It's only been half a year since the $3,499 Insta360 Pro VR camera started shipping, but the Chinese company is already offering a "V2.0" release right before the holidays. To be exact, this is actually more about a "major" firmware update with significant improvements on the same hardware, and existing users can already download the beta firmware for a spin (though it's also possible to roll back should something go wrong). Once updated, the device will benefit from much improved image quality, as well as a 12K "Super Resolution" still photo mode, optical flow interpolation for double frame rate output plus a few new professional tools.
First off, based on the sample media provided by Insta360, the Pro's V2.0 firmware does appear to offer a higher dynamic range plus improved image clarity. The above footage taken at the Insta360 office also shows reduced noise levels along with much better color accuracy. These improvements alone are already rather impressive, and I'm sure the folks over at Google Street View will like this a lot.
In terms of new features, the aforementioned 12K "Super Resolution" still mode works for both stereoscopic and monoscopic capture. This is achieved by quickly taking a burst of ten 8K shots, and then merging them to form a 12K image, though this output resolution can also be lowered to 8.2K to suit Samsung GearVR's maximum resolution while obtaining a sharper image.
Another noteworthy feature is optical flow interpolation, which allows you to natively adjust the output video frame rate up to twice as much for a smoother 360 video, as shown in the above comparison video. Other new handy tools include exposure curves, a new brightness histogram, much quicker on-device stitching when connected to a computer, optimized stitching at the zenith and the option to connect to a smartphone's 4G hotspot or a mobile WiFi hotspot. Feel free to head over to Insta360's blog post for more detail.