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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing out the Nano S 360-degree camera from Insta360. It’s a cute little camera that clicks into your iPhone’s Lightning port and takes 360-degree photos and videos. The camera itself is very compact and can easily be held in the palm of your hand or slipped into your pocket.
I’m fairly new to 360 cameras. I generally shoot using my Canon 7D DSLR or Fujifilm X-T10, and this is an entirely new experience altogether. Instead of concentrating on framing a particular shot, you can just click the shutter button and worry about framing later, so it’s good if you’re on the go and don’t want to think too much. The most engaging experience the camera offers is that it places you in the center of your environment: it captures where you are and what a particular place looked like at a particular moment in time.
Looking back at the photos I took, what really stands out are the pieces that perhaps you didn’t notice or intend to capture. There are many small details that stand out — from the mundane receipts on the table to ground coffee beans and the patterns on wooden panels at the markets. It’s special in its own way, because memories fog up over time, and having something like this while you’re on holiday could literally bring you back to that moment when you were, for example, feeding pigeons in Piazza San Marco. The camera also does a decent job of capturing your whole body, though it does have a fish-eye like distortion.
The camera is simple to use — you just click it in and open the Insta360 Nano S app, which takes a couple of seconds to load. The app opens to the camera screen, where you can use your finger to move the viewfinder around in any direction to see what the 360 capture will look like.
For me personally, this camera would be great for traveling and in particular places that have lots of details I’d want to remember, like theme parks or something like the Harry Potter Studio tour here in London. Daytime shots came out fine, though the camera does struggle in low light conditions, especially when I took it out for a jaunt at night.