Ricoh Theta Z1 vs Insta360 One X: Ultimate Comparison

The Ricoh Theta Z1 is the latest 360 camera from Ricoh, the first company to design an all in one 360 camera way back in 2015. The Z1 represents the most advanced, and expensive, 360 camera they have ever developed. On the other hand the One X is has for a while been considered the most popular 360 camera ever thanks to its reasonable price and vast array of features. So can the Z1 knock the Insta360 One X off its perch? I’m going to compare both photos and videos shot with both of these cameras to see how they compare, but we’ll also have to consider their price and ease of use.

Ricoh Theta Z1 vs Insta 360 One X

Specs

Specs Ricoh Theta Z1 Insta360 One X
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) 5760 x [email protected]

3840 x [email protected]

3840 x [email protected]

3008 x [email protected]

Photo Resolution 23MP (6720 x 3360, 7K) 18MP (6080 x 3040)
Livestream 4K 4K
Audio 4 Channel Microphones Mono Audio
Stabilisation Horizon Correction 6 Axis Flowstate Stabilization
Memory 19GB Internal Only Up to 265B with MicroSD Card
Shooting Modes Noise reduction

DR correction

Auto HDR

Interval shooting

Internal Composite Shooting

Shooting with self-timer

Shooting with multi bracket

Auto HDR

Interval Shooting

Bullet Time

Hyperlapse

Slow Motion

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

Auto

Manual(Shutter 1/4000s-55s, ISO 100-3200)

Shutter Priority(1/4000s-1/4s, photos only), ISO Priority(100-3200, photos only).

Battery Li-Ion, Approx 600 Photos, 60 Minutes of Video Li-Ion, Approx 600 Photos, 60 Minutes of Video
Price $999.50/£850 $399/£329
Availability Amazon Insta360 Website

There are certainly a lot of differences between these two cameras and it’s important to consider what you really want from your 360 camera before choosing.

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Design

The Ricoh Theta Z1 has a candy bar shape with two large round lenses at the top. There’s a small screen on the body and a few buttons on the side for controlling power, wifi and shooting mode. The camera is slightly on the thick side but still small enough to fit in your pocket. You can attach a selfie stick of tripod on the base of the camera with a standard tripod mount.

The Insta360 One X is a similar shape to the Z1 but thinner. You could place it on a table but it may not be secure. The camera features a shutter button and small screen on the base along with some buttons on the side. The camera is smaller than the Z1 and is easily pocketable. You’ll find a MicroSD card slot at the base along with a standard tripod mount.

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Photo Comparison

When it comes to shooting 360 photos the Theta Z1 has a distinct advantage. The reason the lenses are so much large on the Z1 is because they house 1inch sensors which are three times the size of the sensors in the One X. This means that the Z1 can capture far more light and detail when capturing images; essentially the larger the sensors the better for image quality. Let’s take a look at some photos shot with both the Insta360 One X and Ricoh Theta Z1.

In this first shot you can see the difference in quality between the two cameras. The One X in this situation is actually handling direct sunlight better than the Z1, however the Z1’s ability to change aperture could remedy this. There’s also a difference in dynamic range and saturation with the Z1 offering a more colorful image.

The One X, despite being cheaper and with lower quality lenses, actually manages to hold up fairly well against the Z1 in this environment. Outside in the day time is an ideal envirnment to shoot 360 images, so let’s see how they compare in more challenging conditions.

You can see the difference in quality between the two in this indoor shot more clearly. The One X is not able to deliver as much color or detail as the Z1. You can also see the light beams coming out of the spotlights which is a symptom of the lower quality lenses.

Both of these cameras can shoot in DNG RAW format which is an excellent feature for photography. This format allows you to get the absolute maximum quality out of your image using editing programs like Lightroom or Photoshop. I shot all the images in this comparison in DNG RAW mode for both cameras so they look as good as possible.

When shooting in low light the Theta Z1’s large lenses allow it to shoot higher quality images. Low light situations are particularly difficult for 360 cameras to do well in and these are probably the two best cameras that can shoot in these challenging conditions.

If you zoom in you can see how the Z1 captures superior dynamic range, color and light. You can see how the higher resolution and larger sensors capture more accurate details with less noise. It’s pretty clear from these comparisons that the Z1 is better for photography, but given the One X is cheaper it still does a pretty good job.

See Also: Insta360 One X Review

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Video Comparison

If the Theta Z1 had an advantage when shooting photos then the One X has the advantage when shooting video. The One X can shoot 5.7K resolution video and has a HDR video mode whereas the Theta Z1 is limited to 4K resolution. But what makes the Insta360 One X such a good video camera is the number of shooting and editing modes available. Check out this video to see how you can be super creative with the Insta360 One X

The reason these kinds of shots are possible is due to the great app for editing and amazing stabilization software, which allows you to move with the camera while the video is completely stable. the Z1 does not feature the same kind of stabilization software so it’s not really suitable for moving video.  Also, despite having those superior lenses that make all the difference when taking photos, the Z1 can’t compete with the One X in video quality; this is mostly due to the much higher resolution that the One X is capable of shooting in.

The left image is a screenshot of video shot with the One X and the right is the Theta Z1. The Z1 struggles to capture accurate colors and the image isn’t quite as sharp. You can see some more video footage shot with the Z1 in my video review here:

The Z1 is still a pretty awesome camera for 360 video but it doesn’t quite match up to the One X in terms of qualiy and shooting options.

See Also: Ricoh Theta Z1 Review

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Other Features

Memory: The One X has an expandable memory of up to 256gb with a MicroSD card. The Z1 has fixed internal memory of 19GB and no SD card slot. The limited memory in the Z1 is unfortunate and means you’ll have to keep an eye on how much space you have left if you want to shoot a lot of videos.

Audio: The One X features a single microphone where as the Z1 has 3 separate mic’s on its body that work together to capture 360 audio. The Z1’s audio capabilities are certainly superior but neither will capture professional quality audio.

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Summary

To put it simply, the Ricoh Theta Z1 is the better camera for photography and the Insta360 One X is better for video. You’ll need to think about how you are going to use your camera and for what purpose. The Z1 is significantly more expensive than the One X but it’s also designed to be used professionally. These are two of the best 360 cameras out right now but they have very different target audiences; for the casual user I’d recommend the One X and for those who need professional quality 360 images with a fast work flow the Z1 is the best option right now.

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Where to Buy

The Insta360 One X is available on their website. If you use the button below you’ll also get a free selfie stick.

Order Insta360 One X

 

The Ricoh Theta Z1 is available from Amazon in most countries.

Order Theta Z1

 


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1 Comment
  1. For 360 photography on a limited budget, can you capture a still frame from video on the One X? Wondering since the One X is better with video.

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