3 are new – featuring an even wider angle than the ONE X2. That camera features a 35mm equivalent focal length of 7.2mm; the new X3 sports an equivalent focal length of 6.7mm. That’s wide. We suspect the impetus between this might be two-fold: For an even wider angle when using a single lens in the X3’s First Person View mode…and perhaps also to create an even cleaner stitch when capturing 360° video or stills.

The X3 features a 2.29″ tempered glass touchscreen

Stitching once had glitching

The early days of 360° cameras generally had problems with that, leaving a tell-tale line where the two images/videos were stitched together. This was especially apparent when one lens was capturing a brighter scene than its companion (such as one lens pointing toward the sun). Insta360’s technology on this has improved with each generation, and the stitching on the ONE X2 (a camera I purchased a little more than a year ago) is excellent.

But it looks like the X3 is even better. Check out this video: You’ll be hard pressed to find any stitching lines here. The resolution and colour look awesome. Oh – and kudos to whoever pulled this reel together; awesome job.

Wow. That’s one heckuva promo…

Specs and features

The X3 features some pretty great specs – with most showing more than an incremental improvement over the ONE X2. We won’t A/B all of them here, but let’s look at a few.

Maximum video bitrate on the X3? 120 mbps, versus 100 mbps on the ONE X2. That’s a 20 per cent increase in data throughput. Still images on the X3 can feature a whopping 72 MB (11968 x 5984) versus a maximum in the ONE X2 of 6080 x 3040. That’s nearly twice the resolution on a still. Aperture is f1.9 on the X3, vs f2.0.

Here’s some more, straight from Insta360:

Many specs, though not all, are an improvement on the ONE X2


Insta360 products feature a lot of bells and whistles, and it’s no different with the X3.

Like all of the company’s cameras, the appeal for many is “Shoot now, edit later” – meaning that the camera captures everything – allowing you to focus on what you want in editing. In fact, it’s possible to create nearly infinite 16:9 videos in production. You get to be a director in a way simply not possible with non-360 action cameras. Insta360 provides free desktop software, and the Insta360 app has a multitude of sharing tools for social media.

X3 transforms the way creators approach the creative process. By shooting first in 360 degrees and then reframing later, one video can be edited in endless different ways. You’ll always be able to capture your best moments, whether that’s catching a big wave or landing a tough trick. Simply mount up, hit record and frame later in the Insta360 app—thanks to 360 capture, a 4:5 Instagram post can be turned into a 9:16 TikTok video in a tap without losing any quality. 

Insta360 news release

But there’s much more. Insta360 has really perfected its FlowState stabilisation over the years, giving you a really smooth shot even if you’re shooting from the handlebars of a dirt bike.

“With the X series, we are reinventing the point and shoot camera to make it easier for anyone to be a creator. X3 is built to help the next generation of creators take their creativity to new heights,” says Insta360 founder JK Liu. 

In addition to capturing 5.7K 360° video, the X3 has the ability to function as a standard action camera – using only a single lens for super sharp, super wide 4K video. The camera also features a new Active HDR mode for enhanced high dynamic range.

“Active HDR uses an innovative algorithm to stabilize action footage, minimizing ghosting and revealing details that other action cams miss in over and underexposed areas,” says Insta360.

Oh. And did we say it’s waterproof up to 33′ (10 metres)? It is, meaning you can capture great shots on or in the water.

The X3 is at home in the water…

Invisible selfie stick

As with its predecessors, the X3 has that great ability to stitch the selfie stick out of the picture, rendering it invisible in your production. That stick she’s holding below? It will be, truly, invisible in whatever she’s shooting…

Insta360’s Invisible Selfie Stick…

The price?

The X3 retails for $449.99 and is available as of September 8. You can find all the details here.

DroneDJ’s take

Insta360 makes excellent products, and each iteration of this line has seen significant improvements. If you’re thinking of getting into the 360 world or mounting one of these on a drone, everything we’ve seen so far – and certainly the company’s promotional video – indicate you’ll be getting some very serious quality for the money.

If you already own the ONE X2 and shoot at lot of 360 content, you’ll see a difference here – and certainly enjoy the larger screen. But I won’t be a slam-dunk for everyone.

However, if you own something older than the ONE X2, or are thinking of taking the (waterproof) plunge into the 360 world – you can’t go wrong. This thing will rock, and capture, your world.

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