Microsoft iPhone app creates panoramic photos

Microsoft's free Photosynth iPhone app can stitch together multiple photos taken in any direction to create a single panoramic picture.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

A new iPhone app from Microsoft can create full panoramas from a series of individual photos that you snap with your device's camera.

Microsoft's Photosynth app creates a panoramic photo by stitching together multiple images.
Microsoft's Photosynth app creates a panoramic photo by stitching together multiple images. Microsoft

Compatible with the iPhone 3Gs and 4, the iPad 2, and the iPod Touch 4G, Photosynth is simple to use since Microsoft does most of the hard work.

You simply point your device at the subject and tap the screen to snap the first photo. The app then prompts you to position your device to take the next shot. You can then either tap the screen to shoot again or wait for the app to automatically snap the next photo. You keep doing this until you've captured the full panorama of shots to include.

A green framing box helps you position your device so that each shot lines up with each other. You can move up, down, left, right, or diagonally and capture just a limited angle or up to a full 360 degrees.

If you make a mistake or want to redo a shot, you can tap an Undo button to remove each previous image one at a time. Once you're done, tap the Finish button, and Photosynth will stitch together all of your photos to create the single panoramic view.

You can view your new photo in the app by tapping on its thumbnail image. Swiping your finger across or up and down the screen unveils the full panorama, while the two-finger approach lets you zoom in or out. Any photos you decide to keep are stored in Photosynth's own library and added to your device's Camera Roll, so they're easily accessible.

Microsoft offers a few ways for you to publish your handiwork. You can share it with your friends on Facebook. You can upload it to Microsoft's dedicated Photosynth.net Web site, which you access through a Windows Live ID. And if your panorama is of a public location, you can even publish it to Bing Maps.

The ability to assemble a panorama from separate pictures was initially slated to appear in Microsoft's Bing iPhone app, but the company apparently decided to turn that feature into its own dedicated application.

I took Photosynth through the paces, shooting different panoramas around the house, and the app did an outstanding job. The blending of the images was quick and seamless, and the final photos looked great, even with the low-resolution camera of my iPod Touch.