Object of Desire: Ricoh Theta Camera

December 5, 2013

By Jesse Will

These are interesting times in imaging: Some of the most innovative cameras this year have re-imagined what a camera should be. Take, for example, Sony’s QX cameras, which rely on your phone to provide a viewfinder. The tiny Ricoh Theta similarly has no viewfinder but stretches the concept even further. It takes fully spherical images in one shot via a twin-lens folded optical system, capturing everything from the frescoed ceiling above your head to your busted shoes below it. The compact, 3.3-ounce unit fits easily in the palm and has a trigger button mid-way up its body. A tripod mount is below, if you want to trigger remotely (to avoid getting those shoes of yours in the pic). Images are transferred from the camera to your phone via Wi-Fi, and with the Ricoh Theta app, they can be viewed or shared. The device has 4 GB of internal memory, allowing for up to 1,200 shots. We haven’t yet tested the Theta, and while Ricoh’s image examples aren’t crisper than those from numerous apps that allow you to stitch photos together to create panoramas or spherical images, we can see that it still provides a streamlined, one-shot option that could prove useful for a diverse lot, from real estate photographers to location scouts.

Price: $400

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