Ricoh has unveiled their new Theta digital camera, which can take 360-degree panoramas with its two ultra-wide-angle lenses.

The stylish and thin Theta can be controlled via your iOS device after you've downloaded the appropriate app. There's no live preview of the photo you're about to take, so you have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. If you're using your smartphone to capture the image, the photo will be automatically downloaded to your mobile device. You can also use the Theta independently and transfer the photos to your phone or computer at a later time.

The spartan interface of the Theta app's shooting mode. The button in the middle takes a photo, while the slider adjusts exposure compensation.
The playback screen can display Theta captures stored on the camera or your smartphone. If it's the former, clicking on one will copy it to your mobile device.

Once a photo is on your iOS device, you can view or share it. The viewing experience allows you to scroll around the whole image, and zoom in or out (the latter is very cool).  A share button will upload the images to Ricoh's theta360.com website, as well as to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. You can't actually see the 360-degree panaoramas on these sites, but rather a link to theta360.com. 

How's the quality of the panoramas? See for yourself:

Click the image to see the actual panorama on the theta360.com website.

As you can see, the quality isn't great, but it's still a pretty neat effect. The main downside is that your head always ends up in the photo when you hand-hold the camera. Unless you're proud of your hair, you might want to use a tripod.

The Theta will be available this month for $399. You can read the full Theta press release here, and learn more about the camera on the theta360.com website.