The One Shot Pano solution – Ricoh Theta
theta – the eighth letter of the Greek alphaet or the ninth value in it’s numberal form. Elegant in writing, an oval with a subtract sign within and as elegant as the design of The Theta from Ricoh.
It is a sad thing that this was not available in countries like Singapore but we routed our Amazon order to one of those shipping companies that ship it to you for a fee and got our hands on one. It’s been a joy playing with it.
What is it
If you have to ask… It’s a handheld, lightweight camera with 2 lens that takes a single shot and stitches the photos on it’s own. You can then transfer the stitched panoramas in 2:1 ratio to your phone or copy it to your computer via the supplied cables.
It takes fairly well shots in bright day light outdoor. We can’t say the same for night shots. The surface feel of the Theta is great but also feels like it’ll slip out of your hands easily without much friction.
We love the little “tweet” sound it makes when a shot is taken. The Theta is one of those toys that does only one thing and it does it fairly well under the right lighting. It remembers that you turned off the wifi to use only the camera function then turn it off and when you turn it on again, the wifi remains off.
Great remote control app that’s allowed up at least a 100 to 150 meters range to trigger taking of the panorama and we found it has better range than a Gopro3 to a Samsung S4.
The app interface is well designed. You can see all the shots taken with your Theta, you can choose to transfer those you want to your phone for sharing or viewing on your phone as a 360 panorama or select all and have them transfer all at once.
Note that the app differently on iPhone and Android. I prefered the Android version where you take a pano, you do not have to wait to take the next one whereas for the iPhone app, the copying immediately takes place causing you to wait till you take the next one. You can on your free time say on the way back from a shoot copy the panoramas from the Theta to your Android phone.
Above: Theta ready.
Tap on Theta button on phone
Done. Note “Finished Shooting” pop up.
Above: Phone ready.
Image sythesizing….waiting….still synthesizing….and waiting….miss your shot.
Android settings and versions
The “loading” circle…
Transfer all at once possible on Android and iPhone.
iPhone settings and versions
Copying all the taken panos.
Ability to select all and… transfer! go go go!
Ease of use/ Sharing
What’s the use of the panorama if you can easily shoot it but can’t view it? The Theta allows you to view it immediately on your phone all stitched and ready to go. Then if you decide to do so, upload it to the Theta website and share it to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr! All in a few taps. Google Maps is also an option now.
The Theta is a fun camera with one purpose and built for one purpose only, 360 panorama. We can’t wait for the future version of this product. The app and dedicated website is good but the website can sure do with less ad for the Theta and a embed function will be nice instead of pointing everything to the website. It’s not for producing commercial panoramas for now but sure fun and light weight enough for us to mount it on a multicoptor and have it fly around allow us for the first time to take simple aerial panoramas.
Could Be Better
1. An attachment of some kind that can be attached to at least one side of the Theta. It’s quite impossible to put down the Theta on a table or anything. You have to be slipping this beauty into it’s provided (not that pretty) nylon zipper case. We love showing this off! So let us!
2. A small knob ring added to allow a strap to be attached that’s not optional. It’s sleek yes but it also seems easily that can slip through clumsy fingers especially when we hand it to others to have a go at it. We use a small loop into the tripod mount and use a small strap from a Canon S95 on it when possible.
3. More accessories! Colors options, protection cases, other types of mount included with the relatively high price of USD $399.00 will be great.
4. Ability to disable tweet sound when shutter is pressed