One of the first assignments I got at G Style Magazine was to review a 360-degree action camera. During my time with the device, I often found myself wondering, “what specific purpose does this fill?” In the pre-COVID days, an action camera could be seen on the business end of selfie sticks of happy vacationers and 360-degree cameras further upped the ante by helping your would-be influencers create simple VR tours of their journey. Today, things are very different and so has my approach to thinking about 360-degree cameras and the Ricoh Theta SC2 for Business was a big part of that.  

Theta SC2 Tech Specs via Ricoh 

  • Storage: 14GB internal (non-expandable) storage 
  • Sensor Size: 14-megapixel sensor 
  • Video: 360-degree video at 30 fps 
  • Max 4k resolution with HDR presets 
  • OLED info display 
  • Wireless Transfer/Control 
  • Connectivity to smartphones, computers, and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) 

Using the Ricoh Theta SC2 for Business 

I’m not a fan of most naming conventions and for the sake of brevity, I’ll be referring to the device as the SC2B from here on out.  

The SC2B is as easy as it gets from an operating standpoint. There’s only a handful of buttons that control powering the device, mode menu, and the shutter. That’s it. Once on, you’ll mostly be working with the large shutter button that sits on the front of the SC2B – there’s no manual controls here just set it up and shoot.  

What sets the SC2B apart from its more consumer-friendly counterpart is the addition of an HDR mode called Room. Room mode, as the name implies, optimizes the camera’s settings to capture indoor and complex/mixed lighting settings without any additional setup. It’s intended for use with a tripod, which explained some of the blurry handheld images I came away with during testing. 

When connected to your phone via the Theta app, you’ll be able to transfer images and video from the SC2B (and other compatible Theta models) using Bluetooth or WiFi. Unfortunately, during testing this was easily the most frustrating part of the process since the connection was almost always very hit-or-miss. Videos often would require multiple attempts to transfer and bulk importing of images would occasionally cause the app to lock up. While this isn’t a condemnation on the device itself, it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re planning on picking one up for yourself.  

Who Needs a 360-degree Camera Anyway? 

Ultimately, that was the question that I was trying to answer when I first began testing the SC2B. While I received my review unit at the worst possible time to test a product that has traditionally loaned itself to travel (I received mine in March 2021), a subsequent work project and personal apartment move really brought to light who would most benefit from a device like the SC2B. Sure, you can take one on vacation with you and share your exploits with friends and family through Ricoh’s social media integration, but where this device makes the most sense is to use it for specific business applications like real estate photography and virtual tours/mapping, or e-learning.

During my review, I initially used the SC2B as part of an apartment search. Apartment hunting during a pandemic was an interesting experience and often one where all parties were not very keen on spending too much time in an enclosed space. I had the notion to use the SC2B to “map” each of the apartments so I could later pull up the space when considering where to move. For a realtor, the SC2B makes for a powerful selling tool – allowing them to take higher quality, 360 images and videos that may be cost-prohibitive if they were to hire a dedicated photographer/videographer.

screenshot of Image Preview

Post-move, I found myself using the SC2B to develop interactive learning modules that relied heavily on real-life examples as part of the activity. Because of the SC2B’s compact size and ease of use, I was able to hand it off to a field supervisor to document or stage a learning scenario on a job site without having to worry about teaching someone to be a photographer/videographer. The resulting images were perfect for this type of application and were simple to work with once imported into Articulate 360.

Theta SC2 for Business: Takeaways and Final Thoughts 

I’ve long struggled to find a good use-case for 360-cameras – I’m not an “adventurer” nor do I feel compelled to share every detail of my life (kudos to you if that’s you), but the Ricoh Theta SC2 for Business has given me a little more clarity into more practical uses of the camera, focusing on the particle applications of a 360-camera. If you’re looking for better vlogs and social videos, the SC2B’s HDR capabilities make that a reality as well.

That said, it can still be a lot of fun to play with 360-degree video and I just don’t have the patience or experience to manually stitch video together to get a more polished look – so that’s a big win for the SC2B.  

You can pick one up now for around $330 USD from Ricoh

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