It figures that right after I write about how quiet 2022 is so far for 360 cameras that less than a week later, Ricoh decides to shatter that notion. The new Ricoh Theta X brings a few things to the table to shake things up in the consumer 360 camera market.
360 content creator and YouTuber Hugh Hou has had his hands on the camera for a bit and has taken an in-depth dive to explore what sets it apart from the rest of the cameras out there.
The Insta360 ONE X2 has always been a solid, go-to 360 camera since its release in 2020, but in 360 camera years, it's getting up there. And while solid, it didn't change the formula all that much from the original version, aside from adding the LCD screen, which much of the direct competition, including the GoPro Max and Kandao QooCam 8K, did earlier. All of those cameras really looked about the same when it came to image quality, even though the QooCam 8K shoots higher-resolution video.
And so here's where Ricoh's Theta X shakes things up. Aside from adding a large-by-360-standards 2.25" screen to the mix, it also runs an Android operating system, which opens up a world of third-party development features and is a hint at how much horsepower the camera is packing. It also allows for the camera to handle all stitching without a computer, which is a huge time-saver for content creators.
Coming in with a 1/2.0" sensor, it's larger than the GoPro and Insta360 ONE X2, and it also shoots at a higher resolution (as far as still photos go) than the competition, at 60 megapixels compared to the 16.6 of the GoPro Max and 18.4 of the ONE X2. That's a huge difference, and Hou shows just how much of a difference it makes paired with the quality lenses from Ricoh. It even gives the image quality champ, the Ricoh Theta Z1, with its larger, one-inch sensor (though lower resolution) a run for its money.
As Hou notes, there's even built-in GPS, so for fans of Google StreetView, this camera gives you accurate location data tagged right into your photos without the need (or inaccuracy) of a cell phone.
There are a lot of other design changes from Ricoh, including a removable battery, the inclusion of internal memory and a micro-SD card slot, and USB-C charging. All in all, while not intended to be Ricoh's flagship camera, it certainly will make the competition sit up and take notice. 2022 might not be such a boring year for 360 cameras after all.
For the full rundown on the camera's features and a comparison to a few other 360 cameras out there, check out Hou's video above.