Ricoh Theta X coming

It will be interesting to see if this camera has any features suitable for use in Mapillary Ricoh's new Theta X 360º camera features 2.55" touchscreen, interchangeable battery and Micro SD card slot: Digital Photography Review

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The specs read promising. Especially the 60 MP still image resolution sounds absolutely compelling because imho 32 MP (8,192×4,096) is the bare minimum resolution to consider when doing data photography/mapping. Anything below that is just useless and should be considered a toy or tourist gadget. And then, if the integrated GPS module is also going to be worth while then the Theta X is definitely going to be a must buy for any serious Mapillarian. :wink:

The MSRP—if they can keep it down to that for the end customer in these volatile times—also sounds extremely competitive. :astonished: Furthermore, Ricoh has learned a lot of lessons on software with the Theta Z1. I really hope that they are going to make all of their software experience shine on the new Theta X. :crossed_fingers:

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Battery life Still image: Approx. 220 photos *6

That’s not much. But:

USB-C port on the side of the camera for keeping the device charged via a USB power bank without the need to swap batteries.

Great!

I wonder what the rate of the interval mode is. If it goes quicker than 1 pic every 2s. Would be great for bicycle applications.

Two image sizes are available to match the scene: 11K for a high-resolution bright-light indoor photography, and 5.5K to capture images easily and efficiently in other scenarios.

oddly specific information. So I guess they are using pixel-binning. This could be bad news for outdoor mapillary usage :frowning:

Also, their use of Android sounds good.
I hope they do not take “still camera” too serious and are able to limit exposure time while in auto exposure mode. Or else, photography while moving would just smear everything.
Android is notoriously unsuitable for this because of limitations of their camera2 API.

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I wonder what the rate of the interval mode is. If it goes quicker than 1 pic every 2s. Would be great for bicycle applications.

Yeah, imho 1 fps is the bare minimum for still image mode when moving. Anything below that is especially useless on cars.

Two image sizes are available to match the scene: 11K for a high-resolution bright-light indoor photography, and 5.5K to capture images easily and efficiently in other scenarios.

oddly specific information. So I guess they are using pixel-binning. This could be bad news for outdoor mapillary usage

:thinking: Hmm, indeed, they might be pixel binning at low light conditions in order to reduce noise/decrease the ISO level, or to shorten exposure time. Well, this is at least how I read it. However, this may also be a hint at temporal interleaving when shooting video or to get up to like 2 fps in still image mode.

Anyhow, I am hooked and I am seriously going to consider to buy the Theta X in 2022.

Bad news: the minimum interval seems to be 6 seconds: Ricoh Theta X Review: NO STITCHING NEEDED for 5.7K 360 videos + 11k photos - 360 Rumors

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Re: 6 seconds: I was afraid of that. So video and time lapse (if applicable) would be equivalent to previous 360 video. The higher pixel count and presumably processing power would only be useful for still spherical photos.

Bad news: the minimum interval seems to be 6 seconds

If that is true then it is a bummer. :slightly_frowning_face:

Well, I guess that 6 seconds is okay for the markets they are trying to target with their marketing campaign, like real estate agents and hotels. But, it is definitely going to be a deal breaker for me as a Mapillarian.
However, I am pretty sure that this could be remedied with appropriate firmware. I can hardly imagine that hardware could be the bottleneck here; neither in terms of encoding speed, thermal budget, nor write throughput on modern SD cards. The reason why this relatively long 6 second delay may exist is presumably because stitching is done on the camera’s under powered CPU. As a Mapillarian, I do not care if I get two separate images per second (assuming they still use two sensors) that I would have to stitch together perhaps offline, or maybe on an external machine. Yes, it would be nice to have a complete 360° image ready to upload from the camera but for Mapillary’s use case 6 seconds are way beyond anything useful (unless you really want to snail around streets; good luck with that). Seriously determined people can automate offline stitching but they cannot automate 1 fps into the camera. So, I can only hope that Ricoh is going to acknowledge and recognize that a) there is a market segment that needs 1 fps or more in still image mode and b) that there are ways to deliver that, even at the expense of some inconvenience. :crossed_fingers:

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I found on-camera stitching very convenient, as one does not have to deal with software then.

Open source software in this area tends to not be so optimized and requires more manual labor.

Official sotware from both gopro and insta360 was always horrible. Heck, you cannot even download gopro’s stitching solution without that stupid Microsoft market account.
And you need that specific NVIDIA GPU which in turn have crappy closed source linux drivers.

Even worse, the mobile apps. The one for the Insta360 is full of US and Chinese spyware:
https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/de/reports/com.arashivision.insta360akiko/latest/

Someone tested it and found 3s for 11K pics. Some improvement, but still too slow:

It seems possible to get 10fps 8K h.264 Video as a plugin developer:

So maybe the limit is the JPEG encoder?

8K is about 30 megapixels.
11K is about 60 megapixels.

So purely from a pixel-rate point of view, 11K might be 5fps…
Might be there’s another limit in the h.264 encoder.

Nevertheless 8K10 sound pretty attractive. Hope the video codec doesn’t impair the quality too much.
Update: the quality is very bad, lots of visible block artifacts: RICOH THETA 8K Video Tested For Developers. It's Great. - YouTube

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Thank you for tracking it :+1:

Official sotware from both gopro and insta360 was always horrible. Heck, you cannot even download gopro’s stitching solution without that stupid Microsoft market account.
And you need that specific NVIDIA GPU which in turn have crappy closed source linux drivers.

I can feel your pain. It is as if companies deliberately want to hurt their customers instead of heading for broadest adoption through compatibility, interoperability, and accessibility. :disappointed: Unfortunately, too often too many marketing and bean counting wise guys have too much decision power in product development and management. Most of the time these people do not get the point of their job. They think their job is to save money, though instead their job is to make money by enabling their R&D department to put out the best product on the market there is and then price it accordingly in tiers. There are two types of companies in this world: Those who are in the business of saving money and those who are in the business of making money. Guess what company I want to work for and buy products from. :wink:

So maybe the limit is the JPEG encoder?

No, I do not think so. Basically all general purpose SoCs since 2015 have hardware accelerated JPEG encoders (and some combination of video encoders). Besides, JPEG encoding is computationally really cheap, even at 60 MP, compared to h.264 or anything like that. Hardware vendors have already mastered fast JPEG encoding almost 20 years ago. So, I am assuming that the biggest bottleneck is probably going to be the final equirectangular re-projection step. Since the two images that the camera(s) make are always going to have the same relative position to each other, there is not much need for true stitching here either. So, the stitching step could probably be greatly speed up by simply blending overlapping pixels. Re-projection could/should be implemented in GPU. Granted, I have not implemented equirectangular re-projection on a GPU but I would guess that any decent iGPU should be able to do that in less than a second at 60 MP. But hey, that’s just me speculating. In any event, it would be nice to see some info on that from Ricoh.

Maybe they are doing much more than just saving the pic, because, even for 5.7K images, they claim 1.2 seconds per picture, whereas 30fps for basically the same sized video.

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@MikeN, please add a tag “360° cameras”: 360° cameras - Mapillary Community Forum

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