Ricoh Announces the Theta S in India, Goes on Sale in December 2015

At an event held in Mumbai yesterday, Ricoh India announced the Theta Sā€” the company’s latest handheld 360 degree camera and the successor to the previous generation Theta m15. The new model, touted by the company as “high-spec top-of-the-line” has been priced at Rs. 40,000 in India and is capable of capturing full 360 degree images with a single click, as well as Full HD 360 degree video at 30fps with 25 minutes of continuous shooting. The battery life is pegged at around 300 shots.

theta-s

I got to spend some “hands-on” time with the Theta S at the event and it is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cameras that I’ve come across. It is fairly small, about as tall as a typical smartphone and as wide as a matchbox (or around 130mm x 44mm x 18mm) and weighs about 125 grams. It has two fish-eye lenses pointing in the opposite direction that capture 12 Megapixels each and output an image that’s equivalent to 14 Megapixels. The Theta S does an incredible job of stitching the images it captures ā€” I perused through about 20-odd images and not one had any visible stitch lines, except for the areas exactly below the camera, usually due to your hand that holds the camera.

The Theta S has a apps available for iOS and Android (similar to GoPro cameras) that let you control your camera with your smartphone and transfer the images taken from it. I connected my iPhone 6 to the demo unit available at the event and setup over Wi-Fi was ridiculously easy. Once you transfer the images, you can edit them (like blur out certain areas) and publish them to social networks right within the app.

I love the fact that the Theta S adheres to Google’s Spherical Image API spec and is compatible with the Google Street View app. I have been taking Photo Sphere images at places I’ve traveled to and publishing them to Google Maps (Here’s my profile) and it was great to know that the Theta S works directly with the app. When you have the camera connected to your smartphone, you can use it from within the Google Street View app to take one-click photos and publish them to Google Maps (or keep them private). This alone makes the Theta S a far more interesting camera for me. If you’re a developer, there’s also an official API and SDK available for you.

I only got to spend a few minutes with the Ricoh Theta S, so I’ll reserve my full judgement after I get to try it for a few days at a stretch, but you can probably tell how excited I am about it. At INR 40,000, it’s not something that’d interest a lot of buyers, but enthusiasts are definitely going to love it.

Here’s a test photo I clicked on the demo Theta S at the event (requires Flash to view):

First Test Photo – Test Photo from the RICOH THETA S