Simplified 360° Photos and Movies: The New Theta m15 Spherical Digital Camera


The original Theta may have slipped by without too many people taking notice, but its stylish, austere form factor and the simple manner in which it creates 360° spherical images impressed enough folks that Ricoh has introduced its successor. The new Ricoh Theta m15 Spherical Digital Camera is now available in Blue, Yellow, Pink, and White, and offers not only one-click spherical panoramic stills capture but 360° spherical panoramic movies, faster Wi-Fi speed, and enhanced exposure controls.

With one push of the shutter button, lenses on both sides of its thin and lightweight body capture an entire 360° perspective. Then, using its built-in Wi-Fi—which is rated to be twice as fast as the original—or its USB connection, the camera’s files are transferred to your computer where the free upgraded Ricoh Theta app for Windows/Mac stitches the images together into one interactive photo that can be zoomed in and out or spun to bring any part of the image front and center. Also, the Theta app is equipped with an SDK (Software Development Kit), which allows users to create their own apps for the 360° images. The m15 provides not only the user-friendly Auto exposure mode but adds shutter priority and ISO priority modes for further image control. ISO sensitivity on the camera runs from 100 –1600 and shutter speeds from 1/7.5 – 1/8000 of a second.

The most notable update on this new model is 360° spherical panoramic movie mode, which is available in full HD 1080p at 15 fps to produce clips up to 3 minutes long with a total recording time of approximately 40 minutes. A specialized tool in the Theta app enables size, shape, and composition changes to your video and 5MB of movies can be shared on or Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. 4GB of internal memory provide sufficient space to store numerous stills and video and a built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery provides long run time between charges. Using its Wi-Fi connectivity and iPhone app, the Theta m15 can be synced to your iPhone for remote control of the camera’s shutter, as well as for image geo-tagging and, ultimately, to share images from your phone to social media sites.

The m15 does have a ¼"-20 threaded tripod mount, which is important for taking remote-controlled shots without you appearing in the 360° perspective. The small, colorful design of this unique camera makes it ideal to carry with you for spontaneous creativity.

Ricoh Theta m15 Compact Digital Camera
Image Sensor Not Supplied by Manufacturer
Effective Pixels Not Supplied by Manufacturer
Maximum Resolution Not Supplied by Manufacturer
Still Image File Format JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.3), DCF2.0 compliant
Storage Media 4GB Internal Memory
Card Slot N/A
Lens Type Fisheye
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent) Not Specified by Manufacturer
Optical Zoom N/A
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.9" / 10 cm
Image Stabilization N/A
Viewfinder Type N/A
Shutter Type Programmed AE Electronic Shutter Mechanism
Shutter Speed Stills: 1/8000 to 1/7.5 seconds; Video: 1/8000 to 1/15 seconds
Exposure Metering System Auto
Exposure Modes Auto, Shutter Priority, ISO Priority (Changes made via smartphone)
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 in 1/3 EV steps. (Changes made via smartphone/app)
ISO Sensitivity Stills: ISO 100 to 1600; Video: ISO 100 to 400
Autofocus System Fixed Focus 
Focus Modes Fixed Focus: 3.9" (10 cm) to infinity from lens surface
Built-In Flash N/A
White Balance Modes Stills: Auto, Indoors, Outdoors, Cloudy, Incandescent Lamp1, Incandescent Lamp 2, Daylight Color Fluorescent Lamp, Natural White Fluorescent Lamp, White Fluorescent Lamp, Light Bulb Color Fluorescent Lamp (Changes made via smartphone/app.)   Video: Auto
Movie Recording 1080p at 15 fps
Movie Metering Auto
File Format MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio Recording Mono
Audio File Format Linear PCM
External Microphone Input N/A
Headphone Jack N/A
Maximum Recording Time 3 minutes per clip; 40 minutes total recording time (temperature override)
Monitor N/A
Interface microUSB: USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Yes
Power Source Built-in Lithium-Ion - charge via USB Cable plugged into computer
Battery Life 200 images per charge
Operating Environment 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C); Up to 90% RH
Dimensions 1.6 x 5 x 0.9" (0.69" excluding lens protrusion) / 4.1 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm (1.8 cm excluding lens protrusion)
Weight 3.35 oz / 95 g