Level up your travel photography game with Insta360

Picture perfect: This clip-on 360-degree camera allows for photography styles like panoramic and  fish-eye. | Photos courtesy of Digital Walker

Keeping up with the latest technological innovations is much harder than keeping up with the Kardashians. Investing in tech usually requires a whole lot of money and research. But the good thing is, we’re always moving forward ­­— and fast. If you told a 13-year-old me that I would eventually see what my friend (okay, crush) is seeing in its full panoramic or virtual realistic glory, I’d be obsessed. One photo is never enough; we like to snoop that way.

Enter Insta360, an entry-level clip-on 360-degree camera for your phone. With just one click, you can literally capture everything in sight without having to do a 360 for yourself, and it’s always guaranteed that you are in the shot. There are currently two versions: Insta360 Air (for Apple) and Insta360 Nano (for Android). Aside from compatibility differences, what makes Air different from Nano is its built-in battery and ability to record images by itself, whereas the Nano must be plugged into your phone to be able to use it.

Wish you were here: Trying out Insta360 in Las Casas the Filipinas de Acuzar.

You can control the camera through the Insta360 app that can be downloaded from the app store. From normal panoramic view to little planet to fish eye, the app offers different photographing styles for whatever your need may be. Personally, I’ve found the best use for the Insta360 camera is for video. It has livestreaming support for YouTube, and Facebook so just imagine all the Casey Neistat-ish content you can make with this one.

To test the camera out, we were invited to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for a day of shooting. The beautiful historic houses and cobblestone streets were the perfect backdrop for Insta360s field day. One of the perks of having this camera, I realized, was its portability. Because we were in a hurry to get through the tour, we only had a few minutes to set up our gear. Having the Insta360 literally cut that time in half. You can clip it on or off your phone whenever you want to use it.

While the camera quality isn’t comparable to high-production 360-degree movies, it’s honestly the best one for its price point. High-quality images usually mean big chunks of data, and that’s not really ideal for smartphones considering our memory is usually taken up by downloaded music (and messages we still refuse to reply to). Besides, our internet in Manila is not ready for 4K 360-degree videos (I don’t think anyone is), so this is the best thing we have for now.

Double take: Insta360 is available in  two versions, one for Apple and one for Android devices.

Another thing that’s pretty exciting in the Insta360 box is literally a DIY virtual reality viewer. Once you have your travel diary recorded, you can recap and relive the moment by popping your phone in the box and viewing it in its glory.

Taking 360 photos can be exciting, but coming from our experience in Las Casas, you have to be wise when using the camera as it heats up pretty quickly. Your phone and camera stitches images in real time, using up most of your phone’s power and memory. But that’s a small price to pay for an awesome shot. Android users also have to plan more efficiently when choosing which subjects to shoot because the camera uses up the phone’s battery life quickly. In any case, a power bank should always be ready for long shooting days.

While some people are still overwhelmed by recent technological developments, this is something that we’re ready to embrace. A lot of companies are already coming up with their own 360 cameras, and Insta360 just made it more accessible to newbies like us. Admit it: 360 is the future, and we need to start flexing our creative muscles. Insta360 is the best gateway gear for that.

Insta360 is available at all Digital Walker stores. Insta360 Nano goes for P12,990 and Insta360 Air for P6,990. For more information, follow Digital Walker on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @digitalwalkerph.

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