The Ricoh Theta S barely looks like a camera. In fact it resembles a remote for my main camera. However don’t let that put you off.
There is a place in your pocket for the Theta S.
I am fully into VR these days and use both the Oculus and PSVR for gaming but also use a Samsung headset for photos. So when the opportunity came for me to get a camera that could take surround photos and videos, I jumped straight in and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
At first glance it seems a little basic and simple as I am used to tons of buttons and dials. The Theta in it minimalist design features just 3 buttons. Full control of the camera is through a phone app. Although this may seem cumbersome at first, it actually allows you to do things that a traditional camera couldn’t. To take a photo or video couldn’t be more simple. Just press the button and away it goes. Unfortunately in a fully VR photo you will find your thumb becomes a part of the image.
This is where operation by your phone and the built in wifi of the camera really kicks in. By remote control you can take yourself out of the photo and get rid of that huge thumb holding the camera. The Theta’s wifi starts up automatically when you start the camera and after an initial pairing your phone will pick up the wifi. It operates on both ios and android and can be run on tablets as well as phones.
There is a tripod mount to hold the phone if you do not want to be a part of the picture. You will get a live preview of the photo on your app. The app will allow you to change many parameters such as iso, shutter speed and white balance. Once the photo is on the app you can upload it to facebook, instagram or any other social media you like. In addition the camera works with google street view app. Just open up the app and you can start adding images for your location. There are separate apps for editing the photos and videos from Theta on their website should you wish.
The photo quality surpassed what I expected and I would describe them as very good. However blown up onto large displays such as the families tv we noticed imperfections and purple fringing effects. I was surprised as I hadn’t noticed these on the tablet. The video wasn’t as great with anything close up fine but people in the distance were unrecognisable. Still for what most people will be using the camera for it is fine. This camera is aimed at the fun market for people to get videos and pictures of holidays and family events.