Yesterday (or still today, depending on where you are), Ricoh Imaging Company in Japan has announced the launch of the Ricoh Theta Z1 360-degree camera. First introduced in 2013, Theta was Ricoh’s foray into consumer-grade 360-degree imaging. Since then, there have been a couple of iterations and the Theta Z1 you see here, unveiled ahead the CP+ (Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2019), is the latest that boasts some really serious improvements.
For starter, it now flaunts a new image sensor, a 1.0-inch back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, that allows the Z1 to capture 23 MP resolution 360-degree still images and couple with a 3-axis rotational stabilization to counter rotational shake, the Z1 is capable of shooting “considerably smooth” and immersive 360-degree videos in glorious, eye-watering 4K (3,840 x 1,920 pixels) resolution at 30 frames-per-second.
Another major improvement is the inclusion of a 0.93-inch organic EL monitor and a Function (Fn) button that gives you access to information that matters at a glance, including number of possible shots, exposure settings, and more. Moreover, it has another new feature which I personally didn’t think a 360-degree camera of this stature would ever have: it can record in uncompressed RAW ”DNG” format – in addition to JPEG. So I guess it kind of makes this the DSLR of 360 imaging?
Finally, under the hood, it has an Android-based system that affords flexibility in number of expansions through installation of additional plug-ins (presumably, with an app).
It is crazy how far Theta, and consumer 360 imaging in general, has progressed, ain’t it? But progress often comes with a hefty price and in the case of the Theta Z1, it will cost you a whopping $999.95. That’s like 2.5 and 5 times more over the V and SC currently being sold in stateside. Ouch.
Anywho, Ricoh Theta Z1 will be showcased at the CP+ where visitors will be able to see it in action and handle the device themselves. Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2019 is set at Pacifico Yokohama in Japan, happening from February 28-March 3, 2019. During the CP+, visitors will get to experience the recently announced Ricoh GRIII digital camera too.
All images courtesy of Ricoh Japan.