They're back with the newest version, the Theta S, which includes 1080p up to 30fps, and a beefed-up stills mode that combines images from two 12MP sensors to give you a final output of 14.4MP at a frame size of 5376 x 2688. It's an unusual-looking camera, and takes a far more compact approach than some other VR camera solutions, by doing a full 360 spherical image with just one physical body (though a camera like the OZO from Nokia also does this, with a far different design).
While the stills mode looks great and has improved low-light capabilities, the video mode is still in its infancy. It is nice that the videos are stitched together in real-time, but they feel a bit lower-res than some other solutions out there, and the relatively low data rate probably doesn't help. You are also limited to auto exposure settings shooting video, while you have many more options with the stills mode.
Most of the controls with the camera can be set by using a smartphone app from Ricoh:
Here are a few example videos, the first from Imaging Resource, who previewed the camera (control where you look with the WASD keys):
And here's one from Ricoh Imaging, shot by Charlie Key Media:
- Twin 1/2.3" 12MP Sensors with f/2 lenses
- JPEG Photos: 5376 × 2688 & 2048 × 1024
- MP4 Video: 1920 × 1080/30fps/16Mbps & 1280 × 720/15fps/6Mbps
- Store 60 minutes of 1080p or 175 minutes of 720p on the internal drive
- Video Clip Length: Up to 4 GB or 25 Min
- ISO 100 to 1600
- Built-in Memory: 8 GB
- Live streaming over USB or HDMI
- Built-in Mic
- HDMI D (Micro), Micro-USB, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi
- Availability: November 2015
- Price: $350
Ricoh is certainly taking an interesting approach with this one, and though the stills mode looks pretty good, video has a ways to go. There's no question you'll be able to get some interesting shots out of it, but the limited size makes for limited processing power — and therefore there's only so much that can be done in a body this size. For filmmaking applications, it would be nice to have 24p in the next version, though asking for 4K might be a little too much at this point.
Either way, at this price, you can't expect it to compete with solutions costing thousands of dollars, so this is certainly going to be a consumer-focused product more than anything. You can pre-order the camera right now, and we should be seeing it sometime in November.