The area of 360 degree video and photography is rapidly expanding, and Ricoh's Theta S, a compact handheld unit, managed to find a place in the market rather quickly. Offering up a simple, streamlined experience and fairly decent quality in a compact design, the Theta S' $349 price tag is okay for what it is, but can be a bit hard to swallow for casual hobbyists or people who are simply curious about 360 degree media. The Theta SC, announced today, is intended to ease at least a little of that pain. The new unit packs in nearly all the quality and features of the Theta S, but in a smaller body and at a lower price, with a starting price set at a somewhat more palatable $299.
The Theta S is designed mostly for professional and enthusiast use, so it's only natural for the slightly cheaper Theta SC to cater more to the casual consumer. The Theta SC uses a pair of 12-megapixel lenses with an F2.0 aperture and a 1/2.3 CMOS sensor, linked on one circuit and folded to achieve a thinner and lighter design than individual camera connections would yield. The device measures 45.2 mm in width, by 130.6 millimeters in height, by 22.9 millimeters in thickness, and weighs in at 102 grams. The camera can output still images up to 5376 x 2688, and video up to 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames per second. A micro USB port is on board to sync the device up to other devices a user may own, so long as they are compliant to the USB 2.0 standard.
The Theta SC comes with a companion app that allows users to transfer photos and videos to their smartphone, then upload them on the fly to Ricoh's official sharing website or to the social network or video service of their choice. With the camera's onboard storage limited to 8 GB, this feature should prove quite helpful to anybody looking to take more than a few minutes of video. The battery is good for approximately 260 photos. Videos are limited to 5 minutes per recording. The Ricoh Theta SC is available for preorder on Ricoh's website right now for the aforementioned $299, though the shipping data is not listed at this time.