Wednesday, September 26, 2012

iPhone Panorama Pictures

Oh, why not one more thing on Apple.

I've been playing around with Panorama on iOS 6 as part of my "try everything new on iOS 6" kick. I must admit this one is pretty fun. Using it is pretty easy. With the camera open, tap on the "Options" button at the top. You'll see a couple choices, I like the Grid & HDR options on. Then you'll see a new button called Panorama.

Tap that button and you'll see a mini photo, with an arrow pointing right, with instructions to "Move iPhone continuously when taking a Panorama."

Position the phone at the start of the shot, tap the camera button at the bottom and start moving to the right. The phone takes a bunch of photos while you move. You do have to keep steady (keep the arrow on the line!), and you can't rush. If you do that, the phone can auto correct on the fly to make it look like a continuous picture.

I've found the results to be pretty fun. Vinnie managed to stay still long enough in this next picture of our fence that he didn't get cut off in a weird way. If you look closely at the top image, one of the cars doesn't look quite hole (I think you can click the image to see the full resolution version).

Actually, that's been my main critique of the iPhone: things have to be stationary for the picture to work. Moving objects tend to be blurry. My Canon Rebel is fast enough that slow moving objects turn out just fine. I've also noticed that it requires a steady hand from the photographer. On multiple occasions I've handed my phone to someone else to take a picture of me, and what I got back was blurry. Come on! How hard can it be? Then there's that awkward  moment when I have to ask this complete stranger to try again because this is a memory I want a clear shot of. Note: fellow iPhone owners seem to get "it". I guess you have a practice a little bit to take good photos with the iPhone.

Anyways, the Panorama is pretty cool. The whole area covered by the panorama is pretty wide, but you don't have to go the whole way. You can stop the shot three ways:
  1. Reach the right side of the box
  2. Tap the camera button again
  3. Stop moving, and go a little to the left

As is normal practice for Apple, they made it fairly basic, but dead simple to use. The results are pretty cool. Plus, with apps like Camera+, you can make them look spectacular. (That's what I did with these, using the Clarity filter)

I would still like an app that does the equivalent of "Street View Inside" so people could take a tour of inside a home at their own pace in a browser. Or better yet, use some sort of augmented reality so they can "walk around" a room without having to go inside. But that's a completely different type of app.

I can see myself using this in place of a wide angle lens.
  • When selling my truck, it would have been nice to get the full dashboard.
  • When taking photos of our units, now I'll be able to cover a larger area (this'll be really nice in the kitchen and bathroom).
  • When in a small room, I won't have to back up an awkward distance to fit everything. Nobody move!
  • This will DEFINITELY come in handy while traveling. Now I can get a picture of Jessi and the full Eiffel Tower without having a walk a mile to fit it in, or take multiple shots and spend an hour Photoshoping it together.

Here's an example of a vertical panorama. I started at my feet and ended looking right over my head. It struggle with the power lines, but that was also do to it being at the end of the shot when I start to wiggle a little more.

I can see myself taking a very wide picture, and then cropping it down to the small part I actually want. The panorama is big enough that the final picture will still be a good size.

Cool feature Apple.

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