Monday, January 16, 2017

Gear: Insta360 Nano
Some time between Christmas and 2017, I got in touch with the sole distributor of the Insta360 Nano camera in Malaysia to see if I'm able to purchase one because I was looking for one and some of the other brand's camera is above my limited budget. They are nice enough to loan me a unit and ask me to go and play around with it to see if I really like it before splashing money on one. Why I got in touch with them? Because I saw the quality of the image posted by some friends and was pretty impressed with the image quality.

Even though I have seen some test images from friends and read about the device, I don't really know how big it is and when I first got hold of it, I was a bit apprehensive, looking at the size of the camera in my palm. But as I played with it, I begin to find the size comfortable to use, small enough to put into my pocket and carry it everywhere I go, easy to use even without mounting to a phone. And quality wise, especially in daylight, is quite good based on the size of the device. I don't expect it to pump out high quality GoPro multi-cam 360 quality but I needed it to retain details as compared to some of the other brands I've played with that has a softer output.

I'm not going to beat around the bushes and will look at the this device objectively, at the end of the day, I'm doing this review for my own purpose anyway because I want to get one for use at events and functions and I want to make sure that I get one that I'm comfortable using and won't fail on me when I'm using it for Live Streams. Before we go any further, you need to know that the Insta360 Nano is designed for iPhone 6 and above as it is mounted via the lightning connector. But that said, my iPad Mini can't mount it as the "drain" around the lightning connector does not fit the Mini. The design of the Nano is not universal in that sense.

What about Android devices? There's the Insta360 Air for the Android devices but I was told that it'll only be made available some time in the 2nd quarter of 2017. I'm more interested in the Insta360 4K and the Insta360 Pro that records in 8K but doubt that'll be in the Malaysian market unless there's a huge demand for 360 images in such high quality.

Unboxing the Nano, there's a little clothe pouch that holds the Nano and also act as the lens cleaner, USB cables to charge the Nano and the box that came with the device also acts as the cardboard VR viewer. Not included is the MicroSD card that you can mount to start capturing photos and videos without the need to link with an iPhone.

The Nano itself felt pretty solid, good build quality but the glass on the 210-degree f/2.0 fish-eye lenses looks good too. To use the device without an iPhone, the shutter button is just below the lens, to turn on the device, just press it once, wait about 2 seconds and allow the camera to read the SD card. If you want to selfie with it, the "front" is the part with the notification light. Press the button once for photo, twice for video and three times for a 10 second timer to capture photos. Simple, right?

In terms of image quality, the camera works beautifully during the day, and at night, with sufficient lights and an iPhone as your viewfinder, the camera can capture a pretty detailed and fast 360 image. In slightly dimmed place, it'll take the Nano a bit more time to process the image so you'd need to hold the camera still until the Notification Light appear again after you press the shutter button.

For photo quality, here's some photos from a few places, both in bright daylight, indoor and in low light. The first one are some photos I took at the Surian MRT station when it was first opened to public.

The following image is of a studio, mounted on a tripod and captured using the timer.

Testing 360 camera

This is the Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur during a bright morning.

Petaling St

For video quality, here's some videos I've captured over the last couple of weeks. The first is when I mounted the camera haphazardly to my car windscreen and drive it through an underpass into a shaded area into bright light to test the video quality and whether the camera has issues with the changing light.

This video is pretty stationary shot in bright light taken at a friend's wedding recently.

This last video is at a dance party where the light condition is pretty low. The camera do struggle a bit as it worked overtime to bring out the details from the low light. The Nano's body also felt visibly hotter (not til the extend that you can't hold the camera) due to the hard work the camera had to endure.

I didn't touch up the images and videos you see, there are the Insta360 Player and Insta360 Studio you can download to view and edit the images but it is only as far as embedding watermark of your choice or clipping the videos to the desired length, the Insta360 Studio doesn't have the fancy ability to edit or combine footage but I hope that'll change so that we can be a bit more creative in terms of creating interesting contents.

There are some accessory that you can pair with the device but I've yet to actually shop around to find them. I'm pretty happy with the device as a whole but there are some niggling stuff that I needed checking but that's just me being anal about what I am getting into.

It's also not waterproof so not advisable to bring it into the pool even though I was pretty tempted to (by covering the various exposed areas). It's not the best tool for professional quality production but for quick sharing on facebook and youtube, it's pretty good. The device via the iPhone can also do Youtube LIVE but I've yet to test that as I don't really have an iPhone with me at all times.

In Malaysia, the device is being sold at MYR950 and you can get it at, use the Promo Code MIKEYIP to get 10% off your purchase. If you have any question about my experience using the device, do feel free to ask at the comment and I'll answer the best I can. I might have missed out a thing or two from this review.


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Blogs about Dance, Travel and Food, Photography and gadgets that he purchases for work. Am available to do reviews.


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