A common problem with the iPhone’s camera is that, due to its small lens, you can’t fit enough of a scene you’re trying to capture into a single photograph. That’s where AutoStitch Panorama ($2.99) comes in. As the name implies, the app stitches together multiple photographs to create panorama photographs. But panorama means more than just those long, rectangular landscape photos you’d normally associate with the word. It also means capturing tall buildings or any scenes too wide and tall for the iPhone’s lens. Essentially, AutoStitch is the wide-angle lens for the iPhone that lets you capture these scenes, and overall, it’s an indispensable tool for anyone who takes photos with the iPhone.
What I found most impressive about AutoStitch is how simple it is to use. The only real work you do is selecting the photos to stitch together, everything else is automated by the app. After taking the photos (which you must do outside of the app), you simply launch AutoStitch and select the photos you took. Then tap the Stitch button. The photos don’t have to be selected in any order. You can even make a mistake by including a wrong photo, and AutoStitch will ignore it.
The resulting photographs are usually detailed and blemish free—the app does a great job of blending photographs seamlessly. It helps if you use proper technique for a panorama, which is to keep the iPhone in one place but rotate it as if on a pivot for each photo.
After stitching, the resulting photos are often oddly shaped, with curving corners and bulging sides. AutoStitch includes a nice auto-cropping feature that can automatically cut the picture into a perfect rectangle suitable for framing. If you’re not satisified with results, you can take over the cropping and cut as you please.
The stitching process was relatively quick. It usually finished in less than 20 seconds, but occasionally a tricky set of photos could take up to a a minute or two. When you’re finished, you can save the resulting photo to the phone, email it, or post it to FaceBook.
And that’s it in terms of functionality. Autostitch does have a sparse Settings menu where you can change the amount of blending that goes on between the multiple, stitched-together photos. And another setting lets select the quality of the finished photo.
The app has come in handy more than I thought it would, but here’s a recent example. On a vacation, I wanted to take a picture of the hotel room I was staying in. Unfortunately, the iPhone camera lens couldn’t capture everything I wanted to. Enter AutoStich. Standing in one spot, I snapped several pictures by slightly tilting the angle of the iPhone until I captured it all. After stitching the photos together with AutoStitch, I ended up with a fish-eye view of the entire hotel room.
AutoStitch Panorama is an indispensable tool for iPhone photographers that functions as a kind of wide-angle lens for the iPhone, allowing you to capture scenes you couldn’t normally capture with the iPhone’s tiny lens. Simple and streamlined, the app is a hassle-free experience with resulting photographs that rarely show the effects of being blended together.