2015 so far has seen quote a few tech advancements not just on the resolution front, such as the rise in popularity of HDR acquisition and most recently VR or virtual reality consoles and 360 degree capture devices offering a more immersive experience than what was promised by 3D. GoPro has unveiled plans to enter this market and they are not the only ones. Ricoh just unveiled their new Theta S 360 degree digital camera, which offers a bump in resolution and also live streaming compared to the previous model. The new model features two 12 megapixel sensors which work together in order to produce a high-resolution 14+ megapixel spherical still images. Would have been great to get the video resolution up to Ultra HD, but for now the Theta S will settle for the not too shabby Full HD 1080p up to 30fps. Google Street View computability is included in addition to live streaming.
The immersive capture device is currently available for pre-order at B&H for $347 and is expected to start shipping in the second week of November.
The new Theta S has also been revamped with enhanced sharing capabilities, including the ability to wirelessly share both movies and photos to a mobile device for posting online. Built-in Wi-Fi also enables remote live view and camera settings adjustment from your smartphone or tablet. Finished imagery can up uploaded to the dedicated Theta 360 website for sharing with social media sites as well as published on Google’s Street View app to allow others to view your spherical imagery.
Dual 12MP 1/2.3″ image sensors provide an interpolated 14.4MP output in order to produce stills with a 5,376 x 2,699 equirectangular resolution.
Unique twin lens design incorporates lenses on the front and back of the camera to enable full 360° spherical imagery to be recorded with each exposure. Each lens has a maximum aperture of f/2 to benefit working in low-light conditions, and each lens has a fixed focus range of 3.9″ to infinity to render nearly all subjects in focus.
Full HD movie recording is supported at 1080p30 (16 Mbps), as well as HD 720p15 (6 Mbps), and live streaming is possible via the HDMI type-D or micro USB connections at 1080p30, 720p30, 720p15, or 480p30 frame rates. When saving video to the internal 8GB memory, up to 25 minute clips or 4GB of video can be recorded at a time.
Auto, Shutter Priority, and ISO Priority exposure modes are available for stills shooting, and auto exposure mode is available for video recording or live streaming.
A sensitivity range of ISO 100-1600 is available for all recording modes to benefit working in a variety of lighting conditions.
When shooting stills, shutters speeds ranging from 1/6400 sec. to 1 minute are possible. Speeds up to 1/8000 sec. are possible in video modes.
Built-in Wi-Fi allows you to connect to a mobile device or tablet in order to gain a live view image, adjust camera settings, and wirelessly transfer stills and video for instant sharing online.
Spherical imagery can be uploaded to the Theta 360 website and shared to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr or posted to Google Maps, Google+, and YouTube. The Theta S employs the Google-supported Open Spherical Camera API for full compatibility with Google services, including the ability to publish your photo spheres on the Google Street View app for others to explore.
Integrated lithium-ion battery offers approximately 260 shots per charge, and it can be charged via the included USB cable.
Internal 8GB memory can store approximately 1600 full-resolution stills or up to approximately 65 minutes of 1080p video.