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Insta360 Ace Pro Action Camera Review (2023): Best of Both Worlds

Insta360 Ace Pro Action Camera Review (2023): Best of Both Worlds

The Ace Pro uses a 1/1.3-inch sensor, which is what the DJI Action 4 uses as well. I was unable to confirm whether these are the exact same sensor, but they’re equal in size. It’s almost 50 percent larger than the GoPro Hero 12’s sensor, but somewhat smaller than the 1-inch sensor of the One RS.

As with the lens, the larger sensor, while larger, is still pretty small and the differences in image quality between any of these cameras is going to depend more on the exact shooting modes, lighting conditions, and other variables rather than sensor size. That said, shooting the Insta360 One RS, Ace Pro, and GoPro Hero 12 side-by-side did reveal how much more detail the One RS is capable of, despite being considerably older. If the highest video quality is what you’re after, the One RS Leica mod remains the action cam to beat.

Sometimes you have to zoom in to see the difference though. What you see with the GoPro, Action 4, and Ace Pro are more sharpening artifacts, which aren’t there in the One RS footage. How much this matters really depends on what you do with your video. If you’re recording video that’s primarily intended for TikTok or Instagram, this is all a moot point. The quality of video that either of those services streams could be replicated with a pinhole camera. If that’s your audience, get whatever camera is cheap this week.

I found the footage from the Ace Pro to be largely indistinguishable from my GoPro Hero 12. Each has its strengths. The GoPro seems to handle extreme vibration and windy audio much better, while the Ace Pro had the edge in well-lit outdoor scenarios, thanks to excellent color rendition.

I almost never shoot anything but Log footage with my GoPro and do all my coloring in post-production because I don’t like the GoPro’s color rendition defaults. With the Ace Pro, I was pleasantly surprised to find the colors are quite good. They pop without appearing oversaturated, and skin tones of all shades rendered with true-to-life color.

I should note that there is no option to record Log video on the Ace Pro, so if you don’t like the color rendition, this is not the camera for you.

Video resolution goes to 8K at 24 fps, which no other action cam can match. It’s impressive on paper, and if you need zoom by crop to 4K it might be handy, but the world is not currently set up for 8K footage. Go shoot 10 minutes worth and try opening it in Premiere or Final Cut if you don’t believe me. There are also very few 8K monitors out there, and none that are affordable. Still, if you need 8K in an action cam, the Ace Pro is your only option, or it will be. This feature was not enabled during my testing and is coming in a future update.

What’s slightly confusing to me is that the Ace Pro doesn’t have a 5.3K or 6K setting like the non-Pro Ace camera. I’d love to see Insta360 add this down the road. It’s worth noting that Insta360 has a great track record of adding new features via firmware updates.

16 Best Camera Accessories for Phones (2023): Apps, Tripods, Mics, and Lights

16 Best Camera Accessories for Phones (2023): Apps, Tripods, Mics, and Lights

We’re living in a golden age of mobile photography. The gear in this guide will up your game for making content at home or out and about, using just your smartphone. Our favorite Android phones and iPhones have outstanding cameras, but tripods, mics, and video lights can elevate the quality of your work. Here’s everything you need to turn your phone into a pro-grade powerhouse.

Check out our other buying guides, like Gear and Tips to Make Studio-Grade Videos at Home, Best Compact Cameras, Best iPhone 15 Cases, Best Pixel Phones, and Best Instant Cameras.

Updated October 2023: We’ve added the Lume Cube Creator Kit 2.0, Lume Cube Ring Light Mini, Moment T-Series Lenses, Moment Filmmaker Cage, Insta360 Flow, Boling P1, DJI Mic, Rode Wireless Go II, Nimble Champ, Canvas Lamp, Joby Wavo Plus, and Peak Design Creator Kit.

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The 7 Best Mirrorless Cameras (2023): Full-Frame, APS-C, and More

The 7 Best Mirrorless Cameras (2023): Full-Frame, APS-C, and More

You know what’s the least important part of taking a great photo? Gear. The vision you have and the work you put into realizing it are far more critical.

That’s not to say gear doesn’t matter, just that it’s best used in service of something larger. That’s why this guide doesn’t get too deep into the weeds of megapixel counts, sensor sizes, and pixel peeping. All these cameras are capable of producing amazing images. Which one is right for you depends more on your needs than on the size of the sensor.

Still, choosing the right one can be confusing. I’ve spent years testing dozens of cameras in all kinds of shooting scenarios to come up with what I think are the best choices for different types of photographers.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, like the Best Compact Cameras, Best Camera Bags, and Best Action Cameras.

Updated March 2023: We added the Fujifilm X-T5, the new Sony A7RV, some notes on the Panasonic S5II and the Nikon Z5, and swapped the sold-out Fujifilm X-E4 for the X100V.

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Fujifilm X-T5 Review: Retro Appeal

Fujifilm X-T5 Review: Retro Appeal

The Fujifilm X-T5 is the best camera the company has ever made. For the right photographer, it might even be the best camera to buy right now.

It was once the flagship mirrorless camera in the X Series, but that role is now filled by the X-H2 ($1,999), which leaves the X-T5 free to become a great stills-oriented camera for photographers. It’s not perfect—the autofocus could be better—but if you love manual controls, the ergonomics of classic film cameras, and the distinctive color and character of Fujifilm’s X series cameras, this is the camera for you.

Still Life

The X-T5 represents a return to form for the X-T line. It’s smaller and lighter than its predecessor and doesn’t have much in the way of new video features. Instead it takes mainly stills-oriented features from the flagship X-H2, including the new 40-megapixel, fifth-generation X-Trans sensor; better autofocus; and in-body image stabilization.

The new sensor is the highlight. This is the first APS-C sensor to match the image quality of my Sony A7RII. It’s not as large or high-resolution as newer full-frame cameras, like the Sony 7R V, but it’s good enough that when I was editing images I never found myself thinking “I wish I’d shot that in full frame.”

Fujifilm XT5 camera on a geometric yellow backdrop

Photograph: Fujifilm

The X-T5 shoots surprisingly good video footage but lacks some high-end features—like ProRes support (available over HDMI)—that you’ll find on the X-H2. Likewise, it’s missing the flip-out variable-angle rear screen that was so handy for shooting video (again, it’s been relegated to the X-H series cameras). The clear message is that if you want a high-end hybrid still and video camera, the X-H2 is the one for you. The new X-T5 is very much geared toward still photographers, and it manages to strike a near-perfect balance between technical chops and that ill-defined thing photographers call “character.”

First, the technical chops. As noted, the 40-megapixel sensor is wonderfully detailed and doesn’t fall victim to the higher noise issues that sometimes come with more megapixels. That said, performance will depend somewhat on how and what you shoot. I tend to use fast lenses in low-light situations, and I rarely shoot over 1600 ISO. In testing, I found that once you went over this, noise became more of an issue. While 3200 is still usable, I would not go above that.

There is also a new processor, which Fuji claims is four times faster than the previous model. This is part of the new autofocus system which, while very good within the Fuji X-series cameras, is not that great compared to what you get with Nikon or Canon systems. If you need extremely fast, completely accurate autofocus, you’re better off with Nikon, Canon, or Sony. For most people’s purposes, though, the X-T5’s system is good enough. What troubled me more than the speed was that sometimes the autofocus just missed, especially with eye-tracking turned on. I’ve read that other reviewers have had similar experiences, which makes me hope this is something Fujifilm will address in a future firmware update.

Best Thermal Cameras for Phones (2022): Flir, Seek Thermal, Uni-T, Perfect Prime

Best Thermal Cameras for Phones (2022): Flir, Seek Thermal, Uni-T, Perfect Prime

The Flir One Gen 3 is the largest of the thermal cameras I looked at; it’s about 2.6 inches wide and 1.3 inches tall, and it fits a lot into that space, including a built-in battery and two cameras. It is also the most complex of the cameras I looked at. This large camera body has rounded edges and two rubber grips on the side and a USB-C plug on the top that fits into the USB-C port (the iOS-ready version has a Lightning plug), which is the only thing holding it in place. 

The Flir saves images at a remarkable 1,440 by 1,080 pixel resolution, but that’s a bit of a cheat. Well, perhaps cheat is too strong a word, but some sleight of hand is going on here. The infrared sensor only captures 80- by 60-pixel images. To create the higher resolution image, the device smooths and scales up the lo-res thermal image and combines it with a much-higher-resolution visible light image from a second camera located right next to the infrared one. Yup, this device adds two cameras to the multiple ones your phone already has. 

It may be a bit sneaky, but it works. The visible light camera adds a ghostly edge-drawn effect to the image that can be very useful when trying to pinpoint a heat source—such as which side of a window is leaking warm air or which component on a circuit board is overheating—because it provides a visual map.

The downside of this complexity is that it requires more power. To handle this, Flir includes an extra battery in the camera, which you must charge through the USB-C port on the bottom of the device. If you don’t charge it, the camera doesn’t work. You also have to turn the camera on by pressing a button at the bottom of the device once you have plugged it in, then wait about 20 seconds for the Flir One app (available for iOS and Android) to detect the camera. The images you get are great, but it all feels overcomplicated compared to the other cameras, and it is one more device to keep charged. 

The problem with this (and the other thermal cameras) is that they plug into the phone’s charging port, which requires a tight fit to work. If you have a case on your phone, you may not be able to plug the device in fully. The adjustable plug here is a nice solution, though; twisting the wheel under the connector makes it move up and down, providing an adjustable length to adapt to phone cases of different thicknesses. To use the Seek Thermal and the Prime Perfect cameras, I had to take the case off my phone or use an extension cable because the case blocked the plug from clicking fully into the phone’s socket. However, the Flir One Gen 3 worked with the rather chunky Samsung case on my Fold 4.