I guess the Japanese don’t see 13 as an unlucky number, seeing how the latest rumour on the Ricoh Theta SC2 is that that Friday, 13th December is when it will begin to ship. An official announcement is expected tomorrow, the 19th, with pre-orders opening up at that time. What we do have though, are leaked photos and some specs for Ricoh’s upcoming new 360° camera. Overall, though, it leaves me feeling a little bit underwhelmed.
The leaks come courtesy if none other than Nokishita. Not much of a surprise, there. They’ve become the go-to source for mostly reliable leaks lately.
— 軒下デジカメ情報局 (@nokishita_c) November 16, 2019
The translation of the above tweet reads…
The scheduled release date for Ricoh “THETA SC2” seems to be December 13, 2019. The reservation start date is November 19. The main features are “Supports 4K video”, “Equipped with status display OLED that displays information such as setting mode and remaining battery level” powered by”. #rumor
Images and specs have also been leaked.
|Image sensors||2x 12-megapixel 1/2.3" CMOS sensors|
|Lens construction||7 elements in 6 groups|
|Video resolution||4K UHD @ 29.97fps (54/32Mbps), 2K @ 29.97fps (16/8Mbps)|
|Per clip recording time||Up to 3 minutes|
|Total recording time||4K ~32 minutes, 2K ~115 minutes|
|Still image resolution||5376 x 2688 pixels|
|Audio||Mono internal microphone|
|Display||0.5" 60x32 pixel OLED|
|Dimensions||45.2 x 130.6 x 22.9mm|
As I said, pretty underwhelming. But this appears to be a pattern with Ricoh’s 360° cameras over the last few years.
As recently as 2016, Ricoh Theta was still the name on the tip of everybody’s tongue when it came to consumer 360° cameras. Everybody I knew back then who had a 360 camera, when I asked which one they have, the response was pretty much always “Oh, it’s the Ricoh Theta”. But Ricoh’s last few 360° camera releases have left me scratching my head, and if these specs are accurate, then this one does, too.
The first-generation Ricoh Theta SC was announced in 2016, but it was a little disappointing, capable of only shooting 1080p video. 1080p is if you’re shooting flat video with a DSLR or mirrorless or something, but not when you’re wrapping an image around 360° and only seeing a slice of it. It ends up being lower resolution than standard definition. In 2017 came the Ricoh Theta V, and with it, we finally got 4K 360° video. Still not amazing, but usable. Much better than 1080p.
Even for 2017, though, 4K was already starting to feel a little low for 360° video. YI had just announced the YI 360 VR, capable of shooting rather nice 5.7K resolution video. Since then, 5.7K seems to have become the mass standard, with companies such as Insta360 taking it way to the next level upping the compression quality and adding built-in stabilisation with products like the Insta360 ONE X and Insta360 EVO.
There will be Theta SC2 apps available for iOS and Android, so that you can see what the camera sees. Although some features won’t come until Spring 2020. Images will apparently be able to be animated from within this app. Exactly what that means is anybody’s guess. Perhaps there’s a little something lost in (Google) translation, but I would’ve hoped for video editing. This may be what it means, but the translated leaked release I see refers to images, not video, that can be animated.
Right now, these specs are just rumours, and there’s been no mention of a price yet. Hopefully, the actual specs are much better than these, or the price point is much lower than we’d expect from a company like Ricoh (although I suspect it won’t be). I just can’t really see any consumers getting this given the competition that’s out there these days.
An official announcement is rumoured for tomorrow when pre-orders will go on sale, and it’s expected to ship starting Friday 13th of December.
I guess all we can do now is wait and see. As always, we’ll post more info as it comes.