Ricoh Theta cameras are loved by many for making 360-degree videos. The company has released Ricoh Theta V, an upgrade from Ricoh Theta S that offers a 4K resolution as well as a number of improvements. So, is it worth the money? Let’s see how Ricoh Theta V vs Ricoh Theta S differ to find out!
The following discussion will explain to you everything about:
- The build quality of Ricoh Theta V compared to Ricoh Theta S
- The connectivity and features of each camera
- The comparison of their image quality and audio quality
- The battery life of Ricoh Theta V vs Ricoh Theta S
- Which 360-degree camera that is more recommended for you
Design & Build
From a design point of view, there is usually a good reason why some companies stick to an existing shape and look, not caring about bringing changes or refreshments to a new product (like what happened on Insta360 One X vs Insta360 One). This phenomenon also happens on Ricoh Theta cameras. The overall appearance of the new Ricoh Theta V is almost too identical to the old Ricoh Theta S.
That is simply because the existing design works. People have always appreciated how the slim, tall design of a Ricoh Theta camera fits nicely in the hand. There are only a few buttons on the body, so it is really simple to operate. Well, you won’t be able to customize advanced settings, but this is not a problem if you just want a camera that is easy and quick to use.
Thanks to the tall body, you can hold the camera without putting your fingers anywhere near the lens. There is less chance of your fingers accidentally blocking a part of the frame or scratching the delicate lens surface. That said, it is still advisable to give the camera an additional hand grip to get the best footage quality.
A careful measurement will reveal that Ricoh Theta V is actually a little bit wider and taller than Ricoh Theta S. Not that it makes any real difference in use. Both cameras are also really lightweight. You can easily pocket either of them without any discomfort. Another difference is that Ricoh Theta V can work with an additional housing which provides waterproofing up to 30ft, whereas Ricoh Theta S does not have any way to work under water.
|Ricoh Theta V||Ricoh Theta S|
|Best Offer||click here||click here|
|Product Dimensions||1.8 x 0.9 x 5.1 inches||5.1 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches
|Item Weight||4.3 ounces||11.4 ounces|
While there aren’t many differences in terms of design, the connectivity section of Ricoh Theta V vs Ricoh Theta S have several. Perhaps the most notable addition is the ability to livestream in 4K wirelessly, though the setup is not the most pain-free process.
Ricoh Theta S is actually able to livestream. However, the resolution is capped at 1080p, and it needs a cable connection to do so. When you are in an outdoor adventure, using a cable connection for live streaming may be really inconvenient. On the bottom of the unit, you can find the Micro HDMI port along with a Micro USB port and a tripod mount.
Ricoh Theta V has removed the Micro HDMI port in favor of a microphone input. This will allow you to record footage with 360-degree spatial audio. The Micro USB port and the tripod mount remain. The company has also added Bluetooth to this product, which will allow remote shutter, setting adjustments, and location information. However, for file transfer and live view, the connection will need to switch to Wifi.
With Ricoh Theta V, you can live stream in 4K, but unfortunately the setup is a bit complicated. Other 360-degree cameras usually can connect directly to YouTube or Facebook via built-in apps. With Ricoh Theta V, you will need to connect the camera to a computer first using a Miracast-compatible wireless adapter. Still, this is a good improvement from Ricoh Theta S; the option is there for any person who needs to livestream.
There is an improvement in the storage capacity of Ricoh Theta V vs Ricoh Theta S. The old model only has 8GB of storage, whereas the new model comes with 19GB of storage. However, it should be noted that the increased capacity is not actually that dramatic, as 4K videos tend to demand a lot of storage space.
There is no way to expand the storage of either camera with a memory card. But they support external hard drives, so you can just transfer the pics and videos to make room for more.
One of the best feature improvements on Ricoh Theta V is the ability to stitch 360-degree videos automatically. Previously, on Ricoh Theta S, you have to stitch them manually via the app. It takes time and effort. The new model is able to process the captured spherical videos internally, and the results are great.
The company has provided a software development kit (SDK) for Ricoh Theta S. With the SDK, people can develop their own custom apps. The company has done the same with Ricoh Theta V by introducing its own SDK, which provides access to the camera’s application program interface. In fact, the support for Miracast streaming was created with the same SDK. This opens the possibility of introducing new features and functions into the camera.
Of course, the most highlighted feature of Ricoh Theta V vs Ricoh Theta S is the maximum video resolution. Ricoh Theta V has been future-proofed with the ability to record in 4K/29.97fps, though the maximum recording duration is limited to 25 minutes. Ricoh Theta S is capped at 1080p/30fps.
That being said, there is no improvement in the still image resolution. Just like Ricoh Theta S, Ricoh Theta V captures still images in 14MP. This should be already good enough for online sharing, but it is not recommended for large-sized printing.
Professional 360-degree cameras are typically armed with multiple lenses. Consumer-grade ones like Ricoh Theta V and Ricoh Theta S only have a two-lens setup. So, you can’t compare their shots to those of the premium high-end models.
But most people will be impressed by the image quality of these cameras. As a matter of fact, Ricoh Theta S already has decent quality. Ricoh Theta V takes it to the next level with the increased resolution. In good lighting conditions, the images are clear and detailed, with well-balanced exposure. The automatic stitching is very good; there is some noise and color fringing, but the overall quality is still among the better 360-cameras in the market.
Colors are mostly accurate, though they may get a bit washed off when in low light. In videos, movements look smooth and quite detailed, though a close inspection will show some loss of sharpness.
One issue with Ricoh Theta S is the lack of image stabilization. This is a big problem because people usually record videos while walking or moving around. When it was first released, Ricoh Theta V also lacked image stabilization – but no longer. The company has released a firmware update which utilizes the camera’s gyroscope to add image stabilization.
The result is mostly good. Without image stabilization, a footage that is shot while walking is really shaky, almost unwatchable. With image stabilization, the footage is much smoother and more stable, and definitely watchable.
How about the audio quality? Well, Ricoh Theta S only has a basic mono microphone, and it does not have a mic input. So, you can’t expect it to create any kind of spatial sound.
Ricoh Theta V, however, comes with two mics on the top and two mics on the sides. This four-mic setup enables the camera to not only capture higher quality audio, but also create a 360-degree spatial impression. When listening to the footage with a headset, you will hear sounds coming from different directions.
In addition, the company has partnered with Audio Technica to create a special 3D microphone accessory. The TA-1 mic will indeed add some bulk to the overall size of the camera, and it will draw power from the camera as well.
But the sound quality is even better than that of the internal mic system. When panning through the scene, the sound directions will change accordingly. As a result, you will be able to create much more immersive and life-like videos with the camera.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the battery life of each camera. According to the specs, Ricoh Theta S is able to last for 260 photos per charge. This is pretty good and should be sufficient for a few hours.
On paper, Ricoh Theta V gets an increased battery capacity. It can last for 300 photos per charge. However, for video recording, the maximum battery life is only 80 minutes per charge. This is because 4K recording requires much more processing and power.
Ricoh Theta V vs Ricoh Theta S
Ricoh Theta V is definitely a great 360-degree camera, and is generally more recommended. It comes with many improvements from its predecessor. The video resolution has been upped to 4K, and it can capture better quality spatial audio. It now also has built-in image stabilization and the ability to stream wirelessly.