Forget folding phones, the Insta360 EVO camera folds in half to shoot 360 video

Folding smartphones may not be available yet — but folding cameras are. On Wednesday, March 13, Insta360 unveiled the EVO, a 180-degree 3D camera and 360 camera that allows users to switch between the two modes by folding the device in half. The company also launched the HoloFrame today, March 13, a frame that pops on the front of a smartphone, allows for glasses-free 3D content viewing.

With the Insta360 EVO fully unfolded, the camera records 5.7K 180-degree 3D video and 18-megapixel 180-degree 3D photos, with the two lenses placed side-by-side. But, fold the camera in half so that the lenses are back-to-back, and you lose that 3D capability but gain a full 360-degree view. The same sensors and lenses are capturing both videos, so the resolution remains unchanged switching to 360 degrees, though those pixels are spread across twice the space.

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Insta360

The Insta360 EVO also uses FlowState stabilization, a type of 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization. The camera is equipped with two f/2.2 lenses. Besides the usual formats like JPEG and MP4, the camera can also shoot DNG RAW files and LOG video.

The EVO builds in time-lapse video modes, as well as an HDR mode to capture high contrast scenes. For stills, the camera has both auto and manual modes.

With an app, the EVO can send JPEGs and MP4s wirelessly to a smart device. The app includes editing and reframing tools before publishing to platforms, including YouTube and Facebook.

The company says that footage from the camera is also compatible with any VR headset (with HTC Vive Focus support coming later this month). But for users who don’t want to mess with the headset, the company is also launching the Insta360 HoloFrame today.  The frame sits over the front of a smartphone like a backward phone case. The case itself allows for 3D viewing without the glasses, while the EVO app can even track eye movement for more realistic results.

The folding camera will be available beginning today at insta360.com, B&H Photo Video, and other retailers, listing for about $420. The HoloFrame also launches today for about $30, with sizes for the iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR. The company is also planning to launch HoloFrames for the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+ and Note 8 smartphones.

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