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Google Photo Sphere now available for iOS

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Google's Photo Sphere for capturing 360º spheric panoramas was launched in 2012 with the camera app in Android 4.2 and since then has only been available for devices running Google's mobile OS. Now the Photo Sphere team at Google has dramatically increased the potential user base of its app by launching a version for Apple's iOS devices.

As with the Android version, iOS users can capture images that record an all-around view. The final product is interactive, allowing users to look up and down, giving a more realistic impression of the captured scene than a standard photograph. After capture, Photo Spheres can be uploaded for viewing in a web-based Google viewer. You can then also post them to Google Maps or share via the usual social networks.

Photo Sphere is not the first spheric panorama app for iOS - Sphere and 360 Panorama have been available for a while - but iOS users will now have another option at their hands. Photo Sphere for iOS requires iOS 7.0 and is compatible with iPhone and iPad but optimized for the for iPhone 5. It can be downloaded from the Apple Store now. If you would like to learn more about how Photo Sphere works and what the results look like we recommend you read our comprehensive hands-on look at the original Android version

Via: Gizmodo


  

Comments

Total comments: 20
Actrurus

Update … had a quick play indoors, quite cute how the alignment help works. Stitching a complete sphere is possible. Saves an equirectangular image in your camera roll which you can use elsewhere. Meaning it doesn't force you to upload to Google, etc.

No control over the size of the final image though, will have to test some more outside. I'm assuming partial panos are possible too?

0 upvotes
Actrurus

I use the built in pano feature of iOS quite a bit, but if I need greater height, say in a tight canyon or gorge I use "AutoStitch", which works really well and will stitch multi-row panos quite quickly there and then. Never as good as a proper 360 spherical rig, but good enough when out and about.

Will have a look at Photo Sphere and see how it compares.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
drh681

Yeah!
Photosynth for the sheeple!

0 upvotes
Valterj

First photo sphere:
https://maps.gstatic.com/m/streetview/?ll=37.0161247,-7.9356079&spn=0.18,0.3&cbll=37.0161247,-7.9356079&layer=c&panoid=n8P2dQ0XYuEAAAQfCVXm9w&cbp=,275.0,,0,-0.0&output=classic&dg=ntvb

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
SeeRoy

Having been creating spherical panos for many years - quite a bit of it commercially, I'll believe this works properly when I see it. Unless it defeats the laws of optics - namely parallax errors - it's impossible to get accurate stitches if there are foreground elements. To do so requires rotation around, or at least close to, the no-parallax point of the lens. Even with the best stitchers such as PTGui or Autopano this is required.
No doubt this will work after a fashion, with horrible stitching errors visible, which may well satisfy the selfie obsessed knuckle-draggers.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

All you need to do is getting a decent pano head and properly adjust the camera - even a smartphone.

Of course the Google app can't fix parallax errors (no stitcher can).

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dr_Jon

You don't have to have a pano head, just tie a piece of string abound the phone (close to the camera lens), hang a weight on the end and keep that at the same place on the ground (and tight).
Works for me (okay, with a FF Canon not a phone):
http://www.viewat.org/?i=en&id_aut=7366&md=vt&sec=pn
Plus I find freehand can work if you're careful.

0 upvotes
grasscatcher

As far as panoramic stitching and parallax errors, the camera phones have two things in their favor - 1) the small sensor has a greater DOF (not essentially necessary for parallax, but helps with stitching across the board), and 2) the extremely thin camera/lens makes the offset pretty much negligible.

I often shoot outdoor 360-degree panos with a m43 camera and 14mm (28mm equiv.) lens. Using MS ICE, as long as I'm no closer than, say, five feet or so to a subject (e.g. tree), I rarely see parallax errors, even when just using a standard tripod and NO panorama head. However, I can see where a pano head would be necessary for longer focal lengths, or closer subjects. For general outdoor landscape, not so much.

0 upvotes
Dr_Jon

I assume you are shooting cylindrical (strip) panoramas rather then spherical, including up and down?

0 upvotes
grasscatcher

Yes, I'm shooting primarily cylinders, sometimes several tiers. I've never shot sphericals with a standalone camera, only with smartphone, and haven't really done that enough to comment sufficiently on it.

0 upvotes
Guy Swarbrick

Incrementally, not dramatically increased. There are far more Android phones out there than yPhones.

0 upvotes
uRebel Rob

Sure Android is out selling Apple at about 80%-20% worldwide this year. This is ignoring the established user base (higher apple but decreasing), USA/Europe not as android-centrist as the world while that's the stronger markets of this site, and incomparable Android devices that cannot run this android app (like mine). But let's overestimate an 80%-20% android-apple split in devices in use today, anyway.

A 25% (20/80=0.25) increase in one swoop is pretty dramatic. And that's low balling it.

1 upvote
photogeek

That's too simplistic a view. It is well known that iPhone users use their iPhones as _smartphones_ a lot more. AppStore still sells a ton more apps and makes more money, iOS devices dominate when it comes to mobile web traffic. So it's a bigger deal than it seems.

1 upvote
uRebel Rob

This app (Google Camera) is not comparable with my android phone (Galaxy S3), and it's now an iPhone app. Hmm, I wonder why I can't use it, and which android devices can and cannot use it? (About time to upgrade my phone...)

1 upvote
Menneisyys

Strange it isn't compatible. Nevertheless, you can always shoot a lot of stills on your phone even using its stock Camera app and, then, use desktop stitchers - for example, Hugin or MS ICE. I bet they're far superior to Google's stitcher.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
LegacyGT

I suspect it is because Samsung is blocking the app because it wants you to use it's own TouchWiz camera app.

The problem desktop stitchers like HugIn (which I use) is that first it's a pain to have to copy your photos onto your computer and stitch and THEN post it (which kills half the benefit of using your phone camera - the convenience). Second Photosphere gives you realtime guidance of where you need to take the next photo to get full coverage ... which more difficult when you are doing spherical pano versus doing old school straight horizontal or vertical panos. MS ICE has an app on iOS as well called Photosynth - I haven't gotten a chance to compare the too but Photosynth works pretty well.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Menneisyys

"MS ICE has an app on iOS as well called Photosynth - I haven't gotten a chance to compare the too but Photosynth works pretty well."

On iOS (more precisely, iPhones), I'd stick with the built-in pano. As it only samples the innermost 150-200 pixels at a time (which means the subject doesn't change much when you turn around), it practically eliminates parallax errors. Of course it has its share of problems (significantly worse low-light performance; no immunity to flickering etc.) but, when you don't have a pano head but still want to shoot panos including close subjects, it's clearly superior to anything traditionally stitched.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

According to the App Store description the latest version of Google Camera requires Android 4.4 which presumably you have not running on the S3. Not sure if Samsung has made 4.4. available for the S3.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Otherwise Sphere might be an alternative that only requires Android 4.1: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sphere

1 upvote
LegacyGT

@Menneisyys but the iOS pano doesn't have the spherical panos. The whole point of this article is that spherical pano let you show a place like the interior of the Hagia Sophia in new and potentially more interesting way.

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=689a3df7-eecc-4c47-955c-c4cdebf75679

Parallax doesn't seem to be a problem in the example I linked to (as seen by the people in the lower left of the initial viewpoint).

0 upvotes
Total comments: 20
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