Make panoramas with iPhone and iOS 6


Make panoramas with iPhone and iOS 6
Sunday, 23 September 2012

Version 6 of the operating system for iOS devices like iPhone and iPad was released a couple of days ago. One really nice feature is the new Panorama option in the Camera app, at least for some iPhones and the 5th generation iPod touch:

The new panorama feature for iPhone and iPod touch lets you capture everything from a momentous family reunion photo to a sweeping vista. With one simple motion you can shoot up to 240 degrees — even vertically, to get that redwood tree, say. Then hardware and software work together to create one seamless, high-resolution panorama.

… Panorama is available on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th generation).

Select Panorama in Options

Open the native Camera app on an appropriate device — I used my iPhone 4S — then tap the Options button at the top of the screen. 3 Options appear: Grid, HDR and Panorama.

The Panorama setting in the iPhone camera app.

The Panorama setting in the iPhone camera app.

Tap the Panorama button to use the new feature. An arrangement of boxes, lines and an arrow appears on screen to guide you in capturing the panorama image.

Below the boxes are the instruction:

Move iPhone continuously when taking a Panorama.

The guide arrow for taking a Panorama.

The guide arrow for taking a Panorama.

Capture a panorama

Tap the camera shutter icon at the bottom of the screen and then move the iPhone or iPod smoothly from left to right, keeping the large white arrow on the line. If you tilt the camera or move it too much up or down the arrow will drift away from the line and the panorama may be cancelled.

When you’re finished tap the shutter icon button again to stop the image capture.

The panoramas are big images

When I walked the dogs today at Prestons Gully (Tawatawa Reserve) I experimented with capturing a panorama and was thrilled with the results. These small images below don’t do the 3 photos justice. To include them here I’ve reduced the quality and cut the pixel size down to be no more than 450 pixels wide. Each photo is now around 30 Kb. I haven’t made any other adjustments to the images.

The originals though were up to 7500 pixels wide by around 2500 pixels high, and up to around 12 MB in file size.

TawaTawa Reserve 01.

TawaTawa Reserve 01.

TawaTawa Reserve 02.

TawaTawa Reserve 02.

TawaTawa Reserve 03.

TawaTawa Reserve 03.

Capture a skyscraper, redwood or gum tree

So, given that the Guide arrow directs you to move the camera from left to right, how do you capture a panorama of a tall object such as a skyscraper, redwood or gum tree?

While writing this Tip I discovered that Apple subtly alters the text on its ‘What’s New’ page to match the region. On the UK and New Zealand pages, for example, the text included the words to get that skyscraper, for example. On the Australian page it was to get that giant gum tree, for example. On the US page it said to get that redwood tree, say. [I have a quibble: we have few skyscrapers in New Zealand, but our tallest tree is Tane Mahuta, a Kauri that’s around 2,300 years old and over 50 metres (168 feet) tall.]

To take a panorama of a tall view, such as a tall tree or building flip the iPhone on its side. The Guide arrow will now point upwards. Move the camera smoothly from bottom to top of the object or view. It worked nicely in my test.

Other items about panorama apps

On my KnowIT blog I wrote 2 posts about panorama software for the Mac. See On choosing panorama software and Calico won — panorama software.

Coming soon: a guest review of the AutoStitch Panorama app for iPhone.

Related posts

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