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Getting the big picture with the iPhone

Be forewarned… these apps work best on the iPhone 4, and OK on the 3Gs. The iPhone 3 really doesn’t have the oomph to do a good job or are missing the hardware needed to automate the processing.

That said, back to my camera on the iPhone!

Recently, there have been several apps released that specialize in taking photos which make use of the gyroscope in the iPhone 4. They work by seeing your movement, taking a picture ever so often (some meter the timing a bit more than others) and location stamping the pic so the app can sew them together for you. I reviewed “You Gotta See This” earlier.

The last two to hit my iPhone have made mention they can do panoramic photos very quickly and easily by just sweeping across an area. This capability is getting more attention these days since Sony is running commercials showing how easy it is to do with their cameras.

I will run through three options you have if a panoramic image need is in your future. And if you don’t need to take any, think again, they are a lot of fun!

To try to keep a level review across multiple apps, I did them quickly one after another, three passes each and allowing 6 seconds each. As well, due to the size of output photos, I have lowered their size to fit my blog upload limits. All where adjusted down to 8 inches across: 360 Panorama was 28 inches, Pano was 351.5 inches and You Gotta See This was 40 inches.

360 Panorama

The newest of the bunch I’m writing about here. It allows you to tap one button and sweep across an area, moving L to R or R to L. I did several passes across a yard area thinking I had done something wrong, nope, the output was the same every time.

The output of 360 Panorama:

This wasn’t exactly something I would expect to email someone… or print. So I cropped it down a bit with Photogene. If you were going to send this around, you most likely will want to crop further so you loose the black non-image area.

You Gotta See This:

Next up is an app that mentioned they to panoramic images but it isn’t what they are really about. Their outputs are more for showing an area up and down and all around. Stitched together with a fun ‘overlapping photos’ effect. As you can see here, the effect does allow for less detail to be seen but adds a bit to the mood of the image. This is the exact output (scaled down) so you can again see some cropping would give you an image without black borders but loose some of the visual that makes up what You Gotta See This is about. Like ‘360’ above, this app automatically snaps the images as you move your iPhone around so you only say when to start and end the image capture.

Pano:

Last up is Pano, which I have been using for several years now. The major difference with this option over the others is that it does not do the image gathering in one press of the button. You snap an image, move the camera and snap another. The screen shows the edge of the last image ghosted out a bit so you can align the next image. The below took three photos to create. I snapped the three and the app stitches them together. The previous two options could be used with your hand way up in the air over a crowd. But, if your looking for the maximum quality of the final result, it is hard to do better than Pano.

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