If you’ve ever tried to run your Ricoh Theta S or Ricoh Theta SC with live streaming or plug in external power while having it on a stand or tripod, you will have run into a problem. Because the camera’s ports are on the bottom of the camera, they’re blocked. This, for instance, is with a pretty typically sized mount:
So long as it was only about being able to run from external power, it was a nuisance. But once Ricoh enabled the live streaming feature and wanted to be able to make that a major marketing feature, the blocked ports became a deal breaker because you need to use a physical cable for the feature to work.
So Ricoh has now come up with a solution: the Ricoh Theta TE-1 Extension Adapter. Despite the fancy name and packaging, it’s a simple metal extension bolt that fits between the camera and the tripod or selfie-stick head. It allows access to both the micro-USB and the HDMI ports while also mounting the camera on a tripod, stand, or selfie stick.
On a normal camera, a narrow bolt like this wouldn’t work because it doesn’t have a wide platform to help with stability. That would lead to wobble and also strain on the tripod stud socket. But because the Theta S and Theta SC are so light and the center of gravity directly vertical, there’s not much side-to-side leverage. So having such a narrow base point isn’t much of an issue, and I haven’t found it to cause any problems with the Theta S.
When attached, it adds a shade under two inches in height. And while that doesn’t sound like much, it’s enough to have a side benefit. That little extra height reduces slightly the size of the stand or tripod head in the frame when taking 360° panoramas.
Theta TE-1 Extension Adapter is well-made and nicely finished, but there’s no magic to this–it’s a metal extension that doesn’t require any proprietary technology. So third-party options work just as well–and they’re often cheaper. Something to check, though, when using an off-brand version for the first time is that the thread that goes into the camera itself is the right length for a snug fit without being overtightened. I sometimes find the thread on third-party tripod adapters to be too long, in which case they don’t go in flush and can lead to wobbling.
Ultimately, this is a very simple, inexpensive, and lo-fi solution. But it works, and it solves one of the annoying side-effects of the design decision with the Theta S and Theta SC of having the ports on the bottom.