If you want to know when the successor to the Theta Z1 is coming, here are 5 things Ricoh told me about the next Z1 and the planned firmware update for the Z1.
Ricoh Theta Z1 (reviewed here) was released in 2019 as the first and thus far still the only dual-lens 360 camera to have 1-inch sensors. It was revolutionary because other consumer 360 cameras used 1/2.3-inch size sensors. The Theta Z1’s 1-inch sensors were more than 4x larger, which generally means better dynamic range, better low light sensitivity, and better signal to noise ratio.
Not only did the Theta Z1 feature much larger sensors than any other consumer 360 camera (and larger than the sensor used in some professional 360 cameras) but somehow, the camera retained the iconic and elegant slim Theta design, which was made possible only through its advanced lenses that featured a cutting edge triple-folded optical path.
Although the Theta Z1 amazed 360 shooters with its photo quality, its video resolution was limited to 4k, which was about half the 5.7k video resolution of some consumer 360 cameras. That is one of the reasons the 360 community have been hoping that there would eventually be a successor to the Z1, which some have nicknamed the “Theta Z2”.
Last year, Ricoh released a new version of the Theta Z1, but it only increased the on-board memory to 51GB. This year, Ricoh did release a completely new camera, the Theta X (reviewed here), which featured higher resolution video and is the first 360 camera to offer 360 video with realtime stitching with stabilization. It appeared to be Ricoh’s answer to other 360 cameras that were heavily focused on video. This left some users wondering if the Theta X was the rumored successor to the Theta Z1.
I contacted Ricoh to get clarification about the successor to the Theta Z1. Here are 5 things they told me about the next Theta Z1.
5 things Ricoh said about the Theta Z1 successor
- Theta X is NOT the successor to the Theta Z1. Once again, Ricoh clarified that Theta X is not the successor to the Z1. Rather, Theta X has a different market — it was designed for ease of use and high resolution video, while Theta Z1 is aimed at professionals and advanced users, especially photographers.
- Yes, there WILL be a successor to the Theta Z1. Ricoh is very much committed to the continued development of the Theta Z1. The Theta Z1 is not the last model of its kind and they promised that there will be a successor to the Theta Z1.
- Sensor size. The successor will have a 1-inch sensor. Ricoh’s General Manager revealed that the successor to the Theta Z1 will also have a 1-inch sensor, just like the Z1. “We are planning a future model using a 1-inch sensor as Z1.” he said. This is interesting because Ricoh has been using Sony sensors, and Sony has not announced any new 1-inch sensor. I speculate that this might mean that the successor to the Z1 has the same sensor as the current Z1, but will have additional features.
- Release date. Ricoh did not give a specific release date but said that the successor to the Theta Z1 is not going to be released in 2022. This means we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for the successor to the Z1, which is still a long way from its release.
- Analyzing customers’ needs. One of the key reasons that Ricoh will not be releasing the Z1 in 2022 is because they want to create a product that will fit their users’ needs. In this regard, they understand that they have many customers using the Theta Z1 in different ways, and they want to plan the best products for the market.
Theta Z1 firmware update
A few months ago, I mentioned that there will be a firmware update for the Z1 to add more advanced automatic exposure bracketing. That firmware update was originally scheduled for release by end of May. However, there has been a slight delay for further testing and refinement. However, rest assured that the firmware update is still coming but only after it has been thoroughly tested.