Insta360 One X Review - Poor performer in still photography testing
I'd read all the reviews and was eager to take a look at the Insta360 one x. Disappointment followed after viewing the first images. The reviews had been inaccurate
NOTE: The image used as an example in this blog post is from the processed raw DNG file from the Insta360 one x camera through Insta studio and Adobe raw processor which has been saved as a jpeg file. Interestingly, the smaller jpeg files straight out of the camera don't display the heavy chromatic aberration that the processed raw dng files do. Bad luck if you want or need to use raw files.
I was looking to test out some 360 cameras to help fellow photographers choose the best camera for their purposes and couldn't go past testing the Insta360 one x after reading and listening to volumes of online reviews saying how good this camera is.
Turns out ALL of the positive reviews I've read and listened to online have neglected to indicate a serious problem with the Insta360 one x image quality. I'm not talking about the video image quality in this blog post but I am talking about the still image quality which is poor. And it really is terribly poor. I went and made about 60 images with the Insta360 one x before writing this review. I could not believe the incredible chromatic aberration found in the images produced by the Insta360 one x I tested. Chromatic aberration generally degrades the iamge quality. Having been a pro photographer for 30 years I've used many lenses for all types of photography and its fair to say that many lenses will display some degree of chromatic aberration and particularly wide angle lenses. The Insta360 one x I tested had severe chromatic aberration as can be seen in the example with this post.
I also found the overall image quality was poor so don't be fooled by 18mb files and being able to shoot raw. These features are all useless if the image quality is poor at capture.
As far as usability goes, I made use of the apple app to operate the camera which worked okay however the LCD display on the camera can be difficult to read in certain daylight lighting situations which is a problem if you cant use the app on your phone or tablet.
I also don't understand why a hard case/cover wasn't supplied with the camera. The lenses of the Insta360 one x are very exposed and the soft cover supplied could actually allow them to be scratched if dirt and grit get into the cover material. If you do buy this camera I would strongly advise buying the waterproof hard case for some added protection. If your camera is scratched from use with the supplied soft cover I would strongly suggest asking for a free repair or refund.
In summary I would definitely not recommend the Insta360 one x camera for serious use as a 360 still camera, the jpeg files are passable but the processed raw dng files are not from my testing so far. I am currently in discussions with Insta360 about the chromatic aberration issue and am doing further testing at their request. I will post and update here as we progress. There are some better options available for 360 photos which I'll review in the future.
FINAL UPDATE: This camera, insta360 one x, does not live up to its marketing hype in reguards to the still photography quality and capability of the camera. It is just an entry level hobbyist camera when used for still photography. If you desire better quality 360 photos the Ricoh Theta Z1 would be the best choice at the time of writing this article. Save yourself the disappointment and buy the Ricoh Theta z1 instead of the insta360 one x for better quality 360 photos. Read about the Ricoh Theta z1 HERE.
Just for the record - John Wilson Photographer is an International Photographer and has worked on assignment for TIme Magazine New York and many News organizations in a 30 year career. Read about John HERE
Full size image below used for this review