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Ricoh Theta SC 360º Camera: FirstLook/FirstUse

Panoramic photos and videos at the push of a button!

A lot of cool stuff shows up at the RainyDayMagazine office, but every so often, something has us asking, “What is this?” Probably because (sometimes) the instructions are in Japanese…

A box of…theta waves?

Fortunately, it didn’t take the interns long to figure out that what was inside this box was a one-shot 360º camera 🙂


While the Ricoh Theta SC is not much bigger than a candy bar, this small-but-not-edible device has changed our perspective and altered the trajectory of 45 years of shooting instincts.

Unwrapping of a different kind (NOT A CANDY BAR)

Theta SC specs

  • Lens: 7 Elements in 6 Groups, F2.0, Fixed
  • Sensor: Approx. 12MP,
  • Focus: 10cm – to infinity
  • Photos: 5376×2688, 2048×1024, JPEG
  • Videos: 1920×1080/30fps/16Mbps, 1280×720/15fps/6Mbps, MP4
  • Internal memory: 8GB

That’s not bubble gum. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EAT.

The Theta SC is a completely self-contained unit with no expandable or removable parts (or bubble gum). The body fits in the hand comfortably. It has two 180º lenses, one on each side. The power and tripod connectors are at the bottom. The stereo mics are on the top.

The controls are on the side and within easy reach for single-handed operation, and are:

  • Camera On/Off
  • WiFi On/Off
  • Still/Video select

Note there is no slot for inserting a nickel to buy a piece of bubble gum. THERE IS NO BUBBLE GUM.

In the box

  • Theta SC camera
  • Soft case
  • USB charging cable
  • Directions

“Meep meep! Turn me on so you can see the world the way I do!”


The Ricoh Theta SC is very different than any camera we have ever used. There is really no better way to understand this camera than to use it. For its FirstUse, once we verified that the camera was “talking” to the app, we started taking shots via the Theta app.

Somebody has to phone home, don’t they?

Having the “live view” on the iPhone gave us confidence that we were capturing images, but the severely curved perspective takes some getting used to. It will be some time before we will be able to use the camera without firing up the app!

Kinda like the the NASA liftoff cameras, but in an office and behind some plants…

By pairing the camera with the Theta app on the iPhone, we were able to get some interesting shots the very first time using it, and after seeing some of the results, we started to understand how the Theta SS “saw” the world.


Below is a collection of photos taken with the Ricoh Theta SC right out of the box. We have to admit, the distorted perspectives capabilities of this camera are intriguing (although someone in the office remained steadfast in her defense of “regular” perspectives…)

There is still quite a bit to explore with stills on this camera, but next up for experimentation is the 360° video, something that is completely new to us.

A “tiny” office?

A giant loft of a workspace?

A bug’s view of inside a bouquet of flowers?

A cricket peering out from behind a banana plant?

A terrarium’s, um, eye view of the world? (It did not find any bubble gum.)

Holding up the world? Keeping it from closing in? LOOKING FOR BUBBLE GUM?


At first the Ricoh Theta SC felt a little bit gimmicky, but after getting a feel for what a 360º lens “sees” and understanding what it can do, it has completely changed our way of thinking about and composing shots, and of manipulating space.

While there is still a lot we don’t yet find intuitive about the Ricoh Theta (“Because the earth is round but our view is not,” quoth our persnicket-ologist), it has already gotten us to think about familiar surroundings in a whole new way.

Look for our InTheWild update later in the Spring after we have used its video mode and taken it outside for the panoramas and taken shots from various unique vantage points and perspectives (and found some bubble gum).

Links to items mentioned:

NOTE: No bubblegum was chewed during the creation of this post.

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