Shadowstone X4 experience: Panoramic 8K in your hand, the most comprehensive panoramic action camera

Insta360 has a lot of new products in recent years.

For example, it has evolved from a thumb camera to the Insta360 GO 3 with dual forms, the Insta360 Ace series that integrates flip screens and AI generation functions based on traditional action cameras, the Insta360 Link launched to meet the needs of online meetings and teaching, and the main focus on smart photography Mobile phone stabilizer Insta360 Flow.

There are many types, but most of them are products from a conventional perspective.

▲Insta360 X3

The new products in Kageishi’s signature panoramic camera series, except for the Kageishi Insta360 X3 co-branded with “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”, seem to be the only one-inch panoramic version of the One RS launched a few years ago.

In April this year, the new products of the Insta360 X series finally arrived.

What is launched this time is the Insta360 X4, the flagship panoramic action camera. It is a new cross-generation product that has been comprehensively improved in terms of specifications, performance and experience – Insta360 X4.

Panoramic 8K in your hand

The biggest highlight of the X4 upgrade must be 8K.

X4 is equipped with the latest 5nm AI chip, which greatly improves computing power and image processing performance. In panoramic mode, X4 supports up to 8K 30fps recording, and can provide three fields of view: "natural wide angle", "ultra wide angle" and "de-distortion" in post-editing.

▲ You can directly choose natural wide angle when shooting

Natural wide-angle is a new viewing angle this time, which has the characteristics of less distortion and better image quality than ultra-wide-angle mode.

▲ X4 8K 30P video screenshot

As can be seen from the real-shot samples, the X4’s exposure control has improved significantly. The highlights are suppressed within a controllable range and the colors are more vivid. The quality of the lens has been improved, and the texture of the exterior wall of the building in the center of the picture is clear.

But sometimes, the picture straight out of the camera will be slightly grayer, which may be due to adjustments made to reserve space for post-production. Users can directly shoot in the "Vivid" mode, and use the app to adjust the contrast and exposure before exporting the video to improve the contrast of the picture and make the picture look more transparent.

With the addition of 8K mode recording, the X4's 5.7K recording mode also increases the frame rate to 60fps, and the 100fps slow-motion resolution is also increased from 3K to the more commonly used 4K.

▲ X4 panoramic photo screenshot

Panoramic photos have the same 72 million pixels as the X3, but the X4 with improved computing power adds Pureshot processing in this mode, using AI algorithms to further reduce noise and color processing on the photos to improve the look and feel of the picture.

After switching to single-lens mode, the X4's maximum recording specification is increased from 4K 30fps to 60fps. The free-scale mode can select an extremely wide-angle field of view of up to 170°. The resolution and frame rate are upgraded to 4K 30fps, and 2.7K 120fps high frame is provided. High-speed mode and hidden selfie stick function, combined with the ultra-long selfie stick released at the same time, can achieve an effect similar to that of a drone.

Since they are all shot under the same lens, the imaging effect in single-lens mode is similar to that in panoramic mode. Exposure in broad daylight scenes is more controllable, with less overexposure of large areas, and a more comfortable viewing experience.

▲ X4 bullet time shooting (GIF, sample image quality is compressed)

Bullet time mode has been upgraded from 4K 120fps and 3K 180fps to 5.7K 120fps and 3K 240fps. After the lens quality is improved, the bullet time image quality is also improved, and the imaging effect is slightly sharper than that of the X3.

X4 has also upgraded the resolution of time-lapse shooting, with ordinary time-lapse and sports time-lapse upgraded to 11K and 8K respectively. Even if the user wants to output 8K, the 11K delay can still cut some space.

After using this part, I feel that Shadow Stone has gone to great lengths to improve the image quality and specifications of the X4.

X4 improves the computing power of the body through the 5nm AI chip, thereby supporting higher resolution and frame rate in various modes. Together with the replacement of new lenses and optical upgrades, the image quality foundation has been laid for high-standard shooting. The combination of the two is the core of the X4's image quality upgrade.

If you did not choose the Shadowstone X series before because the shooting specifications could not meet your needs, then the X4 this time should be able to meet your needs.

▲ X4 anti-shake test (GIF, sample image quality is compressed)

For the anti-shake part, the X4 continues to use Shadowstone’s FlowState anti-shake technology algorithm and supports 360° horizontal correction. Its performance is still in the first echelon among similar products. For example, when it is fixed on a person's head to shoot a scene passing through a speed bump, it can also make a smooth transition.

Upgrade more carefully

In terms of appearance, the X4 continues the design style of the Shadowstone X3. It adopts a long sandwich design. The buttons, body interface with protective cover, battery and microphone style openings are placed on the middle frame with anti-slip texture.

The front of the fuselage with the Insta360 Logo is printed with a layer of waterproof and anti-slip glue that has a more prominent texture than the X3, making the X4 look more hardcore than the X3.

A rotation locking design is added to the edges of the front and rear lenses to fix the protective lens that is introduced together. This structure will be more stable and convenient than the adhesive type used in the previous generation.

Shadow Stone has launched a dedicated high-end protective mirror based on this structure. This advanced protective lens, which needs to be purchased separately, uses tempered glass, which has higher protection and durability than the built-in protective case, and has less impact on light. If it is only used for daily creation, wearing it can prevent the lens from being scratched.

The screen is placed on the other side of the fuselage, and its size has been expanded from 2.29 inches on the X3 to 2.5 inches. The glass covering the surface has also been upgraded from ordinary tempered glass to Corning Gorilla Glass, making it more wear-resistant and scratch-resistant.

With the replacement of new glass, the X4's screen is still bright and transparent, and can still be seen and operated clearly even when placed outdoors in the sun.

The control buttons are placed below the screen, and the power button and quick mode selection button are placed on the right side of the fuselage. The response speed of the machine is very fast. Short press the power button for 2-3 seconds to turn it on and enter a recording-ready state.

In addition, Shadow Stone also provides the option of "power on and start shooting". Users can set the X4 to start recording as soon as it is plugged in to the power source, thereby avoiding missed scenes due to charging and battery replacement.

The USB-C and battery compartment for charging and connecting data are placed on the left side of the fuselage. The dust cover on the USB-C interface can be removed. After disassembly, the flash memory companion launched by Shadow Stone can be used.

The flash memory companion is an independent storage module with two USB-C and Lightning interfaces. Users can connect the flash memory companion to the X4 while shooting. After shooting, connect the module to the mobile phone to import the material and start editing.

▲ The download speed can basically be maintained at around 22-30MB/s

X4 also supports Wi-Fi material transmission, and the transmission speed is increased from 19MB/s of X3 to 30MB/s. If your phone is connected when shooting, you can use the app to directly copy the material after shooting.

The battery compartment continues the design tradition of being integrated with the memory card slot, and you still have to insert and remove the battery every time you change the card. If you want to avoid this trouble, you can only choose Flash Companion.

Shadowstone has upgraded the battery capacity to 2290mAh, which can achieve a 67% battery life upgrade. Considering a series of recording specifications upgrades such as panoramic 8K, it is still necessary to use a large battery.

▲ Supports quick-cut mode with both sliding and joystick switching perspectives.

In the software part, Shadow Stone has added a "Quick Cut" function. In this mode, the software provides a virtual joystick, which can be dragged to switch angles. If you want to move a wide range of perspective, joystick operation is much more comfortable than traditional screen dragging.

For desktop editing users, Shadowstone also provides a new Adobe Premier Pro plug-in. Users can directly reset the viewing angle of the video in the new plug-in. There is no need to switch back and forth between special editing software and Pr, and the editing process can be much simpler.

▲ Edit samples with one click (sample quality is compressed)

▲ AI magic sky changing function (sample image quality is compressed)

If you are a user who is not very interested in editing, the AI ​​creative library and one-click editing function that comes with the app can also meet your needs.

Import the material into the app, then enable new functions such as AI magician special effects, magic sky, and photoelectric surround, and then output it through the app with one click to create a cool-looking short film.

In addition to these, X4 has also had functional upgrades in terms of shooting and radio.

For example, a timed shooting function has been added, and support for external Bluetooth headsets has been expanded from AirPods to multi-brand support. The panoramic recording document has been optimized from the previous double document to a single document, which can correspond to the video one-to-one, making file management and backup more convenient.

The most versatile choice

Let’s take a look at the pricing first. Shadowstone Insta360 X4 is priced at 3,499 yuan. In addition to necessary accessories such as batteries and USB-C to C, the body also comes with a zippered side storage bag, a temperature-controlled backpack and a standard protective mirror.

Overall, the X4 is an all-around upgrade that focuses on high-standard shooting.

Shadowstone not only provides complete high-standard support this time, but also adds anti-shake support to the new specifications. The overall image quality has also been improved by adding new algorithms and optical upgrades. Users do not need to make trade-offs when selecting specifications and can focus more on shooting.

In addition, the X4 has improved battery life through a new battery, and the control of the new software also facilitates user editing. With the addition of new accessories such as a new selfie stick and advanced protective glasses, X4 becomes even more usable than X3.

Therefore, if you want to experience high-resolution panoramic shooting, or are looking for a fully intelligent action camera that does not require you to worry about framing and composition, Insta360 X4 is undoubtedly the most suitable choice at this stage for its positioning.

"Buy it, it's not expensive."

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