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Ricoh Theta Z1 firmware update adds HDR mode in Raw DNG!

Ricoh Theta Z1 review and sample photos
Ricoh Theta Z1 review and sample photos

Ricoh Theta Z1 got a major firmware update that added shooting and stitching HDR in Raw DNG, not just JPG.  Here are other improvements.

One of the unique features of the Ricoh Theta series of cameras is the built-in modes, most especially HDR.  The Theta cameras have the unique capability of shooting and stitching multi-shot HDR in-camera, with no stitching or merging software required.  However, in the case of the Z1, one disadvantage of using the built-in HDR mode was that you could not shoot in Raw DNG, forcing users to choose between the convenience of the HDR mode or the quality of Raw DNG.

With the latest firmware 2.0, Theta Z1 now enables using Raw DNG when shooting with the built-in HDR.  By using Raw DNG, you can get richer and more accurate colors, and better dynamic range.

Here is a comparison of the highlight range and color accuracy of each mode: standard JPG (upper left), standard Raw (upper right), HDR in JPG (lower left), and HDR in Raw (lower right).

Theta Z1 standard vs HDR, JPG vs Raw
Theta Z1 standard vs HDR, JPG vs Raw

You can see that the Raw versions have more accurate colors and have better highlight range and shadow range than their JPG counterparts.  In addition, the JPG versions were susceptible to having a cone appear in the zenith (near the power line overhead) when edited in Lightroom despite modest adjustments.  The Raw versions do not have cones in the zenith because the adjustments are applied before they are stitched.

The new Z1 firmware also allows you to use Raw DNG format when shooting in the other automatic modes, namely noise reduction mode and DR compensation mode.


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Mic Ty


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    • Hi kiat. The built-in HDR takes 2 or 3 shots (I don’t recall). Dual fisheye can take up to 9 shot HDR. The built-in HDR is also easier to use for those who are new to 360.

      • Which is better in term of quality? Dual fish eye plug in cannot preview. I suppose the newly build-in HDR raw allow preview from mobile phone. I am using the dual fish eye plug in even though I know very little about Z1. The experience is very good!