Showing posts with label Ricoh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ricoh. Show all posts

Monday, 26 March 2018

Surprisingly Tough, but not Invincible

Barely above freezing, but the sky is clear and winter blue.  The camera is a Ricoh Theta S on a Gorilla Pod wrapped around the rear view mirror, until it wasn't.  Without a hint of a problem it suddenly let go at 80km/hr as we rode down a country road.  The tripod and camera slid down the pavement for 50 odd metres before coming to a stop.  We turned around and went back to find the camera case popped open and electronics hanging out, I figured it was dead.  (check out the bottom of this post for an update - it looks like the Theta didn't survive after all).

Once home I put the guts back in and snapped it shut again and it powered right up.  All the photos on it were fine, only the plastic piece at the top shattered.  It's now covered in tape and looks like the tough little camera that it is.  If you're looking for a hardy 360 camera, the Ricoh Theta has survived thousands of miles on a motorcycle taking all sorts of photos and videos, and now it has hit the road at high speed, and it still keeps on ticking (kind of - see below).

I'd kinda hoped that this nixed the Theta S so I could upgrade to the new Theta V.  That might be what ends up happening now.

I had the camera set to take a photo ever 10 seconds.  I hoped that it happened to be taking one as it came off the mirror, but no luck.  In the meantime, here are a selection of stills and 360 movable images from the Ricoh on the ride:

Dress warm for a cold ride. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Cold, easly spring #Triumph ride #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


I tried the Theta on the way into work today.  It has gone cross eyed!

It looks like the old film double exposure shots I used to take in college.  The speaker doesn't make the byooup noise it used to when you press the shutter and it doesn't fire on every touch.  When it does take a photo it's a psychedelic experience...

On the downside, the tough little Theta didn't manage a super-heroic save on the 80km/hr slide down the pavement.  On the upside it still fires up and the memory works fine, it's just cock-eyed.  The other upside is a Theta V is on my short list for a replacement.  In spite of this understandable failure, the Theta is still by and far my favourite 360 camera for on-bike shots.  It's small but easy in the hand, aerodynamic and has hardware buttons on it.  Many others only have software control through a smartphone which is fiddly and awkward.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Riding the Dufferin Highlands & Beating Up a 360 Camera

A colleague's retirement party at the far end of our school board meant an excuse to ride over an hour each way to the Dufferin County Museum, scenically perched atop the highest point in Southern Ontario.  It also happens to be within ten minutes of two of my favourite semi-local rides (there is nothing closer with any twisties).

I rode over to Orangeville and then down Hockley Valley Road.  We're getting over a flood, and the Hockley River was eating its own banks where ever I saw it.  The ride up Airport Road into the highlands was very green and equally floody.  The retirement party was unique in that more than 50% of the speeches weren't tedious and so filled with inside jokes that only the speaker thinks them funny - with a few exceptions I wasn't bored with the speeches, which never happens.

I didn't take any photos on the way out, but I met my wife at the party and then we thought we might go over to the Terra Nova Public House for dinner, but they had nearly an hour wait on a Friday Night, so we aimed elsewhere.  The Mono Cliff's Inn was both immediately welcoming and only ten minutes away over the glacial moraines of the Niagara Escarpment.

This time I kept the Ricoh Theta handy and took photos as we went into the setting sun:

After a great appetizer smorgasbord in the unique atmosphere of the bar downstairs at the MCI we headed home in the twilight.  I wasn't expecting much out of the Theta camera in the dying light, but as it has before, it exceeded my expectations:

By this point the light is all but gone and I'm beating up on the Theta.  A fixed lens fully automatic camera, 360° or not, struggles to manage low light, so this isn't where the Theta was designed to work, but it still does a credible job.  It's all but dark out when I take the last photo while travelling under the power lines.  I had to beat it up in photoshop a bit to restore some sharpness, but sometimes going with the blur gives you a painted feel to a photo which can give it an abstract vibe.  Photography doesn't have to be all about focus.

You can do quite a lot with the desktop software that comes with the Theta,but there are some special formatting options in the online version that are cool.  The Tiny Planet view in the online viewer is probably my favourite.  The embedded image at the bottom lets you see the whole photo in the raw.

The original

Some Photoshop on the original
Alternative photoshop a bit closer to the natural light

This is the original image in the online software.  If you click on the mirror ball icon and then tiny planet you'll see where I got the still images above.
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Saturday, 1 April 2017

360 Camera Thoughts & Early Spring Commutes

Some media from the first week of regular (twice!) commuting:

A tiger's eye view of the ride in to work.  About 4°C and a bit damp.  That afternoon was up to 12°C and I comfortably took the long way home.  Both videos use the high speed video capture option within the Fly360 (long motorcycle videos are tedious):

Photos and video screen grabs from the rides all on the 360Fly4k - great resolution but it isn't really a 360° camera like the Ricoh Theta is with a large blank area around the base.  If you mount it facing up it doesn't see the bike.  The photo on the left shows the full range of view - if it was a true 360°view you'd see where the bike was going too.  The Theta stitches two of those globes together giving you a true 360° capture.  It's also much smaller and easier to clip onto a motorbike.  Having a physical button to take photos and move between video and photo mode while on the go is also helpful.  The Fly can only be operated through your smartphone, which isn't possible while in motion (well, I guess it is, but you'll probably end up wrapped around a tree and the copper who sees you with a phone in your hand will loose his mind).

Editing is a whole other thing.  I find the 360 Director software buggy at best.  PoV in camera editing doesn't seem to pick up when you ask it to render.  I can get it to go about one third of the time.  The resolution of the Fly is excellent, and it does an ok job in low light considering that it isn't really designed for it.  The Fly is also weather proof, so you're not worrying about the odd drop of rain like I did with the Theta.

The long and the short of it is, if you're looking for resolution and clarity, the Fly's your choice, just be prepared to stick it in some strange places because it can't see everything.  If you want ease of editing in a small camera with true 360° video and photography, the Theta's where you should go.

These are all taken with it suctioned to the inside of the windshield and pointed back at me...