Capturing a really great, sweeping landscape in one shot has always been difficult with still photography—hard to do with a really good camera, nearly impossible with an iPhone.
Enter Boinx Software’s
You Gotta See This with a unique new approach to capturing the big picture. The app uses the iPhone 4’s built-in gyroscope to create a panoramic view of your scene.
When you launch the app, it looks like any other camera, but as you tap the exposure button you’re presented with something very new. It’s like looking through a window inside of a globe, and the camera records individual shots the whole time. You move the phone all around to capture your scene. The process takes a little getting used to, but after a few tries, you’ll start to see what’s happening and can plan to get more of the shot you’re looking for. Needless to say, it helps to take a few practice shots before trying to capture that once-in-a-lifetime sunset at the Grand Canyon.
Tap the camera icon again to stop recording, and You Gotta See This offers several options on how to display your new masterpiece. You can choose a David Hockney-style light or dark table image, or more traditional Polaroid-like tiles. The images are certainly interesting, and with some practice can be stunning, but don’t confuse You Gotta See This with a panoramic imaging app.
I found it disappointing that there was no auto save feature: If you go back to the camera to try again without specifically telling the app to save your images, all of your first effort will be lost. There is also no way of editing the images at all, which frustrated me. It would be really useful to be able to delete individual frames to improve the image here and there, but perhaps this is asking a bit much for an mobile app. The app froze a few times during testing as well, requiring a restart of the phone to get things running again. This got annoying when the sun is setting quickly and you are missing it.
Despite those flaws, You Gotta See This is a fun app to play with and a great way to show off to friends. Just don’t rely on it to get your dream shot every time.
[Jeff Phillips is an educator, photographer and technology advocate. Find him on his blog or podcast.]