Free from Microsoft, would you believe, is an app for the iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S with iOS 4.2 or later) called Photosynth. This automatically takes panoramic photos. Well the process is auto though the operator has to turn round. You set up the first view and start the app. As you slowly turn round a real time view is shown on the screen. As this view passes the appropriate point, shown by a moving dotted line on the screen, it automatically takes the next photo. Once a full circle of photos have been saved you click 'finish' and the app stitches the photos together to make the panorama. It is a lot faster doing this than I expected and the result can be saved to the camera roll and / or uploaded to Bing Maps, Facebook or Twitter.
This is a test shot of my unruly back garden:
You can have the raw panorama as stitched in the app:
It looks a bit wavy as I found it difficult to keep the phone level whilst doing a twirl with bright sunlight on the screen.
or automatically cropped in the app:
Clicking on the above photos will take you to Flickr where larger views can be seen.
You don't have to take a full circular view. If it only takes a few photos to get something on 'film' then the stitching process can be started at any time by clicking 'finish'. The app will work in any direction, left to right, up and down and it is possible to build up a photo from a block of 2x2 or 3x3 etc. shots.
Photosynth can be found as a free download on the iTunes app store. It is also compatible with the iPad 2 and 3.
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