360 for Serious Photographers? Meet the Ricoh Theta Z1


Ricoh’s popular Theta 360 cameras may just be ready for the serious shooter, thanks to a large sensor and RAW shooting. On Monday, February 25, Ricoh unveiled the Theta Z1, a 23-megapixel advanced flagship 360 camera.

The Ricoh Theta Z1 keeps much of what the Theta line is known for, like the compact body, but brings in several upgrades. For starters, the Z1 uses a 23-megapixel one-inch sensor, stitching together 6,720 x 3,360-pixel immersive images. (The previous best model from Ricoh, the Theta V, in comparison, is only 12 megapixels). 4K video is also included, shooting at 30 frames per second with three-axis stabilization and spatial audio.

Housing a new lens unit, the Z1 still captures immersive photos in one shot with stitching in-camera. Photographers who want to use the new RAW shooting option, which captures Adobe DNG files for more flexibility in editing, will have to use a plug-in for Lightroom Classic to stitch the RAW files. The plug-in will be available free.

ricoh theta z1 announced 04 right side onThe camera also builds in several different shooting modes, including aperture priority for more control over the camera settings. Along with a handful of scene modes, the Z1 also includes new HDR Rendering mode and an Interval Composite designed for star trails. Bracketing, which takes several sequential shots with different settings, is also available with 19 different options. A Time-Shift Shooting mode, which allows the photographer to get out of the shot, will be added via firmware next month.

Those additional controls are accessible through a built-in monitor and a function button on the body of the camera. The camera is constructed from magnesium alloy, with a design prioritizing a slim size. Additional functions can be added to the camera through the Android-based software.

Like earlier Theta models, users can also keep it simple and share directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, or share cropped images to Instagram. The Z1 is also compatible with 360 video for YouTube and Google Maps.

The Ricoh Theta Z1 will be on display during this week’s CP+ shot in Yokohama, Japan. Ricoh hasn’t yet shared an exact release date, but the camera will list for about $1,000 and is expected out this spring.

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