Has anyone used the Ricoh Theta?

Q&A about the latest versions
petersmall
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Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:46 pm

My search for an easy solution to my need to create reasonable panos for indoor environments is narrowing down.

I'm now looking into the "Ricoh Theta". Has anyone had any experience with this camera. Are there any examples that I can look at?
I have heard that it is a bit grainy. Is it?
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360Texas
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Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:26 pm

Since your project seems to be 'testing' the waters approach to panorama imaging I might make this suggestion:

Short weekly term "Rent" camera/ lens and panorama tripod head. Try out it before you buy the gear only to learn it isn't working for you.
Many camera shops also rent kits (panorama tripod camera/ 8mm lens) you use your own SD memory cards.

Sometimes discouraged realtors have kits they are willing to sell at a reasonable recovery costs. Meaning they tried to make panoramas and failed now willing to dump the gear.

Biggest issue is finding the right panorama tripod head. We bought 2 of these (1 for our aging canon EOS 500d and Sigma 8mm fisheye lens and 1 for our Canon 5d and Sigma 8mm fisheye). We found that it they were easy to permanently setup, lite weight and easy use.

http://shop.nodalninja.com/ultimate-r1-r10-series-1/

Nodal Ninja has a UK retailer:
UK Dealer http://www.red-door.co.uk/

Another approach might be to just hire a panorama photographer for a short 1 time project, see what camera equipment they use. Then you use their images to stitch and produce panoramas.
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JimWatters
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Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:48 pm

I really like my Theta, but I don't use it for everything.

Pro
- Capturing a moment in time.
- Getting into tight places
- No stitching
- View interact pano immediate after shooting.
- Simple upload process to social network immediate after viewing.
- GPS data is grabbed from the phone

Con
- Low resolution
- Noisy in low light
- No timelapse
- Tripod is in the shot
- No delay timer to run away from camera
- Your in the shot unless you have a place to hide.
- Your thumb or finger is huge in the shot unless you use a smart phone.
- Even after using Richo's software to level the pano it is not always completely level.
- CA is not completely removed from stitched images
- Post processing is still necessary sometimes to improve image quality by lessening noise, improving color, adjusting contrast, eliminating nadir, and leveling pano.
- The lens is not well protected, can easily be damaged.

Some of these issues can be fixed or improved with a firmware and or smart phone update.

For empty interiors where you can take a couple minutes to shoot a circular fisheye image shooting 4 around will give much better quality.

Some examples:
video - triggering Theta with phone in my hand. kept having to put phone away to make turns that is why I am only on the straightaways.
http://photocreations.ca/video/driveway.html

Driving down the road in an Argo
https://theta360.com/s/AlH

Self portrait
https://theta360.com/s/8Qm

Low light - Fireworks
https://theta360.com/s/7Oc

damage lens - The three dark spots in the sky on the left side of the street are from attempting to use very small tripod to lessen visual impact in nadir and having the camera fall over onto pavement.
https://theta360.com/s/8WM

Very few of my Theta shots have made their way to my personal website. Because I consider them more as snapshots.
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Wim.Koornneef
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Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:52 am

Hello Jim,

Thanks for sharing your experiences and examples of the Theta, it is very useful information.
Imo this device has a future as soon as most of the cons you mentioned has been solved, at least resolution, noise and CA.

Wim
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Hopki
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Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:41 pm

Speaking with Ricoh they are very pleased with how well the Theta has been received.

At the moment the price bracket is low enough for the Theta to be classed as disposable. The nuclear industry and other organisations where the likelihood is that the camera will not make it back in one peace can use it then bin it without worrying about cost. Other solutions are far to expensive to be classed as disposable.

This will have an effect on quality, better sensors and optics may lead to a higher cost which is what they are trying to avoid.
We will see what happens next year.
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petersmall
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Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:27 pm

Thanks Texas360, Jim and Hopki for your helpful comments.
As I'm still at the prototype stage with my project the more expensive possibilities are not appropriate at this stage. The Ricoh Theta is a good idea but the fisheye effect does not give me what I want.
What I have ended up doing is to buy a Sony Xperia Z1 smart phone (I needed a new smart phone anyway). The sweep feature happens to give me what I need at this stage (I don't really need a full 360 degrees). I can put the jpeg output into Photoshop to correct for any distortions or dark areas, which then produces a very acceptable jpeg to go into my Pano2VR.
This is, of course, a very convenient solution because I can go anywhere with my smart phone, no setting up or rotating mounts required: just a horizontal sweep - voila!
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hum@no.id
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Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:39 pm

It can now be called a good quality of output file for 2014?
https://theta360.s3.amazonaws.com/c0796 ... ectangular

*My very old equipment: Nikon Coolpix 4500 + Fisheye converter FC-E8 taken like this, but it was 10 years ago
Last edited by hum@no.id on Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RobM
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Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:38 pm

I've had a play and it is what it is. Cheap, low res and poor in low light.
However, it certainly has a place.

Ricoh however, bunch of muppets. I was supposed to be reviewing one for a magazine here but they told me it wasn't available in Benelux and there were no plans to sell it here. Me generating interest for a product that wasn't 'off-the-shelf' available wasn't a good idea.
Guess they've not heard of open border trading yet.
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Chu
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Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:24 pm

petersmall wrote:...the fisheye effect does not give me what I want.
The distorted/curved fisheye effect is only visible when viewed through Ricoh's 360 player - in phone or at theta360.com
Best practice is transfer the equirectangulars from the Theta and process them with image manipulation software, then import into P2VR

It is a noisy image, with low resolution but it can be improved slightly

See one of my examples
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Hopki
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Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:46 pm

Hi,
House Tour
Regards,
Hopki
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JimWatters
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Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:13 pm

The latest Firmware update allows ISO priority. This mean that using a tripod in a dimly lit room wont look noisy anymore if set to 100 ISO.
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hum@no.id
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Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:14 am

Hi,
House Tour
Regards,
Hopki
When I look at this tour, I remember the end of the 90's and virtual tours from iPIX. Welcome to the "Stone Age" of panoramic content!
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Hopki
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Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:25 am

hahaha, absolutely.
If I remember as this was done a while back, the pictures too like 10 minutes (including me getting up and down stairs) then once back home 10 minutes on a laptop while watching TV.
More concept then presentation, could the Theta cut it making a Tour.
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Alain
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Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:01 am

Hopki wrote:Hi,
House Tour
Regards,
Hopki
Hi Hopki

What tripod model did you use ?

Regards Alain
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Chu
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Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:29 am

Alain wrote:
Hopki wrote:Hi,
House Tour
Regards,
Hopki
Hi Hopki

What tripod model did you use ?

Regards Alain
Looks like a Manfrotto Pixi plus a monopod of some sort...?
Using:
Pano2VR PRO 6.1.5 pro 64bit
build 17926/5.12.2

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Human Brain v1.0

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