The $549.99 Insta360 One RS adds a better action camera to its modular setup

Insta360 has announced the One RS, a successor to the One R action/360 modular camera released last year. The RS is mostly a minor upgrade, with the brain module (or “core”, as Insta360 calls it) and the mounting system benefiting from a few tweaks that should improve the lens shooting experience slightly. 360.

The One RS upgrades are mostly minor, but welcome, quality-of-life improvements. The core has an additional microphone, faster Wi-Fi to transfer your photos and videos, a quick menu to change shooting modes, and “instant zoom” that lets you knock up to 2.7 times while recording.

Insta360 also says the camera’s built-in “FlowState” stabilization is improved. The mounting bracket used to attach the RS to other accessories has been redesigned – it now opens to the side, making it much easier to use with the 1-inch Edition mod. It also includes a new plastic and foam piece on the front that should help improve audio by shielding the microphones from wind noise.

The upgraded One RS case (left) compared to the One R case (right).
Becca Farsace / The Edge

The biggest change Insta360 brings with the One RS is the new 4K Boost lens, which is the usual action-cam lens part of the camera system. The company claims it has an “upgraded 1/2-inch 48MP image sensor,” which has a few spec bumps over the older version: it’s slightly faster, with an f2.4 aperture compared to compared to an f2.8, and has a higher maximum ISO, with a maximum of 6400 compared to the original 4K lens which can only do 3200. It also has a slightly wider lens – a 16mm full-frame equivalent, compared to the 16.4mm lens that graced the previous version.

You can still attach the screen to face forward or back. (In action-cam mode, anyway – it’s hard to tell what “front” and “rear” mean with the 360-degree lens attached.)
Becca Farsace / The Edge

Two new modes provide the big new features: Active HDR and 6K Widescreen. Insta360 claims that Active HDR mode will let you capture shadow and highlight detail even in time-lapse sports videos and says 6K widescreen mode takes “full advantage” of the sensor to produce video with an aspect ratio. “cinematic” aspect ratio of 2.35:1. . This translates to a One RS max resolution for non-360 video of 6016 x 2560, which you can shoot at 24/25 frames per second (the One R’s 4K lens hit 4000 x 3000 or 3840 x 2160).

When The edge Camera guru Becca Farsace tested the original One R in 2020 (using a pre-production unit, mind), she said the 4K mod was “fine” as an action camera in terms of quality of picture. At that time, however, being able to flip the screen was a novelty. This is no longer the case since DJI introduced the Osmo Action 2, a dedicated action camera with a very similar modular concept (which can be used in ultra-compact mode with fair the camera cube). That means Insta360 will have to fix boost lens upgrades if it wants the One RS to hold its own as an action camera.

Video from Insta360 showing images of the One RS.

Becca took the One RS on a ski trip over the weekend and said if you watch the video on a phone it will be virtually indistinguishable from other action cameras. Seeing it again on a computer screen, however, wasn’t nearly as impressive. “There isn’t a huge difference between the pictures on the R. The most notable upgrade is the side-loading case which allows the 1-inch mod to be placed inside the case without having to remove the cover of the mod’s objective.”

The sizable 1-inch mod, shown in the center, was once a pain to use with the old case.
Becca Farsace / The Edge

Of course, it’s worth noting that action cameras from DJI and GoPro can’t easily be converted into 360 cameras (although GoPro has announced that it’s expanding its line of cameras and who knows what it has in store ). Insta360 hasn’t made any notable upgrades to its 360 degree mod though, so if you have an original One R and crave better 360 videos, this upgrade won’t do much for you. . The good news is that the parts should be compatible – Insta360 says the One R Core will get 4K Boost lens support with a firmware update, and you can use the upgraded RS Core with the existing 360 and 5.3K 1-inch types. mods.

The Core is the brain of the One RS and also houses its (still a little offbeat) screen, USB-C port and microSD card slot.
Becca Farsace / The Edge

The One RS is available today. Like the original, there’s a Twin Edition with both the 360 ​​lens and the 4K Boost lens, which costs $549.99 (about $70 more than the original’s launch price). There are other packages too – for the same $550 you can get the One RS with just the 1-inch lens, and there’s also a version that comes with just the 4K Boost lens for $299.99.

For One R owners who are happy with their lens setup, Insta360 will also sell a bundle with the RS core, battery and mounting bracket for $269.99 – this may be a tough sell, given the bets relatively small upgrades and lack of new mods to take advantage of One RS updates.