Nokia Panorama updated, still far from perfect
Today from the Dutch site WP7.nl, I learned that Nokia's update of the Panorama app now supports "portrait mode" as well - which is a good thing. You'll make a sequence of five shots, not covering about 180 degrees, but far less.
The result is much easier to share though, on a blogsite like this for instance. I was in a bit of a hurry today, so I just tried it once - here's the result:
Resized to 640 pixels wide, I now have a shot with about 380 pixel high to share. That's somewhere between the 16:9 or 4:3 format, so it's very usable. A classic "landscape" panorama becomes so small after resizing it's hardly worth sharing.
That's why I'm a big fan of the "vertical panorama" - it's way more impressive to share on a blog like this, as I've shown earlier, for instance in this shot from a French light tower, taken with the Camera Lover Pack on the Nokia 808 PureView (click on the picture to go to the 2349 x 7164 original on Flickr):
Now that's what I call a "vertical panorama"! :-) This may sound a bit arrogant (sorry), but I've been tipping the imaging team at Nokia over and over again how fantastic it would be to have the "vertical panorama" option on the Nokia Panorama app on the Lumia series as well. Actually, at first I thought this was what the recent update was all about - but it's "just" about portrait mode.
Second, I'm sorry to say working with Nokia Panorama is not one of my favorite pastimes. I planned to write a post about this before, but I decided to give it some more time. Now with the last update, i have to admit I'm still not "thrilled" - to put it mildly. (click on "read more" to read on :-)
Making the panorama in "portrait" mode, I had to refocus several times to get the picture you saw at the top of this post. Refocus for lack of a better word I can think of - while panning, the application asked me "where are you?" several times (and I wasn't panning too fast).
Now I'm fully aware the brand isn't very popular with most of the readers here at the Club, but I happen to review more smartphones than just from Nokia, and I can only say that the way the Samsung Galaxy S4 will let you make a panorama shot is a dream compared to how Nokia Panorama works.
Where the Nokia lines up your consequent shots, the Galaxy S4 will so to say freeze a video while you are panning/recording it - it's kind of hard to describe, but I'm sure you got the picture. Not only does that work flawless (it never asks me where I am), it will let me go from left to right OR from right to left and made me choose between landscape or panorama from the beginning. Moreover, it doesn't limit me to five shots - even in portrait I can capture 360 degrees if I'd like to.
Samsung's way of capturing a panorama with a smartphone is much more fluent and also the result is far better than Nokia Panorama - the only thing both have in common is they won't support the "vertical panorama" I love so much.
And no, Samsung or anyone else isn't paying me to write all this - it's simply the way I see it after testing it for several times. And however much I love the different Nokia lenses, I really think the Panorama lens still isn't as good as it should be. To prove my point I will show you a panorama I got from the Galaxy S4 in Crete a few months ago.
Click on the image and it will take you to the original shot on Flickr (it's worth it, it's 8368 x 3184 pixels, the full size is over 6MB but I'm sure you wlil appreciate the detail you'll find in it!)
So as far as I'm concerned it's back to the drawing board for the team working on Nokia Panorama. This time, let Samsung be an inspiration (it's not like Samsung was never inspired by others in the past :-).
I have been seriously impressed with the Galaxy S4 earlier (the link will take you to a comparison with the Nokia 808 PureView), but I have to admit that as far as panorama's are important to you, the Galaxy S4 simply blows what Nokia has to offer out of the water. I'm sorry, but it's the way I see it (and I've got the shots to prove it). I think it's time Nokia should do something about this - it's just about software after all.