The art of photography may be a rage among all age groups these days but the harsh reality is that the humble camera is getting left behind as mobile phones are steadily killing the camera industry. Rather than pick up the traditional camera, people tend to rely more on their mobile phones to capture moments of their interest, be it their own selfie, family gatherings or events in their nearby surroundings.
Fully aware of this dwindling interest in the traditional imaging devices, camera makers are innovating to stay relevant in the marketplace. One such company is Ricoh India, which has introduced an interesting device called the Ricoh Theta m15 camera. Take my word, the Ricoh Theta m15 is not just an ordinary camera; it is one cool device, capable of capturing fully spherical (360-degree) images and video. The captured images or video stored can then be viewed using a dedicated mobile app.
Yes, you guessed it right: the Theta m15 device allows users to capture the area all around them—all in a single spherical image. But that’s not all; this new spherical camera can also capture spherical videos! Its unique capabilities bend the traditional rules of photography and allow users to capture their surroundings and create photos in a brand new way. To be quite frank, Theta m15 is one of the most intriguing products I have reviewed till date. Read on to find out what this device is all about.
Out of the box, the Ricoh gadget comes in a sleek form factor. It is a pretty easy-to-carry device that is pocketable and is covered in a rubber coating that makes it easy to hold in the hand. Physical controls are kept to a minimum. There’s one big button and then there are power and Wi-Fi controls on the side.
Like I said before, basically the Theta m15 is a spherical camera that captures the space around you with just one touch. The fish-eye lenses on each side of the compact body capture images of just over 180 degrees, which are stitched together inside the camera body. These lenses on both the front and back sides of the camera, permit a full spherical image to be captured with each exposure, and Auto, Shutter-Priority, and ISO Priority exposure modes are available for greater control over the final results.
Specifically, the Theta m15 can capture spherical videos up to three minutes in length with no stitch lines so you can share footage with your contacts that will make them feel like they are right there! Let me elaborate a little bit here. What I mean to say is that upto three minutes of 1080p video can be captured at 15 fps, with frame stitching done during post-production using a dedicated Mac and Windows-compatible application. Both stills and movies can be saved to the internal 4 GB memory, and image files up to 5 MB can be wirelessly transferred to social media sites using the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
The Ricoh Theta app (for iPhone/Android) enables both remote and manual shooting, you can also use a smartphone to shoot images from a remote location, without needing to hold the camera in your hand. In my usage, I downloaded the Android-specific Theta app on a HTC device and was able to take photos remotely using this app. I also transferred the images and videos captured during the evaluation period by means of a PC application that allows you to save and view your spherical images and videos in high resolution. This can be done by means of an included USB cable that comes along with the Theta m15.
In my overall assessment, I loved the Ricoh camera’s design; it is simple, stylish and with one big button. On the side are power and Wi-Fi controls. This camera allows users to capture, explore and share their unique visual experiences with people using unconventional, fully spherical images on all online platforms.
Ricoh Theta m15 is definitely a niche device and it will strongly attract quite a few among us who are keen to add some creativity to their photography skills.
** Estimated street price: Rs 34,770