It doesn’t feel like that long ago that Microsoft’s Photosynth app showed up in the AppStore and I remember looking at it wondering how it got so many good reviews, I assumed it had to be something pretty incredible so I hit the download link and had a go at it. The first couple of times I played around with it, I managed to create some “OK” images with a little bit of distortion and overlap here and there. It wasn’t until I watched a video on TED.com about PhotoSynth that I decided to give it another go.
The problem with using the iPhone version is that the iPhone is used in the hand, as in my clumsy, shaky hands. That leaves too much room for movement that stops the software being able to understand perfectly what it’s looking at because the perception has changed. I therefore decided I would actually take my DSLR outside and try and take a panoramic picture of the river and bridge in Kingston. I used my tripod and tightened it all up to make sure there was minimal shake and downloaded the software for my PC in order to stitch the photos together ready to upload to PhotoSynth.net and utilise the silver light based browser. You can also tag the image onto it’s location on Bing maps and the place where you were standing’s view for the first part of the picture. This means that when someone goes onto Bing Maps and looks at the panorama you created they start where you were first stood (camera and tripod were facing).
Below we can see a PhotoSynth I made today of my room in halls and as you can see there are lots of imperfections. Particularly the bit where they sliced up my Welsh flag and the door is a bit mixed. This is obviously from me moving in the wrong way.
However when I used the tripod and the SLR the image is clearly better. I’m not sure whether the software is any better at doing it, in fact I’m pretty sure it works the exact same way but the SLR’s superior image quality and the rigid use of a tripod definitely created a better photo. The finished DSLR panorama was just over 146 megapixels however the quality seems to have been reduced for uploading purposes, on the original photo’s you can zoom in quite far and it still looks pretty good, I had the ISO on 100 to lower distortion and since using a tripod I didn’t have to worry too much about shutter speed as the camera was static.
It’s a fantastic little toy and it can have very powerful applications such as the ones shown in the TED lecture embedded above, if you have an iPhone give it a bash! It’s on the AppStore. I have absolutely no idea why it is yet to be released for Windows Phone 7 but that’s just the confusing side of Microsoft. Feel free to post your PhotoSynth’s in the comments, I’d love to have a look!