Ricoh announced their most expensive and most advanced camera in their line-up of 360 cameras, the Ricoh Theta Z1. The Theta Z1 features two lenses with large 1 inch sensors and can shoot 23 megapixel images and 4K video. How does this new camera compare to the Ricoh Theta V, the companies current flagship VR camera. The newer Z1 is not really meant to be a replacement for the Theta V as it targets a more professional market, but we can still take a look at the main differences between the two.
Ricoh Theta Z1 vs Ricoh Theta V
|Specs||Ricoh Theta Z1||Ricoh Theta V|
|Lens||x2 1.0-inch back illuminated CMOS image sensors||x2 1/2.5-inch CMOS image sensors|
|Video Resolution||4K (3840 x 1920, 29.97fps)||4K (3840 x 1920, 29.97fps)|
|Photo Resolution||23MP (6720 x 3360, 7K)||15MP (5376×2688)|
|Audio||4 Channel Microphones||4 Channel Microphones + Audio Jack|
|Memory||19GB Internal Only||19GB Internal Only|
|Shooting Modes||Noise reduction
Internal Composite Shooting
Shooting with self-timer
shooting with multi bracket
Shooting with self-timer
shooting with multi bracket
|Shutter Speeds||Still image: (Auto) 1/25000 to 1/8 seconds,
(shutter priority mode) 1/25000 to 1/8 seconds
(Manual mode) 1/25000 to 60 seconds
Video: (Auto) 1/25000 to 1/30 seconds
(Shutter priority, Manual) 1/25000 to 1/30 seconds
Live streaming: (Auto) 1/25000 to 1/30 seconds
|1/25000 sec, Video: 1/25000 sec|
|Battery||Li-Ion, Approx 600 Photos, 60 Minutes of Video||Li-Ion, Approx 600 Photos, 60 Minutes of Video|
|Availability||Pre-Order||Available on Amazon|
The main upgrade in the Ricoh Theta Z1 is a new set of 1 inch sensors which are able to capture far more detailed images than the smaller sensors on the Ricoh Theta V. Variable aperture is also a new feature not found in many 360 cameras and will allow for more intricate manual control over the camera.
This alone may be worth the extra cost as the potential for shooting high quality images even in low light is greatly improved.
Both cameras utilise a candy bar shape with two lenses at the top and a flat base. The Ricoh Thete Z1 is thicker and larger than the Theta V, which is unsurprising given it houses far larger lenses. It’s actually quite remarkable that Ricoh has engineered a camera with two one inch sensors in such a small form factor.
The Ricoh Theta V features a shutter on its body as well as a Wifi and power button. The Theta Z1 has a similar configuration but with an addition button for Function. The Theta Z1 also features a display on its body for easier manual control whereas the Theta V has no screen.
Although both Theta cameras can shoot 360 video as well as 360 photos, the overall design of the cameras make them better suited for photography. With this in mind lets take a look at a set of photos shot with the Theta Z1 and the Theta V. Will the much larger 1 Inch lens in the Theta Z1 make much of a difference?
Ricoh Theta Z1 Photo’s
Ricoh Theta V Photo’s
Side By Side
The Ricoh Theta Z1 is clearly capable of shooting superior 360 photos than the Theta V. The increased resolution and larger lenses reduce overexposure and allow for greater detail overall. The Theta Z1 in RAW mode shows its true potential and the dynamic range displayed in the example photos is really quite amazing. Detailed are revealed in the shadows and the color balance is much closer to reality. The RAW photos are not far off the quality and detail you would expect from a DSLR; which is quite amazing considering the size of the camera.
The Theta V is a decent camera for 360 photography but it loses quality the further from the centre of the image you look. You’ll also notice it doesn’t deal with bright lights as well as the Theta Z1 and often overexposes. It’s fair to say that the Z1 is shooting better quality photos by quite some margin.
Video: Both cameras shoot 360 video at the same resolution, 3640 X 1920 (4K), however the Theta Z1’s more advanced lenses mean that it will be able to shoot superior quality video than the Theta V
Aperture: The Theta Z1’s new lenses allow for three difference aperture modes which allow you to get the best quality image depending on the circumstances. The Theta V has a single aperture mode and is therefore much less flexible.
Audio: Both cameras feature 4 microphones for 360 audio. The Theta V also features an audio jack for external recording, however the Z1 does not come with this feature.
Theta Z1 Video Review
You can see more examples of how Theta Z1 images and video in this review.
The Ricoh Theta Z1 is in many ways closer to a DSLR or Mirrorless camera with its 1 inch lenses. This is why it is so much more expensive than the Theta V, because it is primarily aimed at professionals who need high quality 360 images in an easy to use camera. The quality of the photos coming out of the Theta Z1 is quite remarkable for such a small camera, however it is disappointing that it’s limited to 4K video and 19GB internal memory. The Theta V is still worth buying if you are just getting started with 360 photography and it’s capable of shooting very good quality images.
The Theta Z1 is available to purchase now and is my top recommended camera for shooting pro-level 360 photos.Order Theta Z1