5 reasons owners will love the Ricoh Theta Z1 360° camera

Feb 28, 2019 | Article, Construction, HoloBuilder, Progress Tracking

The wait for a new high-quality option for your construction documentation is over! Our partner Ricoh just announced their new flagship 360° camera “Theta Z1” that is supposed to ship in late March 2019 and it is a huge step forward in almost every aspect. While it might not be for every jobsite due to its nearly $1,000 price tag, we think there is great potential for the larger jobs out there, and here is why!

If you’re on the hunt for a high-quality option for your construction documentation, the search is over! Find out why we think our partner, Ricoh’s flagship 360° camera “Theta Z1” is a game-changer for your construction documentation workflow for renovation and maintenance projects, allowing you to monitor progress onsite seamlessly.

5 Highlights — The Ricoh Theta Z1 for construction documentation in a nutshell:

  1. 23-megapixel resolution paired with larger sensors increase the overall image quality and result in more details — especially in low light situations.
  2. A new magnesium alloy body brings more robustness, yet easy handling while retaining a slim profile.
  3. The new OLED display lets you identify relevant shooting and camera status information at a glance.
  4. A variable aperture allows for high-quality images in various lighting situations.
  5. Many enhancements under the hood that build upon the great foundation of the predecessor model Theta V.

For us at HoloBuilder, the most important aspects in a 360° camera are ease-of-use, capturing speed, and of course image quality, and we are excited to see that Ricoh continues to improve all of them with their latest model.

Highlights of the new Ricoh Theta Z1 360° camera for your construction documentation at a glance.

Learn how these five highlights of the Theta Z1 can take your onsite progress monitoring to the next level.

1. Larger sensors for higher photo quality and better low-light performance

Larger sensor size delivers a better overall photo quality which translates to sharper images with more details. The Ricoh Theta Z1 is equipped with a pair of 1.0″ back-side illuminated CMOS sensors, which are some of the largest found in consumer-grade 360° cameras. The camera also offers a higher resolution of 23 megapixels, which results in more detailed photographs and enables superior noise reduction performance. This is especially useful for indoors shots and in other low light situations. With your contractors often finding themselves in rooms with subpar lighting, the last thing you need is subpar photo documentation which result in the need for additional site visits. Here, the Theta Z1 shows its strengths by presenting impressive details even in dark situations.

2. A magnesium alloy body for better durability and handling

The camera body has been re-designed from the ground up and is constructed out of a magnesium alloy that adds to the overall robustness of the camera. With this sturdy metal frame, the camera now feels like a proper tool that is perfectly suited for rough days onsite, ensuring your investment is not damaged. But even though the camera now houses much larger sensors, Ricoh managed to keep the overall camera size small enough to easily fit in a pocket. Since the small body allows for a very small distance between the two lenses this allows for a better stitching performance with fewer parallax errors which again leads to more seamless photos with better overall quality.

3. An OLED display and a dedicated function button

The Ricoh Theta Z1 comes with an OLED display that shows shooting information such as battery level, shooting mode, and the remaining number of photos. OLED displays offer higher contrasts than traditional LCD displays which will be of advantage for contractors when they are trying to read it outside in bright sunlight. When they want to do a quick equipment check before a job walk, they can now see all this information at a glance. There is also a new function button at the side of the camera which lets them switch between shooting modes, and more importantly, allows switching between installed plugins like HoloBuilder 360 SiteStream. On older models they would need to select the default plugin on a computer or mobile device with the Theta App, but now it’s possible on the camera itself.

4. A variable aperture and higher resolution for added sharpness

The camera can take 23-megapixel still images just like its predecessor, but with a higher resolution of 6720×3360 pixels which equals 7K. Its lens now has a variable aperture (f/2.1, f/3.5 or f/5.6) that can be opened up or closed down depending on the lighting situation. By doing so more details will be retained in low light on the one hand and colors will be less washed-out bright lighting on the other hand, which often occurs when natural light comes in through windows. The resulting more detailed 360° photos retain more information, which can be valuable when it comes to reading signs and other small details. All of this makes it easier to check the construction progress on your desktop or mobile device.

5. Countless improvements on a great foundation

Apart from the new major features, Ricoh managed to keep this great foundation and improve upon it in countless ways:

  • Along with the body redesign comes a newly developed lens unit which reduces ghosting, flare, and purple fringe, which all improves the image quality.
  • The Ricoh Theta Z1 comes with 51GB of built-in storage for about 6,350 photos (JPEG), with the ability to shoot a large number of high-quality construction photos without running into storage capacity problems.
  • Better ISO sensitivity of 80 to 6400, which allows the camera to better adapt to extreme lighting situations.
  • Several different shooting modes are available and can be selected on the camera.
  • The camera runs on a new Qualcomm chip and features improved overall performance, meaning it should power on even faster.
  • It is possible to save the 360° photos in RAW format, which allows for even more detailed photos and flexibility in post-editing.
  • Plugins that can be installed directly on the camera’s Android OS, alongside a new “time-shift” plugin that allows photographers to remove themselves from their photos.

. . .

To sum things up, the main reasons as to why owners will love the Ricoh Theta Z1 are all about great image quality to track your project’s progress with a clear, high-quality visual of the jobsite. Ricoh managed to improve on many of the most important features for construction progress tracking, all while keeping the camera small and easy-to-use.

How HoloBuilder and Ricoh Theta Z1 work together for a smooth construction management workflow

The Ricoh Theta Z1 360° camera is fully compatible with HoloBuilder’s JobWalk App, and saves you the need to install custom firmware. Contractors can quickly scan your entire jobsite, capturing high-quality images as they go for progress monitoring.

In terms of image quality, the Z1 delivers better results than any other camera of the Theta series so far. The 23-megapixel resolution 360° pictures show a great color spectrum and very good depth of field. It allows zooming in to see more details sharper than ever before, eliminating the need for on-site visits to get a clearer view.

Compare the image quality of the Ricoh Theta Z1 against other 360° cameras in HoloBuilder

Despite the higher image quality and thus, greater file sizes of photos, the image transfer speeds to the JobWalk App are very fast:

Based on our tests we would recommend to always pair the camera with a tripod for best results, especially when using the HDR mode (which we recommend for dealing with special lighting situations).

. . .

What do you think about the Ricoh Theta Z1 360° camera for your construction documentation? We’d love to read your thoughts! Also if you would like to suggest an addition to our supported cameras, features or integrations that would make your life much easier, please send us an email to buildingtogether@holobuilder.com.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

To learn what HoloBuilder's JobWalk App and Ricoh Theta Z1 360° camera can do for your next renovation project, request a demo from our team today!

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