Ricoh Theta SC 360° Video & Still Camera 2020 Updated Review.
The Ricoh Theta SC may not bowl you over with its headline specs, but it’s a surprisingly capable, take-anywhere camera with great image quality. It’s fun to use and is perfect for anyone making their first foray into 360 photography and videography. Here is a detailed review on the Ricoh Theta SC.
About Ricoh Theta SC
The Theta SC is Ricoh’s mid-class 360 camera launched in late 2016, weighing less than the company’s previous models at just 102g and measuring 45.2 x 130.6 x 22.9mm.
The Ricoh Theta SC also allows users to transfer their captured 360-degree images to smartphones and tablet computers, as well as upload their images to Ricoh’s theta360.com website and then share them on their social media pages. Theta SC users can also now upload 360-degree videos directly to Facebook and YouTube.
The Ricoh Theta SC is comprised of two cameras, with one f/2 lens facing forwards and another facing backwards.
Inside these two cameras, there are two 1/2.3-inch type, 12-million-pixel image sensors. Internal processing within the Theta SC then merges images or video from these two sensors into one 360-degree picture.
Each still image is made up of around 14-megapixels, and the Ricoh Theta SC can record video at up to Full HD quality (1920 x 1080) at 30 frames per second.
The Theta SC also boasts 8GB of internal memory, which equates to about 1600 images or 63 minutes of Full HD video.
- High resolution, fully spherical 360 Degree images & video
- Bright F2.0 lens, Intuitive operation
- New & improved User Interface makes sharing a breeze
- Compatibility with both iOS and Android
- Theta+ App for editing spherical images, Theta+V App for editing spherical videos
If you’ve never seen a 3D video before, you’ll be in for a treat. When playing back the recordings, you’ll notice that the video is spherical. It’s almost as if you’re looking into a snow globe. But you can take your finger and swipe it along the video to rotate it and see the action from every angle. It’s a lot like using Google Earth, only instead of a map, you’re looking at a single moment in your life.
This 3D effect does mean that the video is a little distorted. It’s a lot like the fish-eye look you get when using an action camera. But everything in the centre of the video looks natural, so you just need to scroll around to change your focal point. It’s really unlike any video you’ve used. Reviewing it feels more like an interactive experience than a simple recording.
Images are captured at 14 megapixels. Just like the stretched video mode, images are also recorded into a standard frame. You end up with a final image size of 5376×2688 pixels. The images come out quite a bit sharper than the videos. We’d be satisfied to make prints with them, putting the Ricoh Theta S on par with your average consumer camera.
In our tests, we found that the camera works best during the daytime. The colours are a little saturated, making for bright, vibrant images you’ll be happy to share. The details weren’t lost, and we noticed very little noise. Thanks to the f2.0 aperture, night photography also works quite well. We did notice that the images were slightly grainy, although that’s to be expected with any consumer camera.
Using the camera on its own is a lot like using auto mode on your point and shoot. But with the Theta+ and Theta+V apps, the power of the camera is really unleashed.
Your smartphone connects to the camera through Wi-Fi direct. If your phone doesn’t support this (most do) it can create a hotspot that you connect to just like any other. Then, the apps will give you access to all of the photo settings you’ve wanted. You can control the shutter speed, exposure, colour, saturation, white balance, and dozens of other photographic settings that will help you make your photos unique.
After your shots are taken, you can use the Theta+ app to edit them. You can crop and tweak almost any part of the image, helping you get it exactly the way you want. Theta+V is used for video editing, giving you a huge number of options to share with your friends. You can convert square videos to spherical ones and vice versa. Since many people don’t have the Theta+V app to interact with spherical videos, it’s great that they give you the ability to standardize them.
360-degree video is certainly a cool trend, and the media you produce will be unlike anything you’ve seen before. Before the Theta SC hit the market, 360-degree cameras cost an arm and a leg. For the first time, you can now find this technology for an affordable price.
The Ricoh Theta SC is certainly fun, but we probably wouldn’t recommend using it as your only camera. If you’re just looking for an inexpensive way to beef up the photography capabilities of your existing smartphone, consider the DxO ONE. Alternatively, perhaps you’re the type of person who wants unparalleled photography capability and a plethora of controls. In that case, you might want to take a look at once of the mirrorless cameras we’ve reviewed such as the Olympus PEN E-PL8.