Ricoh Theta SC2 vs Insta 360 One X2 or a comparison of the most popular cameras on the price shelf up to 300$.
In the last months of 2020, a new camera from the manufacturer Insta360 appeared on the market. This is the ONE X2 model, the successor to the ONE X model. Since you often ask us which camera to buy for virtual walks, we decided to juxtapose the 2 most popular models. Both of the aforementioned cameras fall into the price range of around 500$. The Ricoh Theta SC2 currently costs around 300$. The Insta 360 ONE X2 is priced at around 370$.
Let’s start the comparison by checking the specifications
We will focus only on the elements related to photography. You can read the full specifications of the models on the manufacturer’s website, here and here
|Storage capacity||14GB / ok. 3000 zdjęć||microSD do 1TB|
|Battery life approx.||ok. 260 zdjęć||producent nie podaje|
|ISO sensitivity||(tryb automatyczny)
|Colour temperature||od 2500-10000K||od 2700-6500K|
|Photo modes||Redukcja szumów,
Zdjęcia z funkcją kompozycji interwałowej,
Zdjęcia z wykorzystaniem funkcji Multi-bracketing, Samowyzwalacz (2, 5 i 10 sekund)
Zdjęcia z funkcją kompozycji interwałowej,
Samowyzwalacz (2, 5 i 10 sekund),
|Photo format||.JPG (kompresja jpeg)||.insp (eksportowany przez aplikację mobilną lub komputerową do formatu .jpg)
RAW (dng) (Eksportowany wyłącznie przez aplikację komputerową)
|Effective pixel count / output pixels||12 megapixeli(x2) / 14 megapixeli||12megapixeli|
Not focusing on the little things… The Insta 360 One X2 takes higher resolution photos. It has a brighter aperture of F2.0 which should translate into clearer (brighter) photos in darker scenery. It has the ability to shoot in RAW, which will be appreciated by those familiar with photo processing. It also has a NightShot mode which, in theory, is a tweaked HDR mode. Something that we can take away from the specifications and does not speak in favour of the One X2 is the format of the photos. In order to finally have a file in the form of a .jpg extension, i.e. one that we can use in the virtual walk, we need to use a mobile or desktop application. Of course, both applications are available on the manufacturer’s website and in the Google Play and appStore. Thus, if you want the simplicity of operating the camera and having the usual images in a fast time, the Ricoh camera service will be more convenient for you.
I have already mentioned prices at the outset, but I think it is worth mentioning them again so that you are aware that the difference is not just in the price but also in the capabilities of the equipment.
|Ricoh Theta SC2
|Insta 360 One X2
As you can see, the price difference is relatively high. However, looking at the images above, you can deduce that there is a small screen on the Insta 360 One X2 camera. It is touchscreen and allows full management of the camera’s settings along with real-time video preview. Those who want to take photos or videos without connecting a smartphone to the camera will certainly appreciate this fact. What you won’t find in the ONE X2 camera is also the possibility of changing the battery and uploading any memory card capacity (up to 1Tb). Another important fact is that the more expensive camera is waterproof and will allow it to be submerged in water up to a depth of 10m. Is it worth paying extra for this? I leave it to you to choose.
Test I – comparison of images
The tests were carried out in our new office. All photos were taken in exactly the same lighting. To be sure of the differences, we decided to take the photos with and without the light on. We used two modes for the tests, automatic and HDR. The photos are divided into two parts. On the left is a photo taken with the Ricoh Theta SC2 camera and on the right is the Insta 360 One X2. The camera was positioned sideways to the window so you will be sure that the light entering the room spreads evenly across the camera lenses. The images below have not undergone any graphic processing on my part. The pictures are in high resolution, so if you want a good look just click on them.
At the very end I will present two comparisons. In the first, you will be able to see the images in spherical format, i.e. displayed in a virtual walk-through format. And in the second, we will look at the control image which will be the culmination of the Ricoh Theta SC2 vs Insta 360 One X2 test.
We start in Auto mode without additional overhead lighting.
As you can see, the image taken with the Ricoh Theta SC2 camera is much darker. It seems to show the blacks and manage the shadows better, but on the other hand it is, in my opinion, underexposed. When the photo is enlarged, the noise of what is there is very noticeable. In the photo taken by Insta 360, there is considerably less noise. The photo seems slightly blurry, but the brightness of this photo makes it seem more pleasing to the eye. See also my backpack leaning against my desk. It is almost invisible in the photo taken with the SC2.
Auto mode with lighting
Here, the situation has changed somewhat. It is true that you can still see that the photo on the left is darker, but they are already more similar. The fact that you can already see the outline of the building behind the window, which you cannot see in the photo taken with the Insta 360 One X2, is noteworthy. The amount of noise in the photo taken with the SC2 has decreased, but is still perfectly noticeable, especially on the darker parts of the room. The wall above the radiator in the case of the SC2 goes into what appears to be a cold mood. In the case of the One X2, it resembles more of an orange which gives a warm feel.
HDR mode without lighting
Click to enlarge
Here the situation has changed. The photo taken with the SC2 is brighter than the one taken in automatic mode. The building behind the window also appeared in both photos, although SC2 made the building more visible. Unfortunately, the photo taken with SC2 seems darker.
HDR mode with lighting
It is difficult to say more. The two photos are comparable, although, at a closer look, the photo taken with SC2 seems more sharpened. Noise issues and image brightness are still unchanged. The image climes still indicate that the photo taken with the ONE X2 is more pleasant to look at.
The Insta 360 One X2 camera also allows you to create photos in NightShot mode.
This is a ‘tweaked’ HDR mode. HDR mode creates a photo with 3 light compositions and encapsulates them into a single image. NightShot mode puts as many as 9 compositions into it. Unfortunately but the Ricoh Theta SC2 doesn’t have any other modes so I was left to juxtapose HDR mode with NightShot. Interestingly, NightShot mode can (and should) also be switched on in lit properties 🙂
Photo without lighting
Click to enlarge
Photo with lighting
In my opinion looking at the above photos, the Insta 360 One X2 camera took a far better photo. The photo is friendlier to the eye. The colours are varied, full, which cannot be said of the greenish colour that appeared in the photo taken by the Ricoh Theta SC2. Noise in the photo taken by the ONE X2 is virtually imperceptible. The sharpness of the photo has also improved.
All of the above images were created for the purpose of you being able to compare them yourself. There is no point in me using a complicated dictionary. At least for now, because in the next test I might use some more technical expressions. It seems to me that people who look at the above photos through the prism of “beauty” should choose their favourite without too much trouble.
Test II – benchmark comparison
As I mentioned earlier, I will now carry out a comparison of the images based on a control image. This image, has been projected onto a TV which you can see in each of the photos. The benchmark for comparison will be the photo I took with my smartphone (centre photo). It is to it that we will compare the images taken with the cameras. To be fair to both cameras, the photo taken with the One X2 was also taken in HDR mode. I did not want to take in NightShot mode because the test would have been unfair to the capabilities of the SC2 model. We will compare the NightShot mode a little below.
Comparison with smartphone photo
Click to enlarge
Comparison with NightShot mode
Click to enlarge
Ricoh Theta SC2 vs Insta 360 One X2 – conclusions
1. The circle located in the upper left corner of the TV.
With this example I wanted to show something like ‘chromatic aberration’. In simple terms, this means that in the gratings, distortion appears in the form of a lighter inner border. This defect is mainly noticeable in images taken with the Insta 360 One X2 camera, although it can also be found in images taken with the SC2. Look at the outline of the TV. In both photos (SC2 and ONE X2), a lighter border is visible, which is not visible in the photo taken with the smartphone.
This defect is reduced in NightShot mode, which can be seen in the second comparison photo of the modes.
2. The circles on the strip with the passing colours
Looking at the marked dots located on the tone bar, you can see the colour transitions, the so-called ‘gradient’. The control image of the Insta 360 One X2 is definitely better represented than the original. The image taken with the SC2 model, has “jagged” colour transitions. This is probably due to the large amount of noise which does not necessarily show up well on the TV.
3. The circle on the vertical lines
This test in theory is supposed to show the detail of the image. In this example, are the lines better visible in the image taken with the SC2 or the X2? In my opinion, the ONE X2 wins.
NightShoot mode, I feel, even improved the visibility of these lines.
Let’s now look more generally. Which image is closer to the one taken with a smartphone? The colours in the example image taken with the SC2 are definitely enhanced. Blacks, on the other hand, are definitely better reproduced. On the One X2 camera, the opposite is true, the blacks are faded and the colours are closer.
The photo taken in NightShot mode brought the colours even closer to reality and the blacks gained depth.
Here it is hard to see the differences. To my eye, the photo taken with the One X2 presents a minimal percentage.
5. the wall behind the TV.
Now look behind the TV. To the wall. There is definitely more noise in the photo taken by the Ricoh Theta SC2. This can also be seen in the photos from the first test. Unfortunately, however, the SC2 either loses out to its competitor through lower sensor sensitivity or weaker software.
The situation is overturned in NightShot mode. This further cancelled out the noise which was still less noticeable compared to the SC2.
Looking only at the images taken by both cameras, you can draw your own conclusions. In comparing and evaluating these cameras, I have not taken into account all their capabilities. This test, was only focused in terms of the quality of the images needed to create a virtual tour of the property.
The Insta 360 One X2 camera, was also (actually mainly) created for sports. It is commonly referred to as the ‘killer’ of GoPro equipment. It allows you to record very stable high-definition video. As mentioned earlier, it can be submerged in up to 10m of water. It has a built-in touchscreen with live video preview. The ability to replace the memory card and battery – this is also a plus. The option to take pictures in RAW format also deserves a second look. The price compared to the competitor is also higher, but I have motivated this in the previous sentences.
The cheaper camera, the Ricoh Theta SC2 does not have all that I mentioned above. The fact, it too can record videos, but unfortunately the quality and the image shake stabilisation should not be compared to the competitor. The fact that the image quality is similar to the cameras listed here, the Ricoh Theta SC2 is the ideal equipment in terms of value for money.
Concluding the Ricoh Theta SC2 vs Insta 360 One X2 duel, I can only write one thing. Both cameras are perfect for creating virtual walkthroughs, and if you want better quality images, you can always use the software we recommend. It is a programme from Topaz Labs called DeNoiceAi which, thanks to artificial intelligence and with a few clicks, removes noise and sharpens photos. If I have piqued your interest in this programme, click here and find out more.