Panorama apps v fish-eye lens
I went to the Albert Hall last week to see Regina Spektor. As the song goes, we were in the cheap seats. But what we saw was pretty magnificent. The sweeping Victorian dome, the repeating arches and the sound-reflecting globules hanging down from the ceiling make the Albert Hall an enticing photographic subject. But the challenge is that it’s such an awesome wrap-around sight that you want to get it all in the frame somehow.
I came equipped with my Olloclip fish-eye lens and immediately slipped it on the iPhone. I took a few shots but the low lighting meant the results were quite disappointing. A lot of noise and fuzz and the fish-eye lens tends to go pale at the edges. Then I remembered a panorama app that I hadn’t used in a long time: Photosynth. I took off the fisheye and panned the camera around the hall. The app takes photos automatically when it sees lines matching up so you can sweep your camera around the hall without having to do almost anything. It then stitches together the resulting 7 or 8 photos for an amazing panoramic image. You have to make sure you don’t leave any gaps if you really want to get that complete wrap-around effect and you have to make sure all the lines match up, but the resolution and detail beats the fish-eye hands down.
The Albert Hall through fish-eye: fuzzy and noisy
The same scene after a Photosynth stich-up