Ricoh THETA SC2 Overview
The Ricoh THETA SC2, in white, is the enthusiast model of the THETA lineup, designed for casual use, for those selfie shooters who would rather capture everything in spherical 360° and in 4K. The THETA SC2 is simple to operate for beginners and everyone else, and it’s so compact it can be kept in your pocket at all times and pulled out in any situation to capture 360 photos and videos. There’s also a self-timer button that gives you the flexibility to set up and capture creative 360 group shots.
A follow-up to the predecessor SC model, the THETA SC2 is highly improved with 4K video recording capability and intuitive image enhancement features. For example, Face Mode detects when faces are in a weird location in the frame, or if the faces are slanted too much, and it centers them. It also brightens the faces by applying exposure compensation and noise reduction in order for the skin and faces to look brighter and better. Other new features include Night View and Underwater Mode, both of which help you get the kind of shot that you’ll be glad to share instantly. Other key features of the camera include easy sharing of 360 photos and videos to social media directly from the companion iOS/Android app.
How does it all work? The THETA SC2 features two ultra-wide lenses, each with a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor behind it. Whatever you shoot is captured by both lenses at the same time, resulting in two images. The camera then automatically stitches these images internally in real time (so you don’t have to do so in post-production), and what you get is a 360 spherical image. In a 360 image, pretty much everything in front, back, top, bottom, and sides of the camera is captured. Then, you can view the image in the companion app. By swiping the image in different directions, you can see all the different angles captured. But even before you start swiping, the angle you see at first also comes out very wide and immersive.
Keeping the same form factor as the previous SC model, the THETA SC2 supports virtually all the same accessories as the predecessor model and can be used in the same ways, so it allows for a smooth transition for SC owners who want to upgrade and enjoy 4K capture capability and all the other new features.
- Faces are detected and centered in the image—if they’re located in a high position in the image frame or are slanted in some way, the THETA SC2 corrects them and brings them to the center
- Exposure compensation and noise reduction brighten faces so the skin looks brighter and better
- Images are processed to smooth skin regardless of whether or not faces are successfully detected
- This mode combines noise reduction with dynamic range correction and face detection in order to capture shots with low image noise—this feature is intended for use with a tripod
- This preset independently controls automatic exposure (AE) and automatic white balance (AWB) for the front and rear lenses in scenes with extreme differences in contrast
- Highlight priority automatic exposure in dark scenes captures main subjects as best a possible even when they are too brightly lit
Lens-by-Lens Exposure Mode
- The images captured by the front and rear lenses are placed beside each other for a side-by-side display
- In this mode, the white balance settings are specifically designed for underwater shooting in depths of 16 to 33′, in order to compensate for how colors are capture underwater
HDR Algorithm Changes
- Improvements to the HDR algorithm highly minimized and even removes chromatic aberration and fringing, as well as unnatural effects normally caused by color saturation
- Contrast is high in the highlights
- Processing time is 9.5 seconds, a huge improvement over the 23-second time of the predecessor SC model
- Three images are composited in the THETA SC2, whereas the predecessor SC model used four images; the result of the improvement is a narrower dynamic range in the highlights
High-Speed Image Data Transfer
- High-speed data transfer that is approximately 4x faster than that of the predecessor THETA SC model