Forget GoPro, Leica is Making AI-Powered Action Cameras Now
After launching a multitude of 360 action cameras, Insta360 is finally dipping its toes into the conventional action camera segment. Taking design cues from GoPro’s well-known Hero series, Insta360 recently introduced the “Ace” lineup of action cameras, featuring a 2.4-inch flip touchscreen, brand-new sensors and Leica-tuned lenses. The Shenzhen-based camera company’s new Ace series includes the Insta360 Ace and Insta360 Ace Pro, a duo of wide-angle action cameras designed to “deliver smarter action capture powered by AI and incredible image quality.”
The standard Insta360 Ace camera model is equipped with a 1/2-inch image sensor, featuring an f/2.4 aperture and a 16mm focal length. It supports video recording at up to 6K with a frame rate of 30 frames per second. Meanwhile, the flagship Ace Pro model takes it up a notch and is co-engineered with Leica.
The Pro version comes with a Leica Summarit lens and a larger 1/1.3-inch image sensor, ensuring excellent low-light performance and enabling recording at up to 8K with a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Both models also offer the capability to shoot high-speed 4K videos at 120 frames per second and capture impressive 48MP still photos.
Furthermore, both the base and Pro models also boast advanced five-nanometer AI chips that power features like PureVideo that enhance low-light performance through real-time denoising. Exclusive to the Pro model is the ability to capture enhanced nighttime details and support for Active HDR in daytime recordings.
The Insta360 Ace cameras stand out with their “vlogging-friendly” 2.4-inch flip touchscreen, providing better framing and visibility than the smaller front screens found on GoPros. The models even have a magnetic mounting system, allowing you to mount your camera and seamlessly switch between accessories.
Additionally, Insta360 has also thrown in a bunch of “innovative functions such as the option to pause or cancel a recording, gesture and voice control, plus the brand new AI Highlights Assistant and custom-keyword based AI Warp feature transform the shooting and editing experience.”
As per the manufacturer, “AI is a key element in the overall image quality too. Insta360’s dedicated R&D teams have specifically trained computational photography models, based on the cameras’ unique lens and sensor data. These models underpin the 48MP Photo Mode and 4K30fps PureVideo, enhancing both the signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range in low light, surpassing all other action cameras on the market in the process.”
While these cameras don’t come with built-in storage, they do offer support for external storage through microSD cards up to 1TB. Insta360 has even implemented some clever features to optimize SD card space, with nifty features like the ability to pause a video recording without messing up the clip. You can also cancel an active recording by simply holding down the shutter button, sparing you from dealing with unnecessary video clutter. But that’s not all. Both Ace and Ace Pro give you the creative freedom to switch up clip aspect ratios after recording, allowing users to seamlessly transition from landscape to portrait for social videos or opt for a full square format for increased framing versatility.
Insta360 has also introduced a plethora of new features, including AI Highlights Assistant, AI Warp, and AI Selfie Stick Eraser, to Shot Lab—its AI video editing tool integrated into both cameras. The AI Highlights Assistant quickly clips action shots from large video recordings, saving time and eliminating the need to transfer the entire file. The AI Warp feature adds another layer of creativity, allowing users to transform their clips by inputting custom or preset prompts to generate various effects. The AI Selfie Stick Eraser, as the name suggests, makes the selfie stick invisible for an “immersive third-person experience.”
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The company plans to release more such AI features “heading into 2024.” In addition to these advancements, the new Insta360 Ace cameras also offer various video and photo modes, including free-frame video, slow motion, starlapse, timelapse, timeShift, pre-recording, loop recording, HDR, interval, burst, and starlapse photo modes. In true action camera fashion, both the base and Pro models are built rugged.
They come equipped with a waterproof design, allowing them to handle underwater depths of up to 33 feet. When paired with the Dive Case accessory, their durability extends to an impressive 196 feet. The company even claims that the cameras can “operate smoothly” in challenging conditions, including temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F).
When it comes to battery life, the base Ace model boasts a 1,700mAh battery that charges fully in 70 minutes with a 15W charger. Meanwhile, the Ace Pro action camera is equipped with a slightly smaller 1,650mAh battery and supports fast charging using a 30W charger. This allows the Ace Pro to reach a full charge from zero to 100% in just 46 minutes, with an 80% charge achieved in a rapid 22 minutes. Insta360 claims that these cameras can last up to 100 minutes on a single charge when recording 4K videos with Active HDR at 30fps.
The Insta360 Ace and Ace Pro action cameras are compatible with iOS devices running on Bionic A12 and iOS 12 or newer. On the Android side, they require Snapdragon 855, Exynos 2200, and Kirin 990 or newer chipset, paired with Android 10 or above. They also are the first action camera to “integrate seamlessly with your Garmin device or Apple Watch, allowing you to overlay your videos with GPS, speed, and other data.”
During the announcement JK Liu, founder of Insta360, said, “With Insta360 Ace and Ace Pro, we’re bringing smarter action capture to thrillseekers around the world. We’re making significant steps in AI, which has allowed us to bring in new features that we think not only make the video creation process easier for users, but unlocks completely new ways to make shots truly stand out.”
Both the Insta360 Ace and Ace Pro are now available for purchase through Insta360’s official website, Amazon, and select retailers. The Insta360 Ace starts at AUD $609, while the flagship Insta360 Ace Pro retails at AUD $729.