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IVRPA 2019: Ricoh discusses the Theta Z1 and 360 camera industry trends

At IVRPA 2019, Ricoh discussed 360 camera industry trends and how they developed the Theta Z1 (reviewed here) in response to the market’s needs.

Here’s Ricoh’s presentation at IVRPA 2019:

Mr. Shinobu Fujiki first discussed overall industry trends.   Since 2015, compact camera sales have fallen, and even  DSLR sales have been in gradual decline.  However, contrary to this trend, 360 cameras sales increased from 2014 to 2017, stabilizing in 2018.  [Editor’s note: this data is consistent with data from Insta360.]

360 camera market grows while the rest of the digital camera declines
360 camera market grows while the rest of the digital camera declines

Mr. Fujiki said Ricoh originally designed the Theta for casual users, but to Ricoh’s surprise, majority of users were using the Theta for business and professional use.  They also listened to feedback from their customers, who wanted higher quality.  In response, Ricoh developed the Theta Z1.

Mr. Fujiki showed innovative characteristics of the Theta Z1, and revealed that it uses a triple-folded optical path to be able to use larger sensors while still minimizing the distance between the lenses for better stitching.

Theta Z1 triple optical folding path
Theta Z1 triple folded optical path

He also discussed upcoming Android plugins for the Z1 including:
– Time Shift Shooting: takes two photos, one lens at a time, so that the photographer will not be visible in the shot.
– Single Lens Shooting: enables shooting with only the front lens for a 180 photo.
– VR Media Connection: allow the Theta files to be viewed in VR headsets such as Oculus Go.

Upcoming Theta Z1 plugins
Upcoming Theta Z1 plugins

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Mic Ty

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  • Meh. No good answer for why internal storage is limited to 19GB and no one asked why video resolution is limited to 4K.