by Hugh Hou
In this brutally honest review, we will compare Insta360 ONE RS with Insta360 ONE R, DJI Action 2, GoPro in the action camera category. We will also compare ONE RS with Insta360 ONE X2 and Rioch Theta X in the 360 camera category. By the end of this 30 minutes in-depth review, you will find out if Insta360 ONE RS is truly delivering “Game-Changing Versatility” or “Jack of all trades, but master of none”:
As this YouTube channel focuses primarily on 360 video production, let’s talk about 360 first.
We are going to do the most practical 360 camera side by side comparison test with our model Keeley and Kimchi here. We have a focus chart 6 feet away from the camera point directly to the stitch line of each camera for the stitching test. This is an outdoor test under the sun with very dynamic lighting. One lens faces the sun directly on purpose, and the other faces the shadow for the dynamic range test.
We will test the Insta360 One R, the new Insta360 RS, everyone’s favorite Insta360 ONE X2, and the Rioch Theta X — another brand new 360 camera released this month with a half-inch image sensor. Now let’s watch the result together, comment below, and guess which camera is which. See if you can get it right.
Okay, here is the correct answer. From left to right, we have Insta360 ONE RS, One R, One X2, and Theta X. I know it is really hard to tell as they all look kinda the same. So the good news is if you have ANY one of these cameras, you already have the best from a consumer perspective. Let’s go for the nit-picking because we are perfectionists, right?
We punch in 400% on the focus chart 20 feet behind Keeley in the dark. We can clearly see Theta X has the best details due to its bigger image sensor. One X2 comes a very close second. One R and One RS are the same, very blurry. But hold on, is that a bad thing? Not necessary.
In the new RS comes with a new firmware update for the R-series. Now we can decide how much in-camera sharpening to apply to our image — from low to very high in 4 levels. One X2 does not have this feature. So all images are forced to have very high sharpness. If you know anything about professional Video Production, you know you should always add sharpening in post-production. For a fair comparison, I turn the in-camera sharpening all the way to “low” in this test. For me, as a storyteller, I care more about how my subject looks than the details in the background.
Let’s punch in on Keeley’s face to show you what I am talking about.
Look, on ONE X2 — Keeley’s face has lots of sharpening artifacts. It has the “security” camera look — which is very ugly on a person. On the contrary, ONE RS looks more natural.
If we add post sharpening using Davinci Resolve, here is the result. It is like 100 times better than the ONE X2 result. You can not remove sharpening in post, so the One X2 result is unfixable. If you want to learn how to color grade, correctly denoise and re-sharpen 360 footage for free, check out this in-depth tutorial right here.
Thanks to the new processor, One RS has a slightly better color and dynamic range than One R. Unfortunately, due to the sensor size difference, Rioch Theta X is still better looking on a human subject.
So ONE RS still has that signature RED DOT when facing the sun directly, even tho it is less noticeable compared to One R and One X2. Ricoh Theta X has a way nicer lens flare and a more cinematic look.
So with the release of ONE RS, Insta360 also launch a brand new version of the Insta360 Studio. This version finally has optical flow stitching, just like Kandao Software or Mistika VR. Optical Flow stitching is 100% GPU accelerated. If you have a beefy Nividia GPU like I have here, the rendering speed for 360 video is 10 times faster than the previous version! This also applies to the old One R and One X2. Great job Insta360.
Optical flow is great for stationary camera 360 stitching with extra calibration. Click this button here in the Studio will calibrate the scene for you. Or you can use the custom slider to refine the stitching further. It is really like a professional stitching solution now.
If your camera is moving, I still recommand using dynamic stitching for a better result.
So this test, we use the brand new Optical Flow stitching, and here is the result.
For stationary objects, like this chart right here, ONE X2 stitching is faultless. One RS is better than One R. Theta X has very bad sharpness on the stitch line area. So Here is the ranking.
Let’s see the human result in an even closer distance — like 2 feet here.
One X2 still has the best result. In fact, with the new optical flow feature, One X2 is now the best two-lens 360 camera in terms of stitching. No problem can not be fixed with recalibration combined with the optical flow feature.
One RS is better than One R, but it is not perfect due to the distance between 2 lenses. Another thing worth mentioning here. After using the Chromatic Abberation calibration in the new Studio, we clearly see ONE RS has a better dynamic range and better front and back lens exposure matching thanks to the enhanced processor in the core unit.f The skin tone rendering result is even better than ONE X2.
To really see all these detail differences and a lot more information, you really need to see this inside a VR headset like the Oculus Quest 2 right here. I posted another 360 videos of this test and also a link to Oculus TV directly. So watch and download that test to see it yourself in VR or 360 in a full 5.7K immersive video.
From my other 360 comparison video right here, you all know Rioch Theta X is not good in stabilization compared to the Insta360 cameras. But how is the stabilization among One R, One RS, and One X2?
Well, let’s find out together in my Onewheel test right here.
From top to bottom, we have One X2, One R, and One RS. We draw the horizon line so you can better see the horizon drifting.
As you see the result, all three cameras are identical in stabilization. They are really the best in all 360 camera industry.
See, I switch my hand right here from low to high angel, capturing myself onewheeling. The horizon and world lock are perfect. The center of the frame is still kept dead center. Very impressive.
If you like to vlog in 360, having good on-camera audio is very important. As you can not attach a shotgun mic on a 360 camera and not being seen, the only other way is to use a Wireless Lav system. Later in this video, I will show you the Mic Adapter accessory on the One RS with an affordable 4 Mic receivers lav system — the Comica BoomX-U. Capturing four individual audio channels allows you to make a true 3D spatial sound in first-order ambisonic. But for now, we will focus on testing the internal mic system first.
One RS has an additional mic for improved audio compared to One R. Let’s do an audio test.
So One RS has the most consistent wind noise reduction result. The audio sound a little bit muffled but totally usable for daily vlogger and even extreme sports users. As you can hear, my one wheel grinding the road as my speed pick up and at the same time removed most of the wind noise. So really great for capturing sports sound FX.
I personally think the result is even better than One X2. Take a listen again and comment below and tell me which one you like the best.
We even tested the One RS on an actual Jazz concert. Let’s take a listen now.
Even without a manual level adjustment, One RS AI Audio handling PA system exceptionally well. There is barely noticeable audio clipping and captures the full audio dynamic range. So if you like to capture concerts and events, One RS is a great camera to do the job, thanks to its new AI Audio processing engine inside the new core unit.
Now let’s switchgear, and talk about 2D video capture — 4K Boost Lens with a larger half-inch 48MP sensor. The biggest selling point of this 4K Boost Lens is the HDR Video in 4K 30fps. Not 60fps, only 30fps or 24fps. This is not clear in their marketing material, so I want to make it super clear. You are looking at some 4K HDR moving sample now where I am pointing the camera directly toward the setting sun riding on an onewheel on a busy street. Please do not try this at home.
On the left, we have 4K HDR result, and on the right, we have 4K standard. The image quality results are significantly different in this high contract scenario. On the HDR, the sky has a really nice transition of color, and you can see the sun. On the standard, it is just a big blowout hot spot. HDR also enhances the shadow and the color. The whole scene look more cinematic without even any color grading. You don’t really get this look in any action camera except the One RS.
So for current One R users, the biggest question will be, should you update to the Boost 4K Mod and the new One RS Core Unit? Well, let’s find out.
We set up a control lighting studio environment for a very accurate image quality comparison between One RS and One R. I will provide the full detailed test here. I will highly recommand watching it and drawing your conclusion. Don’t just listen to Influencers telling you what to buy. Most of them are paid lip service to read the official press release. It is your money, and you should know what you are getting yourself into.
Here is my unbiased observation:
4K Boost Lens vs 4K Lens in 30fps, 4K Boost Lens has sharper details in the chart, better color rendering, and better highlight roll-off. It also has less compression artifacts and better skin tone color.
In high frame rate, 4K Boost support up to 60fps, and 4K only support up to 50fps. In action sports, this is a big deal.
But the most impressive feature of 4K Boost, beside its HDR feature, is the hidden 6K Widescreen Mode. It gives you 6016 by 2560 super high 6K resolution. Here is the comparison. You can see how much larger the frame is. Zoom the 4K to match, 6K capture incredible more details with no artifacts. Compared to 5.3K on the 1-inch Lecia, the details are greater than even the 1-inch LECIA. This is pretty ridiculous.
The only drawback is the 6K Widescreen Mod only has 24 and 25fps. So it is not designed for action sports use cases.
The old OneR 4K mod also has HDR mode. But as you see, the HDR mode in the old OneR is unusable.
The ONE RS core unit is also comparable with the original 1-inch Lecia Mod. The new Core allows you to have in-camera flow state stabilization in up to 4K 60fps. Here is a side-by-side comparison. They are very similar. ONE RS new core with the new processor does reduce the compression artifacts a little bit and process a more natural look. You can also see that from the bitrate of each file. One R 1-inch 4K 60fps is at 85mbps, and One RS 1-inch 4K 60fps is at 100mbps. A higher bitrate usually means better image quality.
Let’s take a look at 5.3K Video in 30fps. In order to capture 5.3K in RS, you need to switch to Post mode in the camera. You currently can not do it in the mobile app. So don’t freak out if you can not find 5.3K mode.
In 5.3K, the image quality difference is more pronounced. One R has more compression artifacts and digital noise than One RS. You can see that in the 400% zoom in focus chart here or the corner color chart here.
One RS again is in 100mbps, and One R is in 85mpbs. That 25MB pixels really make a difference to stay away from that action camera look, especially when you pair it with the Backbone 1-inch MFT mod and a cinematic lens — like the Sirui Anamorphic Lens right here or the Backbone C-mount Mod to use on a Vintage lens.
Look at Kimchi shot on this exact setup in 5.3K! Can you even believe this is shot on an Insta360 ONE RS? It looks like it is shot on the new Panasonic GH6!
The new One RS Core unit already has built-in focus assist on the back LCD — so it is already 1 step up compared to the old One R. I can not wait for more features like peaking and external monitor support coming out on support cinematic usage on the world’s smallest cinema camera. Learn more about backbone mod right here. The backbone mod also supports 7K 360 video with 2 OneR and 2 Entaniya Hal 250 lenses. If you want to check out some results in 360 — check this video right here. We will test on OneRS in the next video to create a better 7K 360 video with 2 1-inch sensors. Don’t forget to subscribe and give this video a like!
One RS also comes with a new battery with 21% capacity. As we know from my old One R review video here, the One R old battery will overheat in 20-min. So we run a side-by-side comparison battery test with DJI Action 2 here to see which battery is more reliable. One RS has no more overheat until it hits 70 min continue recording time. It shows warning message of the media is not fast enough. That is the official Insta360 SD card so it is a very sneaky way to tell you that the camera is overheating. The camera continued to film for 5 more min and was completely dead. So the battery can last a total of 75 min of continued filming in a real-life situation. My DJI Action 2 here is a Dual-Screen Combo with 2 batteries in one, so it last longer. But DJI Action 2 overheated at 48 min — which is still really good but not as good as One RS. DJI also has the same error of media card is not fast enough — it is again a sneaky way to tell you camera is overheat even in Stop Recording temperature set to HIGH.
So if you are getting the new ONE RS, getting the new battery is a must.
We save the best for last. For those of you who are having a hard time deciding between Insta360, DJI, and GoPro, here is the test for you.
Before telling you my opinion, again, I want you to draw your own conclusion. Comment below — which one you think is the best.
I am new to the DJI Action 2 but I think the super-wide field of view with Rock Solid Stabilization mode is really impressive as an action camera. Both Insta360 and GoPro have to cut down the field of view to get the best stabilization. They in fact all have really impressive stabilization. But having more FOV made DJI Action 2 win in this round.
From the image quality standpoint, I still like the One RS outdoor b/c we see more shadow and highlight details with that impressive HDR mode. It is not as sharp as DJI Action 2 tho. This is b/c sensor size does matter in details and sharpness. DJI has a bigger image sensor than One RS and GoPro.
We also hear the onboard audio comparison for action sports. I think One RS is the best with more headroom to boost in post. What do you think? Comment below and tell me.
DJI Action 2 and GoPro all have 4K in 120fps. If you do extreme sports, having 120fps in 4K is kinda a must nowadays. But if you do not like to put your life at risk and do crazy flips like this, then 4K 60fps in One RS is more than enough for you.
Another big selling point is the 8K photo feature with 48 megapixels. It supports DNG RAW and Pureshot AI processing. You are looking at some of the samples now.
Price is a big deciding factor for many of the price-sensitive viewers here. The good news is, the 4K boost lens with the new core and the new battery is only $299. If you are upgrading from One R, that is all you need. If you don’t care about 1″ mod or 360 video, that is also all you need as a new user. Compared to DJI Action 2 Dual Screen Combo costs $519 and GoPro Hero 10 costs $449 — that is a lot cheaper. If you already buy into the One R ecosystem, this is really cost-effective for an upgrade with so many features.
One of the reasons why you will choose Insta360 One RS instead of other action cameras is all the official and third-party accessories. The idea of RS is almost all your old One R accessories will work on the new One RS. So the old battery, boost battery, can work with One RS. If you use the new One RS battery, which is a 21% longer filming time than the original One R battery, you will need the new mounting case. The new mounting case has a built-in wind cover for the microphone and a better heat sink. It is recommand to buy them together. This little guy tho, the shotgun mic hot shoe, it is extra. See, you can take it off here. I will recommand getting it as well if you are a vlogger.
One RS also supports the Quick Reader. Here is my Quick Reader for iPhone and iPad. If you like to edit on your phone, this is a must-have accessory for every Instagrammer or TikToker.
Insta360 has the best mobile editing app for an action camera — a lot better than DJI or GoPro. If you are an Insta360 user, you know that already. I personally like to edit it on a computer. Check out my 360 editing tutorial series here for Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve.
The release of One RS seems to be quite disappointed. The RS looks like a bug-fix version of the One R. No new 360 Mod for 360 video creators like me, and you. And it does not do 4K 120fps like the DJI Action 2 — so action sports lovers might not be that interested in the One RS.
But this is a necessary upgrade if you like the One R ecosystem. This is pure speculation, so don’t take my word for it. The new One RS with the new Image Processor can be what is needed for the VR180 mod — leaked like TWO years ago. It makes sense Insta360 is working on several new mods, maybe including a new 360 mod with half-inch sensor or, better, a 1-inch sensor. The new ISP in the One RS is the foundation for many more mods to come. A new FPV mod or new 360 drone mod can be the next thing to come out. Backbone might continue to expand and get new feature support from the new One RS — so it can use any lens we want — Even the new RF dual fisheye lens from Canon.
Judging from the last One R release, something major is going to be released right after using the One RS improve ISP. So don’t forget to subscribe to this YouTube channel for the latest news and tutorial. Give me a big thumb up for this in-depth review. Please share this video on your social media. Sharing our YouTube videos is the best gift to us. Both me and Kimchi won’t be here without your continue support. So thank you, and I will see you in the next video.
Follow me on Social Media to get more latest info on 360 VR filmmaking:
➜Oculus TV: https://ocul.us/2PINYMz ➜YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/hughhoufilm ➜Facebook: https://facebook.com/360creator ➜Instagram: https://instagram.com/hugh.hou ➜TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@hughhou/ ➜Website: http://film360.video