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Ricoh Theta S reviews

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I have it since one month, the optics is great, nad the panoramic photos excellent.

But I bought it mostly for video recording, and in this the device has a couple of severe limitations.

Both are related to insufficient storage space in the device, and it cannot be expanded with a micro_SD card.

8 Gb allow for just 45 minutes of 1080p video... We need at least 32Gb for reasonable recording time, for most events.

The other limitation is the resolution of the recorded video: what's the point to employ two 12Mp sensors, for recording each of them at just 880x880?

Please, give us a dual 1920x1920 recording, that is the minimum for getting good VR on the Oculus Rift or the Samung Gear...


Finally, the video is recorded (or streamed on the USB port) as a dual-lens video, which is not "ready to go", as an unwrapped, equirectangular video would be.

So the camera is also missing enough computing power for being able to get the equirectangular video in realtime, and to store it in the SD card (which would also reduce the memory and bandwidth requirement, as a 2k equirectangular video would probably be plenty enough for VR).


As said, it is a pity that such excellent optics and sensors are not paired by enough memory and computing power for serious video usage. For photos it is really excellent!

Even 1920x1920 from each lens is not enough for a good VR video experience. The dual Kodak 360 4K's produce 2880x2800 (true 4K) from each lens, and that is just barely enough resolution for watching the stitched video in VR.

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Hello, new member, first post.  I've been using my Theta S for a couple months now.  The camera works, the quality is not as good as the $60,000 VR movies I've seen (the "Within" app is amazing!), but its pretty awesome.  I recorded my brother's wedding, which worked fine, but camera placement is key to this whole endeavor.  The camera is your head, so where ever you'd want to be (where the action is), that's where you need to get the camera, or things will get blurry and small fast.


Specifically what I'm recording, is live video of Live Bands in a club.  I got an adaptor that lets me set the Theta on the top of a microphone stand, so it takes up little space (but the heavy base makes it less likely to fall over) and people can dance around it, people avoid it just like a real mic stand.  If I wanted to live stream it, though, then this adaptor wouldn't work, too short. 


The main problem here is the microphone, the band is just too loud, even *before* it gets out to the PA.  What I'd like to see (and I'm trying to contact Ricoh about this, its not as easy as you'd think) is something in the app where I can turn down the gain on the microphone.  I'm gonna try and physically obstruct the mic, but I don't think it will work.  Another work around is to capture the sound from the PA board and then add it in later, but THAT requires that I edit the video more, which I neither have the knowledge to do, nor the gear.   PLUS, its another conversion, and the quality can drop *real quick*...


The amount of memory can be an issue, but I see this camera as not-quite "Pro-Sumer", its entry level stuff and the price has to stay reasonable, so I understand.  This is what I have, and so how do I work with it?  I made a mistake the other night, for instance, I got to the bar mid-set, so I recorded some "experimental" video from odd angles while waiting for the next band.  Ended up wasting memory, and when the main band got up, I could only record half the show.  Workaround?  One, don't waste memory, and Two have my laptop handy, between sets quickly dump the video (and give it a little charge) and get the Theta S ready for the next act.  A hassle, but its doable.


You can record 25 minutes tops (I once got 25:02).  BUT, to stream/convert that to your phone?  A five minute video will take 1 hr 15 min to stream/convert.  You'd better NOT use your phone during that time.  So a full 25-minute vid is going to shut you down.  Its a nice idea, streaming to the phone, but the manual seems to think that people will be taking still photos most of the time, and that's ridiculous.  The power here is THE VIDEO.  This tech is a Camcorder X 1000, you not only get the scene, but you get the micro-movements of the people around you; the "emotions" are palpable and contagious, if you've got your goggles and earbuds in.  Even if you only record 1 minute loops, if a picture is worth 1000 words, then a 360 video is worth a million pictures?  So a seperate computer is necessary (it can convert old video while you film new footage).


My videos go up to Youtube effortlessly.  But I DO NOT use facebook or twitter, and when I tried to join the Ricoh forums, or even to contact the company, I discovered that ALL portals to contact them start with facbook or twitter (there IS a phone number, I may call it).  Similar to the phone-streaming thing, I think they just took an idea an ran with it.  Like, "people will want to share this stuff on social media, so lets just focus on that".  Which excludes someone like me.  Frankly, I feel like Ricoh has an ARMLOCK on the VR Cam industry right now, they NEED to turn their apps into editing powerhouses and shove themselves in the door before everyone else takes over.  The camera is small and simple to use.  If you turn the "flashing lights" side away from people, they don't even notice that its a camera OR that its filming.  The only way to make this more portable and convenient is to make it a "snap-on" that attaches to your phone, like the moto commerical, which maybe Ricoh needs to jump on...  


Its a simple no-brainer device that records better (utility) video than your SLR; one band I recorded had their SLR set to "record" on a table 20 feet away from the stage.  Mine was literally *right in front of them*, so that when the singer started flapping around a giant stuffed banana, he almost hits my camera and you can *see* it flash by your face in the goggles.  Which video do you think that the band prefers, even with the crappy audio?


(Also, the Thetas in the OP pic aren't Theta S models, S is only black I believe and has better specs)

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Guest Lalitha

Hello All,


Hope all doing good,


Here is my quick query ... 


How can improve the THETA S Camera quality by setting... any suggestions please....

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Guest Grubgoat

Grugoat here, can I add to my review?


I bought a second Ricoh Theta S. I'd been recording local bands, the sound was crap, (but people can edit audio in), but the video is *still* transcendant, so I got the second one. I recently made a trip to India, toured the "Golden Triangle" among some other places. HERE'S where my complaint comes in. I was able, using two of these cameras, to make pretty amazing recordings of the nooks and crannies of many Indian Forts and Temples. I literally held them over my head as I walked around. BUT, when we got to the Taj Mahal, one of my Theta S units died completely (the other one had a dead battery, as that morning I'd used IT to record a fort or something; I thought "I've got the other one for the Taj Mahal.") So I travelled THOUSANDS of miles and missed being able to record one of the most famous sites on the planet. This particular Theta S never worked again. Alas.


BUT, a few weeks later I got home and recorded a local Open Blues Jam with the remaning Theta S, IT TOO decided to stop working. The battery would never show more than 33% full, and it would die after 10 minutes, no way to change this. I exchanged the first dead one at my local Best Buy, and Ricoh told me to send the other one to their repair shop (I haven't done this yet, as I'm busy), but I'm a little turned off by the quality of a unit that costs $350 and can't run for more than 3 months.


I love my Ricoh Theta S (both of them), but the build quality is suspect, and IMO their implementation is lacking. They don't/didn't seem to understand that VIDEO is where its at (NOT pictures), they offer no way to control the mic input from the app, AND their apps seem to be only focused on your Android Phone (NOT a computer, which is where I would want edit video, NOT on my phone). PLUS, there's no consideration for multiple cameras (if you've got one Theta S, it will link to your phone, but what about 2 or more?)


IMO, GREAT camera that SHOULD have better build quality AND better understanding of what 360/VR is about/can deliver. Buy one, but do so with your eyes OPEN!

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