GoPro Fusion vs Ricoh Theta V: The Ultimate Comparison

GoPro and Ricoh are two tech companies that have embraced the potential of 360 video and VR. The GoPro Fusion (available here) and Ricoh Theta V (available here) are considered among the best 360 cameras for consumers to start creating VR media. Each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses and the best option for you will depend on exactly how you want to use it. In this post I’ll be showing you what both cameras can do, comparing their specifications and letting you know exactly what each camera is good/not so good at. If you are trying to choose between the GoPro Fusion and Ricoh Theta V then read on.

Ricoh Theta V vs GoPro Fusion

Specifications

Specs Ricoh Theta V GoPro Fusion
Lenses 2 x f/2.0 2 x f/2.0
Video Resolution 3840 x 1920 @30fps  5.2K @ 30fps
Photo Resolution 15 MP 5376×2688 (jpeg) 18 MP (jpeg, RAW)
360 Live-Stream Yes – 4K No
Stabilization Software Stabilizaion 6 Axis Image Stabilization
Waterproof IP68 Water Resistant with waterproof case (added extra) Fully Waterproof up to 10ft
Shockproof No Shock Resistant Casing
Memory 19GB Internal Memory (not exapadable) 2x up to 256GB MicroSD (at least 90mbps)
Battery 80 Minutes of Video 1 Hour of Video
Sensors Gyroscope Gyroscope, GPS
Audio x4 Microphone (ambisonic audio) x 4 Microphone (ambisonic audio)
Compatibility iPhone & Android Android/Apple
Other Features Auto HDR mode, Plugins extend capabilities Overcapture, 360 Time Lapse
Price $399 $699 – $720
Where to Buy  Gearbest.com Amazon

 

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Specs Analysis

Let’s first take a look at the design of both cameras, as they are very different. The Ricoh Theta V is a candy bar shaped device with two lenses, a couple of manual controls and a tripod mount on its base. There is no screen and the few buttons on the camera are used to control the shutter, power and Wifi connection. The Theta V is easy to use hand held or with the tripod/selfie stick; it’s very light and its shape allows it to stand on a flat surface without any other equipment.

The GoPro Fusion is larger, thicker, with more options for manual control. Unlike the Theta V, the Fusion features a small LCD screen which allows you to view and change most of the camera settings. Both cameras have their own app for controlling the camera, but only the Fusion allows you to make the same changes manually. The GoPro is heavier and bulkier and may not work with some smaller tripods. GoPro does provide an excellent mini tripod that works specifically with the Fusion and is included with the camera.

The Fusion has a removable battery and memory, unlike the Theta V which has internal memory and an irremovable battery. The Fusion does require two very fast Micro-SD cards to work, which can add significant expense to an already expensive camera. Although, a plus for the Fusion is that it’s also compatible with most GoPro mounts, meaning you can attach it to pretty much anything.

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Video Quality

Obviously one of the most important aspects of any 360 camera – how good is the video? When it comes to the ricoh Theta V vs the GoPro Fusion there is one pretty clear winner. The Fusion is probably the best 360 camera for video under $1000 right now. It can shoot 5.2K resolution 360 video with a high bit rate; in the right conditions it can look close to HD, which is extremely difficult to achieve for a 360 video.

The Theta V features custom lenses with DSLR technology built in, however it is limited to 4K resolution which means you are more likely to see individual pixels in the video. The Theta V is still a very good 360 camera for video and is particularly good in low light situations, however the Fusion beats it when it comes to overall quality.

Check out this video comparison between the GoPro Fusion and the Ricoh Theta V. I shot 4 videos in various locations with both cameras and combined them together so you can see the difference between the two. The video essentially demonstrates that the Fusion is the superior camera for 360 video but that the Theta V is not far behind despite being considerably cheaper. The Fusion is particularly strong in low light situations and when movement is involved.

See Also: GoPro Fusion Full Review

Stabilization 

If you intend on shooting moving 360 video then I would recommend the GoPro Fusion above the Theta V. The Fusion features 6 axis stabilization powered by an internal gyroscope and it works very well, even when the camera is moving quite violently. The Theta V does also have software stabilization which has recently been updated, however it is not as effective as the GoPro Fusion and therefore not as suited to action shots.

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Photo Quality

Both the Theta V and GoPro Fusion are capable of shooting 30 photos as well as video, but the Theta V comes out on top in my comparisons. Even though the Fusion can shoot higher resolution photos (18mp vs 15mp) and can shoot in a RAW format, the end result is usually poorer in terms of dynamic range and vibrancy of color. Having said that, if you are experienced in editing RAW photos then you’ll certainly have the opportunity to improve the quality of your images, but it takes work.

The above image demonstrates the difference in image size and quality between the GoPro Fusion and the Ricoh Theta V. You can see the Fusion image is slightly larger that the Theta V and that each camera deals with contrast, color and light differently. While the GoPro Fusion is able to capture more vibrant colors it’s not able to deal with direct light very well at all, leading to a significant amount of overexposure. I personally prefer the look of the Theta V image, but this will be partly down to your personal preference.

See Also: My Ricoh Theta V Review

The secret weapon of the Theta V is its ability to shoot auto HDR photos, which is a great feature for creating compelling images on the fly. Theta Theta V also has the more basic functions down, where as the Fusion is lacking some more obvious features like a timer.

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Software

Both the GoPro Fusion and Theta V offer free software to enable you to fully utilise your 360 camera, unfortunately both come with their flaws. Let’s start with the Fusion; in my full review of the GoPro Fusion I comment on how the official app is pretty poor. It’s not able to connect to several major phones and is missing several features, I found it a pain to use. Fortunately you don’t really need to use the app to use the camera to its full potential. I suggest suing the Fusion Studio, a desktop based app, to render and edit your video. While it has its limitations, I’ve still found it to be stable and have enough options to satisfy my needs.

Unlike the Fusion, the Ricoh Theta V relies on it’s app a bit more. While the official Theta V app is slightly better than that of the Fusion, it still suffers from crashes and slow connection. You need to use the Theta V app to stitch your final photos and videos, which it does pretty well, but if you want to preview your video you may run its some frustrating issues.

One aspect you will need to consider if you buy the Fusion is how powerful your desktop is, because the Fusion desktop software requires a reasonably powerful system to stitch the video in time. Many people have complained of a very long rendering and stitching process when using the Fusion, whereas the Theta V is much quicker and easier to use.

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Conclusion

So which of these 360 cameras should you buy? If you want the absolute best 360 camera for video, then I recommend the GoPro Fusion (check latest price), but you’ll have to spend a bit extra and work for longer to get your video ready for publishing. The Fusion is particularly excellent at shooting moving video and it’s also waterproof and shock proof, so if you are thinking about shooting in challenging conditions, this is the camera for you. The Theta V (check latest price) is better suited for non moving 360 video, or better yet shooting virtual tours. The Theta V is one of only a few 360 camera recognised by Google for shooting Street View photos, so if that’s something that interest you then the Theta V could be the better option.

 

 

 


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1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Ethan Massey 13th September 2018 at 8:15 pm

    I have a top of the line MacBook Pro and the fusion studio destroys it even for a 2 minute video. CPU gets up 120% usage. Is this normal for fusion studio with a 5k 2 minute video? Is there any stitching alternatives?

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