Freitag, 16. Januar 2015

Ricoh Theta m15 First Hands-on and Review II

The Ricoh Theta is a lightweight companion for outings as it can hide in any pocket. A selfie stick and the mobile phone does not add much to it, and the mobile phone we carry around all the time anyway.

A test image, the first straight from the camera, the second after some tinkering with  PANO2VR and image processing. Notice the camera does not correct the roll degree

Ricoh Theta original jpg
Image after postprocessing
And the final image on Google View

Montag, 12. Januar 2015

Ricoh Theta m15 First Hands-on and Review

The second release of Theta's Theta camera is certainly a niche product. Quite astonishing that a big camera company ventures into this with a consumer product and price because the camera cant do anything but create fullspheric panoramas, not even a regular 'normal' snapshot. Lets see if this is a long-term thing or a one off, though I must say the updates from the first release are not really that huge, putting video aside (which is currently limited to 3min snippets). I dont think the market for real estate agents creating their own virtual tours is rather limited when you look at target figures of big companies.
There are a couple of independent crowdfunding projects around with similar devices.

In short: Is fun to use the Theta, though after a few shots by hand without phone you get annoyed making selfies all the time and you move on to the mobile app and with a tripod or a selfie stick, that helps you to 'carry' the camera above your head to minimize your own footprints in the final image (beware of bystanders looking at you!).

Some flaws

  • Fix memory (4GB, ~1200 JPG images)
  • Fix Battery (~200 images)
  • Noise (to be expected for such small sensor)

ISO 100
ISO 800

  • Stitching errors for very near objects
Stitching Error
  • Flare with direct sunlight (to be fair this is hard to handle anyway with fisheye lenses)
  • Problems with 1 lens full facing sun and the other one reverse

Samstag, 10. Januar 2015

Unboxing the new Ricoh Theta M15 Panorama Camera

I was looking at the Ricoh Theta since it was first launched in 2013. Lucky enough I waited a bit longer and order the latest Theta m15 (I guess that stands for MK1.5 because the changes from the first model are not really dramatic except the additional video feature) launched in late October 2014. The new model is available at Amazon for 299 Euro, that is even 50 Euro cheaper than the previous model. I dont really need this camera, but with my more than 15 years affection to panoramic images and a quite a collection of film and digital panorama cameras and accessories I could not add hesitate any further to add this to my collection. Since I sold an old lens, I got some extra budget freed. Thanks to Amazon I hold the camera in my hands in less than 20 hours.
First impression out of the box: You get a very lightweight stylish looking camera with a lens on the front and the back, a little pouch, one USB cable and a very short manual. That's it.
In the next blog I will review a first hands-on session with the new toy.

Sonntag, 4. Januar 2015

Panoramic Bookshelf: Edition Panorama

Maybe the most well-known publisher (not only in Germany) that does not only carries panorama in the their company name but mainly publish panoramic books. This publishing house does not serve mainstream photography or travel books filled with anonymous images from stock agencies, they rather focus on selected photographs from individual photographers. I got about 15 plus books from them and it is always a pleasure to browse this books. The print quality and binding are of high quality, so are the images, though I cannot always appreciate the selected images, but that is in the eye of the reader. All books come with an few pages editorial in up to 5 languages, the images are only accompanied by the image title.
Despite most of the panoramic books are dedicated to a city, country or region, they are in no sense ordinary travel books but a selection of panoramic images of the location. These books are about panorama photography as an art medium. Most prominent photographer is certainly Horst Hamann starting with his various New York books.
The bigger coffee-table books are quite pricey with up to a 100 Euro for one book (value for money), but some books are in available in smaller sizes at more budget friendly price, which range from 14,95 Euro for the small ones (25x17cm) to 32,50 Euro (36x16cm) and 48 Euro (39x28cm).
As an alternative source (most of the books are out of print fast anyway) you find the books on Amazon marketplace at often decent prices, sometimes collectibles books hover above the original price.
Edition Panorama also sells calendars, which are quite pricey and even used ones are hard to get any cheaper, as the images are popular to be 'recycled'  into frames, which they sell as well.

If you are nearby Mannheim, you can drop by their gallery/shop (info).

Some titles from my collection:

Schweiz, Markus Aebischer
Dubai, Michael Nischke
Venezia Panorama, Ernst Steiner
Tokyo Panorama, Micha Pawlitzki

Scotland Panorama, Axel M. Mosler

Ludwigshafen Panorama, Jörg Heieck
New York, Horst Hamann
Panorama Deutsche Bahn, Horst Hamann

Paris Vertical, Horst Hamann