Ben Claremont was right. Ricoh presented a new camera called Theta Z1.
It's been a while since Ricoh made talk about itself. For a while users have been waiting for a new Theta model, a new letter to be considered for 360° content. And now we have it. The letter Z, or better Z1.
And this "1" is not there randomly. Because 1 indicates the SIZE in inches of the Theta Z1 SENSOR. It is the first consumer/prosumer camera to have two 1 "CMOS sensors with 20MP each.
Maybe for someone this does not say anything, but in truth, having a large sensor involves a better picture quality, with the same pixels, compared to the classic 1/2.3" sensors that we find in almost all the 360° cameras on the market.
And not only ! This camera also has the variable APERTURE of the diaphragm. It will be possible to vary between F2.1, F3.5 and F5.6 to decide the amount of light that will pass through the lens. This is very interesting as changing the aperture will allow better shots, for example by closing it in very bright environments.
Let's see some details:
JPEG photo - 6720x3360
RAW photo - 7296x3648
Shooting in RAW mode is not new in the world of 360° cameras, but the Theta Z1 is Ricoh's first 360° camera to shoot in RAW (DNG). Ricoh Theta Stitcher will be available for free, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop / Lightroom that will allow, after processing RAW files, stitching with SEAMLESS results. This will allow users to do more professional editing and, having 1" sensors, will give a very good final result.
ISO - 80 - 6400
EV - +/- 2
Exposure time - 1/25000 - 60 sec
With these exposure times and sensor size, night shots will be something fantastic.
Resolution 4K (3840x1920) 30fps 56Mbps
It's true, I expected better. We all expected better. In fact, 4K is a video resolution exceeded in the mid/high level cams and it's the basis of entry level cameras. It is also true that, since the sensors are 1", the videos could have better quality even at the same resolution, but since the competition is around 5.2K/5.7K, it would be nice to upgrade the video resolution. Recording time limit is 25 minutes per video.
However, it could be possible that Ricoh will upgrade the resolution with a software update in the future.
Stabilization is 3-axis. There are 4 microphones that allow you to record panoramic sound.
The memory remains internal and not variable and, unfortunately, it's only 19GB. This is a negative detail for Ricoh as having an SD (or at least 32/64GB) memory would have been much more appreciated. Above all because 19GB allow you to take only 350 photos in RAW (because let's be honest, everybody shoot in RAW when possible) or 40 minutes of video in 4K. It is true that emptying memory is often a positive factor, but ... also not.
Theta Z1 is equipped with a LED screen that allows you to see the current settings and, if necessary, change them. But not everything. For some settings, as well as for video preview, the camera will still need to be connected to the smartphone.
Finally price and release.
The camera should be available from March 2019 for $999.
The price, in my opinion, could be honest. The resolution is not the top, especially because at that price there is Aleta S2C that shoots in 12K and at the same resolution we have Xiaomi Mi Sphere / Madventure 360 that cost less than 1/3 of Theta Z1. But ... the 1" sensor could make the difference.
I do not say anything, I'd like to try the camera first.
I hope Ricoh will let me try it so that I can give you more details, show you the real quality of the content and help you with the purchase.
Comments are welcome below. I leave you Michael Ty's video about Theta Z1 (because I do not think to make one dedicated only to the presentation.)
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