GoPro MAX vs Theta Z1

January 3, 2020

Action camera has been very popular in the last decade but 360 cameras was still a niche product even now because of its different approach to videography. For those who are bored with standard camera, GoPro MAX Vs Theta Z1 can be a nice refreshment to try and see what you can do with these new devices. If you are also interested to try a 360 camera, go check what these two can offer and pick the one with the best capabilities to fit your application.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Why do you need a 360-degree Camera
  • What are GoPro MAX and Theta Z1
  • What GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 Look Like
  • How are the Image Quality of GoPro MAX and Theta Z1
  • What else GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 can offer
  • Are GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 Easy to Use
  • GoPro MAX Vs Theta Z1

360-degree Camera

Camera has become an inseparable device in our daily activities thanks to the smartphone and internet with its unlimited amount of social media services which are all tempting to utilize as a tool to share content whether it is just a short update about your day or a full length videos about the interesting places we have been visiting lately. All of them are available mostly for free and camera itself is the one tool we rely on to create those content.

Professional cameras are catching up in the market as people are ready to spend more and the popularity of the photography and videography as a hobby itself. Answering the demand of these customers, manufacturers are continuing to offer interesting devices; some of them are new and seems unique while in most cases these releases are an upgraded of their favorite products. These put the market always at a hype point where we can expect what comes next in our favorite devices.

One of the memorable moments in camera trend is the 360-degree camera because this type of product seemingly don’t live up to the hype back when it was first available for the end-consumer market. After Facebook introduced their native support for 360-degree footage in 2015, offering the device seems to be a very reasonable gamble for companies to take before the trend really kick in, but it never happens and even Nikon finally discontinued its KeyMission 360 in early 2018 for the lack of enthusiast.

So, what makes this camera is still widely available in the market today and even the synonym of action camera GoPro also offers its new model of the unique device last year. The answer can be different depending on who you ask but from the business point, there is still hope to make 360-degree camera a promising product because the selling of VR headset is actually increasing and this device is the one we can use to enjoy such content to the fullest.

 GoPro MAXTheta Z1
Shop now at Amazonclick hereclick here
Product Dimensions5 x 6.4 x 10.9 inches
9.1 x 9.1 x 9.1 inches
Item Weight0.16 ounces
11.2 ounces

The second answer from consumer point is probably how the camera capture footage itself. 360-degree angle is not for everyone but if you are bored and have been using wide angle camera for years, wanting a new one that can elevate the experience then this device will be a very promising take. The wide angle and various shooting options are a whole playground to work with when it is about 360-degree camera but then again, not everyone is fond of it. Read also: Rylo Vs Insta360 ONE X.

About GoPro MAX and Theta Z1

If you are looking for a fresh air to capture videos then a 360-degree camera can be the best option to try especially if you have never had one before because in comparison to the standard angle version, looking at views wider than what we usually captured des give a different vibe to it. As manufacturers are offering new devices, their price range is not going to break the bank as well. However, features does play an important role here since not all similar cameras have the same capabilities.

When talking about action cameras our mind must recall GoPro at least once because they are the one who popularized this compact, versatile camera back then and still one of the leaders today but last year they are also upgrading a new device, a 360-camera to be precise, competing with the existing companies out there like Theta that was already offering this type of camera back then in 2016. Both of them are the most popular options today due to their good performance and various interesting features.

GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 are two amazing 360-cameras from these popular brands and we are sure most people who are in the market with more budget can easily choose these models because they are quite expensive and pricier than those high-end action cameras out there or even entry-level DSLRs. These cameras are highly rated as well with ultra-high definition video quality and of course GoPro plant many of its original technology here as well which makes the MAX even more attractive to its loyal fans.

Theta itself has been very well accepted into the camera market with its 360-degree Ricoh back then and with Theta Z1, they put much upgrade with higher price point, aiming those who are willing to sacrifice more to get a new experience. The older V camera was an already good product but now the upgrade it both on the inside and outside; the more notable probably its decision to use two 1-inch sensor for an even amazing image quality mimicking what Sony has been doing with its RX100.

GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 Design

Putting these two cameras side by side, it is very easy to tell them apart because as you can see, they are coming with different design in which GoPro doesn’t take the same approach to a 360-degree cameras by creating a rectangular design, a bigger version of your AirPod case in comparison. It is very unique because other similar cameras usually have this stick style including Theta Z1. The MAX camera has a small screen on its body while the latter has this smaller display for stats.

They are very comfortable to hold but not made to be handheld for sure yet, if we needed can put them straight on flat surface like table when not using any mounting. Related accessories are sold separately from the main camera and there are lots of them out there including the invisible stick. In addition if you pick the Theta 1, the body is not waterproof so you may need to add another waterproof casing if plan to use them for water related activities.

GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 Image Quality

Moving further, let’s check what these cameras can offer and talking about their capabilities to record the native 360-degree shots, both of them are ready to give you an ultra-high definition or 4K quality right off the bat at 30 frames per second. The difference is that Theta 1 is already using 1-inch sensor for the two lenses, making the video has the level of details you can enjoy, but it doesn’t mean the MAX camera is bad for it is definitely up there to the regular action camera line.

They have good dynamic range but shooting inside a room, the MAX actually work with light better and while the room seems darker in comparison to how Z1 present it, the bright parts are not over exposed to significantly reduces the details. Outdoor shooting with Theta creates a more natural color and while it is less vibrant, we do prefer the result in this camera better. 

GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 Features

As for versatility, we do think MAX is slightly better here with its Hero mode. This mode is essentially here to make sure you can use this camera to act like a regular GoPro but we no longer have the 4K option. Theta Z1 actually can do the same function as well but it is a bit inconvenient because it needs plugins first that you can download from its store so now we don’t have to hide when capturing video of our surrounding but don’t want to be in the shot.

If you ever use the Theta V, the image stabilization performance is going to be the same here with Z1 and they are very good but GoPro comes with its popular HyperSmooth image stabilization and now called as MAX HyperSmooth which is even better. This stabilization creates a very smooth results and feels seamless as well than many other stabilization in the market. Another worthy feature from MAX is Time Warp which is a time-lapse function to adds a beautiful new perspective into your shot.

GoPro MAX and Theta Z1 Convenient

Last but not least is their convenient and the upgraded Theta Z1 does a great job with its new OLED display as well as plugins that can be used 3 at a time or the new Fn button to let user switch between normal shooting and self-timer shooting; all without smartphone. MAX colorful touch screen is also convenient enough to both monitor your footage and placement without a smartphone or to pick some of its new features.

GoPro MAX vs Theta Z1

- Three Cameras in One: Maximize your creative freedom; With MAX you can shoot traditional Hero style video and photos or capture immersive 360 footage; Vlog to the max with shotgun mic performance and a front facing screen
- Max Hyper Smooth: max gives you unbreakable stabilization by using 180 Capture as the ultimate buffer
- Horizon leveling: in Hero mode, game changing horizon leveling gives you that silky smooth cinematic look Whether you're getting sideways, flipping through the air or chasing your kids
- PowerPivot: Pane without the pan; Take incredible 270 distortion free panoramic photos without having to scan the horizon;Take PowerPivot selfies, action shots and vertical pics all with a level horizon
- 23MP resolution 360 degree still images using a large sensor and a new type of lens unit The camera is equipped with 2, 1. 0 Inch back illuminated CMOS Image Sensor
- Renewed the image processing algorithm achieved to get low and high sensitivity
- High quality 4K 360 degree videos using the latest image stabilization technology
- Superior scalability through updates and plug ins; Following on from the Ricoh THETA V, The camera uses Qualcomm’s snapdragons and an Android based operating system; Firmware updates facilitate continuous functional expansions and performance improvements

These 360-cameras are an amazing options to let you capture a whole view of your surroundings and they are equally working great in terms of video quality but side by side, details are better in your Z1 thanks to its bigger sensor. Image stabilization is improved from their predecessors and MAX has a very stable footage with its HyperSmooth stabilization from original GoPro Hero line. Features side they are equally rich and offer some interesting ability including shooting from just one of their lenses.


All in all there is no bad option between these cameras but their image quality tend to favor Z1 most. In comparison we prefer MAX because it already has a good video quality, easy to use, and also almost half cheaper than Theta Z1.

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