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Next Ricoh Theta will be released around January 18, 2022

Next Ricoh Theta to be released around January 18, 2022
Next Ricoh Theta to be released around January 18, 2022

The design for the next Ricoh Theta has been revealed in an FCC registration spotted by Nokishita Camera.

The FCC registration appears to show that the new Theta takes some design cues from the Theta Z1.  However, there are some important differences:

  • The lens seems much smaller than that of the Theta Z1.  This implies that it has a smaller sensor.
  • There does not appear to be an OLED screen.
  • There are only two buttons on the side: power and mode.  By comparison, the Theta Z1 has four buttons on the side: power, mode, Wi-Fi and Fn button.
  • There appears to be a door on the left side of the Ricoh logo.  The door likely covers a removable battery, which would be the first for a Theta.  There may also be a Micro SD card slot.
  • It has a USB type C port on the side, instead of on the bottom as in all previous Theta cameras. The cable on the side means that regardless of the monopod you use, you’ll be able to have access to the USB port.  It is also possible that there may be accessories such as an external microphone.
  • The round shutter button used in all previous Thetas is gone and seems to have been replaced by a semi-circular button that fits the contours of the design.
The bottom of the new Ricoh Theta
The bottom of the new Ricoh Theta

As I mentioned in my previous video about the new Ricoh Theta, the new camera is a new design, and not merely a new version of an existing camera.  However, based on the smaller lens, the lack of OLED screen, and fewer buttons, this does not appear to be a Theta Z2 or other prosumer camera.  I think this is good news because the next Theta Z2 is definitely coming at some point.  Now we’ll have another new 360 camera for consumers as well.

Because this new Theta seems to use a smaller sensor, and there are many small sensors to choose from, there is a higher possibility that we’ll see significant new features such as higher resolution photos or higher resolution video.  It will be interesting to see what this new camera will offer.

Meanwhile, here is my friend Yuqing Guo’s analysis about this new Theta:

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  • There are quite a few improvements that could be made to the Z1, but for marketing purposes-stringing out extra sales, they won’t address all the features at once. Here are some I can think of that should be possible:-
    SD card slot. Other 360 cameras can take on huge capacity cards. Really, no excuse.
    Water resistance so a little bit of rain will be no issue. Dedicated underwater housing is to be expected with a high end camera, but they tend to be prohibitively expensive.
    WiFi controller with control menu in handset, including time lapse sequences. GoPro can do it, so can Ricoh.
    Still and video footage stored inside controller with easy download to phone for fast distribution and live feed. Controller with dual card slots for times when long time lapses are taken.
    Streamlined editing and image manipulation. It would be good to play with the image on the controller-make it a small world image on the spot for instant distribution.
    Easier and cheaper lens repair. Shockproofing a 360 camera would be impossible since the accidents they have are typically falling over from a high pole.
    Dedicated and not too expensive long selfie pole that is compact and fast to set up. insta 360 can do it, so can Ricoh.
    Power bank that threads to the bottom of the camera and also on to the selfie pole/ camera support for extended shooting such as night long time lapses.
    Dedicated swing sling bag with provision for all the accessories. Having this accessory kit all bundled in to such a dedicated bag would be an interesting selling point. I reckon Neewer could produce the entire bundle-power bank and all for $100 wholesale quite easily, but customers would probably be ok with the extra $300 +the extras kit and bag costs. Neewer could go sleazy and sell the kit as a drop shipped outfit if Ricoh won’t do it. It would double as the packaging if Ricoh did it or subcontracted it out. Nice selling point that I have not seen before. The selfie pole could be slotted in to its special slot without sticking out at all. How good would it be to be able to be able to set up the rig in under 1 minute to capture that priceless opportunity? Almost missed such an opportunity for the super shot on Christmas- had to whip home to pick up the 360 outfit that was luckily almost fully set up. It was very lucky that I did not have far to get home to pick up the kit that was already set up. Because I did not have far to get back to the photo opportunity, it was just hurled in to the large regular backpack-rather inefficient, but was fast.
    Other people were trying to capture the surreal scene with phones-even my 4.5mm f/2.8 would not have done the scene justice. They were pleased to see that someone was able to capture the entire surreal scene in a single shot from high in the air.

  • Oops posted this on the wrong post.

    I’m guessing this is going to sit somewhere in the obvious and huge gap between the SC2 and Z since the V was discontinued. Ricoh has no direct competition for photo workflow and image quality. They have the virtual tour market on lockdown. Only way they can pick up a lot more customers is by improving video quality to at the very least 5.7K at around the price of an Insta 360 1X2. A new V going directly up against a 1X2 would actually make me reconsider buying another Theta which I swore off previously due to poor video quality and primitive build. The competition all have better video quality than any Theta at all price points. Either way great info!