Ricoh Theta S Review

Ricoh Theta S Review  - We take a look at the latest 360 camera from Ricoh with a 12 megapixel stills capability.

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Ricoh Theta S in Compact Cameras


The Ricoh Theta S is a compact 360 camera that features 2 12 megapixel CMOS sensors, giving you a truly 360-degree image. It can connect to your smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi and is also capable of Full HD video capture. It's available for £299. We find out how it performs in our review. 

Ricoh Theta S Features


The Ricoh Theta S is the third generation of Theta cameras, with the Theta and Theta m15 as its predecessor. The Theta S doubles the capacity of the built-in memory from 4GB to 8GB, meaning your can capture more high-res video and images before the camera gets full. 

The battery life is also said to be better, at 260 photos before the camera dies compared to just 200 for the Theta m15. 

The Theta S is a stylish, slim camera that's currently only available in black, with cool blue lights to indicate the main functions of the camera. When it's on, the power button lights up blue, and on the front you'll either see an image of a conventional camera or a video camera, depending on what mode you're in. The Wi-Fi light on the front will be on if you've connected the camera to a phone. 

It's a pretty simple design, with 3 buttons on the side for power, Wi-Fi and mode. There is a larger round, flat button on the front under the lens which is the shutter button. Press this to take a photo, or start/stop video recording. Hold the capture mode button while turning the power on to put the camera in live streaming mode. 


 

There is a grippy, matte rubberised surface on the front and back of the camera while the sides are a brushed gunmetal. On the bottom there is a tripod socket, MicroUSB socket for charging and a HDMI socket for use in live streaming. In the box, you get a neoprene sleeve to protect the camera, USB- microUSB cable and basic instruction booklet.

The camera can connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, and the unique code on the bottom of your Theta S is the network password.

There are 3 image modes, Auto, Shutter Priority, ISO priority and Manual. These can only be controlled via the free app which is available for both Android and iOS. Video can be shot at 30fps (1920x1080) or 15fps (1289x720). There are several white balance modes available including Auto, Outdoor, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent light 1, Incandescent light 2, Natural white fluorescent light, fluorescent light and Light bulb colour fluorescent light.  

The Theta S can stream 360 degree images live and you can check your exposure and white balance while shooting using the free smartphone app. There is also Live View capability of 10fps.


 

Key Features

  • 360 camera with 2x 12 megapixel sensors
  • Ultra wide angle fisheye lenses
  • Wi-Fi connectivity 
  • Capture images and shoot full HD video
  • 8GB internal memory
  • HD live streaming
  • Long exposure - up to 60 seconds

Ricoh Theta S Handling

The Theta S fitted nicely in my hand and even when used on a really cold day, I wasn't afraid of dropping it due to the grippy texture. The shutter button on the front is a good size but the smaller buttons on the side could be fiddly to operate for someone with larger hands. Also, you have to watch it because you can sometimes accidentally get your fingers appearing really large on the images if they're too near the lens when you take the photo. 

There is no screen on the camera so you have to rely on an app when shooting images and video to see what you're taking. The app provides the ability to use a slider to adjust the exposure compensation of an image and also to take the image by pressing the screen so you don't have to hold the camera. 

       

 

   

   

The app also provides extra options for video shooting and there is also the ability to live stream videos to a computer by connecting the camera to a computer using a USB or HDMI cable. When live streaming video captured from the front and back fisheye lenses are displayed side by side. 

You can also share your images via social networks through the app.  

The battery is built in so that's bad news if you prefer to take a spare out with you. Ricoh say it's capable of taking about 260 photos before the battery dies, which is an improvement of the approximately 200 photos the Theta m15 could manage. 

Ricoh Theta S Performance


 

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

The Theta S is pretty slick to use and a simple press of the shutter button stores a 360 image to internal memory of the camera which can then be accessed via the app, or plugging the camera into a computer via USB.

360 image - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Theta - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Images are nice and bright in sunshine with rich colours and very little flare although images taken on dull days can look a little too dark. This can be compensated for with the app's exposure compensation slider. 

To access and view your images on the computer you need to download the free Theta S app, which can be found on the Ricoh downloads page. To view images you just need to plug the Theta into your computer and then in the app, click file> open. Select the image you want by double clicking it and it will appear in the viewer for you to explore - the same goes for videos. 

Spherical image in app

You can also create an account on the Theta 360 website and share your images with social networks and the Theta site, if you want. This will also allow you to embed your images to websites or blog pages too. Once you create an account and log in on the Ricoh Theta website, you can do the same on the Windows or Mac app by clicking the 'theta360.com' tab. Once logged in there is the option to 'Post' the image you're currently viewing on the app. This will post the image to the Theta360 website and won't share the image with your social networks unless you ask it to (NB: this caused some confusion for me as it asks you to log in with either Facebook or Twitter to work - but don't worry, it won't share your images with anything other than your Theta 360 site unless you tell it to)

Below is a screenshot of my Theta 360 profile with 2 uploaded images - click on either one of them and the image appears with options to share to social media, embed, alter privacy settings, or delete the image. 

Theta profile

Theta image in profile

 
 
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

The video above is a good indicator of how well the camera copes with differing light situations in the same shot. It does a good job of keeping the outside well exposed however if you rotate the video around the inside of the car looks pretty dark. This could be compensated for with the exposure compensation slider in the app if you wanted the inside of the car to be bright. 

Value For Money

The Ricoh Theta S is available for £299 from Amazon. If you're not bothered about the amount of internal storage or the extra megapixels that the Theta S brings, then its predecessor, the Theta m15, is still available for £199.99. £299 is not a bad price for something that records full HD 360 video and can take high res images that you can explore in the app and on your computer.

Alternative 360 degree cameras include the Kodak Pixpro SP360 which is available for £325.91 and is splash proof, but is a more awkward shape for hand-held shooting. 

The 360FLY is available for £425.99 and has a massive 32GB internal memory along with a 3 axis sensor and accelerometer for reliable motion sensing. 

 

Ricoh Theta S Verdict

The Ricoh Theta S is a compact and handy camera that takes good quality images. It's especially ideal for situations where you want to capture the whole scene including everyone and everything, without omission.

360 cameras seem to be coming into their own at the moment and the although at the moment that can sometimes seem a bit novelty, the ability to actively explore your image or video once you've taken it is a highly engaging one that lets the viewer interact with images a lot more.

With the ability to share your images to social media and put them on your own Ricoh Theta S profile, the Theta S is ideal for those that want friends and family to be able to experience events with them, even though they aren't physically there. 

We are happy to recommend the camera on the basis of ease of use and image quality. 

Ricoh Theta S Pros

Good image quality 
Full 360 x 360 images
Easily take and explore your images
Full HD 30fps video capture
8GB built in memory

Ricoh Theta S Cons

App can be glitchy on Android
Uploading images to Theta360.com profile can be confusing
 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Ricoh Theta S is a compact and powerful 360 camera that's well designed and easy to use. 

Buy Online Now

 



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