I’ve always enjoyed 360 photography and how technology keeps changing and adapting to this new format. Especially with smart phones and tablets having gyroscope control, it’s like you’re actually there moving around the scene. So now Ricoh have bought out their new 360 photography Theta S camera, I just had to see what and how this new tool can perform against my current 360 photography set-up.

360 Photography in the Palm of Your Hand

The size of the Ricoh is no bigger than a mobile phone, which is actually the other device you need to use this camera. Everything is controlled via the downloadable Theta S app. Once downloaded your phone turns into the 360 photography control unit.

Changing settings, viewing back of photos as well as sharing – all from the app. By sharing from the app you then upload to the Ricoh Theta website, however this isn’t something I was wanting to do as I was looking to use my Pano2VR software to create the tour/360 photography image. Something like the sample below

Connect the device to a PC and you can just access the cameras internal memory and transfer the files. Very easy and straight forward. The only downside I found was the quality compared to my normal DSLR and 8mm Sigma fisheye lens set-up. You do get quite a lot of chromatic aberration around the highlight area and because you’re shooting a JPEG the file is compressed down. Everything else worked how I thought the still images would. The main part I was looking forward to trying was the 360 video!!

A New Direction - 360 Video

Within media online now you are seeing a lot more 360 video, especially on Facebook as they now support 360 video uploads. This is what I was looking to try out on the Theta S as compared to the previous model the resolution has increased to full HD – 1080p.

The hardest part I’ve found currently is the processing after you’ve shot the video. Ricoh have some software dedicated to helping convert the two circle images you create into a normal flat MP4 file, ready for uploading to Facebook or YouTube. Below is a to YouTube video demonstrating the 360 video from the camera, or visit my Facebook page to watch within Facebook.

The Future?

So now 360 photography and video are becoming more mainstream, it’ll be interesting to see where it goes! There’s already a lot more 360 tech coming through in terms of VR glasses and cameras, so who knows….maybe one day 360 will be like 3D, just a standard way of life!