Immerse Yourself With The Ricoh Theta V
Capture the moment with Ricoh's first 360 degrees camera with 4K capacity, the Theta V. Every picture and video you take will have brilliant image quality and provide an immersive feeling, transporting the viewer into the centre of the shot.
The Ricoh Theta V is a sleek, modern device with a slimline design which looks similar to a small remote, fitting easily into a bag or pocket. There is a camera lens on both sides of the model and a small number of simple buttons which are easy to understand. While the camera does not come with any accessories, you can purchase a waterproof casing, tripod or handheld extension to give you more diversity in the shots you can take. If you are planning on taking your camera travelling, a waterproof housing will enable you to capture epic underwater shots. Personally, I think a tripod is a pretty essential addition. While you can place the device on a flat surface to take a shot, adding a tripod will increase stability and raise the camera so it can capture more of the surroundings.
Like me, you may be eager to try out your device as soon as it's out of the box but have patience; it will need charging first! Once charged, it is very easy to set up and even easier to get to grips with. While you can take a photo by pressing a button on the device, but it is mainly controlled by the Theta app which also lets you see and download any pictures and videos you have taken.
The app is incredibly useful for getting started. There is a user guide which has every instruction you might need, from setting up your device to uploading images and videos to Facebook! There are also some sample shots to browse, showing the different ways you can use your Theta V.
The app connects to your camera via its internal WiFi so you can capture images and videos. I have found that it doesn't always link up straight away, however once connected, it provides a live stream of whatever the camera can see and any images or videos you take appear on the app instantly. From there, you can upload your shots straight to social media.
Putting it to the test
Having experimented taking photos with the button on the camera and using the app, I found both methods have their pros and cons. If you are holding the Theta V, it looks more like a selfie, but you will see part of your hand in the 360 degrees image. Taking the photo with the app enables you to be stood further away from the device or not be in the shot at all. Either way, the images themselves are amazing and you can navigate around them with a swipe of a finger giving you real 'hands-on' interaction.
As mentioned, the images produced are fantastic and I was impressed with how much definition is retained when you zoom in on different areas. It captures images in HD and can shoot videos and live stream in 4K, this is a massive plus for this camera offering incredible image quality but, can be temperamental depending on the device you use.
While there is an automatic mode for capturing images, I was pleasantly surprised that there are also manual options. There is a range of white balance modes to suit different settings including 'cloudy' and 'outdoor'. You can also manually control the ISO and shutter speeds. There is a great range of ISO settings making this camera particularly effective at shooting in darker settings. The shutter speeds range from 1/25000 to 60 seconds so you can counteract different types of exposure. What's more, with a good battery life and 19 GB of internal memory, you won't need to worry about the camera dying or running out of space.
Virtual reality heaven
The spacial audio feature on these cameras is brilliant for virtual reality. With four microphones recording independently in four different directions it can recreate 360 degrees spacial audio so you hear things specific to what you are looking at, enhancing the virtual experience. This may not appeal to everyone but it is a pretty nifty feature which may become increasingly popular in the future.
Not only does the Theta V looks like a remote control but it can also function as one as well. Any image data you capture with the device can be played in 360 degrees on a television. As the camera itself has a gyro sensor, it can function as a remote control navigating around the image and zooming in.
Guide price £370
Ricoh's Theta V is certainly an impressive piece of technology. There is no doubt that it can capture incredible, interactive shots which make you feel like you are in the image. The 360-degree pictures and videos are a huge step up from panoramic images taken on an iPhone which can be slow and inconsistent. While the camera doesn't need to be static to capture footage, it does greatly improve the quality and videos appear more seamless. Therefore, the Theta V would be a fantastic way of capturing jaw-dropping 360-degree images and videos from a tripod or stationary position but may be less reliable in capturing action shots. Finally, the ability to shoot in 4K is a real selling point enabling the Theta V to compete with other, top of the range cameras.