UNBOXED: Reviewing the Ricoh Theta SC
In just the past few years, digital imaging has gone through quite the renaissance. Sure, the smartphone has hurt the consumer-grade digital cameras out there, but we’ve seen action cameras emerge, the SLR market has continued to boom, and accessories in this category have continued to thrive.
But it’s 360-degree imaging that will save this space, and at the forefront of the market is Ricoh.
I’ve come into contact with a number of different 360 cameras over the course of the past year, and I’ve been impressed by them all. And then there’s the THETA line of 360 cameras that Ricoh has rolled out. For the latest UNBOXED, we looked at the THETA SC, a more consumer-friendly (read: less-expensive) version of the THETA S.
The $299.99 camera comes in four different color options and works in a variety of ways. Pictures can be taken directly on the camera via the shutter button and pictures can be transferred over USB to a computer, or the user can connect to the device through the Ricoh THETA app and the integrated “WiFi network” the THETA transmits. Connecting through the app allows you to control numerous functions including aperture, ISO, and more, and you can preview the image prior to actually capturing anything. The THETA SC also can record full 1080p video at 30 fps.
The device can hold up to 9,000 images or around 171 minutes of video at a time. And interacting with the images can occur in a variety of ways as well. You can view them in a VR mode (as long as you have a head mount device you can strap your phone into), you can share the photos direct to social media (they play really nice with the Facebook 360-degree image posts), you can view them directly in the app, and you can even share the images right on Google Street View.
What really makes the THETA SC stand out, though, is just how simple it is to use. The product feels familiar in that it has the same feel of a smartphone in your hand. Connecting to it via the built-in WiFi network is incredibly easy, and taking pictures through your phone is just downright fun. And you don’t have to worry about stitching software—the THETA SC (and all THETA models for that matter) have the tech built right into the device. And it works exceptionally well.
It is a little annoying that for just $50 more you can get yourself a nicer-built model (the THETA S) that feels like a more-premium product and has live streaming functionality. But that alone isn’t enough to make me forget about just how fun using the THETA SC was. And playing around with the photos after you’ve downloaded them onto your phone is a blast. At the end of the day, what I’m looking for in a tech product is a positive experience. Is the product enjoyable to use? The answer is a resounding yes with the THETA SC.