With dozens of panorama photography apps on the iOS App Store, it is quite difficult these days for new offerings to separate themselves from the pack. Cycloramic – a panorama photography app that was recently updated with support for iPhone 5 – comes with a very unique feature that allows you to take hands-free panoramic shots!
Yes, you read that right. Cycloramic makes clever use of the little vibration motor inside the iPhone to rotate the phone automatically on smooth, hard surfaces while it snaps photos and stitches them.
Before you start taking hands-free panoramas, you need to enable the ‘Vibrate on Silent’ and ‘Vibrate on Ring’ options from Settings > Sounds. Additionally, the app recommends taking off any protective cases or covers that may hinder movement.
We’ve tested the app on multiple hard surfaces, with mixed results. On really smooth surfaces like marble (and even on certain wooden surfaces), it seemed to rotate too fast to be able to stitch photos together, while on rough surfaces it would completely stall after rotating a few degrees. Oddly, it worked best when we placed our iPhone 5 on a piece of A4 paper on top of a level wooden surface. It was slower, but at least it was accurate, and the results were on par, if not better than most other panorama photography apps.
Cycloramic hands-free panoramic capture
In addition to still panoramas, Cycloramic allows you take hands-free 360-degree “panoramic” videos. There is nothing special about these videos, really. It is equivalent to recording a video in vertical orientation while you turn around to form a full circle. With this feature, however, the result will be free of the jitter that usually accompanies videos captured the conventional way.
Keep in mind that both of these “hands-free” panorama shooting modes are made for iPhone 5 only, since the vibration motor in iPhone 4S and earlier models just isn’t powerful enough to rotate the device. Older devices get a “Guided Panorama” mode that works like any other panorama photography app, with the addition of visual, audio and vibration cues that help you take the perfect panoramic photo.
Because of its reliance on surface type and characteristics, we wish there were a “lite” version of the app so people could test it to see if it works well on surfaces available in their current environment. In its current paid-only state, we really cannot whole-heartedly recommend it unless you have a GSM iPhone 5 and access to a smooth, hard surface.
Still, Cycloramic gets full points for coming up with the novel idea of taking hands-free panoramas using the built-in vibration motor. Check out the following video demo we made for you.
Cycloramic is available for the price of $0.99 from the App Store.