Microsoft Releases ‘Photosynth’ – Great New Panorama App for iOS



Microsoft’s latest iOS offering hit the App Store today in the form of Photosynth; a fantastic photography application for taking 360º panoramic photos on your iPhone. It’s a free download, and one of the most impressive panorama applications I’ve tried.

The first thing I noticed about Photosynth is how easy it is to create your panorama. You simply tap the screen to start and then move your device around – up, down, left, right – and the application captures the images automatically, so there’s no need to move your device bit by bit while tapping a button to capture each tile.

When you’ve captured the images you want, simply hit finish and Photosynth will start ‘stitching’ your photos together. At this point you’ll notice how quick the application is. I found I waited a significantly shorter time than I have to with other panorama applications – but this will, of course, depend on how many tiles feature in your panorama.

Once you’ve produced your panorama, you can share the photo with your friends via Facebook, or Microsoft’s service, but you’ll need a Windows Live ID for that.

I’ve only played around with Photosynth for around half an hour before writing this, but so far the quality of the images it produces seems to be pretty good. I didn’t notice any issues at all with the panoramas I had created. There’s also a setting to help prevent lighting differences in each capture by locking the camera’s exposure control.

There is one downside to take into account, however; when creating your panorama, you need to remember the bits of your image you’ve already captured, as the application seems to only show you your previous tile. It’s easy to miss bits out or make overlaps if you’re not just moving your device from left to right.

I certainly recommend Photosynth to anyone who enjoys creating panoramic photos. It’s got some really great features and beats some of App Store’s finest panorama apps, such as creating interactive 360º panoramas, and including Bing map data to show where your shots were taken. You can’t ask for more from a free application!

  • GregsTechBlog

    I have both AutoStitch and 360 Panorama on my iPhone, and I’ve found that both are superior to Photosynth (although they cost more).
    AutoStitch made the best panoramas, but takes more time to stitch them together. 360 captures them faster, but they’re not as high quality (this is why I have both, one for speed and one for quality).

    Photosynth takes the lower quality of 360, and combines it with the stitching time of AutoStitch. However, Photosynth, unlike AutoStitch, can’t do background stitching, meaning you actually have to sit there and wait for it. I’m assuming the lack of multitasking (and text based interface) is so the app wouldn’t be better than the one for their own Windows Phones. It’s a cool project, and a free solution for people who don’t want to shell out $2 for one of the other apps.

  • epramono

    I really think that Microsoft has nailed it this time.
    The app is surprisingly very easy to use and is very good to take 360 degree (not just 180 degree) panorama.
    And the interactive panorama it’s hosting on is quite good too.
    Check out my quick review here:
    I posted a lot of screenshots of the app. I really like this app.

  • BMWTwisty

    The Photosynth app does a rally fabulous job. The interface is nicely done and easy to use. The green/go and yellow/re-do guide/framing boxes are very helpful while panning as you create your panorama. I created several panoramas and found that using a tripod and keeping (or trying to) my iPod Touch absolutely vertical throughout the process was a bit easier for consistency and for a less-patchy-looking result. Basically, you hold your device steady on top of the tripod and then you kind of pirouette around the tripod (unless you have an iPhone tripod mount).

    The other thing is the online version of You can create a panorama by importing JPEGs. However the huge flaw with this is you simply don’t get the drag-to-pan capabilities of the image as you would with the hand-held version. I find this really bizarre. You have to click on a arrow button to move to the next frame in the image. In addition, you can’t pan completely around the 360-degree range. The image stops at the last image in the sequence and then you have to reverse to go back around. This is Microsoftian in it’s silliness.

    And then there is the obvious lack of any export or print capability – either on the hand-held version or the desktop version. Nor can you view desktop-created panoramas on your hand-held device via Photosynth because of the Silverlight function (Microsoft’s version of Flash).

    So, on the plus side, you get a free panorama maker for your hand-held. On the negative side you can’t really do much beyond just looking at it in the best environment on your hand-held. The desktop creation version is just useless.