Ricoh was one of the first camera makers to jump on the 360/VR bandwagon and while its newest Theta camera, the Theta V, looks nearly identical to its predecessors, it’s dramatically different inside.
One of the major changes is the use of the Android operating system for the Theta, which will allow third-party developers to create apps to extend the camera’s functionality. One such app, to support remote playback capability on external displays, will launch later this year. With the app, you’ll be able to use the Theta V as a remote control to pan through 360-degree video on the big screen.
Also new is 4K video recording, which is available up to 30p.
Ricoh made a number of other improvements including:
- support for omni-directional audio recording via a 4-channel microphone
- 4K/360-degree live-streaming
- 2.5x faster data transfers to mobile devices via Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth Low Energy so the Theta V remains constantly connected to your mobile device
- H.265 (HEVC) compression for more efficient file storage (H.264 is also available and is the default codec)
You store your footage to 19GB of internal storage–good for 40 minutes of 4K footage or 4,800 spherical stills. The camera’s ISO range is 64-3200 when shooting stills in manual mode and 64-6400 during video recording. You’ll enjoy 65 minutes of recording out of a fully charged battery.
The Theta V is available for pre-order now for $430.
Ricoh is also adding a pair of accessories to support the new camera. There’s a 3D Microphone TA-1 ($330) for recording concert audio and the Underwater Case TW-1 ($230), which lets the Theta V (and Theta S and SC) operate underwater at depths of up to 30 meters.