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Insta360 X4

If you love 360-degree filming, the X4 can do something special.

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There are now so many different types of content producers that especially those who design and produce semi-professional gear have had to come up with a versatile line-up of products that can help these creative souls capture a wide variety of scenarios.

Among these is the so-called '360' camera, a camera that uses two opposing lenses and some clever software to shoot an entire dome around itself, delivering the wildest fisheye shots. These have found a home at Red Bull, X Games and elsewhere in the world of extreme sports, but beyond that, their versatility has also proven to have other applications.

Insta360 now brings us their most ambitious to date in the form of the X4, which finally eliminates some of the teething problems that have plagued the category in the past, namely low resolution and too few actual camera settings.

Insta360 X4

Okay, so let's just start with these specifications. The X4 is a small, oblong camera that is more cumbersome to carry around than, for example, an Osmo Action, but thanks to the small bag you get with it, it actually feels significantly smaller than the old point-n'-shoot cameras. In other words, it's not that big and heavy. There are replaceable batteries, about 135 minutes of recording from the 2290mAh battery and the whole package is waterproof down to 10 metres. So yes, it's not a cheap camera, but it's quite robustly constructed, and the waterproofing despite so many openings shows a pretty smart design.

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The two lenses are 1/2' f/1.9 CMOS lenses that can shoot in a myriad of different modes, but what Insta360 is most proud of is obviously that 8K/30fps is possible, which then allows reframing (we'll get to that) up to 2.7K. Of course, that's just the start, as you can film in up to 5.7K/60fps, slow-motion in 4K/100fps and much more - all reframed in 16:9 if you so desire.

Of course, Insta360 still has their proprietary technologies built in, such as FlowState Stabilisation, which may not be a physical gimbal, but it might as well be when you see how stable the actual footage is. There's also Insta360's Horizon Lock which, despite shaking, keeps the horizon as the centre point to make it easier to keep an overview.

It's the same relatively responsive interface that we know from similar products, and it's pretty seamless to set up settings and make the camera your own. Furthermore, both the smartphone app and computer software also work great for 'fixing' the footage through reframing, a feature that allows you to steer a virtual camera lens around the footage if you want to create a pseudo-pan yourself, or just want to see only the left side of the recorded 360 degrees around the camera. The whole idea with the Insta360 X4 is that it records everything and then you can choose what exactly you want to see. This works really, really well.

Insta360 X4
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However, here we run into a small problem, because while the Insta360 X4 is fully functional from the start, there is no internal memory, which means an SD card is needed from the get-go, and there are no accessories at all. It's actually a bit of a fall from grace, because getting something out of the X4 actually requires some extra gear. The most fun shots are obtained with a small telescopic mount, where the X4 knows how to directly remove it live, so it looks like it's floating even in the centre of the recorded room. But this 'Insta360 Invisible' is not included, and you'll have to shell out £28 for it. The same goes for all mounting hardware, whether it's for a ski helmet or a cooling helmet - everything must be purchased separately via bundles, so it's recommended to just shell out the money to start with. Considering Insta360 has been so good at giving the consumer a little extra with the Go 2 and Go 3, it's disappointing that this isn't the case here.

That said, the footage is razor sharp, the build quality is sublime, the versatility is top notch and the reframing software offers so much flexibility. A 360 degree X camera isn't for everyone, but for those who can see the appeal, you're getting a really nice piece of hardware.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
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