Error 503 when still camera icon flashing


I have looked up this error code on this page and it says it is an “unexpected error.” I have written an arduino program which sends POST commands to the ricoh theta s at a specified interval so that I can later combine these images into a timelapse video.

The problem I am having is that the amount of photos I can take is limited because when I get this error, the camera will not take a picture. I noticed that when the theta returns this error the camera light begins flashing, and it will only take the next picture once it stops. What does this mean? I haven’t been able to find it in the theta documentation. I also noticed that when using the shutter button on the camera itself, it is possible to take many photos very quickly, is there something that limits this same possibility when taking photos with the WIFI? I am a very novice programmer and using the USB API was well beyond my abilities.

The interval is set by the time it takes for a stepper motor to move to a certain position. I would ideally like the camera to take a picture, have the motor move, then take another picture.

Thanks for your help guys, I’ll be happy to show off my project once I get it working!

It’s likely the that the camera is processing the picture. (internally converting from dual-fisheye to equirectangular)

Are you taking the picture more than once every four seconds? Is it possible for you to set a delay in program of say 8 seconds between shots of the still image?

After you get it working, you can then decrease the time between images to around 4 seconds, using 1 second increments.

You can also check the status of the camera.

Please verify:

  1. are you checking to see if the camera is finished taking the picture with Commands/Status?

    “name”: “camera.startCapture”,
    “state”: “inProgress”,
    “progress”: {
    “completion”: 0.02

  2. If not, do you have a delay set between shots?

Yes, I am sending the request to take a picture more than once every 4 seconds, is that a limit the Theta has?

I am not checking the status of the camera, mostly because I am trying to set this up so it runs autonomously. I have it set up so that once the camera responds with an OK from the “take photo” request the motor moves and another “take photo” request is sent. I could set this up while I am testing it out though. Perhaps it would be better if I sent a command/status request and moved the motor after it replys with a “completion.”?

The only delay I have set up is the time it takes for the motor to move to its next position, which is about 1 second. Maybe to simplify things I can just add this delay like you said and hope it is enough time for the image to process.

Is there anyways I can set up the camera to not process the images into the equirectangular format to allow the camera to take pictures more quickly? Or take a photo despite the image processing is taking place?

Thanks for the help!

The THETA V (please confirm you have a V) has a limit of about 1 picture every four seconds. As the camera is new, you may be able to get this lower through trial and error.

As far as I know, the camera cannot take a picture when the camera is processing the equirectangular image (the 4 second delay)

The camera can’t save a picture as dual-fisheye to speed up repeat picture taking (the requirement for your application).

If your application requires pictures taken more than once every 4 seconds, you can try the 4K video and then extract the frames from the video and process it.

It’s better to check for completion and then move the motor. If you’re having problems with that, you can start by putting a delay (example 5 seconds) after you take a picture, then move the stepper motor.

Just so you know, my son builds the applications with a delay instead of checking for completion because it is easier to get it going faster. He’s not building anything for production use. In my opinion, you should start with the delay and get it working because it will be satisfying. Then, if you want, you can then add in error checking to make sure your application still works if for example, you lose WiFi connectivity due to WiFi interference. Make sure you save your code to git or something so you can have a working version of your code as you try to improve it incrementally.

If this is a long-term setup, you will need to disable sleep on the camera and also power the camera.

Eventually, you may want to move the camera to the USB API over time, especially if it is a permanent install. Koen has in THETA S in continuous use for more than a year!

Actually I am using the Ricoh Theta S! I think for now I will do what your son has done and implement error checking at a later time.

I am planning on running the camera for about 2 hours at a time to capture time lapses of the sunrise and sunset. I will need to find some type of battery to power the Theta S, but will I have to disable sleep mode since it will be continuously taking photos? I find it strange that I can continuously take photos by pressing the shutter button on the camera itself and not have the camera hang up at all, but not when I do it over the wifi. Do you have any idea why this might be?

I was planning on using the USB API originally but I found the libraries available for using an arduino as a USB host beyond my current ability. Perhaps for that I will try this project again with a Raspberry PI and follow the tutorials I have found here.

For the THETA S, start with a 9 second delay and work down from there. The THETA V is about twice as fast as the S.

This example is for the THETA S using WiFi or USB.

For the 2016 holiday season, professional photographer @Phil_Spitler produced this with a THETA S and tlapser from @squizard360

There’s some additional discussions about this type of technique here:

and here:

Here’s some test footage from the author of tlapser.

Note that Jason (@squizard360) is using a GPS module and a LUX meter that he added onto the Raspberry Pi.

Unfortunately, I believe that his THETA eventually fell into the lake after many tests and he’s no longer able to test it.

This is really cool stuff. Thanks again for your help, it is very appreciated!

I will be excited to share my project with this forum once I have finished!

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Here is a link to a time-lapse that I put together from over 5000 images shot using a Theta S being controlled by a Python script run on an iPhone. The script was shooting images as fast as the camera would allow in Hi-resolution by checking the camera status in regards to image processing. As each image was processed the next image would be shot and at the same time the previously processed image would be downloaded to the iPhone storage and erased from the Theta S. Using this process and an external battery for the Theta S I was able to shoot continuously for over 10 hours and capture a Full Moon and Jupiter traveling across the sky from moonrise to moonset.

Moon Time-lapse

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Beautiful! That’s so cool! Is that a planet next to the moon?

Jupiter leading the Moon across the sky.


Really cool, Bob. That’s a beautiful backyard night sky. :slight_smile:

I’ve never seen a moonrise/set timelapse. That is very nice!


A post was split to a new topic: Using THETA With Arduino - Saving Settings