Photography & Art


The Ricoh Theta S - 360 Camera


Disclaimer:  Click on the links to see the 360º images. [sphere 603]

So my mouth has watered over some VR/360º cameras. I first started looking into the Samsung Gear 360. Then it was the Xiaomi 360. Then finally, I was looking with every intention to buy at the Ricoh Theta S.

Everybody says that the Xiaomi is better than the other two, but the long trip from China kept me from buying it.

I kept coming with every argument not to buy it. I was looking at YouTube videos (my mistake) and said to myself: "Self, you don't need this...".

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.)

I broke down...

It was so cool, looking at 360º videos and pictures online. It makes you feel like you are there!!

Every website I visited, said to wait because Ricoh is coming with a 4K version of the Theta.

Like, I have said many times; I am not a video guy. I am a photo guy!! I don't need 4K!!

It was on sale at Best Buy and my finger was itching so I went and bought it.

[sphere 605]

Testing the Theta S

Today, was the day to test it. I put the camera gear on my new MindShift backpack and strapped my tripod to it. I did some tests at home and the pictures come out much better when they are stable.

With everything packed, I went out for a walk at the Veteran's Memorial Park near my house. It's a short walk with some nice forests that I knew would make a great subject.

It was very peaceful there with some college kids playing frisbee golf and lots of bugs. Thankfully, I took some vitamin B1 before I left, so no bug bites. :-)

I walked up a hill to a clearing and set up the tripod with the Theta S. When I checked the bag, I had forgotten the mounting plate for the tripod, so I had to borrow the one from my camera. Always be ready!!

I used a great application called Vanish 360, that connects to the Theta S and allows the camera to remove anything that moves. You start the application and then the camera takes three pictures. All you have to do is be at a different place in every shot. The app then figures out what has moved and erases you from the last shot.

The only drawback is that the stitching makes some areas soft, which you can see on these.

[sphere 606]

The photos from Vanish 360 do not contain the projection information so, a tool like ExifTool is necessary to inject the information so the VR engines on the browsers can read it.

The command to add the projection is:

exiftool -ProjectionType="equirectangular" {foto_name}.jpg


One of the things you can do with these pictures is put them on the Google Cardboard or any other VR headset and you can see them in Virtual Reality. I tested this ( I have the very cheap, but very good VR Box) and they looked awesome!!

In the end, this was lots of fun (minus the bugs) and I can't wait to try it at a more scenic location.

I gotta get over my G.A.S...