Field test: Photosynth app


I used Photosynth app (free) to shoot the preceding geotagged panorama photo of Milway Meadows, a residential community in Fairfax County, Virginia. An online interactive version of the photo simulates virtual reality, enabling you to see what I saw (Silverlight required, the Microsoft equivalent of Adobe Flash). That is, assuming you aren’t using the Safari Mobile Web browser on an Apple iOS mobile device. Seriously, why would Microsoft choose to use a platform like Silverlight that excludes a significant percentage of the market for mobile devices from using their product? That’s a business model that makes NO sense!

There is a free app called iSynth that is billed as a Photosynth viewer. I downloaded, installed, and tested iSynth on my Apple iPhone 3GS and iPad 1. A simple search caused iSynth to crash on BOTH devices, and now it crashes every time I try to launch the app. Based upon my experience, I think it’s fair to say iSynth is not ready for prime time.

Photosynth is an interesting solution to the problem of how to stitch together a series of overlapping photos to create a panorama photo. As you turn around an axis of rotation, Photosynth displays a green frame that indicates the camera is correctly positioned to take the next frame; then Photosynth shoots the photo automatically. Sounds simple, right? If only the process worked better! You don’t have to look very closely at the panorama photo (shown above) to see the seams between frames; in some places, the frames are obviously misaligned. Contrast the Photosynth app panorama photo with the same scene shot using AutoStitch Panorama app, and I think you’ll agree with me that AutoStitch is still King of the Hill in the field of photo-stitching panorama apps.

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