Ricoh Theta Z1 is a pocketable prosumer 360 camera for $999

Dual, 1-inch image sensors should raise the bar for spherical image quality.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman

Ricoh's Theta Z1 360-degree camera promises to significantly improve the one big area where other consumer spherical cameras fail: Image quality. 

Theta cameras have advanced in many ways since they first launched in 2013, but they've all been saddled with the same tiny 1- or 2.3-inch image sensors, which really limits their photo and video quality. The Z1 is the first to use two, 1-inch image sensors to capture 23-megapixel-resolution 360-degree still images and digitally stabilized 4K spherical video (3,840×1,920-pixel resolution at 29.97fps) with a bit rate of 56Mbps. Ricoh says it can live stream in 4K as well at a bit rate of 120Mbps. 

The larger sensors are roughly four times the size of the old sensors and should give the Z1 better dynamic range and reduced noise at night and in low-light conditions indoors. The camera is also its first to have a variable-aperture mechanism letting you select from f2.1, f3.5 and f5.6, so you can step down and potentially improve detail sharpness. 

Another first for the Z1 is support for Adobe DNG format (raw). There's also a new plug-in -- Ricoh Theta Stitcher -- for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC letting you import, edit and stitch your spherical photos. 

Availability wasn't announced, but the Theta Z1's site lists a price of $999 or £899. Australia pricing was not available, but that converts to about AU$1,640.