We wrote about the launch of Richoh’s new 360° Theta S camera last night, it’s the newest camera in their line up with a few speed improvements and a new design. We went back today as IFA opened up to get a look at the device in person and see how it goes.

To start with the Theta S has a lovely soft-touch rubber on the body which feel soft and extremely comfortable to hold in the hand. The design is a more mature and serious looking than the brightly coloured options of the Theta, the S could be used to describe Serious and it looks quite serious, but professional in Black. The unit itself is quite tall – about as tall as a Galaxy Note but a bit thicker and the thickness lets you grip the camera with a firm hand that means you won’t be dropping it in a hurry. There’s a power button on the side which is easily reachable with your thumb in that fist grip and then below that is a Wi-Fi toggle and a switch between the Video/Picture function – and of course, dead centre of the flat side is the shutter button.

The fish-eye lens is quite large, but doesn’t overly stick out of the main body, the spherical cover over the lens is quite smooth and the whole unit slips in and out of your pocket quite easily.

To take a photo it’s lightning fast, stick the camera where you want to go and hit the side mounted button and you’re good to go. The demo showed that the transfer speed for the photos is quite fast, with a little bit of lag, but quite a big step up from the previous model. The camera can stream a photo quite quickly, but due to the post-processing done on the video, there’s no live-streaming 360° videos wirelessly just yet, but as we get better hardware that will change.

The quality of shots is pretty great, and you can check out a range of images from the Theta S over on the theta360 website

The 360° video was quite fun, and one of the videos I found while checking out their YouTube channel where you can get an idea of the quality of video, I found a demo they had run after attaching the Theta S to a drone – this is a great idea.

The big surprise was that as well as doing videos, the camera will take a 360° time-lapse that you can share on YouTube using their 360° options. The demo video of the starry night was amazing but sadly isn’t available at the moment publicly.

There are a couple of attachments for the Theta S, including a screw-in lanyard attachment and a case. You can also attach the camera to a standard tripod mount to help take those time-lapse shots.


The overall takeaway from our look at the Theta S is that it’s a pricey camera, but that’s warranted by the hardware and software experience you get from the Theta S. We’re talking with Ricoh about getting a review unit ahead of the October launch so we can present a more comprehensive look at the camera and the experience, but at this stage, it’s probably a safe bet to add it to your Christmas list.

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Quality looks pretty flat and soft, hope the video is sharper than this when it comes out