Ricoh Theta S Field Test: Hands down, the most unusual camera we’ve ever reviewed


posted Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 3:29 PM EST


They might vary wildly in price and capabilities, but most cameras have a few things in common: A lens, sensor, display and perhaps viewfinder, as well as a storage card slot and battery compartment. Not so the Ricoh Theta S: This is a camera like none you've ever used before (at least, other than its immediate predecessors), and we can state with confidence that it's the most unusual camera we've ever reviewed.

Capable of shooting full 360-degree spherical panoramas in a single go -- and with no manual stitching and only minimal stitching errors -- the Ricoh Theta S does things that no rival can manage. It shoots Full HD video, and then lets your viewers pan and zoom around the results themselves as they watch, choosing the subjects which interest them. And not only can it shoot high-res 360-degree panoramic stills, but it can even upload them to Google's Street View service, letting you share your works with the whole world.

Of course, for an Android fan like myself, no trip to Mountain View would be complete without a visit to the Googleplex. Choosing how to frame a panoramic shot like this is tough: I didn't want to get booted off-campus, so stuck with a tiny folding tripod. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

In my Ricoh Theta S Field Test, I shot with this unique camera day and night on a family vacation to California, complete with a stopover at the Mecca of Android fans -- the Googleplex in Mountain View. And perhaps inspired by what I saw there, on my return I set about creating an Imaging Resource Street View car rig to rival Google's own famous Street View vehicles, but on a shoestring budget.

Want to see what I thought of the Ricoh Theta S after shooting with it for the last couple of weeks? Find out now in my Ricoh Theta S Field Test, and watch this space for my final conclusion, coming shortly!

Spot the light painting fan: Another 30-second exposure was long enough for me to vanish completely as I waved my smartphone's flashlight around to sketch the word "Cali" in the sky... - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA