Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ricoh Hints at Features for Next Theta



Ricoh hinted at some of the features it may include in its next version of the Theta, as revealed in a survey that it conducted among current Theta users.  The survey was posted as a link on Ricoh's official Theta page, Theta360.com.  The survey inquired about which features users wanted or expected.  Among the features that Ricoh inquired about are:
  • Higher resolution for photo and/or video.
  • Adding sound to still images.
  • Adding a small LCD viewfinder.
  • Having a removable battery.
  • Having an external memory card.
  • Additional connectivity options such as Bluetooth or NFC.  Currently, the Theta uses only WiFi, USB and HDMI).
  • Having a dedicated remote control (wired or wireless).  The Theta currently uses a smartphone as a remote control.
  • Compatibility with a drone such as the Parrot.
  • Compatibility with Playstation 4 (presumably in anticipation of Playstation VR) and/or a head-mounted VR system such as Oculus.
  • Use of the Theta for video conferencing, such as via Skype or WhatsApp.
  • Use of the Theta in a work environment.  This could be a possibility for some professions that require field work.
  • Weatherproofing, shockproofing and lens protection - Some of the Theta's competitors are marketed as action cameras, such as the Kodak SP360 and SP360 4k, and the upcoming Nikon Keymission.  It appears Ricoh is looking into this as a possibility.  In addition to action camera users, this would be welcome for users who have complained about the fragility of the Theta's lenses.
  • "Flashlight" - This may seem at first to be an unusual feature, but it may be referring to an LED flash and/or a continuous light, similar to those found in smartphones.  This can be useful for taking photos of nearby subjects in low light.
  • additional editing capabilities for the Theta+ app.
Some of the features have already been implemented via firmware update or otherwise:
  • Elimination of the shutter sound.
Among features that were not mentioned were in this survey were:
  • Self-timer: although this has been requested by many users, Ricoh did not inquire into it in this survey.
  • Image stabilization.
  • External microphone jack.
The survey period is for one month, from February 24 to March 23, 2016.  A link to the survey is here.  Ricoh will choose 10 respondents who have completed the survey and provide them with $100 Amazon gift cards.