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360PanonoRicoh Theta S

Which 360º Camera? Ricoh Theta S or Panono?2306

WGAN Forum
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user

Ricoh Theta S 360º Still Image and Video Camera | Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Panono 360º Spherical Still Image Camera | Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Wow! I was I surprised.

I shot my hotel room today (30 July 2016) with:

Ricoh Theta S

While all 360º professional photographers in the MUG Forum would likely be (very) disappointed with the results of both cameras, the Ricoh Theta produced a far better result and is a much better value and is much more portable because it is much smaller and lighter.

I was surprised that the $350 Ricoh Theta S 360º spherical 2-lens, 2 meg camera performed far better than the $1,500 Panono 360º spherical 36 lenses, 30 meg camera.

While both Cameras did a poor job showcasing the view from the room, the Ricoh Theta S did not have the stitching problems of the Panono Camera.

The Ricoh Theta S also shoots 360º spherical video. The Panono does not.

Despite the above, I am not done testing.

I'd like to see how both cameras perform outdoors (likely the primary use for Matterport Pros).

After looking at both sets of 360º photo spheres (please see links above), what are your observations?


Post 1 IP   flag post
Narvan891 private msg quote post Address this user
Serious stitching errors on the Panono, but it seems crisper and a bit more vibrant - outside scene though, way more blown out and its surprising that the Theta handled the dynamic range of brightness so well, however the Theta seems a little muddier and not as sharp overall - but great stitching - definitely a good point about portability with the Theta vs the Panono. Price difference is extreme! Still waiting for my Indigogo Panono from 2 1/2 years ago from them!
Post 2 IP   flag post
JC3DCX private msg quote post Address this user
I prefer the shot from the ricoh, and would be interested in purchasing one at a later stage
Post 3 IP   flag post
ron0987 private msg quote post Address this user
At $1500 with this kind of stitching issues seems to be extreme. I did not see this type of stitching issues on any of the promotional shots on any of the reviews. Dan did you send the company these shots and ask if this is the norm. I think this would be a deal killer for most at this price. Also not knowing about the camera, they advertise over 100 meg did you set it lower?
Post 4 IP   flag post
WGAN Forum
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user

Yes. the Panono has way more stitching errors than I expected from a $1,500 36-lens, ball camera. Plus, I expected the camera to have HDR. Perhaps they have not implemented that in the firmware?

They do give you access to the unstitched images, but why bother. I might as well use my 8mm fish-eye with my Nodal Ninja rotator. (I was trying to replace that workflow.)

I could have improved the Theta S stitching in the bathroom by making the camera parallel instead of perpendicular to the walls. Surprisingly, the outdoors does not look any better if I do parallel instead of perpendicular to the window (I tried both.)

Unless the Panono does amazing outdoors - it might - it's likely I will sell it on eBay (I have two more 360º spherical cameras on order via Kickstarter and Indigogo.)


The Ricoh Theta S I have is the 3rd generation. I could imagine that the 4th generation will be out this Fall, so, if you do not have an immediate need, it might be worth waiting. (The learning I get now will apply to the 4th generation when it comes out, if I decide to upgrade.)


Yes. $1,500 for these stitching errors + plus, what feels like no HDR.

Even Matterport has a challenge with small, indoor spaces. That said, I have successfully scanned with Matterport in hotel rooms this size - examples - without all these challenges.

I was curious if Ricoh Theta S or Panono were either potential solutions for tours or competitive to Matterport. At least for small spaces, they are not (unless the "quality" is acceptable.

About the megs, that's a great question. As far as I know, I did not change any settings that would result lower resolution. Perhaps the 108 Megs is the original imagines instead of the stitched result?

I am seeking a Matterport indoor + 360º 1-click spherical camera outdoor solution. I would prefer not to go back to my 8mm fish-eye/Nodal Ninja rotator and stitching.


Post 5 IP   flag post
ron0987 private msg quote post Address this user
Your interest in the camera is the same as mine, looking for a good system to streamline panos, that would be a one step solution. Are the videos also as broken up as the still shots? I will use the videos but my primary goal is the single step panos. Thanks for the info.

Post 6 IP   flag post
WGAN Forum
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user


Please do let us know if you find a 360º spherical camera that meets the needs of the MUG Forum community.

Above is an example of the Ricoh Theta S video (in low light, and people close to the camera. Below is a video I shot from a bi-plane.

[I hope to create a 360º video from a San Francisco Cable Car today (Sunday, 31 July 2016)]


Post 7 IP   flag post
manolohk private msg quote post Address this user
@DanSmigrod the Panono has an HDR mode. If you go to settings on the mobile app you can activate it and take HDR shots.


Post 8 IP   flag post
WGAN Forum
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
For the above test i use Ricoh Theta S firmware 1.50.

I see that firmware 1.6 was released on 9 June 2016 and I did not install it.

A friend tells me that v1.6 includes an HDR option, so I will need to do another test to see if the HDR would have improved the results.


I recall that I setup the Panono to default to HDR. I need to run so I will check if the camera saves HDR as the default, once set. I will post here once I learn more.


Post 9 IP   flag post
Jake private msg quote post Address this user
Has anybody used the iris360, or heard much feedback? I've been looking at one of these bad boys for exterior panos, and possibly some Google stuff. But $1,200 is a lot if the next version of the Theta can accomplish much of the same.
Post 10 IP   flag post
Foundry45 private msg quote post Address this user
I think the Gear 360 should be in your list of candidates. It does 4k for video, vs the Ricoh's 2k. I'd be curious to see how the stills compare. Dan we have one if you want to borrow to compare. For video, you might be interested in a video I did recently comparing the Ricoh, Gear 360, Kodaks and GoPros:
Post 11 IP   flag post
WGAN Forum
DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user

Scott, excellent video (and viewed 17,000 times. You're a YouTube star.) [Foundry 45 companion blog post]

Seems like it's down to Gear 360 and Ricoh Theta. Sounds like a Canon versus Nikon discussion

My message for the community is that it doesn't matter which one you get; just that you get a 360º spherical photo/video camera and play with it.

It will take you six months to master it anyway. And, in within six months, the next generations will likely nail it.

If you wait six months, you will late to the table. You either have a competitive advantage or you are simply treading water.

Scott, anything that you want to shoot together with your Gear 360 and my Ricoh Theta S or Panono? Seems like you covered all the bases in your excellent review.


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