Two lines of spherical cameras have become popular for capturing 360-degree content in 2016. The Ricoh Theta and GoPro. GoPro has been around for a while, but Theta is a recent introduction. I will point out the pros and cons of each product, and then compare how their features stack up against one another.
The Ricoh Theta is a handheld 360 degree, stereoscopic camera. It is equipped with a 1.3 – 3 in. dual sensor on both sides. With its easy-to-use, comfortable design. It is best for casual photography such as selfies. With the app, you can easily transfer photos to your phone and social media. You can get the high-spec Ricoh Theta S at around $350 and the more basic Theta m15 for $200. Its best feature is the ability to capture a panoramic image in one shot without the need of a panoramic head. While great for the everyday user, the Ricoh Theta has several disadvantages. It has a limited storage size of 8GB and you are unable to remove the flash memory. It works best with photographs, but shooting video results in low resolution, grainy takes. If you don’t want to be in the shot you will have to use a rig. It is also not very durable.
GoPro is the go-to camera for both professional and outdoors video solutions. The Hero4 Black is recommended for use whether you’re capturing 360 video or photos. It is has a powerful processor, high frame rates, and great image quality with 4k30 video resolution. It is waterproof and durable – suitable for most environments. It can automatically sync photos and can control, view, and share to the web. There are many benefits to using the Hero4 Black, but there are also a few downsides. If you plan on shooting spherical video with GoPro, you will need to mount it onto a panoramic head or use a spherical camera rig, in which you will need at least 6 GoPros – all in all it can become very expensive. The high processing power of the camera means that the battery will run out quickly, although it is rechargeable,
How They Stack Up Against Each Other
GoPro has a much higher resolution and video and photo quality than the Ricoh Theta. While pricey ($499), it packs a lot of software usually built into larger cameras into a compact package. The Theta is about $200 cheaper and it is easy and quick to use, You are able to edit and share to the web with both products. I recommend GoPro for shooting videos that will be used for Virtual Reality Oculus videos. If you want high-quality 4k video for a price less than most products, go with GoPro Hero4 Black. However, if you just want to take a few cool panoramic shots of yourself with friends or attractions and you’re not worried about image quality, the Theta is the way to go. When considering options, here are a few to take into consideration.
- Battery life