If you’re considering buying a 360-degree camera, there are a lot of choices out on the market. There are so many great options, but if you’re down to deciding between just two, like the Ricoh Theta V and the Insta360 ONE, it can still be a difficult decision. That’s because, generally, the differences between the two are fairly minimal.
They each have strengths and weaknesses, but our handy guide is here to help you decide which one you should buy. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
|Insta360||Insta360 ONE 360 Video Action Camera, with FlowState Stabilization||Buy on Amazon|$179(Price as of 09/15/2019 23:49 ET)|
|Ricoh||Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera||Buy on Amazon|$376.95(Price as of 09/15/2019 23:49 ET)|
Build and Design
The Ricoh Theta V doesn’t look radically different from its predecessor, the Ricoh Theta S, and that’s a good thing. The Ricoh Theta S was perhaps the most ergonomic 360-degree camera of its time, and it’s great that Ricoh hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel just to make its new product more distinguishable.
The Insta360 ONE has an oval design, and it’s intended to be used on its own or attached to your smartphone. The Ricoh Theta V is a stand-alone camera that can be attached to a tripod using the camera’s tripod mount.
Each shooting style has its benefits and disadvantages. When you have the Insta360 ONE attached to your smartphone, you can see what the camera sees, but holding the two devices can get tiring quicker than you might expect. Shooting with the Ricoh Theta V is more comfortable in this regard, but the absence of a viewfinder takes some time to get used to.
You should also know that the Ricoh Theta V doesn’t have a slot for a memory card. The camera comes with 19 GB of internal storage space, and that’s all you’ll ever get. If you’ve ever shot a 360-degree video and know how ridiculously large even a short 360-degree video in 4K resolution can be, you can probably imagine how serious this limitation is.
Both the Ricoh Theta V and the Insta360 ONE are more than capable of creating astonishing 360-degree videos that present the world in all of its glory. They both shoot 4K at 30 frames per second, but only one of them has gyroscopic image stabilization, the Theta V, while the other has 6-axis stabilization.
In practice, the difference in image quality between the two cameras is noticeable but not deal-breaking. The Theta V has consistently outperformed the Insta360 ONE in low light conditions, likely thanks to its superior image stabilization, and it produced videos and images that are delightfully vibrant and a real joy to look at.
The footage from the Insta360 ONE can be quite noisy, and, unless the light conditions are just right, it tends to be somewhat dull. You can, of course, remedy both of these issues during post-processing, but it’s nice when there’s no need to worry about them in the first place.
It’s almost as if Insta360 knew its camera needs something extra to convince potential buyers to choose it over the Theta V. That something extra is its software. The Insta360 ONE can do much more than the Theta V. It comes with several creative shooting modes that make it possible to capture interesting perspectives and manipulate 360-degree video in unique ways.
Thanks to the SmartTrack mode, you can tell the Insta360 ONE which subject you’d like to focus on, and the camera will give you a perfectly stable video with the subject always center-frame.
Activate the Invisible Selfie Stick mode, and the Insta360 ONE will make your selfie stick disappear, making it seem as you were followed by a drone. These and other modes are anything but gimmicky, and they encourage you to be creative and explore what’s possible with 360-degree video.
The main extra feature of the Theta V is its ability to record 360-degree spatial audio thanks to four internal microphones. The only way how to record spatial audio with the Insta360 is using an after-market spatial audio microphone attachment, which adds to the cost of the camera and makes it somewhat inconvenient to use.
There are several reasons why the Theta V is a better 360-degree camera than the Insta360 ONE: it shoots higher-quality video, it has four built-in microphones, it supports both Android and iOS.
However, the Insta360 ONE has a few tricks up its sleeve as well: it supports microSD cards up to 128 GB, its software is excellent, and its price is far more agreeable than the price of the Theta V.