The Ricoh Theta X is a pocket-sized 360-degree camera that may be used to create immersive virtual tours.

Ricoh released one of the first 360-degree cameras over a decade ago, and now the company has released a new Theta model with a few useful, if not wholly unique, capabilities.

The Theta X features two 48MP sensors and dual lenses that can record 60MP spherical photographs or 5.7K/30p video when used simultaneously. However, other Theta cameras, such as the flagship Theta Z1, include usability features like a useful 2.25-inch touchscreen, removable batteries, and expandable memory.

While huge touchscreens have been seen on 360 cameras before, such as the Kandao QooCam 8K, this is the first time a Ricoh Theta camera has one. It’s a major plus in terms of usability because it enables you to preview scenes and see 360-degree photographs directly on the camera, rather than depending on a smartphone app.

A fairly quality magnesium alloy body, the ability to power the camera from external batteries through its USB-C connector while recording, and built-in GPS for geotagging your works are all features of the Theta X. Because the camera runs on Android, it may accept third-party plug-ins from developers to improve its capabilities.

One of the most appealing features of Ricoh Theta cameras is their customizability since the plug-ins allow you to personalize the camera to your exact workflow. You may add wireless live streaming without a PC, for example, or have the camera blur faces in the shot automatically.

Because of these capabilities and the camera’s pricing, the Ricoh Theta X is aimed more at commercial users than the typical content maker or traveler, although it does appear to be a flexible all-rounder. It will be available for $799 / £899 (about AU$1,700) starting in March.

Is there a new era for 360 cameras?

When a new 360 camera is released, the question of “who is it for?” is common. While Insta360’s competitors are obviously oriented at content makers, the Ricoh Theta X appears to be seeking a home in the corporate world.

According to Ricoh, the epidemic has increased the need for immersive photographs and virtual tours, thus the Theta X was intended to take 360-degree photos and video in industries like real estate, construction, and automobile.

This explains why the Theta X places such a premium on adaptability, with changeable batteries and a microSD card allowing it to function all day. The camera’s real-time processing, according to Ricoh, will help cut down on editing time, which can be lengthy for 360-degree video footage.

When the first Theta was released in 2013, it was primarily aimed towards artists and makers, but 360 cameras at the time had limited editing capabilities and a lack of platforms to display their work on.

However, in recent years, their allure has been the ability to use post-processing to influence where the camera ‘looks’ in a standard movie long after you’ve returned home. This is Insta360’s strength, and while the Ricoh Theta X appears to be aimed at a different need for enterprises to offer virtual tours in a socially-disconnected world, both are compelling use cases that might see 360-degree cameras find their place in 2022.

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