Ricoh and CNN team up for Theta giveaway and contest

by Liam McCabe

posted Friday, March 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM EST


When you think of a photojournalist, what kind of camera do you picture them using? It’s probably nothing like the Ricoh Theta.

Ricoh and CNN are teaming up for the Spherical Report 360 contest. Aspiring local reporters (or anybody, really) can submit an essay (360 words or less) about why they deserve a Ricoh Theta, the compact camera that captures 360-degree images. Then 360 finalists will be chosen to receive one of the cameras. Subtle theme, eh?

From May 1 through August 31, participants can submit images. For each month of the contest, a monthly winner will get a Ricoh Commander watch. And in September, 3 finalists will be selected. The grand-prize winner gets a Pentax K-3 with 18-135mm lens, and two runners-up get a Ricoh GR.

In case you missed it when it came out in 2013, the Ricoh Theta looks like an old iPod nano with super wide-angle lenses on either side of its body. It captures 360-degree panoramas in every direction—up, down, sideways, diagonals and so on—with just one push of the shutter. The panoramas can be exported in an interactive proprietary file and shared, kind of like a Lytro image. The shots are grainy even in good lighting, though, and at $400, it's a bit of a novelty.

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

But hey, if you can get your hands on a Theta for free, then why not. Head to over to CNN to enter—the application period is open now.