Nokia Beta Labs Panorama

Do you know what is better than a Nokia n8?

A Nokia n8 running on Nokia Betalabs's Panorama App, that's what.

I have downloaded this program a few days ago from the OVI Store. In truth, I was actually looking for a *free* HDR App but this was the next best thing. Like the name implies, the software takes control of your camera, get you to pan around and it will stitch/join/rotate all the captured images to give you a nice panoramic picture. I know the shots look small because they're expanded horizontally. But to get a bigger picture, just click on the image.

Using this App is very simple. All you have to do is
to point it at an area of interest, press the shutter
button and then pan the n8 around. At a certain
spot, it will ask you to hold still while it takes the
picture. But sometimes, if you pan too much, it will
lose the tracking. However, 80% of the time, you can
'recover' from this. When you think you have all the
shots you need, just press the shutter button again
and the n8 will stop taking pictures.

While you wait and let other photo ops pass by, the
Panorama will start manipulating all the shot images
and form them into one long panoramic shot. But,
here's the stinker: It depends on the n8's PHONE
memory. And so, if you say, took 180º shots, it
will mostly give you an error message when it is
80-90% completed. Yep, the phone's run out of
RAM. Usually, rebooting the phone helps but you
will be the only idiot standing there for ages to get
the shot you wanted. Here is an example: I took a
shot of a busy Jalan Raja Chulan and well, it got a
lot of error since there were a lot of moving targets
and so, tracking is a problem and in the end, it failed
to get a nice Panoramic shot for me.

One thing you cannot control is the flash. So, when
it is
really necessary, the n8 will fire off the flash and
this is
the result you will get (whitish on the right)

And most of the times, you cannot control the white
balance setting either. So some photos look surreal
and as if it was pasted together. This was taken
during 2011 Wesak Day.

And sometimes, the scenery looks very nice but at
the same time, you can see some errors. Look at
the two goal posts in the middle. Also taken during
2011 Wesak Day.

Results are not predictable. Here, there are four
people moving about. The third was blocked by
the lady dressed in pink. By right, it should not
even be a success shot but amazingly, it did!

I repeated the process but it was hard due to the
moving targets. This one took me almost 30 mins
to get a 'nice' shot. There was another but it failed
and that took me ages. Plus, as the lights was fading,
I had to let that one go.

Surprisingly, this one worked well.

And so did this one. Its as if I got a fish-eye lens
for my Nokia n8.

And sometimes, the App does not 'freeze' between
shots, you can really get a good shot quickly. OK,
so I missed the MRT train....

But if you're too ambitious, the shot might not turn
out too well since the App will try to merge all the
shots but you'll be missing body parts....

Since this is minimal moving targets, it worked

I think it works best for scenery

And sometimes, if some people are moving too fast,
you get 'twins' that comes complete or one that
really defied Nature.....

Just to confirm scenery is great. People are not.

Twist your n8 around and you can
then take vertical shots. This is the
Chute in The Empire.

This was taken during SFTPMS SMM2011. Note the
two headed monster on the left.

Now, see the missing shoulder on one of the member.

This is an almost 180º shot of the Hobby HQ shop.
See the ghost on the left examining a model kit.

Overall, the Panorama App is fun to use but it does have its moments:

Insufficient RAM
The problem with the Nokia n8 is that it has only 256Mb RAM. Not 2Gb. Not 1GB. Just 256Mb RAM. This is not a problem until you use Apps such as Panorama. Then you will really start to notice the lack of RAM during image processing, When the image is being processed, the App will show you the progress and the status of each shoton the screen. However, once it reaches about 80% onwards, it will give you an error and the whole process is aborted. However, there is a recovery mode of some sort in where you can save that multiple shots in a folder which you can then manually use some stitching software instead. The only solution is to restart the phone to free up more RAM and pray that it does not abort. It would be nice if the App can use the n8's internal 16GB as RAM...

Inconsistent Delay
What really bugs me are the delays between each tracking shot. Sometimes, it is just one second. Other times, it could be more than 10 seconds. I suspect it could be trying to free up more RAM?

About the HDR...
Yeah, I know this App is free but I want to push my luck hereby asking if these Panoramic Photos can be converted to HDR or even 3D?

Overall, this is a really nice App even though sometimes it gives you missing body parts or something 'extra' in the shot. Yep, go download it. I have yet to try this on my old 5800, though.

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