Ricoh has announced its third Theta 360-degree camera, the Theta S. The first version was launched just two years ago and only took photos, while last year’s Theta M15 added video to the mix, but only at 15fps. It works by using two lenses, one at the front and one at the rear. These each take a 180-degree photo, which the Theta S then stitches together to form a single, almost seamless, 360-degree image or video.
Internal storage has also been doubled to 8GB, allowing for around 65 minutes of total video, even though each individual video is limited to 25 minutes or 4GB, whichever comes first. Alternatively, it can store up to 1600 photos at top quality. This now lets you preview photos before taking them, as well as enabling you to view images and videos, post to Facebook or Twitter and edit.
It also allows you to tinker with a host of settings such as white balance, shutter speed and ISO. Thankfully set-up is dead easy. The Ricoh Theta S connects to your Android or iOS phone via Wi-Fi. It can then be controlled via an updated Theta app. Charging comes via Micro USB and you can also connect the Theta S to your computer to extract content for more in-depth editing.
Unlikely, the Panono a 360-degree camera ‘ball’, the Theta S is easily pocket-able and is covered in a grippy black rubber coating that makes it easy to handle. Physical controls are kept to a minimum. You get a shutter button for taking photos or shooting video, a power button, a WiFi button and the ability to switch between shooting stills or video. Handy lights on the body let you know the mode you are in and there is no screen.
The Ricoh Theta S is a great tool to create this imagery, and we hope it inspires people to contribute to the map. Following the announcement of the Street View app update, Google Maps Product Manager Charles Armstrong explained how Ricoh’s camera is perfect for creating photo spheres for the app.
The Ricoh Theta S will cost £299/$349 and will be available in Europe and the US from October 2015.