The Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere is considered to be one of the best value 360 cameras available as of now. It can shoot 3K video that’s bright, colorful and sharp and it can take large 23 megapixel 360 photos. The new kid on the block is the Ricoh Theta V, successor to the much loved Ricoh Theta S which was considered the best 360 camera of its time. Now both of these 360 cameras are available, let’s try and determine which is better at shooting 360 video, photo and which you should buy.
Ricoh Theta V vs Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere
|Specs||Ricoh Theta V||Xiaomi Mi Sphere|
|Number of Lenses||2 x f/2.0||2 x f/2.0|
|Video Resolution||3840×1920 @ 29.97fps/56Mbps - 3840×1920 @ 29.97fps/32Mbps - 2K, 920×960/29.97fps/16Mbps - 2K,1920×960/29.97fps/8Mbps||3456 x 1728 @ 30fps - 2304 x 1152 @ 60fps|
|Photo Resolution||14 Megapixels - 5376 x 2688||23.8 Megapixels - 6912 x 3456|
|Stitching||Automatic with App||Completed with App|
|Livestream||Yes - 4K (wireless)||No|
|Audio||4 x Internal microphone for spatial audio - Optional microphone attachment for 360 life like audio||Basic mono microphone|
|Waterproof||Yes, with extra waterproof case (30ft)||No|
|Memory||Internal 19GB (Not expandable)||MicroSD up to 128GB|
|Battery||Still image: Approx. 300 photos - Video: Approx. 80 minutes||1600 mAh|
|Stabilization||Horizon Correction||6 Axis Image Stabilization|
|Where to Buy||Amazon||Gearbest (ships to over 200 countries)|
These are two very different cameras, each with strengths and weaknesses. Just looking at the specs you can clearly see where these strengths and weaknesses lye, but let’s go into a but more detail
Video: On paper it looks like the Ricoh Theta V is the superior camera for 360 video. It can shoot 4K resolution 360 video where as the Mi Sphere is limited to 3K. While the resolution can make a big difference, I wouldn’t draw any conclusions just yet; the Mi Sphere has been proven to shoot superior 360 video compared to other 4K cameras before.
Photo: There is a huge difference between these two cameras when it comes to photo capability. The Ricoh Theta V can shoot 14 megapixel images and the Mi Sphere 23, this is a major difference and it would be difficult for the Ricoh Theta V to make up for a much lower resolution. I guess we’ll find out in a direct photo comparison (see below).
Stabilization: The Mi Sphere features 6 axis stabilization which I know to be very good. This makes your video look smooth and keeps the camera pointed in a single direction. The Theta V only has limited stabilization technology, which means its video may not look good when you start moving the camera around.
Audio: No competition here, the Theta V is the winner. The Ricoh camera has 4 internal microphones which allows it to shoot spatial audio, perfect for 360 video. The Mi Sphere only has 1 mono microphone.
Before you make your judgements, lets take a look at some direct photo and video comparisons. I shot video and photo at the same time and location with both cameras, so we can get an accurate quality comparison between the two.
The video below is a direct comparison between footage shot with the Ricoh Theta V and the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere. Both videos were shot in the same place at the same time, at the end I combine the two in a single video so you can see the difference more clearly. Both clips are straight out of the camera on automatic mode.
The Ricoh Theta V video is slightly more detailed, probably thanks to the larger resolution, and I think the coloring is more accurate. One issue I notice is that the Theta V is over exposing bright areas like the sky, where as the Mi Sphere is dealing with bright light far better. There is a noticeable difference in the overall quality of the shots and it’s hard to tell which is better. The Mi Sphere captures the scene most accurately, but the Theta V is brighter and overall more attractive.
I think in this example I’d have to give it to the Ricoh Theta V. The quality of the video is just that little bit better, but it’s a shame that the sky is so overexposed.
Here are some more videos from both cameras:
Ricoh Theta V
Having seen plenty of video from both cameras I’d have to conclude that the Ricoh Theta V can shoot better 360 video than the Mi Sphere, but the difference isn’t huge!
I should also mention audio, which is vastly superior on the Ricoh Theta V thanks to its 4 microphones. Sound is often overlooked when shooting 360 video and the fact the Theta V can shoot spatial audio cements its position as the superior camera for 360 video.
The flat image below shows the difference in size between the images coming out of both cameras. Size does make a difference in this case and the bigger the better! As you can see there is a significant difference.
The Mi Sphere can shoot large 23 megapixel photos which tend to look great in the 360 format, however just focusing on the quality of the image here, the Ricoh has it beat. The Theta V photo is brighter and more colorful, but overexposed again. The issue comes when you zoom in to look at the details.
This cropped image is reveals what a difference those extra 10 megapixels makes. The Mi Sphere image is far more detailed and you can pick up details in the building that are blurred in the Theta V image.
Here we can see both images combined. My tripod moved slightly between changing cameras which is why they don’t match up exactly. I once again prefer the color and lighting in the Ricoh Theta V image, but the lack of pixels means it looks fairly blurred in the 360 format. If the Theta V could shoot larger images it would be a far superior photo camera, but the Mi Sphere simply outguns it.
I should point out that both cameras allow you manually control the lens settings, so you can tamper with ISO, shutter speed and exposure to achieve better results. Actually, the Ricoh Theta V has a HDR mode which creates quite beautiful images automatically by shooting 3 seperate photos and combining them. Here’s what it looks like:
This image looks amazing, but suffers from blurriness on objects that are far away.
Other points to consider
Livestream – The Ricoh Theta V can livestream 4K 360 video, but the Mi Sphere can’t livestream at all.
Design – The designs of these cameras are quite different, but achieve a similar outcome. Both can be used with or without a tripod and both connect to your phone via an app. I’d say the Ricoh Theta V has an edge in terms of design because you can use it hand held thanks to its candy-bar shape.
Price – This is where things get interesting. The Ricoh Theta V is available for $430 and the Mi Sphere is currently $230. The Theta V certainly isn’t the most expensive 360 camera, but it’s certainly up there. The Mi Sphere represents a bargain, but you are losing out on some features and the stability of the camera isn’t as reliable.
So which one should you buy?
If budget was of no concern, I’d go for the Ricoh Theta V. It shoots superior quality 360 video and has a few more features that make it a premium product, like spatial audio. It’s biggest flaw is the size of the photos, so if you are mostly looking for a photography camera then go for the Xiaomi Mi Sphere.
If budget is a concern, or you just don’t feel right spending over $400 on a 360 camera, by all means buy the Mi Sphere. It’s a great all-rounder and I use it often. To be honest the Mi Sphere is a far better value camera, but lacks a certain premium feel.
Where to buy
You can get the Ricoh Theta V from Amazon for $430, and it’s available on Amazon Prime so fast shipping! The Mi Sphere is available from Gearbest.com, which ships to over 100 countries including the US, UK and EU.