360 degree cameras are inching ever close to consumer adoption, but the new Insta360 Nano camera could help it get there a bit faster.
Due to launch later this month, the Insta360 Nano is a pretty intriguing accessory for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 plus/6s plus. It consists of two 210 degree fish-eye lenses that overlap to create a full 360 degree video and captures images that can be viewed on the phone and in VR using Google Cardboard. It captures 3040×1520 resolution 2D footage at 30fps. That sounds pretty standard for a 360 camera – and the lack of 4K support is disappointing – but it’s the Nano’s form factor that’s most interesting.
With Apple MFi certification on board, you can plug the device into an iPhone itself and essentially use it just like you would use the phone’s regular camera. Connecting the device opens up an app from which you can record footage with one camera’s output displaying in a large window and the other’s shown on a smaller window inside of it. It does mean you’ll have to hold your iPhone upside down, but that doesn’t strike us as too much of an issue. Once recorded, footage can be previewed live and instantly shared to others.
Obviously the Nano is restricted to just the iPhone ecosystem right now; it’s not clear if the company behind the device also plans to release a version of the camera for Android phones, which would involve changing the adapter.
Crucially, Insta360 Nano’s dependence on the iPhone helps keep its cost down; the kit will go on sale on July 30th in the US for $199.99, a good $100 cheaper than Samsung’s Gear 360, which is a separate device that wirelessly connects to the company’s S7 range. Meanwhile, Insta360 also has a standalone 4K 360 degree camera that’s also compatible with Google Cardboard. The jury’s still out, but these products could be well worth paying attention to.