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.
|Old And Kind by poppyjk|
|Zombie Dawn Approaches by cjf2|
from Zombies Don't Surf
|Red Eyed Tree Frog by Tallgrass|
from Flash Photography
The update, which will come at a discounted cost to PhotoLab 2 users, brings a number of new and improved features to DxO's flagship post-production program.
Rode's new NTG5 professional shotgun microphone uses circular acoustic ports instead of the more traditional linear ports used by other manufacturers. Rode claims this provides, 'natural, uncolored sound.'
The design of the Fujifilm X-Pro3 encourages you to use it more like a classic film camera than a modern digital camera. So, does it work? Take a closer look in our hands-on slideshow.
We took a preproduction Fujifilm X-Pro3 to northern California to see what it's like to use. Turns out, it's okay to dislike the X-Pro3's new hidden LCD - that just means it's not for you.
Some might argue that Fujifilm's new X-Pro3 rangefinder-style camera takes a page from the Leica playbook, omitting a full-time rear screen in favor of a more 'pure' shooting experience. Is the X-Pro3 a carbon-coated classic or a titanium trinket? Chris and Jordan aim to find out.
We got our hands on a pre-production Fujifilm X-Pro3. Here's our initial gallery, including samples of the new 'Classic Neg.' film simulation.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3 is here, with an updated sensor, processor and autofocus system in tow. The company has also 'hidden' the LCD in such a way that you're more inclined to shoot through the hybrid viewfinder, for a more traditional photographic experience.
Tamron is developing a fast, compact 70-180mm F2.8 tele-zoom for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras. The lens will weigh just 815g (1.8 lbs) and will offer a linear focus motor, weather-sealing and a short minimum focusing distance.
Tamron has announced three compact F2.8 macro lenses for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras. Buyers can choose between 20, 24 and 35mm flavors, all of which are the same size, have a 0.5x magnification and use 67mm filters.
The new 512GB drives are smaller than a deck of cards and have read/write speeds of 1055MBps and 900MBps, respectively.
Both features have been discovered in the app code by a reverse engineer and activated manually.
The sensor will work alongside a dedicated camera module to open up new possibilities in the world of medical imaging.
After an unsuccessful attempt with the Drone Federalist Act of 2017, Senator Mike Lee of Utah is attempting to pass the Drone Integration and Zoning Act of 2019.
This gallery contains additional sample images from the new Olympus E-M5 III, captured while shooting our hands-on preview of the camera for DPReview TV.
Some of the Pixel 4's new camera features will be made available to older Pixel devices via a software update, but Google has confirmed Dual Exposure Controls and Live HDR+ features are limited to Pixel 4 smartphones.
This lens marks the third in Irix's lineup of lenses designed specifically for shooting up to 8K video.
Lomography rarely disappoints with its collection of strange and quirky film cameras and the LomoMod No.1 is no different.
It's free for iPhone users, but Pixel 4 owners are no longer able to take advantage of uncompressed original photo storage without paying. Google claims it's working on a fix for the 'bug'.
The new full-manual Laowa 17mm F1.8 MFT weighs just 172g and is set to ship 'late October' for just $149.
Olympus just announced the E-M5 III, the newest in its E-M5 line of enthusiast Micro Four Thirds cameras. In this hands-on preview, Chris and Jordan ask, "Who's it for?"
It's smaller and less costly than the flagship RF 28-70mm F2, but the RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM will appeal to many EOS R-series photographers with its handy range, fast, constant aperture, image stabilization and weather-sealing.
Previously, images were limited to being displayed at 2048px on the longest side. Now, images are shown at up to 6144px on the longest side.
Despite all of their incredible advantages, there are some situations in which a drone simply can't get the job done. Here are the limitations to consider if you're thinking about getting into drone photography.
Ricoh teamed up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a specialized Theta camera capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of space. The resulting images and videos have now been published.
Comparing these three compact camera lenses head-to-head-to-head reveals the Sony to be more consistently sharp – at the cost of a lot of aperture offered by the Canons.
The small camera uses microbial fuel cells to power the camera, which in turn keeps an eye on the plants and animals around it.
Luna Display comes in the shape of a hardware dongle and a Mac app and is compatible with older macOS versions.
The CS2740 monitor is a successor to Eizo's ColorEdge CS2730 that increases the resolution, adds new connectivity options and now offers 10-bit input. Pricing information isn't yet available, but Eizo says it will officially launch on October 24.
ON1 software has today released the latest version of its Raw processing and image editing and organization application Photo RAW.