The Ricoh 360 Camera review will give you the lowdown on premium Theta Z1, creating quite a stir with its specs and performance. Find out all the pros and cons and first-hand impressions on its actual performance and photo quality.
Our Review of the Ricoh Theta Z1 360 Camera
The Ricoh Theta Z1 is one of the best high-end 360 cameras in the market right now with its 4K resolution and high image quality.
The camera has the best user-friendly interface that is clear and simple. You do not have to be an editing wiz to make top-notch 360 photos. The theta Z1 takes care of much of the editing so that you don’t have to do as much. Thus, you can get up to speed fast and start posting high-quality 360 images online without needing professional assistance.
- Easy to use
- Auto HDR mode
- DNG RAW mode
- Good performance in low light
- Top-quality 360 images
- Non-removable battery
- Fixed memory
Design and Build
Just like other 360 cams in the Ricoh product range, the Theta Z1 sports a candy bar shape so that you can handle it with ease. Using a selfie stick or a tripod is also a cinch as a consequence.
The Z1 has the beefiest build in the Theta lineup. However, fitting 2 one-inch sensors in one slick package is quite an engineering feat.
High-grade material is used in the Theta Z1, which sends the appropriate high-end vibes. The LCD screen is a new addition with which you can view device status like memory and battery level. There are some controls towards the camera’s side which can help you to make necessary changes. But for comprehensive control, it is best to use the app.
Now comes the main part. Ricoh Theta Z1 boasts high specs and a high-end build, but are the pics up to par?
360 images are indeed of very high quality. In general, the camera does not disappoint the image quality department.
The use of dual 1-inch lenses enables the gadget to capture more details and lighter than its rivals. It’s good that lens quality is stellar since the lens performance is what matters for great image quality besides just the resolution.
The lens configuration and design allow for good performance even in low lighting. The camera record high-quality images for indoor spaces, which is significant since this is an area where 360 struggle.
The camera’s RAW image recording capability is one of its most salient features. Together with high-end sensors, the RAW format allows much detail to be captured.
You can do a bit of editing to bring the subsequent images up to par with those shot by DSLR. Although the RAW format is pretty slick, it does take some editing to bring good final results.
The good news is that the Theta Z1 has made editing easy so that you will need to be an editing pro.
Ricoh Theta Stitcher Lightroom Plugin
The Z1 is an exceptional 360 camera due to several factors, one of which is the Adobe Lightroom plugin. Richo developed this piece of software, especially for the Theta Z1.
With this plugin, you can easily import RAW images, then stitch and edit them using Lightroom. Prior to deploying this plugin, editing RAW files entailed the appearance of annoying seam lines, making 360 images rather useless. But with the plugin, you can greatly boost image quality and do away with this problem.
At 4K resolution, one can expect some really vivid 360 field-of-view imagery. Thanks to the lens and sensor quality, the Theta Z1 can capture lighting as well as scenery detail for stunning photos.
The camera is also equipped with no less than 4 microphones to capture ambient sounds. This is a feature that you will appreciate when viewing videos in the VR headset.
But you should also note that there is not much on offer with respect to software stabilization, so you will have to take care not to move too much while recording images. This is probably because the 360 camera is designed for photos rather than videos, although it can record very decent 4K footages.
The Theta Z1 has a great app that can take much of the work out of image editing. The brand has made an effort to develop software that is at par with the premium hardware.
The updated app gives you access to a wide array of options and also shows instant previews. The app empowers you to exert a high level of control, much like the DSLR.
With an easy learning curve, the Lightroom plugin is easy to master in a short time span.
The Bad News
While the Ricoh Theta Z1 is a very decent 360 camera, there are some caveats to be aware of.
One of the most frustrating is the non-removable battery. For long photo shoots, you will have to lug a portable charger with the camera.
But the biggest drawback by far is the non-availability of expandable storage. You will have to make do with the built-in 19 GB storage. If you need more space than this, then you are out of luck. The 19 GB storage allows for a few hundred photos.
So although these cost-cutting measures are annoying, they are not deal killers since they don’t break functionality.
So the Theta Z1 is the right 360 camera to have if you will be using it primarily for images, don’t mind carrying about a portable charger, and get used to the fixed 19 GB storage.
Our Final Thoughts
The Theta Z1 is one of the best choices for a high-end 360 camera under $1,000. There is much to look forward to besides the class-leading 4K image quality, like the ease of use, good app, and gentle learning curve.