I have been a fan of Ricoh Theta 360 cameras since I bought a Theta SC around 3 years ago. What I like about Ricoh is the quality of the optics and the ability to control the camera as if it was an SLR. Over the years my trusty Theta SC has worked excellently in a variety of situations. I’ve taken pictures of the stars at night, in caves, classic buildings to country scenes. I’ve been waiting for some time for a proper update of the Theta range and finally Ricoh have done it with the release of the Z1. Mine arrived this week.
My first impression of the Z1 is it feels like a more meaty camera. Much bigger lenses, improved optics and the ability to shoot in RAW, certainly suggest some big improvements on the older Theta cameras. The Z1 works in the same way as the older Theta range and comes with the same app for managing the camera on my iPhone or Android phone.
The Z1 is a nice camera. It seems to handle colours in a more vibrant way and there is a marked improvement in resolution, especially in RAW mode. It does feel like a step up from the Thata SC in image quality, though you would expect that in camera which is several times more expensive.
I think to get the best from the Z1, you do need to use RAW mode and then Adobe Lightroom for post processing. I am still getting to grips with that but it certainly does give you a lot of control over your photos. However just in basic jpeg mode, the camera does work well.
My only drawbacks I’ve hit with the Z1, is a bug either in the camera or the iOs software which for time wouldn’t allow me to connect with the camera to control shots. However with by using an Android phone to connect to the camera, I seem to have solved that bug and iOS app is now working fine. It’s early days with the Z1, so I assume more firmware updates will come along to improve stability.
I’d recommend buying the Z1, as it’s easy to use and the optics provide great quality shots. I’d love to see the resolution improved but you can’t have everything. I’d certainly recommend buying one.
Here are some pictures to compare from both cameras: