Last month, we held a webinar with New York City-based 360-degree camera expert, Sam Rohn, to discuss the new RICOH THETA Z1 AE bracketing mode and how the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition compares to the RICOH THETA Z1. Sam also shared tips for shooting in low light photography and more from his years of experience.

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360 photo captured with THETA Z1 by Sam Rohn

RICOH THETA Z1 AE Bracketing Mode

Sam kicked off the webinar discussing the new AE bracketing mode compatible with the RICOH THETA Z1. He explained that this “auto-exposure” bracketing mode helps to automatically calculate what the other exposures in a bracketing series should be. He expressed how he absolutely loves this mode for 360-degree photography when capturing static scenes and no longer has to manually set up exposure.

With AE bracketing mode, Sam has full control when shooting and gets a greater dynamic range. The only time he does not use this mode is when there are lots of moving objects such as a busy street or restaurant. Bracketing is always an advantage unless you have a moving object which would create “ghosting artifacts,” which would require masking and editing in photoshop.

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360 photo captured with THETA Z1 by Sam Rohn

To activate AE bracketing mode, turn on your RICOH THETA Z1 and open the THETA app on your smartphone. In the shooting settings, you can choose “AE bracket” as the shooting method. Next, go back to the photo shooting screen to see in the upper right corner an AE bracket indicator. If you see that, you’re ready to begin photographing! Just remember to turn off this shooting method when you no longer want to use it. 

RICOH THETA Z1 and the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition 

Sam shared that the RICOH THETA Z1 and the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition are the only two 1-inch sensor 360-degree cameras available right now. RICOH THETA Z1 has been on the market for a few years and has undergone excellent updates from the Ricoh team. Side by side the RICOH THETA Z1 is smaller than the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition with Sam noting that the Insta360 model is heavier and larger, a disadvantage to him. The Insta360 also has a removable battery which can be beneficial, has superior video qualities, and interesting AI features. The image quality of both cameras shooting single exposure is similar; however, for bracketing modes, the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition was disappointing to Sam.

Sam then compared side-by-side photos taken on the RICOH THETA Z1 and Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition. Using the Insta360 model in low light resulted in unsatisfactory results and didn’t allow Sam to control the ISO. The RICOH THETA Z1 allowed him to keep the ISO at the lowest setting resulting in very little noise and an overall better image quality.

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360 photo captured with THETA Z1 by Sam Rohn

Shooting in Low Light Photography

The RICOH THETA Z1 is excellent for low light photography. Sam enjoys how the new AE bracketing feature gives users full control over manual bracketing parameters, making shooting in low light scenarios even better.

Sam shared that the important thing to remember when shooting in low light settings is to choose a location where there is interesting light. If you’re used to shooting photos during well-lit commercial or residential interiors, you may not have the opportunity to shoot low light scenes. If you enjoy shooting sunsets or moody locations, then you will be shooting in low light more often. It’s important to understand where you have enough light to make a good composition and a strong balance of lumination. It’s also helpful to keep in mind what you can recover from the shadows of an image, which can take some practice.

Missed the event and want to learn more? Check out the webinar recording on our YouTube channel

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