Smartphones today have made all of us amateur photographers. But as smartphone photography has become ubiquitous, the intriguing 360-degree spherical panorama has become all the rage. A 360 degree photo lets you observe a scene in any direction from a single point of view and today’s smartphone apps make it easy to do – you don’t have to do anything apart from using a dedicated app and moving your smartphone around to capture and view a scene.
With standard panoramas, you shoot rotating around your own axis, but without the top and bottom parts. When you take a 360 degree spherical image, you capture every point around you in all directions, side to side and top to bottom. Sometimes 360 degree images are referred to as 3D or VR, but with 3D the camera also captures depth information, which can be used to create 3D models that allow you to move around environments. Since you can display 360-degree images and spherical panoramas through VR headsets, from Google Cardboard to HTC Vive Pro, calling them VR isn’t too much of a stretch. These 360-degree images are also viewed as panoramas where you simply rotate the phone around you or swipe your finger across the touchscreen to view an almost immersive scene.
Before the iPhone, the only way to capture a true spherical panorama was to use a special camera designed for the task and use stitching software to tie multiple photos together – and you can still do that. But today’s photo apps not only take 360-degree images, videos and panoramas, but also instantly share them privately or through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Here are some of the best 360 degree camera apps available for iOS and Android.
When you’re in the middle of nowhere and need to show the world what it looks like, the free Google Street View app, with its built-in 360-degree camera, is where it is. The app is a viewer that lets you view public 360 degree panoramas from photographers around the world, but the best part is that you can create your own spherical images to share on Google Maps. Create 360-degree photos using your phone’s camera (or a Street View Ready certified camera), then position and add connections on the map with the Street View app. Just choose the camera and the interface will guide you through the series of recommended shots to create your panorama. Your images remain private until you upload them. A new video mode allows you to record as you walk, cycle or drive and preview final results before posting them to Street View. You can also track your collections in video mode on a map to determine the distance traveled.
DMD Panorama gives you full 360 degree rotation capability for panoramas and selfies, allowing your friends to see your 3D photo even without the app. It works well in low light conditions, exports 360 panoramas as looping videos, and lets you experience virtual reality with Google Cardboard. Panoramas can include advanced camera controls such as flash modes and various exposure settings, along with added descriptions, tags, geo-tagging, and privacy settings. The app only takes cylindrical panoramas and only stitch together images taken with the app – uploading them only with permission. The Android version is free with in-app purchases, but the iOS version costs $ 5.
With the free Google Cardboard Camera for Android, you can capture and share 3D VR photos designed for viewing in the companion Google Cardboard app and compatible headsets. It is extremely easy to use; just open the app, and at the bottom right, tap To take a picture, then press Save. With your arms straight, hold the device in portrait mode and slowly move in a circle to the left or right. The camera automatically stops recording when you make a full 360 degree turn. These photos provide more precise object distance and perspective so that near objects really look close, and objects farther away maintain a realistic and proportional distance. To experience the app’s VR output, place your phone in a Google Cardboard viewer. The new version allows you to share images using the phone’s default gallery app.
This automated panorama stitching allows you to easily stitch individual photos into high quality panoramas via a smart algorithm built into the device. The app recognizes and merges multiple overlapping photos into panoramas. Simply select or capture two or more overlapping images and the app will stitch them together into a shareable panorama for social media. It includes 3D VR viewer, various rendering and projection options, exposure balance, preview mode, and more. The pro version for $ 3 removes ads, offers 1GB output, compression, color balance, and other advanced features.
With your iPhone or Android smartphone, Panorama 360 lets you capture the view around you. The app assembles photos quickly and lets you view them in its own 360 degree viewer. The app also supports Google Street View photos and iPhone panoramas and includes automatic geotagging. After reviewing your photo, you can upload your panoramas to share with friends and family or embed them in your website or blog. You can also directly upload images to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The app connects you with other users to share their collections and you can view panoramas through 3D viewer or as flat images. A $ 3 in-app purchase gives you an HD option for high-resolution panoramas.
Photaf, an Android-only app, is often aimed at real estate professionals because it allows you to easily create seamless 360 panoramic photos using your camera’s orientation sensor to detect the exact angle of the camera. each picture. The application offers the creation of 360-degree panoramas, automatic image stitching and Facebook sharing. Simply launch the app and start moving your phone to see the full panoramic view using the phone’s compass or the touchscreen. The Pro version costs $ 4 and lets you upload images to the company’s website and view them from your computer. It also provides HD, live wallpaper designs, and is ad-free.