By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Berlin, Germany – Ricoh used IFA 2013 here Thursday to introduce its Ricoh Theta handheld 360-degree-spherical image camera.
The Theta, which will be available for pre-order on Ricoh’s Web site at a $399 suggested retail starting this month, uses a newly developed ultra-small twin-lens folded optical system designed to capture a scene from a 360-degree spherical perspective around the camera.
The Theta camera includes built-in Wi-Fi to sync with smartphones and tablets. This will enable the images to be transmitted directly to the smart device and viewed using a free app.
The app will also permit image tweaking by pinching, swiping and rotating the picture to the desired final composition.
Images uploaded to theta360.com can be shared on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, as well as Microsoft’s Photosynth.
“The Ricoh Theta isn’t just a big step forward in panoramic photography,” stated Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Microsoft Photsynth engineer and architect. “It changes the nature of photography itself: You can shoot first and crop later, or share the full sphere including the photographer. It’s an exciting product, and Microsoft is proud to be partnering with Ricoh by integrating support for the Ricoh Theta in the Photosynth mobile app.”
Ricoh said that at launch the Theta will be compatible with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 running on iOS6 or higher. Android compatibility is planned to follow by the end of the year.
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