Pano iPhone App Review

posted on February 9th, 2009 by Anthony

The iPhone is a brilliant device, there aren’t many people who will dispute that fact.

Those that do cite a few key deficiencies in the iPhone’s armour. The usual suspects being:

Most of these issues come down to software and firmware oddities. For what ever reason Apple doesn’t seem to want us to have these features. The device has the power, just no way to utilise it (legitimately). We can all hope that one day Apple will deign us worthy of an update that will address our needs.

The iPhone camera

One issue really sticks out from that list, and that is the camera. It is a crappy camera. There is no denying that it falls way behind the offerings from most of the other mobile manufacturers. Unfortunately this wee beastie is hard wired into the device, and there is nothing we can do about it. From a purely technical point of view it is a crap camera.

Crap camera, however, does not mean bad photographs. You only have to look at the likes of Lomo, Holga and even the venerable Polaroid. These are camera devices that hardly give Canon and Nikon sleepless nights… yet the images they produce can be every bit as glorious as a 5D Mark II, and they have a following of fans to match.

Unfortunately the iPhone camera doesn’t really offer much in the way of lovable glory. Not in it’s raw state, any how. Given decent sunny conditions it can snap a decent shot, and seeing as it goes everywhere with you it’s always handy to capture a moment or scene. Apart from that it’s images a bit cold, and lacking that spark of loveliness.

Although the camera is hard wired into the device it’s output is modifiable by applications from the App Store. Thankfully there are many, many talented developers out there who have found ways to add a smidgen of loveliness factor X to the camera.

I’m developing a mild addiction to these cool apps, so I think it’s only right that I share that addiction with you. So I’m going to start reviewing them here. Let’s face it, I don’t write much else these days!

I will start with Pano…

Pano – Narrow name, wide photos

Pano splash screen

Pano is a little app from the App Store which you can pick up for just £1.79.

As the name suggests it allows you to take a series of snaps to produce a really wide panoramic image of the scene – and it does in a beautifully simple and clever way.

Pano in operation

You look at the scene and take a snap of the far left. Pano will display the picture and ask if you are happy with it, or would like to try again. When you are happy the scene changes. The right edge of the image you have just taken is ghosted on the left of the new image – this allows you to line the next one up perfectly.

You can do this for up to six images. When you have reached the end Pano will start to merge all of your images together. This can take a little time, but that’s becuase it’s doing quite a few clever things.

It’s rotating and cropping. It’s merging and layering. And best of all it’s doing it’s best to level out the exposure of all of the images to make everything as seamless as possible.

It’s dead simple, and the results can be very impressive…

Sunrise over Liverpool by me with Pano!

Overall it’s a great little app that turns the iPhone’s crappy camera, into something that is actually quite stunning, and for £1.79 that can’t be bad.

Get Pano from the App Store.