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.
|Dalmatian pelican by Avocet17|
from A big year - birds 2018
|Soup by Coolinarka|
|Off Piste Skiing - rest time by munte|
from Warren miller
|Snowflake by Tigor|
|Flame On! by 6bender|
from - Flowers on Black -
The Rotolight Neo 2 is an LED light panel with the capability to fire its LEDs fast enough and bright enough to act as a strobe. Is it enough to make stills photographers re-think their old-fashioned speed lights? Read on and find out.
Photographer Florian Nick spent six weeks in the Canadian wilderness capturing this Vimeo Staff Pick timelapse. Find out why and how he did it in this detailed behind the scenes guest post.
We've spent some time getting acquainted with Panasonic's freshest mirrorless camera, the GX9, putting its tilting EVF to good use. Check out our initial samples.
Sony has made something of a break-through in sensor development with a new backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that is capable of global shutter, a huge improvement over current CMOS global shutter technology.
As a result of its licensing deal with Getty, Google Images will no longer link directly to an image file from the search results. Instead, users will have to actually visit the site that hosts it.
Microsoft has released a new "Ultimate Performance" mode for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations—a mode that throws all power management out the window (so to speak) in favor of the best possible performance it can pull from your hardware.
If it's upheld, the new New York federal court ruling—which will very likely be appealed—would mean millions of people and publications are violating copyright every single day.
Similar to Apple's AirDrop functionality, Microsoft's new Photos Companion app lets you send photos and videos from an Android or iOS smartphone to a PC via a WiFi network.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is that company's latest flagship, with specs that appeal to stills photographers and serious videographers alike. Here's a detailed look at everything that's new and improved.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 is a powerful, pocketable travel zoom compact camera, with an impressively long lens. We've had our hands on one.
Samsung just released a few short advertisement videos for the Samsung Galaxy S9 on its Korean Youtube channel, two of which hint at the upcoming smartphone's new and improved camera features.
After years of planning and dreaming, wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter finally accomplished one of his crazier goals: shooting wet plate collodion photography... handheld.
Thomas Escher, Panono's new CEO, wants to steer the company strategy towards customized software development for the real-estate and construction sectors.
"Jurist Thomas Borberg said in a WPP-produced video that 'You have to be able to feel a World Press Photo in your stomach. If not, it’s not a World Press Photo.' Given this position, it’s not surprising that violent images are the ones that provoke stomach churning reactions."
Croatian brand Noa will launch its N7 smartphone at MWC. The phone will feature a 16MP dual-camera setup, and a high-resolution mode that captures 80MP images.
Michigan portrait and wedding photographer Brady Kenniston explains how he captured photos of an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime event: the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch on February 6th.
Lensbaby has announced the Burnside 35, which it calls an adaptation of the Petzval lens design with the added benefit of an effect slider to adjust the strength of vignetting and bokeh.
Fujifilm has unveiled the X-H1, a flagship 24MP APS-C camera that builds on the X-T2's feature set by adding 5-axis image stabilization, a touchscreen and more advanced video capabilities.
With the release of its Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and MKX 50-135mm T2.9 cinema lenses, Fujifilm finally gives X-mount shooters access to some great lenses that have already been available to E-mount shooters for months.
Fujifilm's newest X-series camera takes video very seriously, but also offers a strong stills feature set largely borrowed from the X-T2. We've had some time with a full-production X-H1 that luckily coincided with a little bit of rare February sunshine.
The Korean manufacturer will introduce a suite of AI technologies for its smartphones, including a Vision AI that puts the focus on camera usability and performance. The 2018 version of the flagship LG V30 will be the first device to feature the new tech.
Directors from six US intelligence agencies—including the CIA, FBI, and NSA—have told the Senate Intelligence Committee that it does not recommend Americans purchase Huawei devices, citing multiple security concerns.
Skydio claims the autonomous R1 drone is "the most advanced autonomous device—of any kind—available today." It uses the NVIDIA Jetson AI to continuously track you, even through complex environments like dense woods.
The World Press Photo Foundation has revealed the six finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018 today, in preparation for the final awards ceremony in Amsterdam on April 12th.
Tamron just published a teaser image that seems to show a new mirrorless zoom lens is "coming soon." An official announcement is probably planned for CP+, but join us for some good ol' fashioned speculation in the meantime.
The Loxia 25mm F2.4 joins four other manual-focus Loxia lenses designed specifically for Sony's full-frame mirrorless cameras—a "small, robust and versatile" lens that will keep your kit light and inconspicuous when you're on the go.
With video-centric cameras like the Panasonic GH5S in the office, it seemed high time to learn how to shoot with a gimbal. After a struggle up the learning curve, DPR staffer has found some sort of equilibrium.
Nominally at least, the new Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 is the successor to the GX8. But while it has a lot in common with the earlier model, the new camera comes with some serious updates, and a couple of caveats. Here's what you need to know.
Fujifilm's Imaging Solutions division recorded a revenue of $2.77 billion and operating income of $465 million in the first three quarters of 2017. That's a 15.6% increase in year-on-year revenue and a whopping 76.1% jump in operating income over the same period last year.