Photosynth is a free app that impressed me when I first tried it out. It is a camera app that allows you to take awesome panoramic photos.
Pikes Peak view from the top
Once you start up photo synth all you do is tap the screen, and then slowly move your phone in a circle. Once you click the finish button it stitches the photos together to make a panoramic.
If you are in a rush you can skip the stitching and do it later. Once stitched you can share your images by uploading it to facebook or to photosynth.net where your viewers can look around the image as if they were there.
Then I was even more impressed when I realized you did not just have to take a photo in one direction, but in all directions.
This is by far the most impressive photo I have taken on my iphone. Taken at the top of Pikes Peak, Photosynth did a fabulous job of stitching all of the photos together.
Pikes peak 1080
At these photos I was ecstatic over this app. I immediately made a list of places I wanted to go to get a full 1080 picture.
And then my frustration with the app began....
I went out to Garden of the Gods, a popular touristy area in Colorado Springs, and after two hours of using photosynth I was ready to delete it. In two hours, I did not get a single usable image.
I do not know why I had such an easy time with it the first day on Pikes Peak but a horrible time the next.
It does appear that the app works best if you do not move at all, only the phone can move, as if stuck on a tripod. But when you are trying to get a picture below you, especially one without half your body there, then you have no choice but to move. Also you have to move when getting the pictures behind you.
Maybe that first day worked so well because I was standing on a small rock, so afraid I would fall off I didn't dare to move. Moving seems to make things start to overlap in weird ways.
Here is one of my attempts that day. For the most part everything is okay. I found out there is a setting called "Exposure Lock" which you should always leave on, or else different photos will have different exposure settings applied and will make the image look weird.
Garden of the Gods, fail take 10
I will give it credit that most of the picture looks okay. There is the part where certain elements of the background are lite completely differently because I failed to turn on exposure lock, and certain areas of the picture just look extremely fuzzy, like I had Vaseline on the lens trying to hide the wheels of a land speeder in Star Wars or something. Certain lines in the picture are completely messed up as well.
And then there is the car.... The car looks like it has massive tumors all over it, engorging parts of its body to make it look like it was made by Pablo Picasso.
You can go over an area multiple times and try to line things up, but eventually it stops taking photos. The above photo was one where it stopped letting me take more photos, which cleaned up most of the stuff, but I just kept making the car worse over time instead of better.
Also, when you take the max number of pictures, save the stitching until you are plugged in. Stitching that photo took about an hour. Several times it looked like it was stuck for a long time, and drained my battery about 1% per minute during the process.
So while the photosynth app has a beautiful UI, is very easy to use for simple panorama photos only done in front of you, it is a pain in the rear to get a good photo in all directions.
Jon is a writer for Eternal Truth Ministry and the resident Apple geek at the Geeky Farmer blog. Follow Jon on his Personal website, Google Plus, or Twitter.
Location:Colorado Springs, CO