Over a decade ago, I was asked to shoot Bubble panoramas with a little known technology called IPIX, now this was in the 1990s, and was state of the art stuff. You used a Fish Eye lens with a digital camera and a tripod. Aside from this, you also needed to buy a license from IPIX for every photo you wanted to stitch together as a final image for distribution or public use. It was massively expensive and the IPIX business model went down the man-hole of bad inventions and no one ever heard from them again until they exited Chapter 11. You can find them here.
Today, we have a new successor to the spherical image, Ricoh wants to resurrect the once popular Bubble panorama with this little camera called the Theta. It works in a very similar way to the IPIX system as takes two photos and which needs to be stitched together on an App available for the iPhone or Desktop PCs. You can view the image quality here, but make sure you have Adobe Flash installed.
Though I love the idea of a panorama bubble or spherical image, I think shooting with one isn't that easy. First, the Theta works in auto mode, giving you an estimated exposure for a single scene. In contrasting lighting, it would be a disaster. The only thing to save you is the manual exposure compensation. The full list of features are below.