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When shooting full sphere panoramic photos with the Ricoh Theta S, what kind of files can I get out of it? Is it possible to get the two files before stitching? Or do I always get the final product? And in which format/projection is the final product saved, is the original sensor image heavily distorted or is it close to the sensor data? I ask on one hand because I am worried about the image quality of the final rendered images and, on the other hand, I am working exclusively on linux, so I cannot use “their” apps but need suitable input data for Hugin.

A link to some example files would be great. Unfortunately, I was not able to find such examples nor did I find answers to my questions, not even in the original manual.

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No, you can't get the unstitched images. You get either a single 5376 x 2688 image (high resolution), or a single 2048 x 1024 (low resolution) JPEG image; both sizes have a spherical projection with a 360° horizontal field of view.

Edit: the projection is equirectangular (see @Inkista's answer).

  • From the Ricoh Theta S specs,

    Image file format:
    Still image: JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.3), DCF2.0 compliant
    Video: MP4 (Video: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, Audio: AAC)

  • This thread at Theta developers forum indicates you can't get the unprocessed fisheye images from the camera:

    Is it possible to somehow get the raw fish-eye images in the high resolution still picture mode?

    There is not a way in the current developer sdk as far as I know. You could try and post convert the image output backwards but that would be an approximation.

  • Thanks, scottbb, for the clarification. Just to be clear, I did not write about raw but about unstitched, e.g. 2 jpeg images with both halph-sphere images. I have seen this for the video part, so I thought it is possible for still images as well. Maybe with the camera's API? – Chris Jun 5 '16 at 15:58
  • @Chris I wasn't referring to "raw" as in RAW image format (as opposed to JPEG). Sorry for the confusion; I've clarified the answer. Also, I don't believe the discussion at the forum I linked to was referring to the native image format either, but rather used "raw" as in "not stitched". At least that's how I read it. As far as the API, I believe that's what the discussion forum was talking about: "there is not a way in the current developer sdk" as far as the poster knows. – scottbb Jun 5 '16 at 16:12
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No, you can't get the original fisheye images back out with stills, only the stitched equirectangular projection. And yes, this makes no sense, given that you can get the fisheye images back out of the video. And given that stitching probably means any overlap was discarded, it's unlikely you could remap the equirectangular back to the original two images.

You're not the only one who wants this, judging by this thread on the theta's developer's forum. Someone on that thread used a live USB video feed to capture the two fisheye image, but the resolution is very low, and not useful for most applications.

However. You can still manipulate and reproject the equirectangulars, like any other 360ºx180º panorama. And you could reproject to a fisheye view or little planet, if you wanted to. See:

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