The pace at which some technologies are developing today is just amazing. One area that’s seen particularly rapid progress over the last few years is 360° cameras. But I’ve often felt that the technology still wasn’t quite there – at least when it came to the 360° cameras that fit in our pockets.
The YI 360 VR was close (at the time), but I always thought they could offer just a bit more. Now, I think all that’s changed with the Insta360 ONE X. I’ve been using one for the past few weeks, and it has absolutely blown me away.
I’ve been working with 360° photographs for years. Before I started taking more photography more seriously all by itself, I used to do a lot of 3D modelling. To create realistic lighting in those scenes, the best solution was 360° 2:1 ratio HDRI environment mapsof real-world locations. This was one of the reasons I got into photography at all. It involved a lot of bracketing, carefully moving the camera between shots, resulting in possibly a couple of hundred photographs. These then all had to be tonemapped and stitched together in post to create the final result.
Since then, I’ve gone through 3D printed rigs which hold half a dozen action cameras, tried a few of those early pocket-sized 360° cameras, and finally, l started to see some real potential when I got to play with the YI 360 VR towards the end of 2017 – which was very good compared to what was available at the time, given its 5.7K resolution.
But now, the YI 360 VR isn’t the only 5.7K pocket 360° camera in town. Oh no. Now, we have the Insta360 ONE X, and to be blunt, it blows away every other compact 360° camera I’ve ever tried.