Everyone knows the iPhone 5 comes with a nifty new panoramic photo shoot mode. What they may not realize is that feature is a function of the mobile OS, not some sort of Apple camera hardware magic. If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S and update to iOS 6, you can start shooting awesome panoramas today.
To share them with the world, however, you might need a little guidance. We've got you covered.
I took an iPhone 4S out to one of the coolest New York City location I know: the Flatiron District. It's home to the iconic Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park, and offers spectacular views of the New York City landscape and skyline, including the Empire State Building. I parked myself in the middle of an open-space seating area near the foot of the Flatiron Building and, with iPhone 4S and iOS 6?s new panorama mode's guidance, shot a sweeping city vista.
As noted in my iPhone 5 first impressions post, the on-screen guidance helps you stay on track so you don't move too fast and the camera doesn't go too far out of alignment. Either one could turn your smooth pic into a jagged and disjointed mess. If done right, the image stitching is almost seamless.
Capturing the photo, though, is only the first step.
The resulting image clocks in at more than 16 MB, too large for an e-mail or for any Web site I know. But it's easy to size the photo down. I connected my iPhone to computer and dragged the image to a folder. I also could have e-mailed (at a max file size of just over 1 MB) or shared it directly from the phone, but then I would have lost control of the image size and been unable to offer people a somewhat high-resolution view of the NYC landscape.
Last week I noticed friend and ABC News reporter Joanna Stern has shared a panorama shot from the Apple iPhone 5 launch event in a special embedded viewer on ABCNews.com. A right-click there revealed a service called Dermandar. This offered an app where I could collect 360-degree images and panoramas, and a web site where I could upload my own images and instantly turn them into sharable vistas.
I signed up (yes, you need an account to upload and share, but it's free) and then selected the "Panorama" option. The other option is "360-degree," but the photos iOS 6?s panorama feature take do not come full circle. I'd say they're 380- to-300-degree shots.
I tried to upload the original file, but it blew way past Dermandar's pixel limit. The original is around 10,000 pixels wide. Dermandar tops out at a robust 8,191 pixels wide. The depth on the original image was over 2,300 pixels. The final one was just over 1,800 pixels.
To reduce the image size, I turned to Google's free downloadable Picasa image-editing app. I opened in the image in it, selected Export from under the File menu and then set the export size to 8,191.
Dermandar happily accepted this new image size. Once I successfully uploaded the panoramic image, Dermandar asked me to fill in some meta-information: Title, tags, Description. You can also pinpoint the shot location.
The end result is a roughly 960-pixel-wide window that lets viewers scroll back and forth through the panoramic image (see the embed above). You can share the link via social media or, better yet, use the embed code to place the image on your web page.
In a word, it's awesome.
Have you taken an iOS 6 Panorama shot yet? Share them with us in the comments below.