Click on the images displayed below to view them in fully immersive 360 degrees.
Having played with my little Ricoh Theta camera for about a week now, I think it’s time for a wee review with some example shots to give you an idea of it’s potential. First though a few words on how it works. The camera has a double fish-eye lens that takes a simultaneous 360 degree shot of your surroundings, up, down, every which way and fully immersive. A simple set-up and you can connect the camera to your i-phone (or i-pad or i-pod touch) via a wi-fi signal emitted from the camera itself. An app will then let you explore the image from multiple angles and play around with it. There is no way to preview the image before you take it, so you just have to trust your judgement and see what happens. However, if you have a playful temperament and like to experiment then this can be a lot of fun. I’ve found also that some images work better when reduced down to spheres like this:
Kyoto Station + Kyoto Tower – click for the immersive spherical image.
Or stretched out into panoramas like this:
At Fushimi Inari Taisha. Click this image and all further images for the full 360 degree experience!
You’ll also noticed from that first picture that taking pictures manually will necessarily turn your pictures into glorified selfies and give you massive arms. No problem – you can take pictures remotely from your i-phone. Standing the camera up on a flat surface can give good results.
But sometimes a tripod is better. I got myself a GorillaPod, a wonderful little creation with legs that can wrap around branches and railings – and that is how I took this image from a balcony railing. I love the fact that I could take a picture that includes both the restaurant and the river that it faces!
Yuka balcony dining at Shiki Yoshina
Now though I live in Japan’s most photogenic city, traditional landscape views are not necessarily best suited to this camera. Unless that is you enjoy taking candid shots of other people taking pictures. I confess I do.
At Kinkakuji – The Golden Pavilion
No more how subtle you are though, this little camera does attract a lot of attention.
“What’s that?” – At Kiyomizu Temple
The best pictures tend to be those in which your entire surrounds are of interest and not just that which lies before you. This makes you think about your pictures, and indeed the world about you in a whole new way.
Among the red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha
Another strong point for this camera is group shots. The person who takes the picture can also be included in the shot and need never be left out again!
I have more pictures to post from Pontocho, Kawaii Kanjiro’s house and other sites around town, but it grows late… For now I shall leave you with my favorite picture so far. I thought this might turn out well, when I took it, but it exceeded my expectations. Further 360 adventures will follow soon!
Fushimi Inari Taisha
See also: Climbing Mount Daimonji with Robert Yellin & the Ricoh Theta