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Ben ClaremontRicoh Theta XRicoh Theta Z1Ricoh Theta Z1 51GBVersusVideo

Ben Claremont Video: Biggest Flaw of the Ricoh Theta X16544

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Founder &
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Video: Ben Claremont Video: Biggest Flaw of the Ricoh Theta X | Video courtesy of Ben Claremont YouTube Channel | 4 March 2022

Hi All,

Your thoughts?



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Transcript (Video above)

Ben Claremont: It's early days still with the Theta X and so far it's proven to be an awesome camera, but it does have one flaw that I want to talk about today and another one that you guys have found, which I will also talk about.

A week ago, I got married. Here's proof, and we had the ceremony and reception at the Sydney Opera House, which is pretty cool. During his wedding ceremony, what would you expect Mr. Ben to do?

He got out his 360 camera and took a 360 shot with the brand new Theta X and while I know I've probably shouldn't off, I kind of had to do this and that was use HDR mode.

The windows inside the building we were in were super bright, and there's no way any camera could capture the detail outside and inside without using HDR mode.

Once a ceremony was done and rings would put on both of our fingers, I told everyone to smile. They all laughed by the way, because it's me, of course I'm going to do this. I took my 360 shot, put my camera away and walk down the aisle with my new wife, Devon. Later, however, upon reviewing this shot, it was pretty blurry.

It still had enough detail to turn into a tiny planet and post on Instagram. However, if you look closely at anything within the shot, it's blurry.

That's because I was shooting handheld in HDR mode and unfortunately without a dedicated hand-held HDR mode, it means you literally need to be dead still when holding this camera.

Clearly I wasn't able to do that and that was pretty important moment you could say. Not that it really matter because we covered the whole ceremony with proper DSLR photography, which will be able to cherish those photos for many years to come. However, I consider this to be the biggest flaw right now of the Theta X.

No handheld HDR mode. I know it seems like a small thing, but in so many situations I've found myself using HDR mode when using my 360 camera on a selfie stick, because every situation you find yourself in probably isn't going to have perfectly even lighting.

For me right now, this means that Theta X is better suited to virtual tour type situations than social media selfies unless you're outside that is.

Here's a shot I took later of us on the Opera House steps and that looks pretty decent and well exposed because there is a lot of light in that scene to begin with so it doesn't need to take as long to express the photo. It works outside in bright light, it works in virtual tour situations where you can put it on a dedicated monopod, but not hand-held in mixed lighting situations.

Guess what comes after a wedding? A honeymoon. For Mr. Ben, that's a situation where you're taking a lot of 360 photos on a selfie stick. As a result of this discovery, my Theta X was not used once on my honeymoon.

Instead, I used my trusty old Insta 360 One X2. Even though the quality isn't as good as the Theta X, I do consider it to be a really good travel camera because it's got so many photo and video modes and I knew I could shoot handheld HDR with it.

So for me, it's the kind of situation where it's good to have different cameras for different purposes. I'll be using this for virtual tours and this for travel shots and social media.

In case you're curious, here are some of these shots I got with said One X2. Here we are wearing very silly looking stinger suits because our honeymoon was in a width Sunday, which is in North Queensland in Australia, and jellyfish are out this time of year.

We had to wear those, did make for great shot despite looking very silly. Here we are on a sunset sail outside of Hamilton Island. It was pretty cloudy here, but the One X2's inbuilt HDR mode captured it pretty well. He is a silly selfie of me in the water pulling my selfie stick in one hand and Thumbs up with the other.

I've got a couple of cool shots in hammocks. Here we are, I put the selfie stick in-between the two hammocks hovering over the middle in-between us and that's definitely a fun one. Here's a silly one of me with a giant head. With this one, I leaned my selfie stick over the hammock, so it was about here. Then I set the self-timer on the One X2 and post.

Anyway, in conclusion, the Theta X still shoot amazing dynamic range when it's steady. Virtual tour-type situations all saying sync with a lot of light.

I believe they will be adding the handheld HDR mode in the future. It won't be soon. Apparently, there's some kind of problems that they need to overcome first, but I'm guessing you could expect it within the next 6-12 months. Now, I want to move on to the biggest flaw in your eyes.

After I released my last video, I got tons of comments from people all saying the same thing. Why doesn't it have raw? This is a massive downgrade. We want raw. While yes, I agree with you, I would say just hold on a minute. As you saw in my last video, the results I got with plain JPEG and in-built HDR were better than shots shot with RAW with the Z1 or other cameras.

I don't know how they've done it, but the inbuilt HDR algorithm that produces the JPEGs is insanely good and it actually doesn't need RAW from the tests I've done so far, maybe there are some situations where RAW would benefit, but I truly don't think this camera needs raw. Of course it would be nice and of course, it would enhance the quality that extra bit more.

However, looking at the side by sides of the Z1 in RAW versus the Theta X in JPEG and the JPEG actually looked better and I think the people that are disappointed by no RAW are shooting in RAW just because it's like that's the thing that photographers do. They should enroll completely ignoring the actual results that are right there where the JPEG looks better.

I think it's one of those things where you learn a workflow that involves a series of steps and you follow those steps till the end of the earth. Even if they're better steps to take or less steps, some people want to follow that longer series of steps.

That's okay. Often those steps are the right ones, but I just challenge you to take a further look at some of these JPEGs because I truly think that the JPEG is really good out of the Theta X.

I did get a chance to off the Ricoh team why they did this and the impression I got was that they made the Theta X naught as the next-generation Ricoh camera, but more as like an alternative to their existing products.

Just like with their previous releases, they release a major camera followed by a minor camera that is cheaper, that is slightly lower quality, but it's simpler, it's more user-friendly and it's foreign audience who wants to spend less for a basic but good result.

Also, they said that they're targeting the Theta X towards real estate and virtual tours and people that want a simple and easy workflow. Would it be better with raw? Yeah, it would be, but it doesn't have RAW and it's unlikely to ever have RAW because it's hard to add row to an existing camera that's already been built.

While it technically is possible, it's hard to do it in a way that makes any kind of difference so I can confirm that they won't be adding raw.

If that is too big of a floor for you personally, then you may want to consider other cameras, but that is completely your call. I will link the Theta X and the One X2 below and tell me what are your thoughts on these two flaws of the Theta X. Regardless, I'll be posting more videos about the Theta X as I use it in different situations and as new updates are added in the future and that's it. See you next time.
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As a person using the Z1’s pretty much in the auto HDR jpg mode I don’t find the lack of the “RAW” as a handicap for this camera. I imagine that Ricoh could roll out the handheld hdr option in an update for the camera.

The Theta X falls in line with a much improved Theta SC2 for business. I holding back any judgment on this camera until I get my hands on the camera to see how is works within my workflow shooting primarily real estate tours the other case use I see for this camera would be small business Google tours with the inbuilt GPS I could imagine this could be a game changer for the “run & gun” shooters
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