Before You Buy The Insta360 X3...

Sep 09, 2022

The Insta360 X3 is the highly anticipated successor to the One X2, and also the third major 360 camera released by Insta360 in 2022.

Now, before you get swept away by the flashy marketing videos and sponsored reviews hyping up the X3, I want to share some honest feedback with you guys about this camera.

A lot has changed since the original One X2, and a lot has stayed the same.


Design πŸ“·

Compared to the One X2, while the overall size and shape are similar, the design has improved in many ways. 

πŸ‘‰ The body is thicker and slightly heavier.

πŸ‘‰ The lenses are bigger, and my favorite feature is the massive touchscreen, which is so nice and big that you no longer need to use your phone to operate it. 

πŸ‘‰ With the tap of a button, you can change the preview from the back lens to the front lens.

πŸ‘‰ It also vibrates when changing settings, which is a nice addition. 

πŸ‘‰ The massive screen size makes it easy to navigate around the menus and change settings, as well as watch back your 360 photos and videos with ease. πŸ™Œ

πŸ‘‰ On one side, you'll find the on/off button and the quick settings menu, which gives you quick access to all your favorite presets.

πŸ‘‰ The record button is now found at the bottom left, and the recording light is at the very bottom of the camera, making it easier to see from multiple angles.

πŸ‘‰ Next to that is the Single Lens Mode button. We'll get to this feature in a bit. On the other side is a spring-loaded USB-C door, finally eliminating the days of the annoying latch that never opens or closes. The new design will save you so much frustration.

πŸ‘‰ The battery is in the same place, and this time we've got a bigger battery—yay! It's 1,800 milliamps, up from 1,630 of the One X2.

For me, this battery has lasted between half a day and a day, if you turn the brightness down a bit on the screen and only keep the camera on when you're using it.

πŸ‘‰ The microSD card is also in the same spot as before.

πŸ‘‰ Overall, the design is much better and enhances the user experience when recording 360 photos and videos without a smartphone. πŸ“²


Specs βš™οΈ

πŸ‘‰ While the sensor has been slightly upgraded since the One X2, unfortunately, the 360 video resolution remains the same as it has been for the past four years, at 5.7K.

πŸ‘‰ Many of us were expecting some kind of upgrade, as we were with every one of those releases, but it hasn't come. Don't get me wrong, the shots are still amazing.

πŸ‘‰ With the addition of Active HDR Mode on this camera, the video quality is enhanced beyond what it was before. So if you're shooting handheld 360 video shots outside, expect a much better dynamic range.

πŸ‘‰ In mixed lighting, Active HDR does an okay job. It recovers some of the shadows and highlights, but don't expect miracles. πŸ‘‡

πŸ‘‰ If you have too much shadow in your scene, Active HDR can also cause motion blur, which hopefully they'll fix in future firmware updates. In low light, the X3 performs pretty well. Due to the slightly bigger sensor than the One X2, it performs slightly better.

πŸ‘‰ When comparing it side by side with the One RS 1-Inch and the 1-Inch, the low-light performance of the X3 doesn't match up since low light is one of their strengths. πŸ‘‡

πŸ‘‰ Overall, you'll still get decent low-light shots with the X3. Active HDR doesn't work well in low light because it chooses automatic settings.

πŸ‘‰ And as you've seen in one of my previous videos, it's important to choose manual settings when shooting at night for the best results. πŸ‘‡


Features πŸŽ₯

πŸ‘‰  Single Lens Mode, where you can choose to use one single lens of the camera at a time to record a static 4K video. I found shooting in this mode super easy, thanks to the big touchscreen, making the overall workflow faster than reframing later in post. The quality on the spec sheet says 4K. However, to the naked eye, I wouldn't say it's the same 4K quality you'd get from a dedicated 4K action camera. It is pretty close, though.

πŸ‘‰ Me Mode, essentially, what this does is reframe the video towards you. This will save you reframing in post if that's your intended angle. I really don't mind this mode at all. I think it's quite cool. And while not technically a hardware update, this software update is a really cool concept.

I hope we see this added to the other Insta360 cameras and not kept exclusively with the X3.

πŸ‘‰ There's also a new Bullet Time that is 4K Bullet Time. Although it makes cool shots, I wouldn't call it 4K.

πŸ‘‰ 8K 360 timelapseI captured an 8K timelapse in Federation Square in Melbourne, and the result turned out really well.

Essentially, you're taking a photo every second and then automatically combining all of those photos into a high-quality video file, which is definitely a cool feature for those who shoot 360 timelapses.

πŸ‘‰ I also did a sound test to see if the audio was any different between the One X2 and the X3And yes, the sound is definitely better, thanks to the four onboard mics with 48-kilohertz stereo recording.

In terms of 360 video capture, everything is more or less the same as it was with the One X2, such as being waterproof to 33 feet, having loop recording, and many of the same internal shooting modes as before.


Photos πŸ“Έ

πŸ‘‰ Now, let's talk about photos, and the X3 comes with 72-megapixel 360 photos.

When I first heard this, I thought, "That's it, I'm selling all of my 360 cameras, and this is going to be my go-to camera for everything."

πŸ‘‰ However, when I put it side by side with the One RS 1-Inch and the Theta Z1, the level of sharpness was nearly identical despite the other two cameras having less than one-third of the resolution of the X3.

When looking at these side by side, I'm struggling to see how this is 72 megapixels. πŸ‘‡

When capturing 360 photos outside in bright light, I guess you could say it looks slightly sharper. And don't get me wrong, this is the perfect camera for shooting cool shots for social media.

I've used Insta360 cameras for years and have always considered the quality of these cameras to be good enough for social media.


Price πŸ’Έ

πŸ‘‰ The price of the X3 is $449.

Is it worth it?

Yes, it absolutely is! πŸ™Œ

πŸ‘‰ It's under $500, and the kinds of content you can shoot with it will be truly amazing. And I do see this as a really versatile camera for so many different kinds of situations.

πŸ‘‰ The reason I'm disappointed, though, is that it's not that different from the previous One X2 other than a vastly improved design, which may or may not be worth it for you, as well as those extra modes they've added with this camera and may or may not add to their other cameras.

πŸ‘‰ I'm also confused by the overall release strategy of Insta360, releasing not just one, two, but three 360 cameras in the last few months. πŸ€”

And it just seems weird to me that they would all have their own dedicated launch with their own dedicated marketing videos with no hint whatsoever that the next one was coming two months later.


Conclusion βœ…

If you're looking to spend less than $500, you want cool content for social media, and you want to shoot both flat and reframed content and all of the cool stuff that Insta360 cameras do, but some of you already bought the One RS or the One RS 1-Inch a couple of months ago, so now it's harder to justify upgrading.

So if you're into 360 content and you haven't upgraded your camera for a while, then I would totally consider upgrading to this. But if you have upgraded recently, don't change.

The One RS 1-Inch is a better 360 camera, and I would consider this if you prefer quality over anything else. For me, the X3 stands out mostly for usability and being an all-in-one camera that fits easily in your pocket.

The touchscreen is awesome. The new features are awesome. But overall, it's not that much of an improvement over what we already had.

Also, it's still early days with the X3, so the issues that I have discussed may get solutions as new firmware updates roll out. And I'll be sure to keep you posted if and when that happens.

I hope this article was helpful. πŸ˜€


Happy 360ing!

Ben Claremont


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