Ricoh Theta S 360-degree Camera Review
Photo spheres or 360-degree images are fun ways of capturing places since they allow you to take a snapshot of the entire environment –far more immersive than the usual flat photos.
Normally, this is achieved by manually snapping photos of the whole surrounding one by one and using an app to stitch them all up into one image. What we have here is the Ricoh Theta S which uses its dual 180-degree cameras that easily produce 360 photos and videos.
Design and Construction
Ricoh Theta S (mini stand not included in the package)
The Ricoh Theta S is a compact and slim camera that looks like an oversized USB with lenses on both sides. It has a minimalistic design with its monochromatic approach. The use of matte black is appreciated as it doesn’t easily attract smudges or fingerprints and is nice to hold and look at.
It touts a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor on both the front and back sides which cover 180 degrees each. They’re really the main attraction of the device which gives it away as a tool for shooting.
At the bottom part is the company’s branding and logo that blends with its background and doesn’t attract too much attention. I personally like this subtle approach rather than having a flashy/tacky design.
With the Theta S, navigation is simple and buttons are straightforward. The big one at the face is the capture/record button while at the right side are the power, Wi-Fi, and mode switcher between photo and video capturing.
At the top we have the holes for microphone and speaker.
Meanwhile, connectivity ports are at the bottom namely, microUSB for charging and transferring files plus an HDMI terminal that’s used for live streaming content.
It has a 22.9mm thickness which is just right to firmly wrap your hands around it. At 125 grams, it’s got a bit of heft to it but not at all cumbersome.
Its build mostly comprises of plastic which makes the device feel flimsy when put under light stress.
The front panel has LED lights embedded in it that serve as indicators for shooting modes, Wi-Fi connectivity, memory warning, and camera status.
The Theta S also comes with a sleeve so users can just slip it in or toss it inside a bag without the fear of scratching the body and most importantly, the dual lenses.
The Theta S, apart from the glaring feature of recording everything around it, has a few tricks up its sleeve that might make it more attractive to other people and overall makes the user experience easier.
HD Live Streaming – 360-degree images could be broadcasted online in real time by connecting an HDMI cable to the Theta S.
Live View – Manually tweak the settings of the camera using the free app. It provides live view adjustments as a preview before you start recording or taking a shot.
Wi-Fi Connectivity – Just like a GoPro, the Theta S pairs to a smartphone using Wi-Fi and could stream as well as transfer files wirelessly.
Long Exposure – Speaking of manual adjustment, you can set its shutter speed from a fast 1/6400 of a second or up to 1 full minute.