A couple of weeks ago, I compared two reference apps, Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia, to decide which one I think was better. This week I’m doing the same with two panorama apps; Photosynth and Ztitch+. How do they compare?
Ztitch+ is an app that captures your environment in full 360º. However, I’ll be straight with you right from the off, I couldn’t work out how to do it. What I did manage, though, was to capture a panoramic image all across the horizon – not the full 360º I had hoped for.
I don’t know whether it’s because a gyroscope is needed in your device, or whether I just did something wrong. But, whatever it was, the instructions and tutorial wasn’t clear enough to explain why this might be. This disappoints me, somewhat.
Regardless of this, let’s look at the usage of the app.
With Ztitch+ you position your subject – usually a landscape – in the centre of your screen. Pressing the screen (or camera button if you’ve got one) starts your panorama capturing.
The first image shifts to the left and becomes almost transparent, leaving the edge of that first image on your screen. Moving your phone to the right and lining up the previous image to the right of the new one, continue the capturing process. Each time you reach the new point in your panorama, you must press the camera button to confirm.
With a complete and full (ahem) 360º panorama, you can now upload it to your Flickr or Facebook account. By doing this, you’ll link that account with your newly created Ztitch.com account. By navigating to your new Ztitch account you can then explore your photo by panning it around your screen and selecting the map button shows you where you took that photo on Bing Maps. You can also do this on your phone.
Due to there being no embed feature, you can check out my linear panoramic photo over at the Ztitch website.
We’ve written about Photosynth before. What it does is similar to Ztitch+ where as it captures the world around you in full 360º.
By standing in one position and moving the camera around you from left to right and up and down, this app automatically captures what it sees from your camera. No button pressing, it just does it. It knows when the next photo needs to be taken by matching the edges of the previous shot up for you. I find that this makes taking a panoramic photo, super-easy.
Once you’ve finished taking your photo, your sharing options are: Facebook; Twitter; Bing Maps; Photosynth.net; Email; and Camera Roll.
Uploading your image to Bing Maps adds your image to a collection of 300,000+ geo-tagged panoramas stored by the Bing Maps team. This is great for sharing famous landmarks with the rest of the world.
Much like Ztitch+, you’ll need to create an account with their site to be able to make full use of their services, like exploring the panorama in a 360º environment and having the option to embed it.
So, two panorama apps with very similar features and usability. However, I do prefer one to the other.
For me, Photosynth wins in the usability and feature comparison. I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t able to take full 360º panoramas with Ztitch+. Sure, there might be a reasonable explanation, however in the midst of trying to take a photo I really don’t want to be standing in the middle of a field trying to figure out how to use the app; it needs to be simple to use.
Photosynth’s point and (auto) click does exactly what you want. Take cleverly stitched panoramas just by pulling your phone out of your pocket. No messing about. The image embed feature is just a bonus for me, as it means I can share my images to wider audiences.
What’s your favourite of the two? Let me know, below.
Image credit: Panoramas