Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
I journey lots and I like taking panorama photographs in scenic places. They’re a good way to seize the immensity of the Alps, the peacefulness of the Slovenian seashore, or the Toronto skyline from the islands. However every time I take a panorama shot with my Pixel 7 Pro, I discover the consequence disappointing. That is imagined to be one of many best camera phones available on the market, however it could’t sew a few pictures collectively to make an honest panorama — how come?
I had ignored this side of the Pixel’s pictures expertise till I went on a visit with a good friend who carries an Apple iPhone 14. That’s after I (begrudgingly) observed that their cellphone was taking a lot, significantly better panorama photographs than my Pixel. So what provides? I picked up my previous iPhone 12 Professional Max to research this often-forgotten side of cell pictures.
The iPhone captures panoramas with all lenses
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
A little bit of digging revealed that there are two main variations within the panorama-shooting expertise between Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Pixel, and the primary one is clear from the second you launch the mode within the digital camera app.
Google doesn’t give me any management over the pano expertise. I can begin capturing utilizing the cellphone’s predominant rear lens and cease — that’s it. Apple, however, lets me take panoramas with the entire cellphone’s lenses. Since I’m utilizing my iPhone 12 Professional Max for example, I can shoot panoramas with the primary lens, the ultrawide, and the two.5x telephoto lens. That’s already a serious benefit. The flexibility of zooming or increasing may be very neat and lets me body the shot precisely how I need.
The photographs beneath present the identical river financial institution shot with these three lenses. The primary lens does the job, however I can think about the ultrawide being very helpful for capturing extra majestic landscapes and the zoom being good for metropolis skylines.
iPhone vs Pixel panoramas: A difficulty of decision and element
The second distinction is within the last picture. The Pixel 7 Professional shoots very, very low-resolution panoramas — or a minimum of it compresses them instantly after snapping them. The most important panos I’ve saved are round 1600 pixels in width, and not more than 5MP in dimension. Ouch. For a sensor that’s able to 50MP and binning right down to 12MP, 5MP is so, so meager. That is late ’00s or early ’10s digital camera period.
In consequence, Pixel-shot panoramas are high-quality if I have a look at them on my cellphone’s display screen, however don’t stand as much as the pinching take a look at. Particulars are inexistent. The primary motive to make use of the panorama mode, i.e. the power to seize extra in a single photograph with out the effort of guide stitching, is totally misplaced as a result of I find yourself with fewer particulars and knowledge than if I snapped an ultrawide shot or received a couple of common photographs and mixed them in Photoshop later.
By comparability, Apple captures and saves panoramas at — or close to — every sensor’s most decision. The ensuing picture is a high-resolution snap with loads of element; a lot of the panoramas I’ve shot are greater than 20MP and generally even reached 60MP in dimension. The distinction is de facto evening and day and I can pinch in to disclose lots.
Right here’s one other crop from one other riverbank snap. You possibly can see that, in contrast to the Pixel, the iPhone manages to seize loads of element from the buildings and bushes.
The Pixel 7 Professional panoramas get HDR and colours proper
The Pixel nonetheless manages to attain some factors, although — a minimum of in comparison with my older iPhone 12 Professional Max. Panoramas shot on my Pixel 7 Professional have a greater dynamic vary than these I took on my iPhone.
Apple doesn’t appear to be utilizing any HDR corrections right here: Some areas are overexposed, others underexposed, and panoramas don’t forgive that. You’re already pushing your cellphone’s digital camera by mixing many “mini” scenes of various brightness and publicity, and the iPhone doesn’t do itself any favors by completely eschewing HDR. Nevertheless, I point out this with the caveat that I’m utilizing an older mannequin, so possibly the newer iPhone 13 and 14 have fastened that.
The Pixel additionally wins a couple of additional factors for its distinctive 360 photo sphere mode and the liberty to seize panoramas in any path (i.e. it could snap them right-to-left and bottom-to-top, in contrast to the iPhone which solely does left-to-right and top-to-bottom). Plus, personally, I want Google’s colour science even when it feels a contact over-saturated. I discover Apple’s colours too cool. See for your self.
Pixel 7 Professional vs iPhone panorama: A ‘clear’ winner
Regardless of the Pixel’s higher HDR and colours, I’ve to provide Apple the win right here if just for the higher-resolution snaps. You possibly can at all times edit and enhance colours, however you’ll be able to’t add element.
Once I seize panoramas, I do it to get extra into the photograph — extra width or peak, extra element, extra fascinating topics — and be capable of recall that second in time later as if I’m seeing it with my very own eyes once more. My eyes don’t see a blurry mess, they see element, and the Pixel 7 Professional fails to ship that, sadly. The iPhone does. And the choice to change to the ultrawide or zoom lens to border issues otherwise is the cherry on prime.