Challenges

A few minor design issues make up the majority of my frustrations with the Pro 2.

My first gripe is one I also have with the Pro 1: the placement of the main SD card slot (yes, the Pro 2 requires a regular SD card in addition to the 6 microSD cards). The space between the access door and the card slot is not very accommodating to people with big fingers or hands. I often have to use tweezers or pliers if my fingernails aren’t long enough to get a grip. Fortunately, in contrast to the Pro 1, on the Pro 2, you rarely need to remove this card as the workflow to transfer files is a bit different as described above.

My second, and this was verified by another Insta360 Pro user, is the fragility of the antennas. With the FarSight setup, there are 6 antennas between the camera and the FarSight hardware, all of which look the same, but only one of which (the GPS) has a male connector. If you attempt to put that antenna on any of the other 5 screws, there’s a good chance you’ll snap the pin, rendering the antenna useless. Simply color-coding that one antenna would solve the problem.

One of the few flaws on the Insta360 Pro 2 is the fragility of the antenna connections. It would be great if the company color-coded the GPS antenna, which connects differently than the others.

Another antenna-related issue is the strength of the Wi-Fi signal for controlling the camera from the mobile app. Without utilizing the external Wi-Fi antenna provided with the included FarSight long-distance monitoring modules, signal was much weaker than on the Pro 1. With the Pro 1's built in Wi-Fi, I was able to get 5-10m (15-30 ft) feet away before losing connection. Using the Pro 2, if the external WiFi antenna is not attached, I couldn't get further than a meter away (which is why I'm in all the screenshots of the app as I didn't have the antennas with me on that day of testing).

Without utilizing the external Wi-Fi antenna provided with the included FarSight long-distance monitoring modules, signal was much weaker.

Finally, I was hoping the days of multiple SD cards had been laid to rest. The Pro 1 recorded to a single SD card (albeit working with lower resolution and data write speeds), whereas the Pro 2 uses individual microSD cards for each camera, as well as a separate SD card for camera information such as gyro data. Granted, this is more of a 'technology needs to catch up' issue rather than a design issue when you consider that there are six separate cameras recording video simultaneously at 120 Mbps.

Having said all that, I’ll confidently say that none of those things were enough to deter my overall favorable opinion of this camera. There's way too much to like about the Insta360 Pro 2.

Key takeaways:

  • Wi-Fi range without FarSight is short
  • Requires separate SD card for each camera due to high bit rates
  • Antennas can break if installed incorrectly

Final thoughts

I've used several different 360 cameras and the Insta360 Pro 1 was the first stereoscopic camera rig that I actually ended up purchasing. Project after project, it has proven to be a reliable workhorse that outputs high-quality 6K 3D 360 video (and 8K 2D 360 video). However, there were a few places open for improvement, most notably in monitoring range and GPS implementation so, needless to say, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to spend some time with the upgraded version, the Insta360 Pro 2.

Overall, the Insta360 Pro 2 is a joy to use. It’s simple to learn and operate, and can achieve incredible results. The build is rugged and the image quality is great. The additional detail in the images produced by the Pro 2’s improved resolution and dynamic range are noticeable and impressive.

The user interface, desktop software and mobile apps are among the most functional I have dealt with. The amount of control you get, coupled with the relative ease of use for such a feature-rich system, is quite commendable.

Something else I found pleasantly impressive about Insta360 was its customer service. Not only do they listen, but they are actively engaged in Facebook groups, Reddit, and its own forums, and they do a very good job of responding and helping users with issues or questions that arise. All in all, it comes off as a company that cares, and in this day and age, that’s a welcome 'feature'.

I feel like I still have plenty of mileage on my Pro 1, but if I was in the market for a new professional-grade stereoscopic 360 camera, the Insta360 Pro 2 would absolutely be on the shortlist (perhaps even topping it).

What we like

  • Impressive price point for a professional 360 camera
  • FarSight technology
  • FlowState image stabilization
  • Raw image output (stills, DNG)
  • Crystal View
  • Ease of use
  • Mistika optical flow stitching integration

What we'd like to see improved

  • Individual microSD cards for each camera is a hassle
  • microSD card slot placement
  • Fragility of the FarSight GPS antenna connector