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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:40 am 
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spherorama wrote:
Destiny you're right 100%. Ricoh wants to create a panorama community to share interactive panoramas worldwide. For this purpose the Theta simply costs too much.


Not as much as the iPhone you need to control it?

And it's considerably less expensive, more lightweight and more compact than any good mirrorless system camera, fisheye lens and pano head combo. And more capable that any of the 360 mirror 'lenses'.

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The App to control the Theta is very basic. There could be a lot more functions implemented, e. g. automatic HDR. Basic HDR is possible by using built in slider in the App.


If stitching is performed in the camera then I suspect that the processing power need to handle HDR, not to mention anti-ghost processing, would be beyond that incorporated in the Theta.

Quote:
Anyway I got an agreement with Ricoh that I have two more weeks to return the camera.The technician from Ricoh told me that they plan to release a new firmware update soon. It's a pity that they lose a great potential. I mean the stitch of the two half spheres is very good and the footprint of the device is very small. It has much better results than the French tree-lens-camera that had Autopano built in.

Andy ..


It seems to produce 'snapshot panos' that are 'good enough', in circumstances where image quality is secondary to camera size/weight, and speed and simplicity of shooting and processing.

Inspired by this article - http://www.nikonschool.it/experience/im ... -p5000.php - I have a 'snapshot pano' set up comprising a Nikon P5100, Nikon FC-E8 fisheye conversion lens and UR-E20 adapter, Bophoto pano bracket, walking pole/monopod, and Manfrotto pole level. With care it can produce better panos shooting 4-around and stitching with APP/APG but it's certainly not as handy as the Ricoh Theta appears to be. I put this together some years back and despite buying camera and fisheye secondhand I doubt it cost much less altogether than the Ricoh Theta, especially if you include the stitching software.


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:43 am 
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spherorama wrote:
I just made this test-shot. It is a real poor result. So much noise in plain sunlight. The Theta will definitely go back to Ricoh. Just look at the massive noise in the sky.

Andy


You may get a better exposure if you consider where the sun is in relation to the seam between the two images and orientate the camera accordingly?


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:48 am 
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Destiny wrote:
Well, silly on Ricoh's part.. They should asked keen pano photographers to road test their new product long before it was released onto the market..


I don't think this is the market that Ricoh is targeting with the Theta.

Quote:
People have a long memory when it comes to a dud.. Its a real shame. First impressions for me were, wow what a nice looking product.. Thats a positive.. Another positive is the Nadir. But none of this matters if the camera produces a terrible result, which it seems to.


A phone/tablet camera user might consider the Theta image quality OK?

Quote:
They need to look at the lenses and the software. As far as I am concerned Ricoh missed a really great opportunity.. The market is calling out for a well made, high performing one shot lens/camera combination... I would love to test one out but not at that prices with that quality of image... I look forward to seeing the New Improved Ricoh MK2... Hopefully with HDR/LDR options too... It also needs to output in RAW and JPG..

Destiny..


That would be a completely different product and would be very much more expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:50 am 
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If the Camera was $200 or less, it could kind of be forgiven for producing such image results. But its not cheap, its expensive for what it produces.. At $570 plus tax, making it over $600 Aus its not cheap so I would expect a lot more..

Destiny..


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:17 am 
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A while back I suggested that its now time where we will begin to see many more new technologies enter the market in both 360 pano images and 360 video.. This is just one of them.. Very exciting and I am sure there will be many more.. To me, the shape of this unit is obvious, one where I thought as being the way to go...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bub ... r-everyone

Destiny..


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:44 am 
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Destiny wrote:
A while back I suggested that its now time where we will begin to see many more new technologies enter the market in both 360 pano images and 360 video.. This is just one of them.. Very exciting and I am sure there will be many more.. To me, the shape of this unit is obvious, one where I thought as being the way to go...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bub ... r-everyone

Destiny..


And price projected to be at least CAD 800.


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:15 pm 
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Well, the CAD $ and the AUS $ is on par.. If this unit output a great result, the alternatives are the GoPro at heaps and heaps of $$ more plus software.. So, it might be ok.. Only time will tell...

Destiny...


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:09 pm 
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Hi folks,
I posted a review of the Theta. I also got a rather cynical reply from Ricoh stating that the Theta is intended only to be a Lifestyle Product for sharing pictures on twitter or facebook. They say the quality isn't intended for professional use. I think they won't sell much Thetas at it is way too expensive for the targeted group.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Hi Andy..

I totally agree, way too expensive.. I feel that's a real cop-out on Ricoh part... So, they have made a statement that their new Theta Camera has a limited market... Very limited.. I would make a statement and return it..

I am hopeful that one day soon we will see a real alternative to a one shot pano camera. A few years go, I road tested a One Shot 360 for our school. I posted a review in the Education News... I was then asked by other manufactures of those lenses to road test them.. There was one that was ok'ish, but I have forgotten which one... But to be honest, they were all far too expensive and produced a really small pano with a large nadir footprint...

Well, I think I will pass on buying a Ricoh.... Useless for my needs...

Destiny...


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:48 pm 
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spherorama wrote:
Hi folks,
I posted a review of the Theta. I also got a rather cynical reply from Ricoh stating that the Theta is intended only to be a Lifestyle Product for sharing pictures on twitter or facebook. They say the quality isn't intended for professional use. I think they won't sell much Thetas at it is way too expensive for the targeted group.

Andy


Do you think so?

Given how much i-Cultists seem to be willing to spend on successive models of iPhones and iPads I suspect Ricoh will find market for the Theta if they can get the market to perceive it as novel, trendy, and 'cool' and if the connection to social networks operate smoothly. And the launch ties in reasonably well with the Christmas buying season.


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Hi Destiny,

I'm still uncertain what to do about the Theta. I have posted the review for our community to give the best information possible on this product. The Theta is well made and you could well imagine it to be part of your camera bag. I meet with a potential client this week end. If he jumps on the potential of a virtual walk through of his small Hotel the Theta is paid with a few hours of work. If not I'll send it back next week.
For now My clear statement is NOT to buy it. If it would cost 150€ things would change.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Ya.. $200 Aus, and then its ok'ish as a social share camera.... But three times that.. Nope..

As far as I am concerned, Santa can keep it in his bag.. Those so called cool people that might want to share a 360 image or 360 video on the el'cheap'o quality wise would already have an iPhone or other phone so they would be better off saving their money and buying one of the many 360 lens attachment for $50 or less.. and share their results on the social media networks..

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=iphon ... 87&bih=814

... and they can then share their efforts on their own phone.. The Rich is JUST a camera.. No Show and Tell.... They can also upload their results onto their FaceBook page..

Destiny...


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
Ya.. $200 Aus, and then its ok'ish as a social share camera.... But three times that.. Nope..


Yet you are happy to spend a LOT more on a long zoom lens., with no immediate prospect of any payback. ;)

And how much are you planning to spend on a Mac Pro?

Quote:
As far as I am concerned, Santa can keep it in his bag.. Those so called cool people that might want to share a 360 image or 360 video on the el'cheap'o quality wise would already have an iPhone or other phone


Theta doesn't do video AFAIK.

Quote:
so they would be better off saving their money and buying one of the many 360 lens attachment for $50 or less.. and share their results on the social media networks..

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=iphon ... 87&bih=814


But would the results be as good or any better than those produced by the Theta?

And Theta is easier to use don't you think, and 360x180 coverage is very nearly complete.

Quote:
... and they can then share their efforts on their own phone.. The Rich is JUST a camera.. No Show and Tell.... They can also upload their results onto their FaceBook page..


I thought the Theta i-Device app had social networking upload?


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:23 pm 
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But this is about the Richoh not a zoom lens or a Mac.. Its about the value and quality of its image and wether its value for the money... Nothing to do with a zoom lens which I am not planning to use for making social panos... I will use that for much much more.. and as for a Mac Pro... Lots on that comment... :rolleyes:

As for Video, thats the point too.. YOU CAN capture 360 video using an el'cheap'o lens for $50 mounted on an iPhone....

Destiny...

mediavets wrote:
Destiny wrote:
Ya.. $200 Aus, and then its ok'ish as a social share camera.... But three times that.. Nope..


Yet you are happy to spend a LOT more on a long zoom lens., with no immediate prospect of any payback. ;)

And how much are you planning to spend on a Mac Pro?

Quote:
As far as I am concerned, Santa can keep it in his bag.. Those so called cool people that might want to share a 360 image or 360 video on the el'cheap'o quality wise would already have an iPhone or other phone


Theta doesn't do video AFAIK.

Quote:
so they would be better off saving their money and buying one of the many 360 lens attachment for $50 or less.. and share their results on the social media networks..

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=iphon ... 87&bih=814


But would the results be as good or any better than those produced by the Theta?

And Theta is easier to use don't you think, and 360x180 coverage is very nearly complete.

Quote:
... and they can then share their efforts on their own phone.. The Rich is JUST a camera.. No Show and Tell.... They can also upload their results onto their FaceBook page..


I thought the Theta i-Device app had social networking upload?


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:16 pm 
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I‘m still communicating with Ricoh on behalf of the Theta. A technician revealed me in an email, that the Theta has two 2 megapixel sensors. That means that each sensor has roughly an area capturing 1410x1410 pixels. Assuming that the two fisheye lenses in the Theta cover only a circular area of the 1410x1410 pixel-area the native resolution is is under 4 mp. I calculated a resolution of 3.12 mp (see attached graph). For me there‘s no way that they reach a resolution of almost 6.5 mp. There must be some interpolation during the stitch-process inside the camera. This would explain the grain in the out of the camera results. These is also some kind of inconstancy in the results. If you choose a slightly longer exposure you seem to get clearer pictures.

It‘s a pity because there is much potential in the camera.

Andy


Attachments:
Theta-Raw.jpg
Theta-Raw.jpg [ 126.76 KiB | Viewed 439 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:37 pm 
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Hi... To get clearer images at longer exposers is about right.. That means that the camera has used a lower ISO, resulting in better images quality with less graininess... As for "much potential", not for me.... I worry that a camera like this is only going to flood the market with poor quality virtual tours if used for other than social media use.... I would have liked it better if the camera's software never allowed the pano image to be expanded past its quality point...

Destiny...


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:52 am 
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Hi Destiny,

the most interesting thing about the Theta is that most people don‘t know the quality of a conventional 360° spherical panorama. I just did a test during last week. I shot a series of 50 panoramas with the Theta. The director of a clinic is going to retire by the end of this year. So I was asked to take a couple of shots inside and outside of his clinic. Well I thought this could be a good idea to offer something special. I placed the Theta on top of a small tripod I normally use for holding one of my smaller strobes and shot the panoramas mentioned above. It was a good test under working conditions. I imported all panoramas shot with the Theta into Lightroom 5 using my defined rule for the Theta.

I created a quick virtual tour in panotour and showed it to the doctors in the clinic. The result was overwhelming: „Oh we never saw something like this before.“ Or comments like this one: „It‘s like flying around in a model helicopter“. Nobody ever commented about the poor quality of some shots. You and me see it Destiny, because we know what a panorama looks like if you shoot it with your professional gear.

Maybe they would realize the difference in quality if you presented a panorama shot with the Theta and a panorama shot with a DSLR side by side. But i doubt it. I will try always to sell the best quality possible. But nowadays it becomes more and more difficult to get a fair pay for your work. So instead of selling best quality at a low price I prefer to sell the quality corresponding to what my customer is willing to pay. Should they complain about the quality some day they can get new shots done using the pro equipment.

If all goes well the Theta is already paid with this clinic job.

As you mentioned in one of your earlier posts: „We will see more devices like the Theta to come“. I wish they would work together more with professional photographers to create flawless cameras.

Andy...


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:47 pm 
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... and that point is the most important point Andy....

".... I wish they would work together more with professional photographers to create flawless cameras."

I tested some of the very fist 'One Shot' mirror ball lens a few years ago.. This in fact is what got me into VR photography in the first place.. I thought some of them were ok'ish but I personally wanted much better quality.. I played about with QT then saw the Kolor software so I bought it... I then purchased the NN3, D90 and 10.5 fisheye lens. Bill Bailey updated my NN3 to the NN4... and soon after I purchased the VR Drive..

PTP has come along in leaps and bounds during these past few months.. It worthy of suggesting its the very best VR Tour software available and getting better with every new update, well almost...with a few glitches along the way, which is to be expected.. One day in the next few months the Kolor team will be able to look back at a fully working release of PTP with pride and then continue to work on the next generation of Virtual Tour software... Kolor will also soon release the all new APG, which will bring a lot more features than ever before with more advanced maths algorithms resulting in higher quality stitching and more..... All this great software and hardware on the market designed to produce high quality panoramic photography for Virtual Tours....

I would dearly love to own an all in one 360 camera for some projects but I could not imagine not using PTP or APG for producing the high quality Virtual Tours... Cameras like the Theta are created for a purpose. But I would feel quite sad if it set the standard for Virtual Tours, where no one was then willing to pay for better quality.. I personally will not buy one or recommend anyone in buying one since I feel in supporting such a product means I am accepting and supporting the poor quality of this product for use in larger Tours..

There has been a few very poor attempts at creating a one shot 360 camera, which seem to be getting more and more expensive.. The Theta is not as expensive as some I have seen but in my opinion its still too expensive for the young happy snap user... I chatted to some of my older students last week where they said "No way" at that price.. One student had a lens that clipped onto her iPhone and to be honest, the quality was ok, just as good as the Theta.. for Social Media use.. The big difference was, the price.. She spent less than $40 on the lens with free software.... It also does 360 video apparently.. guess everyone to their own..

I personally do not create VR Tours for clients as such.. I realised long ago that its a really hard media to sell with no real marketing skills or knowledge in how to go about it.... But not without trying.. Using Google Add-words, Facebook and even LinkedIn it got me nowhere. Most photographers of Virtual Tours get into this media with so much enthusiasm, but soon realise its a very limited market... I personally feel software developers like Kolor and others, as well as hardware manufactures should begin to take a lot more responsibility and step outside of their box, where they focus far too much on advertising their own product to people like me and you rather than promoting the panoramic VR Tour media itself to the end user.. In my opinion they are relying far too much on us; The panoramic photographers to support and promote the Virtual Tour media, which I feel is a failing on their part and a big risk... In doing it in this way they are failing to understand that their own business is totally relent the panoramic photographers to develop and promote a market for this media..

Software and Hardware developers have greater knowledge of business and marketing skills than most of us do.. The real cycle of process should be; Software and Hardware developers promote their own product but also promote the Virtual Tour media to the end users as well, where the photographers sit in the middle. Adopting this strategy all stake holders should benefit a lot more as this media market becomes stronger and more accepting by the end users.. ... At the moment Software and Hardware developers rely totally on the Virtual Tour photographers to promote this media, but in doing this means the market will always remain small and weak.. This then opens up the door to cheaper alternatives resulting in poor quality VR Tours...

Its more than apparent that most people simply have never seen or have never heard of the Virtul Tour media.. A case in point..

"The result was overwhelming: „Oh we never saw something like this before.“ Or comments like this one: „It‘s like flying around in a model helicopter“.

Its this lack of awareness that this media even exists by hearing comments by people like this, which is a major cause why this media fails to take off in any high degree. But who's fault is that.. emmmm...

Destiny...


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Hi Destiny,

here I have a translation of an email I received from Ricoh this morning (sorry for the bad English it comes from Google):

"Thank you for your FEEDBACK .
The sample photos we received.

Please be aware of that the Ricoh Theta is not intended for professional use.

It was developed as a product of the " digital lifestyle " .
Therefore, the integration of functions with social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
This is also the reason for it , why in the product description less emphasis is placed on technical data.

The picture quality is enough not professional exigencies . As raw data for further processing , the images are only of limited use .

Basically, the works! Theta such that 2 FishEye lenses are used . Already in the camera itself , a single image is created from this.

If something does with future firmware on the image quality , we unfortunately can not say the part of technical support.

We hope to have been helpful with our response .

Please do not hesitate to contact us again in case of questions .


Sincerely ,
Henrik Lünnemann

Pentax Ricoh Imaging Technical Support"

I don't know if they get that much success as the Theta is way too expensive as a product for "Digital Lifestyle". They don't seem to be interested to improve the product at the moment.

Andy..


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:25 pm 
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spherorama wrote:
Hi Destiny,

here I have a translation of an email I received from Ricoh this morning (sorry for the bad English it comes from Google):

"Thank you for your FEEDBACK .
The sample photos we received.

Please be aware of that the Ricoh Theta is not intended for professional use.

It was developed as a product of the " digital lifestyle " .
Therefore, the integration of functions with social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
This is also the reason for it , why in the product description less emphasis is placed on technical data.

The picture quality is enough not professional exigencies . As raw data for further processing , the images are only of limited use .

Basically, the works! Theta such that 2 FishEye lenses are used . Already in the camera itself , a single image is created from this.

If something does with future firmware on the image quality , we unfortunately can not say the part of technical support.

We hope to have been helpful with our response .

Please do not hesitate to contact us again in case of questions .


Sincerely ,
Henrik Lünnemann

Pentax Ricoh Imaging Technical Support"

I don't know if they get that much success as the Theta is way too expensive as a product for "Digital Lifestyle". They don't seem to be interested to improve the product at the moment.

Andy..


The self-leveling feature depends on uploading the image to the Ricoh web site - is that correct?

So how does this tie-in with Facebook and Twitter?

If the self-levelling was done in-camera along with the stitching that would be more useful IMO.

.............

Is it too expensive as a 'digital lifetsyle' product? I don't know...time will tell.

But there seem to be a lot of people willing to buy very expensive non-essential iDevices and higher end Android tablets ... and they spend a LOT on entertainment in various forms ... not to mention games consoles ... so perhaps not?


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:34 pm 
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spherorama wrote:
I will try always to sell the best quality possible. But nowadays it becomes more and more difficult to get a fair pay for your work. So instead of selling best quality at a low price I prefer to sell the quality corresponding to what my customer is willing to pay.
Andy...


I would agree with you.

And in general the higher the price the smaller the market, and the higher the cost of finding new customers.

If you can produce perfect high quality panos but no one is willing to buy them then you have a very expensive hobby...which is fine if that's what you want; but if you what to see some return then you have to tailor your product offer to the market you find yourself in, or try to create a different market.

One of the questions you need to address is why should the customer buy a virtual tour rather than spend his/her spare cash in some other way?


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:43 pm 
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mediavets,
it certainly becomes more and more difficult to live from photography alone. But there is always somebody out there who is willing to spend some money for marketing his/her product.
As for the self-levelling I haven't tried it so far, because I never used the Theta handheld so far. The Ricoh site is quite useless for me, as I don't plan to use the facebook-crap now or in future. I'll test the self-leveling feature for you and tell you all about it.

Andy..


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:50 pm 
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mediavets,

I just tested the self-leveling. It seems that you're right. It should work only on the theta360 site.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:58 pm 
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So.. nothing you capture posted it on that site will be kept private.. Just as bad as Facebook...

Well.. for $600 I won't bother..

Destiny..

spherorama wrote:
mediavets,

I just tested the self-leveling. It seems that you're right. It should work only on the theta360 site.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: RICOH 360 Camera
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:10 pm 
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Hi mediavets,

update on self-leveling. It works with their own PC/Mac software. but there's no way to export the VR-movies. Anyway I don't think I'll use the Theta much handheld.


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