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New 'Panorama' photo feature for iPhone camera

They say the best phone to have is the one in your pocket because capturing the scene with anything is better than not at all. The last couple of generations of smartphones (iPhone, Galaxy and others) have taken the humble phone camera to new levels where these days it is a virtual replacement for your traditional pocket camera.

Since I upgraded to an iPhone 4S a year ago I've taken several thousand photos of places I've been, my kids and pretty much everything and anything because while I have a brilliant Canon 7D DSLR and several lenses, the reality is that the phone is with me 100% of the time so it is the convenient option.

The quality of the camera on my iPhone 4S is actually very good and certainly good enough for snapshots and even some creative shots using depth of field and filters in apps like Instagram.

With the release today of the iPhone 5 and more specifically, iOS6, Apple has introduced a new 'Panorama' feature which enables you to capture an entire scene by panning the phone across the scene and allowing the software to build the photo for you. According to Apple, you can capture up to 240 degrees of your scene and create a single 28 megapixel image in the process. Ideal for big landscape or city scape shots and it will also be interesting to see what it does with a more active scene like one including people given that you are effectively taking a short video that is being stitched into a single image.

While the idea is not revolutionary with similar capability being available in apps like '360', there is no doubt that having it built into the iPhones native camera app will make it that much more convenient and therefore likely to be used.

Best of all the Panorama feature isn't confined to the new iPhone 5 and will work in my iPhone 4S when the iOS6 upgrade becomes available on September 19th.

I'll be interested to see how well it works using the phone 'hand held' or whether mounting it on a tripod which can be swivelled more smoothly will help. There are a number of tripod mountable cases for the iPhone available but then if you need to use a tripod to get a great result you're moving away from the convenience factor of the phone being in your pocket and may as well get the DSLR out.

I'll be upgrading to iOS6 as soon as it's available so I'll report back with some Panorama shots and we'll see how good they are.

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Steve Baile
Steve Baile
I’m the founder of Expedition Australia, a writer, filmmaker & adventure travel junkie. Passionate about my family, health and fitness, hiking, 4WD touring, adventure motorbikes, camping and exploring as much of the planet as I can.


  1. Ooh, I haven't dared upgrade to ios 6 yet and I am very happy with my iphone 4s but I'd love to take panorama shots and I want a macro lens too:)

  2. Hi Steve. As a photographer yourself, do you have any suggestions for protecting dslr gear while on the road, main concern being dust?

    • I keep my camera gear in a Pelican 1510 case an when I'm on the road I'll sometimes have the 7D handy in the console inside a Lowepro bag that fits nicely between the seats. Easy to get to but keeps the dust out. I've also got a lightweight water proof Sea to Summit bag which I'll carry in my day pack to put the camera in if it gets seriously dusty or wet. I actually bought a 7D because they have a lot more water and dust resistance than your average DSLR.

  3. Hi Bailie's hope you are all well. Family of four and I got your DVD for my birthday. We are going to start planning soon. I realise your DVD is condensed but wondering how long you stayed in each place? Also did you keep any finances in reserve for your return .... To buy a house when you came back?? Thanks again for more inspiration

    • Hi Jade, it varied a lot but we stayed between 1 and 5 nights in most places except 6 weeks at Lake Argyle the second time we were there. Not much in reserve when we got back 🙂

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