Motrr Galileo elevates your iPhone panorama photography
Full 360-degree panoramas once involved big DSLRs, tripods with panorama heads and a lot of shooting and editing time. But today the processing power of smartphones means that much of this work can be done by a device you carry in your pocket.
Google's Photosphere camera mode which was launched with Android 4.2 and the Nexus 4 smartphone allows you to capture a full 360-degree panorama that can then be browsed either on the device or in the Google Plus photo viewer. (It's also available on the new Nexus 5, which we just reviewed.) You can shoot handheld, with the app guiding the framing of the individual images and doing the final stitching fully automatically. Microsoft's equivalent is called Photosynth and can be installed as a so-called "lens," an add-on the camera app, on most Windows phones. The third-party app Sphere comes pre-installed on the Sony Xperia Z1 that we reviewed recently but is available free of charge in the app stores for both iPhone and Android devices.
These apps produce interesting results that allow for the presentation of a space in a three-dimensional manner and are fun to browse in a dedicated viewer, but at this point in their development they still come with a few weaknesses. The capturing of a sphere can be somewhat longwinded, with a lot of frames to shoot and align, and the final stitching is usually far from perfect.
Enter the Motrr Galileo. The Galileo was born as a Kickstarter project and is a robotic platform that connects to your iPhone or iPod via the 32-pin connector of the older devices or bluetooth on the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c. In combination with the Sphere iOS app it lets you automate the panorama capturing process with much more precision than handheld shooting would allow. This speeds the entire process up considerably and should, at least in theory, lead to better image results.
But that's not all the Galileo can do. Sphere is the most interesting app to use with the Galileo, but there are a bunch of other apps that support the device. (This page gives you an overview of all the apps that currently work with Galileo.) But let's have a closer look at the Galileo's performance as a 360-degree panorama capturing device.
Capturing a sphere
Capturing a 360-degree panorama with the Motrr Galileo and the Sphere app is pretty straightforward. For our test we used an iPhone 5 which connects to the Galileo via Bluetooth. For older iPhone models there is a different Galileo version that physically connects via the 32-pin connector.
To get started you have to select the Galileo option in the Sphere app menu. When working with the Bluetooth version the interface then asks you to twist the base of the Galileo. This activates the Galileo's Bluetooth and a message pops up on the phone screen, asking you to confirm the connection.
Once iPhone and Galileo are paired via Bluetooth you can also connect them physically and stick the phone into the rubber holder in the Galileo's top plate. With our iPhone 5 there is a tiny bit of play, but overall the fit seems quite secure, certainly enough to keep the iPhone in its place while capturing a sphere.
At this point all you have to do is make sure the the Galileo is locked in landscape orientation and you can hit the start button on the screen. From there on the process is fully automatic, the Galileo pans and tilts the phone camera to capture all the frames required for the panorama. All you have to do is wait for the final result which on the iPhone 5 took approximately 30 seconds to compute.
Once processing is finished the panorama is ready to view in the Sphere app. You can opt to upload it to the Sphere website and share via social media or email. The output JPEG is also saved in the iPhone's camera roll but you have to view it in the Sphere app or website for the full spatial experience.
As you can see in the sphere below the Galileo does a very good job in aligning the frames which results in noticeably better stitching than what we've seen from handheld panorama spheres. However, the results are not perfect and you'll still find a few stitching errors in most spheres. Other image quality characteristics such as noise, sharpness, white balance or exposure are of course determined by the camera of the phone you are using.
Like virtually all panorama apps that we have tried Sphere is struggling with moving objects in the capture area. If you take a Sphere in a busy place you will almost certainly end up with a few ghosting artifacts, people with disappearing body parts or vehicles that appear to be entering a parallel dimension.
In this respect the Motrr Galileo does not improve your results over handheld shooting. In the sphere below a person got close to the device during capture which lead to the ghosting and tonal differences at the center of the image.
The next panorama was captured indoors on a desk tripod. Again, there are few stitching errors, as usual they are worse on objects closer to the lens. The "blurry disc" at the bottom of the sphere, the area below the camera which is not covered by the lens, also appears more intrusive in enclosed spaces. However, although it is not perfect, this result is significantly better than what you could get when shooting handheld in a room.
The Motrr Galileo is well-made, portable and, in combination with the Sphere iOS app, very easy to use. The panorama results are not perfect but visibly better than what you get when shooting handheld. Frequent panorama shooters will also appreciate the speed of the system. With the Galileo aligning your framing for you, the automated process is considerably quicker than the manual one.
For users who only occasionally shoot panoramas the price point of $149 might be a little steep, so you probably want to check if you can make use of any of the other available Motrr apps before you hit the buy button. But for iPhone users who shoot 360-degree images on a regular basis the Motrr Galileo is an easy sell. Android users will have to wait until 2014 for a compatible version and we're looking forward to testing the concept with the best of 2014's Android smartphones.
|Abstract bokeh by Minas_Eye|
from Your City - Bokeh in the City (Rerun)
|Green Tree Frog by BruceRH|
|Custom Red Roadster by Mitchmeister|
from Car Shows 2018
At Sony's press conference at Photokina the company announced that 12 more E-mount lenses will be arriving over the next two years. In addition, the company is working to utilize artificial intelligence in its technologies, with one application being Eye AF trained to detect animal eyes.
Sigma has said it will create a full-frame Foveon camera and will adopt the Leica L mount for its system. It will be able to adapt or convert SA mount lenses to the L mount, for existing users.
Hasselblad is expanding their X System with their announcement of three new lenses: the XCD 80mm F1.9, XCD 65mm F2.8 and XCD 135mm F2.8, along with a teleconverter. The 80mm F1.9 is the fastest in the system. Get all the details and check out Hasselblad's official sample images here.
Sigma has announced the 56mm F1.4 DC DN lens for Micro Four Thirds and Sony E mounts. The compact 56mm lens becomes the sixth DN lens for mirrorless cameras and will make a handy portrait lens on both systems.
Sigma has announced the 28mm F1.4 Art, 40mm F1.4 Art, 70-200mm F2.8 Sport and 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 Sport lenses for several full frame lens mounts, including Canon, Nikon and, in the first two instances, Sony E.
ON1 has announced the impending launch of ON1 Photo RAW 2019. The new version, due out in November, brings a handful of new tools and features in a revamped interface.
Fujifilm has said it is developing a 100MP GFX medium format camera that will include both phase detection autofocus and in-body image stabilization. The 4K-capable camera will sell for around $10,000.
Leica has announced the S3 medium-format camera – an S2 successor with a 64MP sensor capable of 4K video.
The GFX 50R is a 50MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. It borrows heavily from the existing 50S model but in a smaller body and at a lower price. How does it differ?
Fujifilm has announced its GFX 50R, a rangefinder-styled version of the company's GFX 50S medium-format camera. The 'guts' of the two cameras are the same, with the difference being the design, weight and Bluetooth, all at a considerably lower price.
In this episode of DPReview TV, we get our hands on Fujifilm's GFX 50R which hides a medium-format sensor in a new, more compact body. Watch to get Chris and Jordan's first impressions on image quality, video and more.
Fujifilm is adding a trio of new medium-format lenses to its G-mount roadmap. GFX owners will soon be able to get their hands on 100-200mm F5.6, 45-100mm F4 and compact 50mm F3.5 lenses. Pricing and availability have not been announced.
Micro Four Thirds users will soon get a super fast, constant aperture wide angle zoom.
Panasonic has announced it is developing two full frame mirrorless cameras: the 47MP S1R and the 24MP S1. We've been shown fairly advanced-looking but non-functional prototype cameras, and have been able to squeeze a few details from Panasonic.
Panasonic is developing a pair of full-frame mirrorless cameras that use Leica's L-mount. The S1R will feature a 47MP sensor, while the S1 will be 24MP. Both cameras will support Dual IS shake reduction 4K/60p video capture and will have XQD and SD card slots.
Leica, Panasonic and Sigma are teaming up. Expect L-mount cameras from Panasonic as well as L-mount glass from Sigma.
Ricoh has announced the development of the GR III enthusiast compact, due to ship in early 2019. The camera gains sensor-shift image stabilization and an updated 24MP sensor with phase-detection. The 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens has also been redesigned and a touchscreen added.
The 'I'm Back' is now available for a range of old film-SLRs, such as Nikon's F-Series, the Olympus OM10 or the Canon AE-1.
IRIX has announced its latest lens, the 150mm F2.8 Macro 1:1. IRIX claims the lens features 'close to zero' distortion and stands out with its 150mm telephoto focal length.
The RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM is one of four lenses to launch with Canon's new full-frame mirrorless system, and it boasts the longest reach of the range. Take a look at some of the samples we've gathered thus far as our EOS R testing continues.
Nikon's Sendai factory in the Tōhoku region North of Japan has been churning out cameras and lenses since 1971. We had the opportunity recently to visit Sendai during events to mark the launch of Nikon's new Z mount.
There's no mistaking the Nikon Coolpix P1000 – with a 24-3000mm equivalent zoom, it really is in a class of its own. It's a conspicuous-looking superzoom with one main job: getting you really close to far away subjects. We've put together a gallery showing the kind of results you can expect from it.
A new report from The Verge claims Instagram is currently testing a feature that allows users to re-share posts to their own account feeds.
GoPro has announced its HERO7 camera lineup. The updated action cameras feature new HyperSmooth and TimeWarp modes, as well as improved video and photo specs.
The latest Samsung midrange smartphone offers a super-wide-angle lens in its triple-camera setup.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 is the latest lens to join the company's premium G Master lineup. We've been shooting with one for a couple of days - here's what you need to know.
Apple released iOS 12 a few days ago and some iPhone X users are less than happy with how the new operating system has made their phones look.
Camera bag manufacturer Lowepro has introduced mark II backpacks for its ProTactic AW range with models that are said to feature an improved handling experience as well as a collection of accessories that can be attached to the outside.
Canon has announced its latest superzoom camera, the PowerShot SX70 HS. Compared to the SX60 that came before it, the SX70 has the same lens but offers a higher resolution EVF, 4K video capture and support for Canon's new CR3 Raw format.
Cosina has announced its eighth lens designed specifically for Sony's E-mount system. The Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 lens is due out October 2018.