- Compact 360 camera
- Quite easy to use
- Records 4K video with spatial audio
- Photos are well stitched together
- Case provided in the box
- Lack of accessories provided (apart from case)
- Three different desktop apps instead of one
- Frustrating video conversion process
The Ricoh Theta V is the latest version of Ricoh’s 360 camera, with 2 cameras, one on each side, giving a true 360×360 degree view of the world. The latest version adds 4K video recording and can take 14-megapixel photos. The Ricoh Theta V is available for around £399/$531.
Ricoh has been making the Ricoh Theta since 2013, and the design and shape of the Theta is unique, with there being minimal distance between the two fish-eye lenses, which enables better 360 spherical photos, and video. There are two 12mp cameras, with f/2.0 fish-eye lenses, and when the images are stitched together you get a 14-megapixel image. The two photos are automatically stitched together in the camera. The camera offers improved low-light performance with ISO3200 available for stills and ISO6400 available for video. There’s a gyro sensor built-in, to detect tilt.
The camera will work with any Android or iOS device and using the remote control app, called Ricoh Theta S, you have much more control over the camera. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in making it easy to set up a connection. Using the app you can change the stills shooting mode, with Auto, shutter priority, ISO priority and manual available. In manual mode, the shutter speed can be set from 1/25,000s to 60 seconds. There are additional apps: Ricoh Theta+ and Ricoh Video+ so that you can edit and share images and video from your smartphone.
The camera can record 4K 30fps video for up to 25 minutes, this is an upgrade over the previous version, which could record FullHD video. To make the video ready for upload to YouTube or other social media websites, you need to use the Ricoh Theta software on your PC or Mac to convert the video or use one of the apps on your phone.
The camera records spatial audio by using 4 built-in microphones, and there’s also a microphone socket so you can add an external microphone. The Theta V has built-in memory, with 19.6GB usable for photos and video. You can playback on a TV, and the camera also supports 4K live streaming.
Ricoh has recently added a number of accessories for the Ricoh Theta V, including a 3D Microphone TA-1, and Underwater Housing TW-1.
- 2x 12mp 1/2.3inch sensors, produces 14mp images
- 2x 360 f/2.0 cameras
- Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
- 4K UHD video recording, 56Mbps
- ISO64 – ISO3200
- Auto, ISO priority, Shutter priority, Manual (modes via smartphone app)
- Noise reduction, Dynamic Range, and HDR shooting (via app)
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth built-in
- Built-in memory: 19.6GB usable
The Ricoh Theta V has a plastic construction, with a soft matt finish, helping give better grip. The camera can feel a little creaky if you squeeze it firmly. It’s lightweight at 121g, and it’s unique shape means you can fit it in most pockets. The camera is easy to use, with minimal buttons and controls.
The mode button switches between photo and video modes and the light on the front of the camera switches between a photo and video light so that you can clearly see what mode the camera is in. There is a blue LED to show when the camera is ready for use, below the microphone, and above the shutter release button. A Wi-Fi light flashes when not connected (but on), and is on when connected. A red LED will flash when video is being recorded.
On the side, you can find the power button, Wi-Fi button, and mode button. The power button has a blue LED in the middle of it. Underneath the camera is a standard 1/4inch tripod socket, a microphone socket, plus a MicroUSB connection. You can use this to connect the camera to your computer or to charge the internal battery, which is non-removable. There are two microphones on top of the camera, one on the front, and one on the back.
Wi-Fi features: It took about 2 or 3 attempts before we were able to connect successfully over Wi-Fi to the camera, this was quite a regular occurrence, and the live-view display in the app was often quite glitchy when we used it with our Android smartphone. The password is the number section of the serial number underneath the camera. Once connected you have more control over the camera, and can access a number of different shooting modes and features, including HDR.
Desktop app: There are three different desktop apps available from Ricoh’s website. A basic viewer – Lets you view photos, and if you drag videos to this it will convert them before letting you view them. You can update the firmware on the camera using this app when the camera is connected using the USB cable.
You need to convert the video before uploading them to YouTube using the basic app, then you need to convert the video using the Video converter app for the 360 spatial audio to work so that you end up with three video files in total. There are detailed instructions on the Ricoh website.
If you log on to theta360 from the app, you can share your images to the theta360 website, so that other people can view them in their 360 form. You can then share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or embed the code into a web page, such as this one, and we’ve included examples below. There’s also a file transfer app, which we didn’t need to use. It’s a shame that there isn’t just one app with all functions.
Battery life – Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Ricoh test results, or 80 minutes of video. This is good, and as the camera can be charged using MicroUSB, it should be easy to charge when out and about, with a portable charger.
The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Camera Performance – The camera does a good job of stitching the photos together. Some purple fringing is visible on areas of high contrast, such as lights, or leaves next to the sky. Dynamic range is improved by using one of the Dynamic range or HDR shooting options. Detail is quite good, although drops in lower light, as the ISO speed is increased, and noise reduction reduces detail. We’d try and avoid shooting at ISO1600 or above. The lenses are quite resistant to flare, however, it’s important to keep them clean. Colour is good, and exposure is reliable, which is a good thing, as it means you can take photos without having to change settings on the app.
Little Big Planet Effect
There are dynamic range options, as well as HDR shooting, to produce an image with much better dynamic range.
Outdoor images with plenty of sky work well to create the “Little Big Planet” effect: Normal, Dynamic Range, High Dynamic Range.
Video – You need to convert videos before uploading them to YouTube, and you need to convert them a second time if you want the spatial audio to work on YouTube. Before converting the video, the video will look like the image below if you try and play it back on your computer.
Once converted, it will look like the video below, in a normal video player. If you play it back in the Ricoh Desktop App, then you can move around the video to chose where you want to look, and once uploaded to YouTube, you can also view in 360 viewers.
Keeping the camera steady when recording, as well as being aware of the position of the camera will help you get the best videos. You can view additional videos recorded with the Ricoh Theta V on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|LCD Monitor||No Data|
|Screen resolution||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/25000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|Bulb mode||No Data|
|ISO sensitivity||64 – 3200|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No|
|Battery Type||Internal Lithium-Ion|
|Battery Life (CIPA rating)||300shots|
|Box Contents||No Data|
The Ricoh Theta V is a compact and good looking 360 camera, it’s easy to use to take photos and video, and using the smartphone app you can share quickly or change settings. To get video on to YouTube via your computer can take a little bit more effort, but when you get the hang of the process it becomes quite easy. Results are good, especially when viewed with a 360 viewer, whether that’s on your smartphone or computer, and the app supports sharing straight to Facebook and Twitter. With 4K video recording, video looks good, and the camera performs quite well in low-light conditions. If you regularly socialise, then the Ricoh Theta V can be a great camera for group photos and can create immersive video that will impress your friends.