Insta360 Pro 2 fuses 360 8K video with 3D

Insta360 has launched its latest 360-degree camera, the Insta360 Pro 2. The new camera replaces last year's Insta360 Pro, and its specifications read like a wish-list for VR photographers.

The Pro 2 uses a six-lens setup to capture professional-quality 360-degree VR-ready images at a level far higher than consumer 360 cameras, but without the bulk and inconvenience of high-end VR rigs.

8K capture might sound excessive, but 360 VR footage is captured over the entire spherical field of view of the camera, so at any one time you’re only viewing a smaller area of that 8K image, so the extra resolution is at a premium.

The 3D capability is even more impressive, and is designed for VR headsets like the Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR, with each eye getting the full 8K. In 3D mode the Insta360 Pro 2 can capture video at 30fps (or 120fps at 4K). The maximum frame rate for ‘monoscopic’ (non 3D) 8K video is an impressive 60fps. It can also livestream 4K 3D while simultaneously recording in 8K.

'Gimbal-level' stabilization

The Insta360 Pro 2 can be mounted on a monopod or camera stand, and its relatively compact spherical shape makes it much easier to hide in 360 footage than a large VR rig. It also has Insta360’s inbuilt FlowState stabilization, with a 9-axis gyroscope offering what the company claims to be ‘gimbal-level’ stabilization.

The other issue with 360 footage is keeping the director out of the frame. Insta360 says regular Wi-Fi lacks the range or reliability, so it’s incorporated its own proprietary FarSight 360 live monitoring system, based on a transmitter/receiver system with a range of up to 300m.

Footage is designed for professional output and grading, thanks to an i-Log mode and in-camera HDR, and Insta360 has designed the system to integrate with an Adobe Premier Pro video editing workflow, using low-res proxies for automatic stitching and Insta360’s own software ‘algorithm’ for rendering and exporting a final version.

You can check out some sample 3D footage below:

The Pro 2 weighs 1.55kg including antenna and is designed for both monopod/tripod and drone use. Inside, there are no fewer than seven memory card slots – one for each of the six cameras and a seventh for storing stabilization date and low-resolution proxy files. There are four built-in microphones, plus a pair of USB and 3.5mm inputs top and bottom.

The Insta360 Pro 2 is available for pre-order now for $4,999 (UK £4,999, Australia $7,499), which includes the FarSight transmitter system and one battery. That’s pricey compared to regular consumer VR cameras, but a relatively modest outlay in the world of medium to high-end videography.

Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.