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BW Businessworld

Gadgets & Gizmos: Capture Everything Around You

The Ricoh Theta S can shoot everything around you by just hitting a single button but is it the only camera you need?

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The Ricoh Theta S is quite unlike regular cameras. It can take 360-degree spherical photos as well as videos by just hitting a button. Having the shape of a large chocolate bar, it accommodates two fisheye lenses, which have their own individual image sensors. Once you hit the button on the camera, both the lenses take a shot and automatically stitch them to produce a 360-degree spherical panorama image. The camera is also capable of shooting videos in the same perspective, something which the original Ricoh Theta was missing.

The lenses on the Theta S have 12MP sensors that combine to produce high-resolution 14.4MP spherical still images or full 1080p HD video at 30fps. It can also stream live video through the built-in USB or HDMI port and is also compatible with Google Street View. The camera has the capability to produce great looking pictures and thanks to the fixed 3.9-inches to infinity focal length range, pictures look very much in focus. The lenses have an f/2 aperture so shooting indoors isn't all that bad, although pictures taken in low light do turn out to be grainy. Pictures and videos in broad daylight look really good and well balanced in terms of colours and details. There is no display or viewfinder on the camera, but once connected to a smartphone with the companion app you can do a lot more. The camera connects to your phone via the built in Wi-Fi chip by creating a wireless hot­spot. You can view and copy pictures and videos and also shoot in time intervals. There are also some fine-tuning settings such as white balance, shutter speed and ISO. The Theta S is also an impressive selfie camera as it shoots every single thing around you creating the ‘ultimate selfie’. It also paves way for VR headsets as this little device enables you to create your own 360-degree VR content.

There are a bunch of issues with the camera though. For instance, the battery and storage cannot be replaced or upgraded. The camera has about 8GB of storage which equals to approximately 1,600 shots or about 60 minutes of video. The battery lasts about 250 shots on a full charge. Another major issue is that the lenses are too wide, so much so that you get a distorted image of your hand holding the camera in your pictures. The only way to overcome this issue is either use a tripod, monopod or a selfie stick.

The Theta S is available for Rs 39,995 which sounds a lot for a camera that can only shoot in a spherical format. For this price one can get a decent DSLR kit or even a GoPro action camera. Also, since it cannot shoot ‘regular’ pictures, it can’t replace your everyday camera.