Let’s start with the money. These cameras come in two different price categories.
- Insta360 X3 is €540 or $450 for a standalone set, memory card not included. In the box, you will find the camera, a battery, charging cable, protective pouch, and lens cloth.
- Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 is €940 or $800 for a standalone set, without a memory card. In the box, you will find a 1-inch 360 lens, ONE RS Core, mounting bracket, battery, lens cap, charging cable, and lens cloth. This is more than what comes with the X3 because the ONE RS is a modular camera.
If you already own an Insta360 ONE R or ONE RS, you could upgrade that camera, thanks to its modular design, for €770 (including VAT) or $650.
What makes the ONE RS 1-Inch 360 almost cost twice as much? Is it also twice as good? To answer that let’s look at the specifications.
The Insta360 X3 is released in September 2022 and the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 in June 2022. Both cameras are made by the same company, so the workflow, video formats, color profiles, and build quality are pretty much the same. The differences are video specifications, design, and battery life.
When we look at the video specification, the X3 can shoot in 5.7k resolution and the ONR RS 1-inch 360 in 6k resolution. That 0.3k difference in resolution might not sound like that much, and you are right. But the difference in sensor size will make a big difference, as we will see when we take a look at the video image quality.
Our advice is to shoot at least at 24fps, and both cameras do that in all resolutions. The X3 supports Active HDR, which enables the camera to have a higher dynamic range. The ONR RS 1-inch 360 doesn’t support HDR for video at the moment.
When we take a look at the battery life, we see that the X3 has a longer running time. We always bring extra batteries, so this isn’t a big deal for us. Both cameras have a long enough battery life.
The X3 has some advantages when it comes to design. Where it has a very large and reactive touchscreen. That enables you to much more easily change settings, and check if you are happy with the camera location and playback videos. Some say it makes that you don’t need a mobile phone to use this camera. But we see ourselves grabbing the phone when we want to monitor what we are filming while hiding out of the frame.
The ONE RS 1-inch 360 has a much smaller screen, which may result in accidentally pushing the wrong buttons when you aren’t using your phone. This could be a little frustrating.
For us, the differences in weight and size between the cameras don’t matter that much, because we always place the camera on a tripod when filming immersive scenarios.
Both cameras use wifi to connect with your phone to enable monitoring while filming. That’s working great while you are in a line of sight of the camera. But when hiding behind something, the connection can get broken. When monitoring is of great importance, you should have a look at the professional camera Insta360 Pro 2.
Video image quality
So far the ONE RS 1-Inch 360 doesn’t make up the huge price difference. Will it do in video image quality?
If video quality is the most important thing for you, go for the ONE RS 1-Inch 360. Because of the Dual 1-inch sensor this camera gives a much sharper image — especially in objects that are further away from the camera. Also in low light situations, it's much better than the X3, with less noise and more details.
That doesn’t say that the X3 has a poor image quality. It will produce videos that are good enough for most of you. But the ONE RS 1-inch 360 is just really good. When you regularly film with mixed light conditions like dark shadows and a bright sun in one shot, the Active HDR helps a lot. It results in a little washed out image, but you’ll get a great dynamic range in return.
When we look at audio, the X3 records better quality from the built-in microphones. When using external microphones, both cameras offer a microphone adapter with mini-jack input.
Keep in mind that both cameras have 2 lenses. You lose a lot of quality at the corners of each lens, because of the distortion of wide angle lenses that are needed for a full 360-degree coverage. If you keep your point of interest in the middle of one lens, you are good to go.
Which camera makes the most sense for you? This depends of course on your needs. Let’s go over some different options.
When to choose the X3?
When you are on a tight budget (<€500), go for the X3. You will not be disappointed with this camera. Spend the money you save on a microphone adapter and wireless microphone kit (such as the Rode Wireless Go II or DJI Mic). This will make a far bigger impact on the quality of your scenario.
If you work a lot with mixed lighting conditions, the X3 will also be an interesting camera for you. Because of the Active HDR, it has a better dynamic range. When you only film half days and like to turn off the camera when not filming, you could use this camera without any extra battery needed.
When to choose the ONE RS 1-Inch 360?
If you have the budget and image quality is important for you, go for this camera. Also when filming a lot in low light conditions, this is your camera. The Dual 1-inch sensors make the biggest difference here.
Should you upgrade your camera?
This depends on the camera you have right now. When you have the GoPro MAX or Fusion, or the Insta360 ONE R or ONE X you will notice the difference. When you have the Insta360 RS, ONE X2, or the Kandao QooCam 8K, then you don’t need an upgrade for now.
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