Ricoh finally has a 360 cam travelers will want to use

Nov 19, 2019

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Ricoh’s Theta series of 360-degree cameras have made their way into TPG’s gear arsenal from time to time over the last few years. But I’ve never been very impressed by the image quality, especially when it came to shooting in low-light — in a fancy new airplane cabin, for example.

I did bring a previous generation of the camera along to review Emirates’ new first-class suite, but I was only able to capture high-quality shots with the lights turned up:

The new @Emirates first-class suite, in 360 degrees. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Monday, Ricoh introduced a brand-new cam, the Theta SC2. It’s a massive upgrade, in my opinion. I just never felt compelled to travel around with a 360 cam that couldn’t shoot in dimmer cabins, or in the evenings during my travels. This one can.

I managed to get my hands on the SC2 a few days early, and brought one along to the Dubai Air Show — I figured there was no better place to try out that low-light option than in an extra-dim Emirates first-class suite.

The new @Emirates first-class suite, in 360 degrees. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I also used the separate (and free) Theta+ app to give the same image a brightness boost — feel free to zoom in and poke around to admire the limited noise, even with the shadows bumped up.

The new @Emirates first-class suite, in 360 degrees. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

It’s easy to upload photos to Theta’s website via the Theta and Theta+ apps, and you can share 360 videos via Facebook and YouTube. You can also easily share your 360s with family and friends using the Google Photos app on Android and iOS, and you can crop photos and videos as you see fit to share them anywhere else you’d like, too.

The SC2 will run you $299 when it launches Nov. 29, and comes in some fun colors, too (I prefer inconspicuous gadgets, though, so my favorite is white). It can shoot 14-megapixel stills and 4K video at 30fps. Evening shooters will need to activate a special “Night View” mode for those low-light shots.

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