The past couple of days I have been playing around with a new photographic application for the iPhone. Called Photosynth, the application allows you to create ‘wraparound panoramas’ without the need for a tripod. Developed by Microsoft (I kid you not), the application is completely free for the iPhone and I have to say I have been very impressed with the results so far (Microsoft does good shock).
To make the most of the application (ie share with friends etc) you will need to sign up for a Windows Live account (in my case, yet another account to sign up for). Once you have signed up you can upload images to the Photosynth website and share them via Facebook (no option to share via Twitter or Flickr as yet – I would hope that the latter will enable such panoramas to be uploaded eventually via Photosynth, but given the development of Flickr it is unlikely). So, how does it work?
Basically you simply manoeuvre your iPhone around the scenery and the application automatically takes the images. Sometimes you need to tap the screen to capture the image, but the majority of the time it will do so automatically. All you need to do is make sure that you capture the full scene and there are no ‘black spots’ (areas that you haven’t managed to capture will show up as black spaces on the finished panorama).
So, fairly straightforward and easy to use then. It certainly beats trying to achieve similar results with a standard camera and a tripod. But what about the quality of the images?
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. As the application ‘stitches’ together the panorama I expected the finished results to be of fairly limited quality. I was wrong, they are really rather good. I’ve only taken a couple of panoramic shots so far, but they have certainly surpassed my expectations:
You’ll need to click on the images themselves to get the idea, but as you can see, they are fairly impressive and only took a minute or two to create. It is certainly a useful application when attempting to capture those large open spaces that normal photos just cannot quite capture. Sometimes a simple image cannot really give you a great sense of scale or enable the viewer to imagine what it is like to inhabit a particular space. Personally I think panoramas are a great way of giving the viewer a sense of what it is like to stand within a particular space. I think certainly in the case of the Metropol, a single photo of the structure would not really do it justice.
For a free piece of photographic software, Photsynth certainly comes up trumps and I’d heartily recommend it to anyone interested in photography. It’ll certainly get plenty of usage out of me. Now, if someone could work on sharing via Flickr I would be a very happy man.