Ricoh is probably the pioneer of consumer 360-degree cameras, and its third-generation Theta S has two 12-megapixel image sensors that combine to create 14-megapixel 360-degree still images, as well as 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 360- degree videos.
It has an 8GB internal memory, doubling the 4GB of its predecessor, the Theta m15.
And it looks exactly like its predecessor except for its new black rubber coating for a better grip. It has a slim body with a fish-eye lens on both its front and back.
The two lenses work together to capture a 360-degree shot when you press the shutter-release button in front (with the Ricoh logo facing you).
The Power, Wi-Fi and Photo/Video buttons are on one side of the camera. At its bottom, there is a tripod mount, an HDMI port and a micro-USB port that lets you charge the device.
IMAGE SENSOR: 2 x 12-megapixel
LENS: 2 x 180-degree f/2.0
BATTERY LIFE: 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
It does not have a micro-SD card slot, so you need to transfer photos over to your smartphone wirelessly, or to your computer via a USB connection.
Press the Photo/Video button to toggle between still image and movie-recording modes. But if you want to see what you are shooting, it is better to shoot remotely using the free Ricoh Theta S app (available for Android and iOS). Sync your smartphone to the camera via Wi-Fi and start the app to do so.
The app gives you more control, such as exposure compensation or switching from Auto mode to ISO priority or Shutter priority modes. It also allows you to view and transfer the 360-degree images and videos to your smartphone.
In the past, you had to upload the photos to theta360.com and ask your friends to go and view them there. But with Facebook having 360-degree image support, you can upload Theta S' 360-degree photos to Facebook directly from your smartphone's gallery. So, your friends can look at them immediately on Facebook.
Image quality is far better than that of its predecessor, with sharper rendition of pixels.
A friend asked what camera I used when I posted a Theta S 360-degree photo on Facebook.
In fact, it just loses out to the excellent Samsung Gear 360 in terms of still-image sharpness in this roundup. But its video quality looks visibly pixelated and not as sharp as that of the Gear 360.
- Verdict: Looking beyond its rather-high price tag, the Ricoh Theta S is the most well-rounded 360-degree camera, with support for both Android and iOS devices as well as great image quality.