Insta360 is a Chinese camera manufacturer with a lot of know-how in the world of 360 VR video. They offer a wide array of products aimed at various segments of the market. Today, Leica Camera AG and Insta360 announced a partnership aimed at bringing true innovation and state-of-the-art imaging quality to the action camera and 360-degree camera spaces.
The announcement coincides with the launch of the Insta360 ONE R, an adaptive action camera that uses a unique interchangeable camera module to combine the creative freedom of 360-degree capture with the precision and resolution of traditional single-lens shooting.
The concept of Insta360 ONE R is very simple: it has a battery base module, a processor module with a touchscreen display, and a lens module. Currently, the Insta360 ONE R offers three ways to shoot with three available lens Mods — the Dual-Lens 360 Mod, the 4K Wide-Angle Mod and the (separately sold) 5.3K 1-Inch Wide Angle Mod.
Leica and Insta360 co-engineered the premium Insta360 ONE R 1-Inch Edition, which offers creators a 5.3K 1-inch sensor to achieve image quality and dynamic range never before seen in an action cam, together with Insta360’s signature FlowState stabilization. This 5.3K wide-angle lens can be instantly swapped for a dual-lens setup that captures the action in all directions at once and unlocks a range of creative techniques only possible with a 360-degree field of view.
The Insta360 ONE R 1-Inch Edition is the first result of Leica and Insta360’s shared vision of craftsmanship and innovation in an era when cameras have a more central role in culture and communication than ever before.
“With Insta360, we have found the right partner to bring the decades of Leica optical and digital imaging expertise into a new product segment. We think that Insta360 has an extremely high level of know-how in the software sector – especially in the field of 360-degree acquisition technologies. The aim of our cooperation is to develop innovative technologies under the highest image and quality standards, trying to push the limits of what is technically possible”, says Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera AG.
Insta360 ONE R 1-Inch Edition has the largest sensor ever included in an action camera. It can capture up to 5.3K 30fps video and 19-megapixel photos. Thanks to the larger sensor it should produce better results in low light and generally in complex lighting conditions.
The f/3.2 lens with 14.4mm (full-frame equivalent) focal length has been designed by Leica. They opted for a rather slower lens to keep a larger area in focus because an action camera has fixed focus and a larger sensor might become a problem here.
JK Liu, Insta360 founder, said: “For more than a century, Leica has never stopped pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with a camera, and it’s never lost sight of a guiding ethos of craftsmanship and quality that inspires photographers to push their own work further. They are the ideal partners to join us in perfecting a new generation of cameras that serve users at every step of the creative process — from capture to editing to sharing. Combining the expertise in optics and imaging design of Leica with Insta360’s unique portfolio of innovations, including gimbal-free stabilization and smart editing software, will allow both brands to redefine categories and realize the potential of new camera formats and modes of capture.”
One of the most important factors of an action camera is how rugged it is and how it deals with water and dust. The good news is, that the ONE R is IPX8 certified – it is waterproof to depths of 5 meters (16.4 feet) straight out of the box. For deeper use, Insta360 offers an optional Dive Case which enables descents of up to 60 meters (197 feet) – only for the 4K Ultra Wide Mod.