Insta 360 Nano vs Theta S | The Most Popular 360 Cameras Go Head to Head

13th March 2017

The past year has seen an explosion of 360 cameras being released from a range of tech companies all competing to top this new category of camera. Two 360 cameras have come out as front runners thanks to their low price, decent specs and simplicity; they are the Insta360 Nano and the Ricoh Theta S.

These two cameras can both take full 360 degree video and photos, however they do it in a slightly different way. The Ricoh Theta S is a dedicated camera that can act independently and the Insta360 Nano is an iPhone attachment, both designs have their pro’s and con’s.

Let’s take a look at the specs of both cameras to help us decide between the Insta360 Nano vs Ricoh Thets S

Insta360 Nano vs Ricoh Theta S – Comparison Table

SpecsInsta360 NanoRicoh Theta S
Number of Lenses 2 x f/2.0 Lenses 2 x f/2.0 Lenses
Video Resolution 3040 x 1520 @ 30 fps (3K) 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps/16 Mbps
Photo Resolution 4096 x 2048 5376 x 2688 (24 Megapixels)
Stitching Realtime Completed with App
Waterproof No No
Shockproof No No
Memory External MicroSD Card up to 64GB Internal 8GB (Not expandable)
Battery 800 mAh (70 minutes video recording) 260 photos in 1 charge
Compatibility iPhone only Android/iOS
Other Points Can Livestream 360 video to Facebook/YouTube/Periscope Video recording limit : 25 mins per recording Livestream capable
Where to Buy Amazon Amazon

Comparison Analysis

Before we make any conclusions, let’s take a closer look at each camera’s positives and negatives. Specifications don’t always tell the full story!

Insta360 Nano

One of a range of “Insta” 360 Cameras, the Insta360 Nano is first and foremost an attachment for the iPhone. The camera attaches to the thunderbolt port of an iPhone and automatically launches a dedicated app which controls the camera. The Nano comes loaded with two f/2.0 lenses which can shoot full 360 degree video up to 3K resolution. 360 stills are also shot at a similarly high resolution, with bright colors and not much blurriness to speak of.

One of the great things about the Insta360 Nano is that you can livestream 360 video straight to social media from your iPhone. The tiny size of the camera makes it easy to carry and the user friendly app makes shooting 360 images extremely simple. The Insta360 is definitely designed to make 360 video and still accessible, fun and shareable, however the down side is that the camera needs to always be connected to your iPhone to work.

  • Full 360 video/photos
  • High resolution
  • Very easy to use
  • Small size
  • Cheap
  • Social media sharing integrated

  • Only works with iPhone
  • Needs to be plugged in to work

Insta360 Nano Example Video (watch in highest resolution)

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Ricoh Theta S

The Ricoh Theta S was one of the first major 360 cameras to be released and has proven to be one of the most popular choices. The Theta S has been noted for being able to take great 360 photos with its duel fish eye lenses, which can capture full 360 degrees. The Theta S can also shoot 360 video, but at a lower resolution that may look blurry on larger screens especially.

The Theta S can work independently or can be controlled with a dedicated app on your smartphone. The app allows for remote shooting, changing of settings and sharing of files on social media.

The camera is very small and is designed so it can be held without interfering with the lenses. The Theta does have some limitations in the form of memory, only 8GB internal with no SD card slot. The camera also limits video recording time to 25 minutes.

  • Full 360 video/photos
  • Takes excellent photos
  • Intuitive App
  • Can act as stand alone camera
  • Compatible with Android and iOS

  • Lower quality video
  • Limited memory
  • Limited recording time

Ricoh Theta S Example Video (watch in highest resolution)

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So which is the best?

Having looked at the specifications of both cameras, and indeed trying both of them for myself, I’d have to give it to the Insta360 Nano. Why? The tiny size of the camera and the fact it can shoot 3K video in 360 degrees is pretty astounding! The Livestream capability is almost as impressive and it does not have the memory or recording time limitations of the Ricoh Theta S. The quality of the 360 video on the Theta S lets it down somewhat, but it’s an amazing camera for shooting 360 photos.

Unfortunately the Insta360 Nano is only an option if you own an iPhone, but thankfully an Adorid version is coming soon and will be known as the Insta360 Air.

So if you are an iPhone user looking for a great 360 camera to shoot some amazing 360 videos and photos, I’d fully recommend the Insta360 Nano. It’s literally built with the iPhone in mind. For those who want a 360 camera they can use without attaching it to a phone, check out this 360 degree camera comparison table. 


Owner of Writer, photographer and videographer. You can see my YouTube channel for guides of how to shoot 360 video. I've written for The Times, Digital Photography School and Sunday Express. 

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