why do I even need one of these things?
The iPhone has apps to make panoramas, what’s the big deal?
True. There are several panorama applications for the iphone, which are designed to take your photographs and stitch them together right on your pocket device. The two that stand out among those are Autostitch
. They each, however have their strengths and weaknesses and neither is capable of generating a full spherical panorama.
does an excellent job of fitting together photos taken on your iPhone in any order, number of rows and/or columns. However, in its current incarnation it is unable to wrap the panorama around, that is to fit and blend the last and first image(s) as taken in a left-to-right order.
(2) The Pano
app will wrap a panorama nicely, but will only do a single row, posing a pretty serious limitation in the way of the vertical field of view of the resulting image.
Both applications will make mistakes, introduce ghosting from time to time and neither allows for manually compensating for these errors. For the sake of the argument here, whether it is a limitation of the processing power feeding the apps, is not taken into consideration. Nor is my intent to judge these apps for any purpose other than doing what I set out to do.What is a panorama head and why do you even need one?
Good question. In order for images taken for a panorama to fit together, they must be taken with the capturing lens rotating around a specific point within it. Although under some circumstances, the lack of properly taking the images can be of little or no consequence, more often than not, it will cause the resulting images to misalign. As a matter of fact, the shortcomings mentioned above when talking about iPhone apps are often a result of the comprising images having been taken in such a way.
A panorama head, set for a specific camera/lens will assure that the images are taken in proper position, angle and distance from one another to align under all circumstances, whether the subjec(s) is/are near or far. Moving objects will continue to pose challenges, regardless, and those challenges are not addressed here.
For example, you could take a sequence of images of a distant horizon without a panorama head and without much care at all, yet with ample confidence that they will nicely align when stitched together. On the other hand, try taking photos in the same manner of people sitting around a small table from within their circle, and your images will fail to fit.What’s this gonna cost me?
I made my own solution for less than $20 (iPhone not included).