360-degree cameras like the LG 360 Cam and the Samsung Gear 360 are all the hype right now, but it is actually a concept that has been around for a while. There’s one that has been around for about three generations.
We have been running around SXSW 2016 and took some time to take a look at the Ricoh Theta S. It is a third iteration of sorts, but not really. This is because the Theta S is not really a succession to its predecessor, but a complement to the regular Ricoh Theta.
This is a high-specced version with a couple 1/2.3 12 MP CMOS sensors and an f/2.0 aperture. Both cameras work to stitch together a 360 video experience. In addition, it can do Full HD video capture at 30 fps. And low-light performance should be pretty good thanks to that f/2.0 lens.
The Ricoh Theta S can be connected to any Android device via the official app. This would allow you to transfer all your content whenever needed. Inside the Theta S there is 8 GB of internal storage. The only bad part is that it’s not bolstered by a microSD card slot, but the connections on the bottom allow any content to be streamed to another device, with which you would be much less limited.
One can even live-stream video, something that was very fun to observe in the installation the company had at SXSW. It showcased the camera being used from a Macbook computer. You can take a look at our hands-on video to see the demonstration and interview.
We got to see the raw footage, which was interesting from a video editor’s perspective, but consumers would rather see the stitched together version of the footage. Sadly, live streaming and stitching the video could be tricky, but we were shown a new website that does it very well. This is something we can envision becoming more popular in the future.
Overall, the device is very sleek and well built. It has a matte plastic finish, but does offer a high-quality feel all around. And it is as easy to use as they get. Just point it up and press the shutter button. It’s also possible to select the mode by using the buttons on the side.
Convinced? The Ricoh Theta S was recently released for $349, and it could be the right alternative to the products the big guys in the mobile industry are just launching. Are any of you thinking of signing up? I am certainly considering using it for its live streaming capabilities.