Ricoh Theta S 360 Degree Camera Review
By Stephen Garside on 7/7/2016
The Ricoh Theta S is the next generation of 360 degree cameras from Theta, designed for shooting panoramic photographs and 360 degree video. Our review of the Richo Theta S will help your decide if this 360 degree camera is for you.
The Ricoh Theta S is supplied in a smart black box and is well packaged. Provided with the camera is a soft padded storage sleeve which is invaluable if you are going to protect the 360 degree fish eye lens from scratches. You might want to consider buying one of the after market protectors as the sleeve provided will probably only guard against minor bumps and knocks.
Onto the camera itself and first impressions are that you have bought a quality piece of kit for your money. The camera has a sleek rubberized surface making it easy to grip.
There are just 4 buttons on the camera making the user interface really easy:
- on/off button
- wifi on/off
- switch between photo / video mode
- take a photo or start/stop video shooting
That is it! what could go wrong :)
In terms of connectivity, the Ricoh Theta S has HDMI and a micro USB ports making the job of connecting to your PC or Mac easy.
On the base of the camera there is also a standard sized tripod mount socket, invaluable if you want to take 360 panoramic photos without the photographer in the shot.
Camera Smartphone App
If you have a smart phone, we would recommend you download the free Theta phone app before you start, as this enables you to take photos remotely rather than having to press the button on the camera. The Theta app is available in the Google Play and Apple stores, unfortunately there is not a windows version at the time of writing this review.
Once you have the app installed on your phone you have to connect it to the camera via wifi. The camera has a code on the base that acts as the password to connect the the camera wifi. We found we had to disconnect our phone from any other wifi connections before we could connect to the camera which was a little irritating, but only a minor issue.
Once you are connected to the camera you get a full 360 view of what the camera sees, with the option to lighten the image before you take that all important shot. With your photograph taken you get the opportunity to review it on your phone in a full 360 degrees.
Image Quality and Downloading
The quality of images taken by the Ricoh Theta S is great considering the cost of the camera. The image size you get is 5376px x 2688px (2:1), saved in .jpg format. Downloading them to your PC or Mac is nice and easy to do via a USB connection or wifi. What you end up with is something like the image below, which looks a little distorted if you look at it in flat picture viewing software. To bring it to life you need to view it in a 360 degree panoramic photo viewer or better still in 360Jungle!
360 Degree Video
The camera also shoots 360 degree video, which we will cover in a later review.
Ricoh Theta S Camera Review Summary
In summary, we feel the Ricoh Theta S is a fantastic 360 degree camera for the money. We paid a little under £300 pounds for ours and have not been disappointed.
The positive elements about this camera are:-
- Excellent build quality
- Quality packaging
- Great image quality
- Ability to take photographs remotely with free phone app
- Choice of connectivity options
- Tripod camera mount
- Looks fun!
The negative points we found were:-
- Having to disconnect our smartphone from other wifi connections in order to connect to the camera
- The padded storage sleeve is adequate - we would have liked something a little more sturdy that would prevent the lens being broken