Photosynth – iPhone App of the Week

Photosynth – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Photosynth.

Photosynth for iOS is the panorama creation and sharing app that lets you capture more of your world. Now you can capture 360° in all directions (up, down, left, and right) to create spectacular images. Using the latest in computer vision techniques, Photosynth makes it easy and fun to create and share interactive panoramas of wherever you are.

Photosynth can share images and interactive panorama experiences to Facebook (with the included free service). Integration with Bing Maps means millions of people could see your panoramas on maps and in search results for locations you’ve captured.


This new app from Microsoft for iOS devices now allows you to capture photosynth pictures and display them on your iOS device. Think of stitched panoramas that allow for a full 360° view of a location.

Previously, though it was possible to view Photosynth panoramas on iOS devices, you had to go to a Windows only website to create them. That all changes with this app, you can now create Photosynth panoramas using your iPhone.

It’s very simple to use, but takes a little practice to get a really good panorama.

You move the phone around and the software either automatically takes the photographs or prompts you to do so. It then stitches them together.

You can either then share the completed panorama on Facebook, the Photosynth site or on Bing maps. This is for me one of the downsides of the app, as it isn’t possible to create a private “interactive” Photosynth panorama. Yes taking one of the college library is fine, but imagine wanting to take one of a wedding or a group of learners in the classroom. This may not be a panorama you want to share with the world. Any panorama that you do capture is saved to your Camera Roll and thus can be used by other apps or saved to your Mac when you sync. So for “static” panoramas it is possible to keep them private and that’s what I would use for those panoramas I take of people or weddings… So for taking panoramas of places and great views, yes a great app, for panoramas of groups of people, less useful. The reason is that the interactive version just “feels” better.

I should  point out that the first time I used the app I consistently failed to upload any panoramas to any site. I was able to upload the following day so have put that down to server problems on the day I was using it.

I should also point out that the panoramas in this review are the first ones I created. This one was particularly bad, so do practice with the app to get better results.

I have resized the images to 900 pixels wide, but the app does save them as full size images, so the original image was over 4000 pixels wide.

Compared to other panorama apps, and the fact it is free, this is in fact pretty good and does a reasonable job with the iPhone camera in creating panoramas.

3 thoughts on “Photosynth – iPhone App of the Week”

  1. I like the quality of the stitching in this app, James. The other one ove used is Occipital’s 360 which works in a similar way but with that one it doesn’t visibly shoot frames as such, you simply pan around and it melds the scene together in a more fluid way. I think I prefer the UX on that app but, like I say, I think the actual final image and accuracy is a little better on the Photosynth app.

    The one big, MASSIVE downside for me though is that uploading the image to the Photosynth sharing site then requires the viewer to view it in Silverlight. Which…yep….doesn’t work on the iPhone or iPad. :}

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