What follows is a quick comparison review of two of the most popular iPhone panorama apps. Both are in the don’t-need-to-think-to-purcase category, which is to say under £2 ($3). At the time of writing, AutoStitch (version 1.0.1) is £1.19 and Pano (version 3.2) £1.79 from iTunes App Store.
First main difference with these two apps is that Pano uses iPhones camera to take the photos while with AutoStitch you use pre-existing photos from your iPhones library. Pano also has a quide that appears after the first photo to assist in aligning the next shot. This is very helpful but turns out it reveals the applications biggest flaw. We’ll get to that through the examples.
First two examples were taken inside my house resting the iPhone on a beer can to achieve relatively static position for the camera to rotate around.
Pano (fig. 1):
AutoStitch (fig. 2):
Pano wins hands down. Panorama produced is ready to be tweeted or posted on a blog with out needing any cropping or adjusting. Both handle slight exposure variations pretty well, but if you look at the top right corner of figure 2, you’ll notice that there’s a considerable amount of bleeding.
These two examples were taken in my garden. Weather was almost overcast but light levels did keep changing between some of the shots. I also timed the process of creating these panoramas starting from launching the app – or in AutoStitches case, Camera – taking the photos, compiling the panorama and saving it to iPhone’s gallery. Both took about 3 minutes with only few seconds difference.
Pano (fig. 3):
AutoStitch (fig. 4):
Now, figure 3 shows Pano’s first flaw, in bright light or with a strange camera angle, it’s really quite hard to look at the alignment assist and get you photos to match. Notice how there’s a fair bit of ghosting and duplication in the photo. Not so good. Pano seems to solely rely on your alignment skills in making the panorama, rather than applying some crazy maths to do the job for you. Figure 4, while un-cropped, does a nice job of showing the scene with out any ghosting or other madness.
Other features worth mentioning
To use Pano in landscape format, you need to change a setting. AutoStitch does this by noticing that photos you’re loading are in landscape, as you’d expect. Pano only uses photos that are shot in the app itself and doesn’t save those separately, which I find quite annoying. Also, taking photos with Pano is slower than using Camera app – you can’t just click click click – each photo needs to be OKed before the app lets you take the next one. Not good when making a panorama with people as subject or if you’re in a hurry.
Meanwhile, AutoStitch is lot more flexible. You can take your photos quickly and process the panoramas later. You’re also not limited in making horizontal, one row panoramas, you can make things like this:
Pretty cool. It’s made of 22 photos! Can’t do that in Pano.
Get AutoStitch and then spend £1.79 on Photogene to deal with cropping and adjusting (see below) you master pieces.