Tech - February 2017

Theta S 360 Camera

More tech firms are introducing 360° cameras to the market, making them increasingly available. One of those brands is Ricoh, and they have released the Theta S. The Theta S is capable of shooting 14mp images and full HD 360° video at 30fps.

Design

It is a unique-looking piece of equipment which features two fisheye cameras, one mounted on the front and the other on the rear. The Theta S is about as long as an iPhone 6 and about half as wide. It features one main capture button on the front and 3 smaller buttons on the side which control power, modes, and Wi-Fi connection.  Its long design does help when shooting and the Theta S also features a standard thread tripod mount. You will need a carry case for this camera though, as simply placing it on its front or back face will bring either lens into contact with the surface. Not great.

Usability – fool-proof?

The Theta S is extremely easy to use. Simply turn it on, select your mode and capture either a still image or video. The camera then connects to a mobile device via Wi-Fi and the user can select and download the media onto the app. There is no stitching or post processing required. Very simple indeed. The app will also let you share your capture to Twitter or Facebook via an online 360° image viewer.

Tech

As mentioned, the camera shoots in full HD at 30fps and provides 14mp stills which is pretty good quality. Above that, it features an internal 8GB memory for up to 25 minutes of continuous recording. Other features include live view which enables you to view the camera’s viewpoint in real-time via the mobile app with adjustable settings. Long exposures are also possible of up to 60 seconds and the camera also features a HDMI for Live HD streaming – probably its best feature.

To buy or not to buy?

The technology is great and the quality is excellent. If you are a consumer looking to create 360° video content then this is a good device to look at, greatly due to the simplicity of its use. YouTube also supports 360° videos, which is a massive plus, and you can also use captured footage with Virtual Reality headsets.

Facebook has also recently allowed 360 images to be used and shared natively online, which means you can now share your 360 degree photos online, easily.

If you travel a lot, you can upload your 360° images to the Google street view application for the world to see.