Insta360 One X2: the best 360° camera for action sports

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The Insta360 ONE X2 is a highly portable 360° camera that packs a punch both in terms of performance, construction and video quality.

Not too long ago, 360° cameras were gimmicks. People got excited about capturing immersive footage, but the results were generally underwhelming. Most 360 cameras captured awkward fisheye panoramas, often with visible seams where film from the dual lenses met. 

On the other hand, professional 360° footage is created using incredibly complex rigs upon which multiple digital SLRs are mounted. Stitching the footage together required a beast of a computer with specialist editing software and a rack of servers to store the footage. This process is impractical for enthusiasts and, as a result, the appeal of 360 videos waned for many videographers.

People reverted from 360 to standard action cams or DSLR cameras and virtual reality was relegated to the future.

Why capture 360-degree footage anyway?

A few years back, tech enthusiasts suggested that we’d all be wearing VR goggles for much of our daily lives by 2021. However, the adoption of headsets has been slow. Nevertheless, most modern smartphones enable you to view 360 videos on Youtube or Vimeo. To view the whole panorama, you can simply turn around and change the angle. It’s kind of cool but not immersive. The cheap and cheerful Google Cardboard solution spawned a range of headsets into which you insert your mobile phone. These are a bit clunky but do provide an easy way to experience 360 footage without buying a more expensive VR solution. The question remains: is 360 video necessary? We believe it is the way of the future – movies have already been shot using 360 technology, and there’s something immensely creepy about being in a horror film as a participant rather than a viewer. It’s only a matter of time before a Hollywood film is shot in 360. Then it will be interactive with game controls. Then we’re in the metaverse or a dystopian Ready Player One future. Or we could all just whack on headsets to froth over the views from within Teahupoo barrels as ridden by John John and others. 360 video immersion has incredible potential for training and dealing with PTSD. 

One other thing to remember is that you don’t have to publish 360 footage as 360 videos. Instead, you can use your edit suite to create transitions that are impossible with regular cameras. Then you export the footage as a standard video. More about this later.

Challenges with 360 cameras

A challenge with 360 cameras is that the lenses are often dome-shaped to capture the necessary wide-angle perspective. Unfortunately, dome-shaped lenses tend to distort underwater, as we discovered with other models. For action sports like surfing, it is critical that your camera can shoot clear footage both above and beneath the surface. We were surprised that the GoPro Max 360 does not have this functionality by default and requires a special housing.

The Insta360 ONE X2 is an action camera that enables sports enthusiasts to go virtually anywhere and capture incredible 5.7k footage (yep, that’s right!) with almost seamless stitching and super easy editing. Sounds too good to be true?

Video review of the Insta360 ONE X2

Check out our video review, including sample shots from the Insta360 ONE X2.

Now, read on to discover why we love this device and recommend it to action sports enthusiasts who want to capture immersive full world footage.

10 Reasons we recommend the Insta360 ONE X2

Amazing image stabilisation

The Insta360 ONE X2 renders silky smooth footage. We took it up our local mountain, which is really more of a hill, but still requires some grit if you run to the summit, and we experimented with rolling and spinning shots, sometimes even passing the selfie-stick from one person to another. The clips are buttery smooth. They look like a high-end drone was used for the task. The fact that this camera boasts two excellent lenses plus super high definition, means that the stabilisation software can virtually eliminate bumps and shakes. If you’re looking to document the inside of a barrel or the view as you jump from a plane, you can’t beat what Insta360 have called their FlowState stabilisation technology (cool name).

Check out our video review above to see how the object tracking perfectly captured our test subject as she skated down a road.


The Insta360 One X2 is fully waterproof down to 33 feet (10 metres). And that is without a water housing! This means you can simply grab the device and go explore a coral reef, or kayak down a river, or surf big waves – without a worry in the world. The fact that underwater footage is clear and undistorted means that you can confidently go and record underwater worlds that will blow the minds of your VR headset users.

For best underwater results you simply tap AquaVision in the Insta360 app or Studio software and their AI algorithm automatically balances colours for best results. If you need to go deeper you can always get the Dive Case housing which lets you swim down to depths of 45m.

Image quality

We generally use DSLRs and even have an underwater housing for our mirrorless Sony A7III. The footage and stills from our Sony are amazing but you have a lot going on when trying to film in high action situations. Firstly, you’re handling a large plastic box, inside of which is an expensive piece of gear. Secondly, changing settings on the fly is fiddly. For every good shot there are many more average ones.

The difference swimming out with a tiny camera makes is profound. The Insta360 is super easy to operate and weighs almost nothing. You can also rely on the fact that the images produced are going to be great. Are they comparable to a professional-grade DSLR? Perhaps not, especially if you’re after a shallow depth of field (blurry backgrounds), but for general action sports, they’re excellent. The real benefit is that simplicity in terms of operation and the lightness of the device means you’re more likely to get close to the real action. If you get yourself inside of a barrel on a sunny day you will capture unbelievably crisp footage or photos with excellent dynamic range.

Touch screen display

The circular touch screen display on the Insta360 ONE X2 will make you wonder how we coped without LCD screens on older action cams. This ultra-bright display lets you effortlessly switch between views from both cameras as well as all menu options. Being able to view from the selfie perspective makes this camera amazing for bloggers because you can film yourself and the environment simultaneously.

Note that in the water, the touch screen does not work well. No touch screens do. So set it up before you go into the water and then disable the screen.

Easy 360 footage editing software

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this product is the software. I remember using early 360 cameras and finding the footage was almost unmanageable. You’d import it into Final Cut Pro or try to use the phone editing software and would bring even high powered devices to a standstill. It was clunky and not much fun. The team at Insta360 have invested a huge amount of energy into software. Their AI editing options and templates enable anyone to turn standard 360 footage into high-impact clips that include “deep tracking” which is the ability to lock onto a target and follow it across both camera lenses. Put it this way: if someone was racing across a wave towards you, you could capture them before and after they pass – without doing anything except holding the camera. You can also use the Shot Lab templates to create spinning effects, clone trails, dolly effects and more. If you’re a vlogger or intend to make videos for web and social media then this is for you.

The key is to remember that while this is a 360 camera – most people will probably see it more as two cameras in one. You don’t need to export your footage as 360 VR clips – you can use the two camera angles to create amazing standard video experiences.

Be sure to download the software at

Pocket-sized design

We mentioned that the device is small but we’ll say it again. The camera weighs in at 149g (5.25oz) and, in terms of size, it is somewhere between a credit card and an iPhone 12. But it is thinner than a credit card.

Dimensions: (W x H x D) 4.62 x 11.30 x 2.98 cm (1.82 x 4.45 x 1.17in)

This is a camera you can take anywhere. It’s great for interviews because you can place it between two or three people and it shoots the entire room. Gone are the days of multi-camera setups for different angles! You can also attach it to a surfboard or helmet with no issues whatsoever. We love that they have opted for a standard thread mount, meaning you can mix and match existing gear, including traditional tripods. If you have GoPro accessories you can use any standard thread to GoPro adapter and easily mount the Insta360.

Battery life

Users can expect up to 80 minutes of continuous video recording, which includes capturing clear sound. Charging takes around 85 minutes so if you want to spend several hours capturing footage it would be worthwhile buying a backup battery.


Another area where Insta360 have levelled up is their suite of accessories. We personally love the Bullet Time Tripod Handle, which includes an extendable selfie stick. This selfie stick enables invisible capture – meaning that you can’t see the person is holding a selfie stick. If you walk with your hand in a natural position the shots start looking like they come from low-flying drones. Definitely get this tripod if you can!

Other cool features

We like the voice control option and we love the fact that you can plug in an external microphone. It’s like the designers at Insta360 considered exactly what a vlogger / action sports videographer might need and built it. You can even connect your Apple Airpods to deliver crisp voiceovers and narration without needing external hardware. You can also control the camera using your Apple Watch, if you’re into that kind of thing. One more cool feature is the ability to live stream either directly onto Facebook or Youtube, or even for Zoom calls. Could this camera be the solution to corporate videoconferencing? It certainly is an interesting, high quality option.


The Insta360 ONE X2 is available to purchase for $429 USD.

You can buy it on the Insta360 website or on Amazon.


35mm Equivalent Focal Length7.2mm
ISOAuto, 100-3200WBAuto, 2700K, 4000K, 500
Photo Resolution360: 6080×3040 (2:1) Pano: 4320×1440 (3:1)
Video Resolution360: 5.7K@30fps, 25fps, 24fps 4K@50fps, 30fps 3K@100fps Wide Angle (Steady Cam Mode): 2560×1440@50fps, 30fps 1920×1080@50fps, 30fps
Photo Formatinsp (can be exported via mobile app or desktop Studio), RAW (dng, must be edited on desktop)
Video FormatSteady Cam: MP4 360: INSV
Photo ModesStandard, HDR, Burst, Interval, Night Shot, PureShot, InstaPano
Video ModesStandard, HDR, Timelapse, TimeShift, Bullet Time, Steady Cam
Exposure ModesPhoto Shoot Auto, Manual (Shutter 1/8000s-120s, ISO 100-3200), Shutter Priority (1/8000s-1s), ISO Priority (100-3200), Isolated Exposure Video Shoot Auto, Manual (Shutter 1/8000s-1/30s, ISO 100-3200), Shutter Priority (1/8000s-1/30s), ISO Priority (100-3200), Isolated Exposure
Video coding.264, H.265
Video Bitrate 100Mbps
Gyroscope6-axis gyroscope
AudioWind Reduction, 360 Direction Focus


The Insta360 ONE X2 is the best 360 camera for action sports enthusiasts. It is waterproof, robust and hassle-free. You can view footage from both cameras via the innovative circular touch screen and you can create amazing transitions and effects using the mobile app or desktop software. If you’re after stunning footage in a tiny package – whether it is intended to be rendered as 360 footage or in standard formats including two camera angles – then buy this camera from the 360 experts.

Insta360 One X2: the best 360° camera for action sports
Fun factor
Best features
Amazing software
Needs improvement
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