Ricoh wants to reach out to real estate agents and other professionals, and offer them an affordable and easy virtual tour app and service. It’s called Ricoh Tours, and is designed as a complete virtual tour service for real estate agents.
Here’s a promo video:
Ricoh Tours will include an app for creating the virtual tour and will also be a hosting service for the virtual tour, complete with shareable links and visitor analytics. Ricoh wants to emphasize to users that the process is easy. It’s even possible to create a complete virtual tour wirelessly, while still in the field.
I have owned and used many 360 cameras and I can attest that Ricoh Theta SC, S, and V are probably the easiest 360 cameras to use for good quality 360 photos because Ricoh Theta can automatically stitch photos in-camera, even with high dynamic range (HDR). Although there are a few other 360 cameras with in-camera stitching capability, none of them can stitch as smoothly as Theta cameras. At the same time, for experienced photographers, Thetas offer full manual exposure with shutter speeds as slow as 60 seconds, and features such as unlimited exposure bracketing.
Moreover, the Thetas’ built-in HDR capability is also by far the easiest way to capture scenes with bright highlights and deep shadows such as rooms with windows. I also like Ricoh’s apps which are relatively bug-free compared to apps from other 360 cameras, besides being universally compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.
The Thetas have built-in storage and battery which are unfortunately not removable, so you’ll probably want to keep them plugged into a USB charger in between shots. As for the built-in 19GB memory, it should be more than adequate for 360 photos of a location.
Ricoh Tours will be affordable, at a flat rate of $45 per month, for an unlimited number of tours.
After you create a virtual tour on Ricoh Tours, you’ll be able to share the URL to clients, who can view the tour on almost any smartphone or desktop. Here is a sample tour.
In addition to offering Ricoh Tours, Ricoh is also offering subscribers the option to purchase a camera and monopod bundle called the Realtor Kit. The kit includes the Ricoh Theta V (reviewed here), the TM-1 monopod with built-in stand, and a carrying case, for just $419, compared to the $698 cost if they are purchased separately.
For more information, check out the official Ricoh Tours website, where you can get a free 14-day trial.