The Ricoh Theta S is a compact full-sphere camera that records both photos and videos in the 360-degree panorama format. Coupled with your iPhone or Android smartphone you think so firmly the environment. We have m15 looked at the successor of the Theta accurate and reveal the detailed review whether it is worth buying. The Theta S is already the third member of the full spheres cameras for 360-degree images of the Japanese manufacturer Ricoh. This has the models reproduced with improved facilities. The current top model promises significantly improved practicality and quality as even the predecessor Theta m15. Whether the switch or the new acquisition for you worthwhile to clarify the following lines.
Design, processing and handling
The design of the Ricoh Theta S is simple. The soft-touch finish on the front and back provided an enjoyable and quite safe stop. Hemmed the camera in a plastic frame with metal finish. Here is the not entirely convincing workmanship is visible. If you exert some pressure on the frame, these are to some places and reacts with an unsightly cracking. On the side we find three buttons. They are used to turn on and off, the activation of the WLAN module and to change the recording mode. These have, in contrast to the button for triggering crisp pressure points. The trigger is for a somewhat smooth and the other has the play button. Because the two lenses protrude on both sides of about half a centimeter, you should be very careful in handling the camera so as not to damage the glasses when depositing. At best, you stowed the Theta S after each use in the supplied protective case.
On the front you will informed about the current operating mode with different LED icons. Interfaces include a mini-HDMI output and a MicroUSB port available, invite her over the camera as well as video and photos to your Windows PC or Mac can transfer. On the top we find both microphone and the speaker of the Theta S. The latter is only a shutter sound on its own, which you can not disable.
Features and functions
The Ricoh Theta S has two image sensors in the 1 / 2.3 format, which dissolve each with 12 megapixels and composed for pictures with 14 megapixels care. Videos succeed in Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) at 30 frames per second. In the previous one had to with 6.4 megapixel photos, and a maximum of 15 frames per second satisfied when shooting video. Furthermore, Ricoh has extended the maximum length of video of 3 to 25 minutes. The lens has a maximum aperture of f / 2.0. In addition to the main functions for recording 360 degree videos and photos, the Theta S can also be used for the live streaming video via the HDMI interface.
The internal device memory amounts now no longer to four but eight gigabytes. That is for 1,600 images rich in full resolution as well as 65 minutes of full HD video manufacturer. A microSD card slot for expanding the memory we were looking at the device, unfortunately in vain. The permanently installed battery promises about 260 photos on a single charge. Our test was able to confirm this value roughly. For the creative freedom Ricoh offers mobile apps for iOS and Android.
With this you can, among other things, see the live image and make various shooting settings. So you can manually define, among other things, the light sensitivity (ISO) or the exposure time. The shutter speed can be set between 1/6400 seconds to 60 seconds for night scenes. For these long exposures are not blurred, a tripod mount is installed on the underside, which is compatible with all standard tripods. If you want really deep dive into the 360-degree images, can switch on the mobile apps during reproduction in the so-called VR mode. In this, the image is divided into two parts for viewing with VR goggles like the Google Cardboard reproduced. The orientation of the field of view then follows the movements of your head.
If one has the Theta S liberated from its package, you can start in theory directly after switching - select desired recording mode and press trigger. The little flattering Shutter subsequently confirmed taking a photo or the start of a video recording. But what now? The camera does not have a display on which you can watch your videos or pictures.
1. Smartphone connectivity
Before their pictures or videos of Theta S with your smartphone or tablet PC can look, you need first the app "Ricoh Theta S" for Android or iOS. After installation, first the coupling of the camera with your smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi needed. For this you have to press on the camera and then register you with your smartphone on the wireless network of Theta S the corresponding WLAN button. The password takes you to the bottom of the camera. It is made up of all the numbers that are shown on the small print. The password can you change at any time in the app settings. The range of the WLAN, we noticed positive. Who does not want to see as a photographer in the picture may be a bit move away far from the camera and use the phone as a remote shutter release.
Are you connected, you can start on your smartphone app. About the home screen of the app you reach the menu item "Camera". Click her to seeing you all stored images in the camera are displayed. Here you can now individual photos by tapping on or more transferred to your smartphone via a long press and marking. Optional can move their images or copy. The menu item photos reaches its your Gallery - about "App" can be found all already transmitting photos.
About the theta symbol in the lower options bar you reach the recording mode. Use the arrow keys you reach the various modes for shooting. Here are "Manual", "Automatic", "Shutter priority" or "ISO-priority" to choose from. Furthermore, you can perform a manual exposure and adjust the white balance of the environment. About the upper right menu icon you can select the live view mode, view the memory status, and the battery level of the camera. For more editing options of your photos, the manufacturer offers additional apps. With this you can, for example, filter over your shots Laying, make cuts or make multiple recordings for a motion effect. Overall, mobile applications looked a little unfinished. We also had to occasionally find a certain instability of the connection between your phone and camera.
2. PC connection
A second option provides the transfer and viewing of video and photos on the PC. For this, you must first connect to the Windows PC or your Mac only the camera via USB cable. On Windows, the Theta S is displayed as a normal storage device. Under OS X you have to turn off the camera and hold before connecting to the Mac both wireless button and the shutter release button. Subsequently, the Theta S should also be recognized on the Mac as a storage medium. Now you can draw on the computer you your files via drag-and-drop to a desired position.
To view transferred photos and videos on your computer, you have to get the appropriate software for Windows or Mac to download and install . Although the files in the usual JPEG or MP4 format to be created - for 360 Play the additional software is necessary. After the start you can simply pull in the main screen of the Ricoh Theta desktop software or locate photos via "File"> "Open" and then start to view the previously copied files via drag-and-drop.
Before playing videos need to be converted for the Panoramic view which assumes the software fortunately fully automatically. Then you can while playing with the mouse and the mouse move freely in the recordings. For zooming you use the mouse wheel or alternatively the zoom icons on the screen. Practical: Have you multiple photos copied to a folder and open one of them, you can watch using navigation buttons in the display mode of desktop applications throughout folder forward or backward move. Optional their photos can also easily and without prior editing in Google Photos Upload. The online service recognizes the 360-degree images and displays it after the upload to the corresponding all-round view. So you can watch the images then also share comfortably on scale collections with friends or acquaintances.
Image quality of the photos
In terms of image quality you are allowed because of the small sensors in commercial compact cameras are used, of course not expect miracles from the Theta S. In good lighting conditions, the camera delivers in automatic mode from decent picture material. If you zoom ride to individual image areas, however, the rather small detail sharpness of the images is noticeable. Even with the color reproduction and the dynamic range, the Theta S struggling. With less light the automatic mode is only limited, not to use up. At higher ISO settings, the images tend to excessive noise, textures and details blurred completely.
If you still want to get in appealing images even in low light conditions, the manual mode via the connected smartphone and use a tripod or stable subsoil recommends. then selects the ISO speed 100 and additionally a long exposure time. In Live View mode, you can make some assessment of the resulting image. Triggered is then via the mobile device. The image is then automatically transferred to your device for viewing. What works well: The camera is retouched both videos and photos out - they can not be seen on the photographs.
Image quality of the videos
In the field of video you can you choose between two resolution variants. Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) or HD (1080 x 720 pixels). Who rejoiced in terms of video quality on genuine Full HD, will be disappointed. Due to the extreme expansion of the image sections of the moving images work on larger screens dissolved significantly lower than photos. Here you have to get adjusted to significant drawbacks compared to usual high-definition video. This is sometimes at a relatively low data rate, which leads to compression losses. Nevertheless, the opportunity to move via mouse and scroll wheel freely in the fully spherical shots a fascinating effect. The optical quality could have been here already clear quality.
About the desktop applications and smartphone apps sharing photos and videos is possible via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. However, the parts is effective on the Ricoh own website Theta360.com on which ye have to register with Twitter or Facebook account. The upload of the image or video is on the Ricoh website. In Facebook or Twitter only links that then lead you for viewing on the Ricoh website appear.
The optional parts via Tumblr, is only possible via the desktop application. For integration on your website, you can click on the theta website an embed code to retrieve. For the necessary data protection the setting makes "unlisted". Better does it work via Google+. If you upload a picture here, the viewer can optionally switch on the Photo Sphere icon in the 360-degree view and thus also move about the mouse gestures freely in the image. To upload 360 degree videos on YouTube, we need only the already described transmission and conversion procedure of the camera through the computer. Then you can upload the files on YouTube, which are then displayed in 360-degree mode. For the viewing of videos, the web browser is Google Chrome needed. Furthermore, you can get your shots on the Google Street View app share with the world. For this, you simply navigate to the "private" the Street View App. Now you can either selected individual images or upload directly automates all 360 recordings.
Price and Availability
The recommended retail price is 400 Euro. At this price you can find the camera currently at different online merchants or retailers